Saturday I went out shopping at my local Wal-Mart. I bought a few things, including a battery operated floodlight for my outdoor Nativity set. I spent over 45 minutes perusing through the lights; carefully choosing the right one. Next to the battery section to pick up 6 “C” batteries.
Batteries. Sounds simple enough, right? In my head, I could hear the Energizer Bunny beating his drums as I stared at the enormous selection……then the music from the Duracell commercial filled my head. Oh the choices. As I made my decision, I noticed on the packaging the different types…” C 8″, “C9″ ” C12″….on and on the numbers went up to “C20″. Hmmm, must be something different about the varied numeric values of the C battery. I flipped over the floodlight packaging, hoping it would specify the right “C”…..no help. Twenty minutes later, I decided to ask someone who knew more than me about the specs of the common battery. Sixty minutes later, I am surrounded by Wal-Mart employees all of which were as clueless as I was. Hmmmmm.
If you were to ask any of my friends about my technical skills, they will all tell you I am an electronic and gadget guru.I can fix any windows based problem with ease. I can sort through Apple code-jibberish and have a Mac back up and running within minutes. Remote controlled devices…no worries….their intricate workings pose no problem to my insightful thinking. So…….why am I still standing in aisle 9 at Wal-Mart, staring at the Battery Center, appearing dazed and confused?
I wonder how our high-tech world confuses the already confused dementia patient? The other day at work, a resident asked for a pain medication due to a flare up of her gout. The nurse replied, ” Let me check the computer and see if you can have one now…” As the nurse disappeared to the computer station, the resident turned to me and said, ” What does a computer have to do with giving me pills? I should have a bottle of pills….” Good point. But yet, due to the electronic medication dispensing system…the computer DOES decide if a pill is to be given or not. Imagine being in the resident’s shoes….she has pain, she is accustomed to taking her own medications...yet now, a computer dictates her pain relief.
I am sure residents are alarmed as we take their temperature scanning their forehead. Remember the glass, mercury filled, old fashioned thermometers?????? Blood pressures are now taken by machines and heart beats counted by finger devices…yet we wonder why the resident does not understand what we are doing! It’s not always dementia, when a resident gives us the ” I am so confused” blank stare.
Standing in Walmart, I too had become so confused about the who C battery business….I decided to buy the C8’s hoping, they would work …the middle age man who seemed most knowledgable had said that the number simply indicated the ” years of life” the battery would have. I felt 8 years would be a reasonable amount of time for $11.98, so the C8’s it was!
That afternoon, the neighborhood came to life. Everyone was outside working on their Christmas lights, decorations and oversized blow-up Santa’s. I knelt in front of my nativity, placing my new floodlight ever so carefully in the right spot….. My neighbor, Jen,came by and was admiring the Nativity, which led me to tell her all about the whole new battery rating.
” Yep, batteries now have their life-span rating on the top of the packaging. The ones I bought are the C8s. Eight years is a long time for a battery, don’t you think? ” I felt proud of my battery packaging knowledge.
Jen gave me a very weird look. “Do what? What are talking about? I didn’t know that.”
Before I could tell the whole story, several neighbors had joined in the battery conversation…..many of which disputed my theory. Within minutes, people were emerging from their houses, each carrying their choice of batteries. We gathered in a circle, passing around the batteries as if we were cul-de-sac drug dealers; studying the packaging, flipping it over to look at the back and the front…….then passing it to the next person for analysis.
” Jessi…. he number doesn’t represent the life-span. It means HOW MANY BATTERIES ARE IN THE PACK!”Jen exclaimed.
” Seriously??? All that drama and it’s the number of batteries???????” I had to laugh…..
The moral of this story? Never over-think the simple things in life……life is complicated enough!