November 2, 2007


The comedy team for just a moment, June 2007.

He’s fading. There’s nothing we can do really except make sure he is safe. He inadvertently puts up road blocks making me feel like the Wicked Witch of the West when I discover them.

“He’s been wearing those clothes five days now,” I say sotto voice to the nurse so he doesn’t hear me.

“We try to give them some autonomy,” she replies, “but yes, five days is too long.”

We nod together.

“You have had those clothes on for five days,” G tells him as we wheel him into the hall.

“No I haven’t.”

We could do “Yes you have” and “No I haven’ts” all night. It’s useless to press the point because the food dribbled down his front seems invisible to his eyes. The blood on his pants come from somewhere else. Outside of himself. He never did any of it. We understand.

We have one of those “Staff Meetings” scheduled. Sort of like Grand Rounds if we were at a hospital. Everyone is there gathered around a large table facing us at the other end. Doctor, nurse, dietician, PT person, and three or four more whose part in all this we don’t know yet. They say their piece, we say our piece, and hopefully we all know where the other stands and they hear our “issues.”

It’s jig saw puzzle time with dirty clothes put in balance with all but the veggies. He won’t eat veggies. In anything. We counter with the fact that he used to eat his veggies at Rudford’s restaurant. Always their special salads. Not now. Perhaps he would eat Rudford’s tossed green salads if we brought them there? The thought just occurs to me. Maybe they could duplicate it…..just romaine, radishes, and blue cheese with an oil and lemon dressing.

Maybe that’s too much to ask.

I tell the receptionist about the sheet. Ugly thing his sheet. When we found his bedspread inside out….and he makes his up bed flawlessly everyday, we took it off to bring it home. Underneath was only one sheet, and that sheet was dirty grey brown, dirt and sand filled, and blood stained from his scratching. She told us to tell them.

The reality is that he doesn’t get off the bed any more. He gets up, does the usual stuff on automatic pilot, dresses, makes his bed, goes to any activity that they take him to, and other than that sits on his bed and watches TV. That’s it. When he showers, he tells them the clothes are clean. They are in a hurry and don’t look or encourage autonomy. When they come to change his bed, it’s made up and he tells them it’s fine while sitting there unmovingly. Autonomy.

He doesn’t know anything any more. He’s fading. His sense of humor may last two or three minutes then is gone now. His dog “Plaid” knows everything, will take care of everything, and does everything for him. That’s it. Do they know about his dog, Plaid? He continues to hide that he is gay. He continues to hide that he is an alcoholic. Is he still hiding Plaid. I’ve seen him petting Plaid in public now.

“Do they bring it here?” He asks querulously wondering about his dinner when he’s eaten in the dining room every meal for the last year.

I feel like a stuffed and frozen goose as G patiently smiles back.

Me: My turn at the laundry today. Walking too. I know there’s a lot of ash around, but I cannot stay home and grow into a larger lump by the moment. Enough’s enough. Joan’s Memorial service tomorrow. Coat hunting tomorrow too at Amvets. Lists and trip research begun.

I have to find a permanent way to stuff my G job fears. Almost everyone who was with him on the insurance side of the company is gone now. He was eagerly welcomed to the data base side and when everyone else was tested for the job, he wasn’t. He was given two top GM vehicles to do even tho his work with a previous person was unacceptable. I just have to stop thinking and worrying about this. Poetry. The ladies at the Poetry lunch told me with fervor that my latest work was very good….and here I thought I was just being dismissed.

G: Happy again. After all those years of misery at Worldwide RAC, it’s so much fun to have him come home singing. Duck, bank, breakfast at Denny’s.

Duck: Fading.

Fires: All three fires will be under full control by Saturday. Now comes the questions, the second guessing, and the readying for the next round of fires. Santa Ana winds are due this weekend.

1 comment:

  1. How well you portray the never ending dance of helping some one live and die with dignity. No one has taught us about choosing our battles carefully (e.g., vegetables, clean clothes), how to overcome our frustrations when witnessing another's deterioration, how to find even a drop of grandness in spirit when faced with contrariness... It helps to read about your journey and wonder how or if we will do differently.


What a delight to get a note from you. Thanks for leaving one.


Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...