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Sunday, August 16, 2009

QUIET DAY



The days have become more quiet. Jr stays in the bed 23 hours of the day now. Anything to do with conversation is in the past. Ask a question, the answer is no. He's uncooperative in many ways, unconsciously. Reasoning is the same as seasoning. Just a word. Today he was worse than yesterday. It's been a steady decline.
Monday is the day I start reaching out for help. Like happened again this past Friday, Jr took a steep decline Fri afternoon. No getting any help until Monday. My truck sprang a gas leak at the point of the fuel pump, spraying gas in a steady stream. That happened Friday afternoon. Semi-emergencies always happen to me on Friday afternoon. Seems like a strange karma. Like coming down with the flu first day of Christmas vacation and getting well the day before school started. A little too perfect not to be self-created. But why? Maybe there isn't a why. It just worked out like that. There is a why. I just don't know what it is, and don't care enough to go looking.
But it seems curious to me that Jr's energy is going away at a steady rate as his mind swirls into the black hole in the middle of his head. The gas can be called energy flowing out of my truck's tank at the fuel pump. Same day, both Jr and I had a significant energy drain. He can barely get to his feet enough to shift from bed to wheel chair and back. All he wants to do is lie on the bed and drift. When I need to speak to him, like when the phone rings--I have orders to wake him for anyone who comes to see him or calls--I speak in a quiet voice asking him if he is awake. He speaks, saying he is. If he doesn't answer to that, I don't bother him further.
After he's been in bed about 23 hours, he gets up, is bright, mildly coherent, and comes wheeling into the living room, having figured out how to make it through he doorway. It's simple for him now. He scoots along at about 3 to 4 inches per push of the wheels. The carpeting acts like mud on the wheels dragging him down. At the facility the floor was hard and smooth as polished marble. Perfect racetrack for wheelchairs.
I get an Ensure into him and his daily pills while there's a window of opportunity. If there's a burger, he'll eat a burger. Nothing else. Maybe a bowl of ice cream. Then back to bed for 23 hours, aching all over, hurting all over, throbbing pain in right knee the pain pills only ease, mind gone.
A couple days ago he said, "My senses know more than my mind." This is something I've always found remarkable knowing Jr, the way he says things like this with a pretty big meaning, and that's the meaning he means. I remember the first time he said of something inexplicable, "It just is." Can't explain it. It just is.
I don't want to disturb his rest, so I don't play radio or cds or anything. I read and sit on the porch and talk on the telephone, like on watch, always ready for anything that comes up at any moment. Like this morning at 6:30 or so I heard him calling my name weakly. He was in the bathroom, sitting on the stool and couldn't get up. He didn't have to go, it just felt like he did. I had to get behind him, put my arms around his ribs, pull his pants up, pick him straight up and walk him, one step at a time with legs hanging like chains that drag the floor. Not a simple process.
He has the potty chair in the bedroom and a plastic bottle to pee in. He is told every day to stay out of the bathroom. The bathroom is where he falls almost every time he goes in there. Where does he go? To where the risk of falling is highest. There's something of a problem with the potty chair too. It is so light that when he tries to stand up by pushing down on the arms with his hands, one pushes harder than another and it tilts over to the side and takes him and bucket and contents with it. He prefers the probability of falling to the probability tilting over with the bucket. He's at a place where he just can't go. The body won't work, the mind won't work; he's like gone back to fetal the way he lies on the bed on his side with bent legs. The mind is shutting down saying it's time to go. The body is shutting down saying the same thing.
It's like he's ready to go, all that's left is full commitment to enter the unknown. He's so tired of being helpless. He is of a culture of men who don't like having other people do for them what they'd rather do for themselves. It humiliates him for other people to go out of their way for him. He's even helpless to show his gratitude. He can speak it from time to time, and that's it. It's more than acceptable to me and the others helping him along, but to him, it is far short of what he means, but it's all he can do. His consciousness, who he is, is still in there, but without expression now, like being in a paralyzed body, can't make anything work. Can't even think. He's becoming a living body that is a hollow shell.
What was once living in there can't express anymore. From the outside, it's the same as not there; from the inside, that seeming not there makes it all the more frustrating. He's become a helpless body to take care of now. The next phase.
John, Ross's brother, is home for a few days after being gone a couple months. He was shocked to see Jr has fallen off so much. Dean was there feeling sorrow, Ross too and Robin, his nurse friend. There was a quiet about everyone in the house for an hour or so, as everyone was feeling the helpless sorrow of being unable to do anything. I told Ross I'd tried everything to get him to drink water but put a funnel in his mouth and pour it down his throat. Ross said, "It wouldn't be that easy." It was a quiet, somber day for all concerned. For Jr most of all.





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