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Friday, September 4, 2009


composition in gray #3

Yesterday, in the morning, coffee in my cup I said Good Morning to Jr and sat in his wheelchair beside the bed to visit. First thing he said, "I don't know if I'm dying, or if I'm living. I'm dying, but I'm living. I'm living and I'm dying." Wasn't much I could say to that. In just a few words he told me where he is at this point in the continuum of his gradual fade, the whole of it, the entire context. He's realizing that he's not going to make it, there won't be a turnaround like all the times before, this is it.

He stays in the bed all the time now. Last night at some time in the night he wheeled into the kitchen to drink an ensure and wheeled back to bed. Woke up thirsty. He'll get up and crawl into the wheelchair to go to the pottie chair. Then he has the ordeal of getting pants and diaper pants down, then getting them back up, unable to stand on his legs for the full count of a minute. He wants to do it all himself and I'm happy to let him. It's such an ordeal to get out of the bed into the chair and to wheel to wherever he wants to go, living room, kitchen, it wears him out by the time he's accomplished what he set out to do, then he goes back to bed so worn out all he can do is fade into the mattress.

He's drinking 2, sometimes 3 ensures in a day and night now. As long as he has 1 ensure in the day, I'm satisfied. That's foundation for the day. One of the nurses suggested a similar drink called DanActive from the yogurt section. It has something to do with boosting immune system. He had one of them today. Whatever he eats beyond the ensures is whatever he wants. He won't eat anything if he doesn't want it, and he doesn't want practically everything. He has taken to the ensures now that they're free.

While we were talking in the morning yesterday he asked me to get him a can. He drank some from it and asked how much they cost. I told him they're free. Free? It was like he was asking because he seemed to believe I'd told him they were free, but he couldn't remember for sure. And it was like he'd never known. Addled is the best description I can give for what is going on with his mind. In his words, he doesn't have a mind any more. It went away.

I don't ask any more if he'd like me to mow the lawn. He always said no, and the grass got a foot tall. The mower was empty, so I got a 2.5gal gas jug from home and filled it up even to overflowing. There's a certain way it can be done without spilling any, but it takes practice and I've not done it in so many years I forgot about it til I did it. No big deal. Just a potential explosion hazard. Just like on tv. Start the mower and they picked up his head in Piney Creek.

Mowed it once up high because the grass was so tall and in the lowest gear to grind it up into big clumps that collect at the exit for the cut grass and clogs it up and rolls off in a certain kind of turn and sometimes backing up and going forward. Jr likes it close to the ground, keeps the blade all the way down. I thought I'd set it half way between. That shaved it in several places. Thought I'd wait a week and raise the blade up one notch to the notch just short of all the way up. I'd like to get it looking kind of uniform after it's mowed.

After I mowed it, Jr wheeled to the living room to look at the lawn mowed, a big concern in his worry mind he can't control. He said, "Who did it? Harry or Ross?" I said, "I did." He looked at me in half disbelief, "You did?" I laughed, "I do know how to work a lawnmower. It's not that complex." He said, "I know it." He said, "You hadn't oughta be working." I said, "I'm here to do what you're not able to do." He said, "OK."

His nephew Bill dropped by today. Jr was in the bed. Bill sat in the wheelchair and they talked a good long while, me outside shaving the lawn. I was glad they had some time together. Bill has known Jr all his life. Jr had some things he wanted to talk to Bill about, though I doubt, with his mind gone, he could address very much of it, but it also doesn't matter. In Bill's mind he may be seeing Jr the last time. In Jr's mind the same thing. It's become a joy for me to see a car coming up the driveway, somebody to see Jr. I have ongoing orders to wake him when someone comes to see him. He doesn't like being seen in the shape he's in, but caint nothin be done about it. He's a practical man. Practical wins over vanity.

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