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Sunday, February 14, 2010


wide open spaces
Something perfectly bizarre happened yesterday, Saturday the 13th, new moon. Around 4 I went to bed for a nap, an hour or 2. Woke at 8:30 and it was dark outside. I didn't remember it being dark at 8:30 the day before. I drove to the radio station at 9 and didn't need headlights. I turn on the computer and the time in the lower right corner said what my clocks said with PM. I thought I'd go into control panel soon and change the AM and PM as I have them mixed up. I googled a website to tell me sunrise times. 7:54. The time I was looking at it, almost 9, the time it was here was the same time as sunrise in Fairbanks, Alaska. Can't be. That's all the way across the continent. My battery operated clocks read the same time as the plug in clocks. I was thinking if the earth's rotation slowed down that much in one night, we're in trouble. It would be a major cataclysm all over the earth if that were to happen. It can't happen. Maybe over some millions of years, but not overnight.

At 9 I called Carole and asked if I got her up. No. I explained my problem to her. She said, "It's night." Oh.

We had a good laugh. It took me to all the times Jr would take a nap late in the day and wake up around sunset. He would invariably think it's morning and set about like it was morning. I hesitated to correct him, thought I'd let the darkness in a half hour or so explain it. A little later it was dark and he couldn't make out why. When I said it was night, he had a hard time accepting that, convinced it was morning. This confusion occurred when Jr was at a place where he slept or was in the bed nearly all the time. I've had other of Jr's infirmities visit me since I've been back home. I recognize them as what happens with age. I've seen it in other people all my life, so I'm ready to enter that zone, which I've already entered. It's also the zone where peers start dropping off, the zone when one starts considering that It can happen any time, any place.

Just now heard on the news the Americas cup is back home. A team with a sleek trimaran and a tall sail. A computer dream sailboat built for speed on the big ocean. It won 5 minutes before the Swiss team behind them. It was called the BMW Oracle. Meaning, I suppose, BMW funded the very expensive project. The Swiss boat was evidently funded by Mercedes. An American team got our trophy back.

By the time Jr's mind was gone, I couldn't convince him it was evening when he believed it was morning. I didn't mind. I wasn't like one of his nieces who would get down in his face and shriek, "Jr! Yer losin yer mind!" No one knew that better than Jr. He didn't need to be told. I let him have breakfast if he wanted. Any time he was willing to eat I was there providing, a window of opportunity. Don't let it go by. I felt a little awkward talking with him like it was morning when I knew it wouldn't be long before he'd find out otherwise. I remember him calling his woman friend one evening after dark when he still thought it was morning. She tried to explain to him, but only convinced him she was off the deep end.

This was in the time when he didn't remember anything more than a few seconds. I never tried to direct his thinking out of wherever it was in his mind. It didn't do any good. I didn't see any problem with him thinking it was day when it was night. It wasn't like he had someplace to be. We with our minds functioning in ways that satisfy us most of the time are still deluded about everything around us, like witnesses at a trial, all seeing the same thing, every one different. William Faulkner sometimes in a novel would tell the same event seen by different people, each one a different story. We tend to think our minds are accurate and don't miss anything. I tend to think our minds are wildly inaccurate and we miss about everything. Watching frailty come over Jr taught me a great deal about how we interpret what we call reality. It's up for grabs. I knew what was happening with Jr and made it as gentle for him as I could, never correcting him.

Like the time the Hospice nurse was there for his twice a week bathing. He made it to the floor in the night amid a big mess I couldn't handle alone. I could have, but it would have taken awhile. And if I recall correctly, I was fairly beat down from the stress of watching him so closely. While she was cleaning him up on the floor enough to get him up gradually, he told her he was on the roof, stepped on a weak place and he fell through. He was worried that his car was still on the roof and it might fall. She said smoothly with his flow, "Your car is in its parking place." He said, "It is?" She assured him it was and he was fine. No lectures about it being his imagination and his mind is all whacko. Something else I appreciated about Hospice was their understanding. If he'd told that to a nurse in the hospital, I'd expect him to get a lecture telling him it was a dream, he's in the hospital. His reality is that he fell through the roof. Why argue about "reality" when he's on the floor needing help. His entire life is happening in the bed, in his head. So what if his dream mind blends with his conscious mind.

For some time, a long time before the end, I felt like we communicated more subconsciously than consciously. As his mind began to slip, I knew his meanings, and that was what I went by. What he said with his words might be one thing and I know what he means behind what he said, esp when what he said didn't make a lot of sense. I watched his conversations with other people closely, so when he drew a blank and all his thinking fell down a hole I was able to toss him the word he was looking for and it all came back. I helped him seem to have a better mind with visitors than it really was. I could help him continue a train of thought that vanished at the snap of a finger. Sometimes somebody would ask him a question and I would cringe inside, because questions threw him in a place where there were no words or thoughts, an empty noplace. I always had to help him come back, which was easy and helped him feel better about himself. This is why I did not want an institution putting him on a shelf and treating him like lumber. Even though his mind was not working, he was still there, just like when his mind was working.

1 comment:

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