Thursday, December 9, 2010

My activities are becoming a burden to my wife. Over the past few years my mental problems have caused periodic problems in our household. Now, however, periodic is becoming part of my "normal, daily activity". Nearly every aspect of my day-to-day life is changing, and everything I do is questionable.  

Imagine going through your life knowing that whatever you do or think might be wrong, but you swear that what you did or thought was right. In your mind you're right, but your own history has proven this isn't the case. Now you can't trust anything you do or think. You can't confidently make decisions, offer advice or even form plans because your thinking ability is in question. 

We go through life confident that our decisions will at least match our feelings, life philosophy and personality; in other words, our feelings and thoughts will actually be our feelings and thoughts. If something happens that calls your thinking into question, and you cannot be confident that what you do is who you are, then your identity also comes into question. This is where I am now.

I'm afraid to offer advice, give direction or even be involved in a conversation. I can't trust my judgement. I am aware of this now, but there will come a time when I am not. That's when there'll be no more lookng back, because looking back will no longer be possible.
I remember years ago watching a real good friend walking across the factory floor after being fired. He was in his early 70's, and I had hired him as the plant nurse. He had begun his career as an RN as a second career, and he was real good at his job. I chose him over the typical nurse-type woman because of his vast experience, along with his credentials as a nurse.

As I watched I knew this wold be his final job, and it broke my heart. I purposfully watched as he appeared to became smaller and smaller, until he turned the corner after walking nearly 100 years, and disappeared from sight. I am now him, and the world is me. I am slowly disappeaing into an unknown realm where there is no there is no staying out, nor getting out.

Will this transition take place so slowly that I won't even notice? Will I be aware as life as I know it is slowly slipping away? How will it happen, and how long will it take? Which will go first; my speech, my memory, my comprehension, my social skills?

Only God knows, and he likes to keep these things to himself. Thankfully.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I visited my father-in-law, Karl, at the nursing home today. His confusion and dementia continues, but at a lower, more subdued level. He is still the most pleasant, amiable and loving man he has always been.

Visiting a nursing home, whether you have someone there or not, is both a rewarding and humbling experience. There are always some people there that have no family, or friends or any visitors at all. They would love to have someone to talk to, to show an interest in them.

It is easy, actually common, to forget that these people, though old, confused and quite possibly not able to care for themselves, are people just like you and me. They all have an entire history of living, with the associated trials and tribulations, loves and hates, fears and joys. We should look at these wonderful people with the respect they deserve. Each has a story to tell, with no one to share. Be that person.

I say this with a specific purpose in mind; you might even call it selfish. It's quite possible that someday I'll be that person in the nursing home. Don't look at me as weird or stranger, or see me as a non-person; someone that had no past, and is now an empty shell of a man.

Remember, I was once where you are now, and someday you just might be where I am today.