Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Under Pulsing Pink Sky

Saw a nice sunrise. If one has to be awake at such a dreadful hour, a really good sunrise is helpful. Lots of those flat lumpy clouds that form big puddles in the sky (not cumulus, the only cloud I know by name, nor cirrus, the other one I know). The rising sun turned them a deep red pink, with turquoise blue borders. Focal point was the horizon where the sun was rising-off to screen right.

From that bit of info, I can infer I was not heading due east. The Purina factory is still in business in Edmond (my destination) and I had the odd pleasure of sniffing an odor that is disturbing only when you realize you are enjoying the smell of slowly baking dog food kibbles.

The meeting sucked until I just shut up and let the Dr. proceed with what he wanted to tell me, most of which I had already been told. He just needed to go over it in order, so that he could document it had all been told to me, by him, and that I understood it all. He was very compliance minded. As a former compliance officer, I was ok with that, or at least I understood.

Never mind that I had already made arrangements based on what the nurses had already told me and what I already knew. What I didn't know was just how final into the final stages Uncle John is. There really isn't a timeline, but the orders are to make him comfortable and quit trying to "fight the disease".

John is no longer able to disguise the dementia or the anger. I told him it was probably understandable to be angry, however my "job" was to keep him safe, and if possible happy. Maybe that's too much to tell someone in his condition, but someone who is struggling with paranoia could smell a lie. Or maybe just his paranoia would resound against my own conscience.

At any rate, I have to keep custody of my own actions and thoughts so that his dementia doesn't loop both of us into a corner. I told him I couldn't fight Parkinson's, but I could make sure he doesn't go through it alone. And, when asked, I told him that it was no longer his choice-he was stuck with me.

The urge to lie and make nice was oh so strong. I don't get to be the good, devoted savior niece, I have to be the prison guard nazi niece. But if I don't, I'll be the weeping niece on the 6 o'clock news thanking all the searchers who helped located the body of the man who "wandered off....".

John asked me if I was just going to pitch him out into the graveyard and I laughed and said "No, I am pitching you about 4 blocks from my house, where I will come and see you frequently". I didn't say that I understood no matter how frequently it was, it would never be enough because I couldn't give him what he wanted-the ability just to wander off and be done with it all.

So this is what it feels like to be in control of another person's destiny. With kids, you shape the destiny, then send them out into the world. With old people, you know where it's going to end, and you try to make it as pleasant as possible. I am sure John thinks I'm in "control", but in truth I'm not. The disease is ravaging his mind and his body in ways I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. If I were really "in control" that would not happen-not to anyone.

Nope, no control here. Just trying to stay on top of the wave and prevent as many people from being crushed by it as I can.

Speaking of crushed people, my aunt and my Mom are out shopping on their weekly rounds today while I control their brother's destiny. Yes, it IS a gender/generational thing. They are not equipped to make those decisions and they have expressed gratitude that I can. I'm not feeling any ill will towards them for not being able to make the decisions, nor any guilt at feeling put out because I am the one who has to make them.

Yes, I am one big old blob of "let it be" today. Things are as they are. The sky was pink and blue. I am sad, but strong. The sky will be there again tomorrow and so will I.


Anonymous said...

you are an amazing woman DK...


Anonymous said...

and funny too.

well, not here on this post, but, I've seen your wit around here...

gifted and amazing. That is my diagnosis.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michele said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Uncle John and your parents are very lucky to have you.

Debra Kay said...

Thanks guys, today was tough. Mom interupted my telling her that her brother was on his last legs to discuss the Dimerra's (on a soap opera). Her sister (my aunt) had a brief melt down about "John must take his medicine"....well, no joke, but what am I supposed to do about it? And everyone else seems to wish it would all just go away cause they don't know what to do or say.

I told both the sisters it would be best if they waited till I got him moved to go see him. Right now he's just agitated and unhappy, which will make them agitated and unhappy, which will in turn make me (and my cousin) agitated and unhappy. So, this agitation and unhappiness must be contained.

I did get a pretty funny lecture on how I needed to start using hairspray and a comb. I just got my hair cut and frosted today, so it's about a quarter of an inch long...The entire concept of my short hair is that it's too short to mess with or get in my way-but Mom is convinced that my life would improve if I sprayed it. I was thinking about that Citibank commericial where the kid shows up to dinner in a suit-hell, maybe I should just hit myself upside the head with some hairspray every morning and the world will continue to rotate properly.

Prozacville said...

Good to know you're there.

kj said...

you're doing your best, which is quite good enough, debra kay. you don't need your mom etc to acknowledge or appreciate--it might be nice, but you'll get plenty of good-person rewards from the universe herself.


Forever Young said...

i am so sorry you are having such a rough time, there is a place reserved for you in heaven, you are an angel!

Debra Kay said...

Prozac, glad to see you amongst the blogging again. KJ and FY, I think I may be paying back the universe for some liberties I took at an earlier age.

Or maybe it's just determined to teach me that my will alone is not enough to overcome some things and I need to let them be and accept them.