Although I so understand the columnist Maureen Dowd who writes a column in the New York Times today revering silence, as in the new silent film "The Artist," I really DO appreciate the visit this week of my husband's brother, who flew "in that big thing" from Florida to visit. Irving is a very emotional man, who last saw his brother in May, 2010 when Bob had a psychotic break requiring a visit from the local Mesa police officers. As upsetting as that visit was, the change in the past eighteen months overwhelms Irving.
"Last time, Bob was all angry, wanting to sell the house, but he talked, he walked regular, up to the sales office with me. And now, he shuffles, he can't finish a sentence ..he's my last full relative, you know. He's my brother." And his eyes well up, his face turns beet-red, he sobs and his shoulders slump; I fear he might have a stroke. After all, he is 89 years old.
Monday evening, Bob did not recognize his brother, but said when they met, "I have a brother." Steve brought Irving Monday evening, as I had a class. When I brought him on Tuesday morning, Bob did not recognize me either.
"You're my nurse," he said."Go away," he continued, "You're confusing my brain."
However, when we returned later in the day, Bob called me by name and told me how wonderful it is that his brother flew here to see him.This morning again, he was happy to see both of us. He played a version of pool with Irving that Steve invented. The helper places the ball near the pocket directly across from where Bob stands holding the cuestick. The white ball is placed in front of Bob and invariably he can shoot the ball gently enough and correctly into the pocket. He is usually willing to try all the balls until he misses and the game is over.
I hate this disease and the swiftness of its current progression; I am so sad at the toll this illness takes on the family members of the person with the disease. It is so hard to understand and it seems so unfair.