Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Life's Uncertantities

As the saying goes, nothing in life is certain save for death and taxes, and life tossed Teresa and me a curve ball a few days ago.

One of the cruelest of diseases has visited Teresa’s family and like a flood the bad news continues to rise unabated. Paul, my father-in-law, has been diagnosed with dementia, symptoms that the family saw demonstrated a few weeks ago. But let me back up a bit because I’m jumping into the middle of the story.

About 6 weeks ago, Paul complained about not feeling well and so a visit to the doctor was scheduled. That visit indicated some heart issues. Tests were ordered and with the miracle of modern science and technology, it was revealed that his heart was enlarged and he had fluid around it. He was prescribed meds and returned home for a “wait and see” period.

The return to the cardiologist two weeks later found him in worse condition and so he was admitted to the hospital for more tests. Those revealed a couple of leaky valves and an efficiency of about 15%. I guess normal efficiency is around 60%.

During his hospital stay while doctors examined him and decided how best to treat his heart, he would become disoriented with increasing frequency, not understanding why he was where he was and why people – “damn strangers” he called them – were poking him and bossing him around.

Dementia was the diagnosis, of course, which is just a fancy name for Thief - something that steals one’s memories at a time when that is often all one has left.

The doctors are sending Paul home today under the care of his 6 children, adults all of them, who he sometimes does not recognize. He will require 24 hour supervision and Teresa asked me if she could stay nights with him for a while. I have given my blessing as long as while keeping him safe, she will be safe doing so. We are hoping that her siblings will also assist in the care, and I’m sure they will.

So, my riding partner and photographer will take on a new role for as long as she can or as long as this production runs.

And while I feel a sense of loss, not having my partner available for evening jaunts or weekend ride-a-ways, it is miniscule compared to the loss with which Teresa will contend. And I feel guilt and shamed that the thought even crossed my mind.

I am incredibly proud of her and if by chance I take a ride in the evenings, it will be to see her and Paul and spend time with both.

Even though we know the ending of this story, the last few chapters that have yet to be written will prove that life is full of uncertainties.

Ride Safe


John McClane said...

That's bad news, Doug. I wish you the best in dealing with it.

Conchscooter said...

When I was a kid old timers would shake their heads and tell me as long as I had my health things were okay. I thought I knew better.Now I know how right they were.

Doug C said...

John: Much thanks

Conch: When I reached the age of about 25 or 26, my parents, who up until that time I believed possessed marginal intelligence, became geniuses, virtually overnight. I bet a lot of 'old timers' got really smart too, about that same time...