Gut Rumbles

June 02, 2004

hello in there

I've never had to go through anything like this. I've had relatives die, but they never were any more demented than they were all of their lives when they finally kicked the bucket. I come from a crazy family, but we all have pretty good sense. Even my father, hooked up to a morphene pump and riding the clouds, still had his wits about him when he wasn't asleep, right up to the moment when all the monitors went flat-lined.

I don't know what I would do if something like Alzheimer's hit somebody that I truly loved. I've talked with many people who have weathered that storm and it isn't good. Your mama doesn't recognize you anymore. If someone isn't watching, she'll go shit in the closet because she thought it was a bathroom. Your father becomes angry and violent, but he doesn't know why. You look into their eyes, the eyes of the parents that raised you and gave you presents on Christmas morning, loved you with all their hearts and sent you out as best they could into the world, and nothing is there.

The lights are on, but nobody's home.

Bejus. I don't know how I would handle that situation. I don't know that I could. I can't help remembering a John Prine song:

You know that old trees just grow stronger
And old rivers grow wilder every day
But old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say
Hello in there.... Hello.

Say "Hello" every chance you get.


My father had Alzheimer's the last 2 or 3 years of his life. Went from a brilliant attorney and law professor to a chap who would hoo-hoo! when a sailboat went by his dock. It was crushing. That heart attack was a blessing in many ways.

Now, of course, I am terrified I inherited it.

Posted by: Velociman on June 2, 2004 09:23 PM

Thanks for reminding me. All my 'old ones' still have all the marbles. But sometimes I realize that they're talking just because they want someone to talk to.

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