Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Report from Senility Base

DOB:   I took that there..... uh.... with the ummmm... and need to...

WISIMH:  Boy howdy.

The maid service declined to clean DOB's toilet today because she repeatedly and badly misses the target when she poops and in two weeks the accumulated caked-on fecal material has made some impressive stalagmites in the general vicinity of the toilet.

The lady who comes 2x/wk to bathe DOB had a family emergency, making this a week when only one "bath" will be administered. That also means maybe at most, two changes of clothes.

In fairness, she does change her adult diapers daily (when she remembers). In yet more fairness, she puts used diapers in a plastic trash bag that she leaves with the top open to facilitate use. Since she doesn't take out her trash any more, it sits by the door leading to my side of the house, where it's maximum olfactory benefit wafts my way. She either has her heater on too high and too long, or runs the ac with the adjacent window open, metaphorically cooling Silver Spring.

DOB doesn't change into pajamas at night, and does not sleep between sheets, but instead collapses on top of bedspread covered with an afgan. The never-slept-in sheets are nevertheless changed every two weeks by the maid service and washed and folded by me. The filthy bedspred and pillow cover may make it into the wash 3 times a year.

There is shag carpeting in most of the bedroom and a flat carpet in the kitchen area of DOB's room. Between remnents of stinky old dog and long term and serious incontenence, you would not want to take a carpet sample to a lab or see a report of pathogens colonizing in the shag carpet. Don't go there in bare feet.

TCG is barely better. I have to remind him to bathe twice a week (sometimes once), to put on clean trousers, to get a haircut, to shave. What is it about personal hygeine that so befuddles these people?

DOB has a mind like a steel sponge. Walt Whitman said he didn't care if he contradicted himself because "I am large, I contain multidues." Now, imagine that these unwashed multitudes make lots of meaningless noise, have advanced dementia and yeast and/or urinary tract infections. Imagine that instead of using emoticons when they e-mail, they converse by making inscrutible facial expressions in pathetic attempts to communicate without using specific nouns or verbs. And by "converse" I mean they don't listen - even to whatever you'd call coming out of their own mouths.

DOB, at 92, is the healthiest person in the house. TCG, at 68 can't walk without a walker, makes huffing and puffing sounds ALL DAY LONG, with an "holy shit!" thrown in periodically to see if I'm listening. He really plays to the audience too. Ahhhhh.... Laugh -and the world laughs with you. Rant - and the world laughs at you.

But I get money for nothing, have good books to read, a garden to tend and controlled substances when I can't otherwise forgive my roomates for using my air. Plus, I have a kitty who loves me, friends and family who provide support and encouragement, and a healthy fear of being caught that deters me from contemplating homicide. Also, I may or may not have an immortal soul.

And a mystic once told me that before I died, I'd have a moment of absolute clarity when I would understand the entire mystery of the universe. So, I've got that going for me.

1 comment:

Martha in Michigan said...

I do believe my 30 months of purgatory were easier, if only because (despite my best attempt at foolish optimism) I knew it wasn't open-ended. I sense the kind of deterioration in TCG that I also witnessed in G, with gradually fewer redeeming moments of grace, love, and humor to relieve the increasingly oppressive pall of paranoia and exhaustion. You know that the progression is irreversible, that things can only get worse, and you dread the indefinable future as much as the present. It is only in retrospect that I truly appreciate what my children did to aid and relieve me, and what it must have cost them. There was never a better time to have had two kids, so that they could lean on one another. Yours is not 20 miles away, as mine were, so you are denied even that respite.

How can I tell someone stuck like this for so long that it won't last forever? I might have said the same thing five or ten years ago. And yet it won't. I admire your coping skills and send good vibes your way. Think you can pull off a trip to the Midwest this fall?