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Beyond the Lone Islands

Friday, 9 July 2010

Time And Time Again


On Tuesday afternoon I was told that dad would be moved on Thursday from the hospital to the nursing home; but they would phone me about the exact time. On Thursday by 2 pm I had heard nothing, so I called the hospital ward – and was told that no, it had been postponed until Friday. So today again I waited for that phone call; again I heard nothing, and when I called I was told that no, not today, but on Monday! (Remains to be seen what they say then.)

Since I had not been to see dad myself since Tuesday – partly because I kept thinking each day that I had better save my own energy for “tomorrow”! – I went up to the hospital again late this afternoon. He was more “awake” than he was last time, but not really very much more “aware”.

His sense of time and space has been out of order since before; but visiting him at the hospital now it strikes me even more forcefully how dependent we really are on Time for our sense of orientation in this world…

Every time I opened my mouth a time-related word seemed to popping out, and at the same time I realized that this probably conveyed very little to him now…

When I first came in, he said he was surprised to see me in the middle of the night. (It was 5.30 pm and the sun shining from a blue sky outside the window.) So automatically I tried to correct… Then I tried to get a grip of whether he remembered that I had been to visit earlier this week – or anything else that had happened earlier in the week (he didn’t). And then there was the task of trying to explain that my brother will be coming… next week? … on Monday? … in a few days? … soon? …  And so on… 

Dad in his turn tried to convey to me his own impressions: While I boringly tried to drag him into Reality and explain that he has been spending the last five days in a hospital bed, he tried to tell me that he had been away travelling and meeting relatives and friends and having quite an interesting time, only a couple of days ago! My sense of logic tells me this can only have been happening in his dreams… but to him those dreams seem more real than Reality now…

Thinking about it as I walked home in the warm summer evening… As long as his dreams are pleasant, perhaps we should just try to be glad for him that he is able to spend so much time in that “other world”…

But it is certainly not easy to make Communication “between worlds” work without reference to Time And Space! 


1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.


14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so.

About the photos in this post:

1. Gulls over the river. See more photos from the same occasion in my Thursday post at Soaring Through the World.

2. For more of these glass birds, see today’s post in my Picture Book. They’re hovering over the hospital foyer. I have been thinking for months that I should take photos of them, but usually when I’m at the hospital I don’t have the camera with me + in the daytime the foyer is always a busy place full of people. But on Tuesday after I had been to visit dad, it was after “business hours”… few people around… and I did have the camera with me. So I took the opportunity.


Ginny said...

I'm glad ytou told us that these are glass, I never ould have guessed! That makes them even more special! I went through a very similar problem with my grandmother, who helped raise me and then got Alzeiheimer's. I found that it was just better to let her think that her "memories" were right. As long as they are good ones, it is an escape from the frightening reality. When she was more lucid, she would list all her friends and relatives and ask me which ones were dead. This was an awful time for me, looking a loved one in the eyes and seeing there was no one home.

Sandra said...

when my dad had to go to a memory unit with the same thing your dad has, the nursing staff told me to go into their world and not to try to drag them into ours. they explained i should answer a question like "where is Jack, I am trying to find Jack, I need to talke to him" with this even knowing Jack is deceased. "daddy, when i see jack i will tell him you are looking for him" and it worked. go with him on his journey's to the past and talk with him like you are there. he will have moments of knowing you and moments of not. my prayers are with you.

GB said...

I've been fortunate not to have experienced people close to me with Alzeiheimers's in recent years. When I was a child I had a great deal of experience of it and I recall that I was much more able to accept what was happening then and chat to the victims in their own world. So I think Sandra is correct and you will make life easier for yourself and be able more easily to cope with things if you do that.

The problem, I think, is knowing and coming to terms with the fact that you have 'lost' your Dad. For that I am truly sad for you.


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