My Dad & Brother
I headed out to the rural parts of Ontario last weekend to visit my father in hospital. He has been battling various types of cancer for a few years, but the illness now seems to be taking a greater toll. I am sure that the steady stream of pharmaceuticals are also inflicting some sort of hell on his brain and systems. He was not vocal at all, only managing a few mumbles, though since the visit, he has been more communicative.
My step-mom fed him soup and ice cream, I have to say that watching one's formerly vital father being fed is not a pleasant sight. It reminded me of when I fed my children. It's the same really: they turn their heads to refuse the offering; they decide they want more; they change their minds. He looked weak and frail, something I could never have imagined when I was young.
My dad's future is uncertain. Doctors are reluctant to offer an estimate on his remaining time, but seeing as though the cancer has migrated to his spine, his time here would seem to be severely limited. Even if he rebounds, he will not go home. My step-mom can't control him. It may have been the drugs, but he recently moved some furniture out of the house and threw a plant out the door as well. Even when he was at home, he wanted to "go home" and waited for the movers to take his stuff back to his real house, in his real town, and be with his real wife. This may be Capgras Syndrome, wherein those afflicted feel that a family member is an impostor.
My mother has been in a nursing home for two or three years, since she broke her hip. Her mother, now 90, is also in a nursing home. She has no idea who anyone is anymore. And then there is my brother. The good news is that the doctor was proven to be completely wrong in his diagnosis.
My brother, once thought to be on his deathbed, executed some sort of remarkable recovery. He can walk with the aid of a walker. He can talk. He has problems with short-term memory. His is weaker on one side. He remains, it has to be said, susceptible to further strokes.
My brother, should he continue to improve, will be placed in a rehabilitation facility. My dad, should he improve, will end up in a nursing home for some period of time. Most of my family will be in institutions.