I haven’t talked about my brother in a few days because I had to sort things out. Now days
later, I wish I could have gotten it all straightened out in my head. I had went to see Al and as soon as he saw me he started telling me what happened.
The first thing I want to make clear before I get going is, whenever Al has important issues to him he saves them for me.
When something at the facility happens, the nurses never let me know.
And lastly, I understand it is a brother sister thing. Al will save his priorities for my ears first.
So on with the story. He starts in telling me that some staff member, named Melanie who works in therapy saw him sitting out in the hall on his walker. He has one of those walkers that has the built-in seat.. He told me that she said, ” You are not supposed to be sitting to go anywhere, you are to be walking”. Then in a blink of an eye he starts crying very hard, and he is going on and on how no one understands how much pain he is in. He said,” I told that lady that she could have my knees and legs any day. That she had no right to talk to me about walking. Can’t she tell that I would walk if I could”?
I had no idea what was going on, but I was piecing together a misunderstanding. On my brother’s behalf I went to a nurse and then she took me down to another nurse’s station, and we sat together while I repeated Al’s story. I asked them to please explain what had happened so I could go back and calm him down.
They rambled on a story sort of similar to Al’s. They explained that the therapist was just kidding with Al and that the nurses had told the therapist to go apologize to Al. I was feeling a little uncomfortable from all of this. It seemed a bit over dramatized on Al’s side. He had his feelings hurt, she had made a funny remark, but he took it wrong. I said my thanks and went back to explain to Al what they had said.
As I start to enter his room I can hear him cussing up a storm and I can hear his sobbing. I went in and took a hold of his hands and tried to calm him by explaining what had happened and that he just didn’t remember the apology from a short time ago.
He let loose on me, calling all the nurses liars, and saying that no one came and apologized to him! Other nurses heard the commotion as they walked by and soon three nurses and a couple of aides were present for the show.
An aide spoke up and said that he had been complaining ever since 9:30 that morning. It was now noon. The more the nurses tried to explain themselves the more Al got upset, until he decided he was not partaking in lunch.
I was speechless. My emotions were high. Tears fell from me for Al and the drama that was going on. All I could think of was, why didn’t someone call me when this happened. I finally voiced it and it got silent. Nurses and aides looked at each other for what seemed minutes, and then one stated that he has been mad all morning even going as far as being mean mouthed to a nurse. I said, in monotone, ” you should have called me”.
I was at a loss. I didn’t know which way to turn. Then I got an idea. Let’s take Al to the therapy room and have him point this gal out. We get him out of the chair, take him there, and he can’t pinpoint her. Case over and closed. I haven’t spoken of it since. I know something happened, but what, I am not sure.
Today, I went in to see him. I walk in to see Al butt naked. He is bent half down from his knees. He is trying to bend over and get a pair of clean pants. I help him get them and we take off for the bathroom.
I noticed that the bathroom emergency light was on. He had pulled the help string, but no one had gotten to him as yet. At the same time I am taking him to clean him up, his boss from his old job walks in and Al loses it all over again. The tears are soaking his clothes. The boss is looking at me. Al was totally embarrassed that someone he thought so much of now knew he was wetting himself.
The boss stepped out while I took Al’s soaked brief off. He smelled so darn bad. I put a clean brief on him and clean pants and washed him up a bit. I left his dirties on the bathroom floor since there was company and took Al back out.
His boss had brought him one of those giant size Christmas cards with over 200 signatures. He would not open it. They had purchased him a sheep lined soft blanket, that I was so jealous of. He never took it out of the bag.
It isn’t that he was mad, he was embarrassed. He was in pain and he is miserable from the disease. The sight of his boss brought back memories for Al of things he used to do. Al is so emotional anymore, I am not sure if I can even hate Parkinson’s Disease anymore than I already do.
Scott, his boss tried to carry on a conversation but it just wasn’t working. I had a meal for Al that I had picked up on the way, getting cold on the bed, so I suggested it was lunch time. Why didn’t we take the lunch and his boss and me down to eat. Scott could sit with him.
Al thought that was a good idea but couldn’t get out of his recliner. His legs were frozen. We got him up and then walked him out in to a hall, where now always sits a wheel chair for Al’s weakness. Sometimes he can walk and others not hardly at all.
I sat him in one of the two chairs and a lady comes out from across the hall and starts accusing us of stealing her chair. Oh brother, look at the mess I have created now, I was thinking. I got Al over in to the other chair and of course he is letting the lady know that he would not steal her chair.
Finally we make it down to the dining room and then in another blink of an eye, Al is back to a more content Al. He is telling everyone and repeating himself over and over that his sister and boss are here. He explains which one of us is the sister and which one is the boss.
Later on the boss leaves and I think it really disturbed Scott to watch Al make such a mess eating. He has not seen Al like this before. Al had food all over his mouth, fingers and clothes. It took him an hour to eat. I saw nothing to clean him up with so I walked over to a sink and took some paper towels and wetting them, cleaned him up.
When I wheeled him back to the room, I opened his big card for him because he could not. He could not see any of the writing so I read to him all 200 signatures and well wishes. He seemed calm but I could see his eyes drooping. I asked him if he was getting sleepy and he said yes, but I can’t take my nap until I read my bible. I said why, and he told me,” because if I die during my nap, I want God to know I am here waiting for him”.
My heart dropped and my tears fell. I leaned over and gave him a kiss on the forehead and told him how much I loved him. As I was leaving his room a nurse pulled me aside and said,” Al’s Parkinson’s is getting worse. We are going to be using the wheel chair more. The doctor is upping the strength on his pain medications. I hope you realize what is happening”.
As she turned and left I stood in the hall, not being able to move. I leaned my head back against the cold brick wall, and wept. I was thinking to myself, of course I know what is happening. He is getting worse. He can barely stand. He is using a wheel chair more and more. Doctor is giving him stronger medications to bring him more comfort. He is struggling to feed himself. Yes, I see it all. I am watching my brother continue to deteriorate. Please, dear God, help me to have the strength to be a support system to my brother. Bring him peace Lord and help him in any way you can.
Finally my legs began to move and I lifted my head and my body found its way out the side door. Tears fell all the way home, as I knew I was slowly saying another good-bye.