There are so many doors to get you out - insanity, senility, multiple personality, the heartbreaking Alzheimer’s, the still debatable state of coma, the rock n roll route of chemical hallucinogens, and some others. All doors that lead someplace unfamiliar and strange to you and especially to those who stand back and watch.
“The spasms don’t mean anything. They’re nothing but electrical impulses. It doesn’t mean that there’s consciousness inside,” said my dads neurologist while we watched him twitch and jerk, crushing our hopes that he was somewhere inside fighting.
All that was making my dad still look alive were electrical impulses. Huh?!?!
Of course electrical impulses did not answer the biggest question on my mind. Where was my dad? His body was right there with us, but where was he. The doctor said he was in a deep sleep but she encouraged us anyway to continue talking to him because he might still hear us. There were a couple of people who said that my dad was no longer inside his body, that he was just walking around watching us, probably amused by everything that was going on.
Of course the only answer that would have probably sufficed for me was one that would come from my dad. So I never did get an answer that sufficed.
Now, my abuela is back in the hospital. Two toes on her right leg have turned charcoal black and the rest are purple. We were told by her doctor that blood flow on that leg is very very slow and that the infection will only get worse. He put amputation on the table only long enough to be shut down by all of her children. It wasn’t an option. So he put her on strong medication to manage the pain.
The pain almost instantly waned. Almost as instantly, the side effects started to show up. Confusion, disorientation, insomnia, agitation, etc, etc. While the doctor assured us that the side effects hardly ever affected anyone, my abuela’s 83 year old body that has been surviving on dialysis for the past year could not fight them off.
For the past 3 days, lola would go from berserk to dazed. From Linda Blair in The Exorcist to Robert de Niro in Awakenings.
Again, I have to ask the question where is my abuela when she’s in a trance like this? Because that woman staring at the wall or cussing at everybody was certainly not her.
And what of Alzheimer’s? Watching my lola get eaten alive by Alzheimer’s was pure agony. She lived the last days of her life not knowing who she is or who the people calling her lola or mama were. The doctors assured us that there was no pain for her. I can’t even begin to believe that is true.
I suppose part of being a Christian, which I claim I am, is believing that “the plan” covers all bases. That there’s a manual of some sort detailing protocol for all situations that our wise souls can refer to when electrical impulses, side effects or illnesses take over our prone-to-defects bodies.
But what if, just what if, all we are in the end are electrical impulses or a manifestation of side effects.