Saturday, December 8, 2007

Mike & Dorothy

I spent most of yesterday looking after my bro-in-law Mike. His regular carer was not available and I drove up the coast to be with him until his wife Dorothy finished work at 3.30pm.

Dorothy is retiring from her career as Principal of Mt Hawthorn Junior Primary School to look after Mike. Hopefully things will get better when Mike has the operation to insert electrodes into his brain to stop the violent dyskinesis. The operation is loosely scheduled for February...that is, if the surgeon doesn't take holidays or go to a conference somewhere.

I haven't spent a night looking after Mike as Dorothy has to, but I got a taste of the strain it must be putting on her, by being there for him over some 5 hours. He had two long periods of 'freezing' where he cannot do anything and panics, then a couple of relatively 'normal' periods where he urgently attempts to fix things. I managed to get a computer printer working again and helped set up a bedside table so that Mike can reach the bed controller and bedlamp. For him to get in and out of bed is a major effort and he has to use an overhead aid to start him rocking forward and back until he builds up enough momentum to sit upright.

Because of his condition, eating, drinking and other activities we would do without thinking about become enormous hurdles for him. He rarely gets depressed. I think I would have topped myself long before reaching his current stage.

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