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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Discovery, Sad Goodbyes and Hope...

In August my sister, Mary, was in Connecticut to visit out mother for several days. Because she had a problem renting a car -- due to the fact that she had renewed her driving license and had been issued with a  temporary one. She called my brother who lived about 20 minutes away and he came to the rescue, renting a car on her behalf. He then drove the car away from the rental office and she took his car and was to meet him 'down the road'. However, there was a mix up and in the end my sister gave up trying to meet him and after making several calls went on to my mother. The one thing she could not do was call my brother -- he had left his cell phone in his car!!

Twenty-four hours later all was sorted and my sister had the rental and he had his. At the end of her stay on the 21st of August they met up again for Bill to be present when the rental was returned. For some reason, which I can not now remember, my sister ended up staying the night at my brother's apartment and the next day he drove her to catch her plane. She had never been to his place before. While she was there it seemed to her that my brother was a bit dis-oriented and it seemed to take him a long time to do things. She was not unduly alarmed, but was relieved to know that the following day he had an appointment with his neurologist and he felt that there might be a problem with his meds. How fortunate we all were that my sister had stayed with him would become very apparent only a few days later.

On the 24th of August my sister received a telephone call from my mother, who was very distressed. She had been trying to call my brother and he had not returned her calls. My mother was convinced that he was 'mad at her' and she didn't know why. Mary knew that my brother would never in a million years be 'mad' at my mother! Anyway, as she later said to me, 'alarm bells rang'! She called his son in Raleigh, who also tried to reach him, but wasn't particularly alarmed. But who heeded his Aunt. Eric wanted to call the office of the apartment complex to see if there was someone who could check his apartment.

Fortunately, my sister, notices things like names of apartment complexes and remembers! She went on the Internet and found the website and a telephone number. A woman from the office went over and found the apartment door was open. She called my nephew and told him she could not enter the premises, that they would have to call the police -- and that was how my brother was discovered by the police. He was incoherent and could not walk. The apartment was in disarray -- apparently there were pills all over the place. No one really knows what exactly happened. Except that the previous day he had seen his doctor and his medication had been altered.

When I think back on all the events of that day, I can't help but marvel at how a series of mix ups and unusual happenings can lead to crucial pieces of information that can actually save lives and end up exposing all kinds of secrets! Such as a girlfriend, who lives in Dallas, Texas, none of his siblings or mother had any idea about! As my sister, Tricia, put it -- "It's a shame the word 'awesome' is so over-used -- because she really is 'awesome'!

We also discovered how important it is to monitor the healthcare we and our loved ones receive. Because often it is very seriously lacking. We think we have found the best place for Bill to be, where there is the best specialist treatment for Parkinson's disease. He is now able to walk -- with the aid of a walker and not in a wheelchair and in a care facility that specializes in mental disorders. He has been referred to a specialist at the University of North Carolina and we must wait for further developments. There is still a long way to go, but we remain hopeful. He is also very near his son and daughter-in-law who are able to visit him every day.

Bill, his girlfriend (of some years!!!), and son were able to visit my mother and have said 'goodbye' -- this is heartbreaking, but inevitable. Fortunately, my mother is now pretty forgetful and doesn't fret too much about it. She did like his girlfriend and admonished him for keeping her a secret! "Why?" he asked her.

"Because, we could have become friends...." You tell him, Mom!

45 comments:

  1. It is very providential that your brother was discovered before any real damage occurred. I am also amazed at how our guardian angels manage to work things out for us! Thanks for taking the time to chronicle this event, and I hope that things will get better now. Sending you lots of hugs. :-)

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    1. I must admit I've been thinking a lot about guardian angels of late! What a complicated web they got through this time!

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  2. I hope things settle on a more even keel now. Parkinson's has so many variations. My mother suffered from it and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't challenging for all concerned. Take care x

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    1. It's not easy knowing where the disease will go. There are so many variations in treatment it is difficult to know where to turn. We have been very fortunate to discover the treatment available in North Carolina. The doctor my brother had in Connecticut was very disappointing...

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  3. As a solitary person, sibling-less and without much in the way of family I understand the keep-oneself-to-oneself mentality very well. In the case of your brother a little more openness would have been a good idea.

    I hope things for all of you settle down and help will be sought and given on all sides.
    Maybe the girlfriend could now become a full member of the family.

    Good luck.

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    1. We are getting there, Friko -- but it is such a complicated process. And I am very fortunate to have the family I have.

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  4. A satisfactory ending, if not a happy one. But a near miss and a possible reminder to us all that we need to keep tabs on our nearest and dearest, in spite of their resistance.
    As my mum used to say "his time wasn't up".
    Mind you, it's not easy if the person concerned is determined to keep themselves to themselves. When Nick's mother was recently admitted to hospital after a fall it was discovered that she was seriously underweight and had probably not had a bath or shower for over two years. This was in spite of constant attention from her son and three daughters, all of whom were horrified. The old lady deliberately misled all of them into believing she was taking better care of herself than she was and not only did she refuse professional help, when helpers were hired (and paid for) she wouldn't let them in to do anything!

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    1. We had similar problems with my mother. Fortunately we were able to get her to agree to be helped -- though it took a bit of gentle persuasion!

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  5. That change of medication seems to have sparked a crisis...I'm glad you've found a facility which is competent.

    But I can't blame your brother for keeping things to himself...sometimes you refer to manage your own problems.

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    1. The trick is knowing when a situation is beyond solving my yourself!

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  6. Wonderful story ...even if you did make us wait for the rest of it.

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  7. Well, the girlfriend sounds excellent, as do all the people that managed to make sure this story has had a positive outcome. I love your mother's comment about the secret girlfriend too... I am sure you must feel relieved that he is now safe. I hope things continue to be positive.

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    1. So far things are looking pretty good. We are now waiting for him to be seen by the specialists...

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  8. It sounds like a providential chain of coincidences with a much happier ending than might have been the case, Broad. Parkinson's can affect the mind far more than most people realise, who see only the physical symptoms. I'm so glad your brother is now receiving the best of care and hope he continues to make progress. As for the secret girlfriend, it's a shame your mother didn't get the chance to make a real friend of her.

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    1. Providence definitely has a lot to do with our hopes for the future! Parkinson's is a very complex disease and as more and more of us are living longer, it's affecting more and more of us.

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  9. Tim's father suffered from Parkinson's disease for 20 years. It manifests itself in so many different ways and none of them pleasant or particularly predictable. At one tome the only real relief George could get was to wear himself walking miles every day - very hard for an ill man in his 80's.
    I hope they sort out your brother's meds and that he gets some quality time with his son and his girlfriend.
    It is very difficult when you live such a distance away but all you can do is to support him and your mother as best you can. However my thoughts are with you all.

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    1. Thank you so much Gaynor. I can't imagine waling miles everyday now, let along in my 80's and suffering from Parkinson's. He must have been an amazing man.

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing your story. What a relief that the 'mix up' engineered a good result. Best wishes to your brother and to the rest of your family and to his newly discovered special girl friend too.

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    1. Thank you Molly. "Mix ups" are often providential, I've found!

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  11. That must have been incredibly disorienting for the entire family, though it's wonderful to see how well--even if it was an accident--you all pieced the puzzle together. You are lucky to have each other, even across distances.

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    1. We are so lucky to have each other -- even across distances. And it's wonderful to see you again!

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  12. This story could have had such an unpleasant outcome. I'm glad it turned out the way it did and I hope things improve for your brother.

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  13. Wow, there are so many aspects to this story. A big takeaway for me is how important it is to stay in touch. Even a chance contact can turn out to be a life-saver. I hope things continue to work out for your brother, and thanks for posting this.

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    1. It is so important to stay in touch and one of the reasons I wrote about this. No matter how independent we think we are, we still need each other...

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  14. Yes, almost a horror story. Thankfully you have a good ending. And I'm a fan of good endings. Hope your brother gets all the love and help he needs.
    I have a friend whose husband was just diagnosed with Parkinson's and it's a rocky road so far. Just figuring out where to go from here is a chore. Blessings to your brother, your family, and you!

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    1. It's so important to find the right doctor. Unfortunately, my brother, like many others, just chose one from the yellow pages... Hopefully, the research others have now done will pay dividends in his future treatment...

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  15. Dear Broad, thank you so much for sharing with us the prelude to your posting last Thursday in which you told us about your brother being found by the police. DJan mentioned guardian angels and I do believe in them or at least in some entity that cherishes us and brings us out of darkness into light.

    Like your other commentors, I hope that Bill's girlfriend will become friends with not only your mother but with all of you who are living together through what could have been a real tragedy. Now Bill is getting help and all because of a series of phone calls and your sister's acumen.

    I have a dear friend who has been living with Parkinson's Disease since 2005. We talk about her physical symptoms, but I've never been aware that the disease can affect a person's mind as Perpetua says. I'm glad to learn that as knowing that may help me be more present to my friend. Peace.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comments, Dee. I am sure your dear friend will appreciate your support and understanding.

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  16. Sending out blessings to your family,.....

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    1. Thank you, Vera! All blessings are gratefully received!

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  17. Broad, I'm so grateful to "find you" via dear Dee. My father has been diagnosed with Parkinson's for over a year, yet my mom and dad are both so very private and haven't even shared with many of their friends. In fact, even family has been slow to be brought current with the situation. If it weren't that to be near him is to KNOW there are significant changes they probably wouldn't share at all. So much of what you've shared is helpful, I can only tell you. We have begun to strategize many family changes in order to surround them with the care they need now, and to make as many provisions as possible for the future. Today I just want to say thank you. You've blessed me with some fresh perspectives. ox Debra

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    1. Debra, I am so glad this has been helpful to you. It is quite a shock when you discover that someone dear to you has this disease. It is such a complex condition and there is so much to grapple with that it is hard to know where to begin. I am sure that you are making wise decisions in making as many provisions as possible for the future. You and your family have my very best wishes.

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  18. Thanks for stopping by, you made me feel so welcome back. I'm glad your brother was found and is in a safe place now.

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    1. It was so lovely to see you posting once again. Thank you...

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  19. What a scary and yet heartwarming story! I'm so glad that your brother will be getting more expert medical care and monitoring and that he will be close to his son and daughter-in-law. That's so important. Parkison's can be so devastating. My father had Parkinson's for some years and I remember the delicate balance of medications. Especially as he developed Parkinson's-related dementia, he needed even more oversight. That isn't the scenario for everyone, of course, but the medication difficulties can be challenging. Thank goodness he will have his son close by -- and thank goodness your sister was able to be so instrumental in his getting help.

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    1. Parkinson's is so much more complex than any of us realized. And it didn't help that my brother was so secretive about it. But I am gratified to see how quickly the family jumped in to help -- and are still helping in so many ways.

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  20. Thank goodness he was found in time to help him out! We do need each other more and more as we age.

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    1. We were ever so lucky that things turned out the way they did -- but there is still ever such a long way to go ...

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Receiving comments is a joy and I thank you all for taking the trouble and showing your interest. Makes me feel all gooey and stuff!