Tuesday we received a general diagnosis for my husband. Cognitive Disorder…and the words they wanted to avoid. Dementia. To be specific Vascular Dementia.
I did like the two doctors as they were gentle in breaking the news and explained to us how they got to that Diagnosis. More importantly, they set out a plan of action to help us.
Rich and I had suspected that he had ‘Vascular Dementia’ and we’d discussed what it meant in layman’s terms more than once. When the doctors explained that it was damage from his strokes he was surprised when they said he’d had multiple strokes, that this last one had needed surgical intervention. I know that he’d had a TIA in 2015 but had seemed to recover just fine. I know that I suspected he had one in 2010 when I was traveling with my son and his wife. He’d blown it off in his typical way…
“Yep, I couldn’t talk or move my left side so I went to bed and I woke up talking funny…but it went away.”
POA’s were discussed, further testing was discussed, and so was Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech/Cognitive Therapies, as well as a review of all of his medications and time spent with a Medical Physcologist. His dementia by their testing had put him at the brink of where they felt he could no longer make his own medical decisions and possibly financial decisions.
Non of this was particularly shocking. However, his sister had called wanting to know how her brother was doing. This the very same sister who swept in when MIL was in the hospital and decided that she was ‘taking over’. She resigned her secondary position as Durable POA and Health Agent when she discovered all the aspects of effort she’d have to do.
When my husband had cancer and had nearly died from an Anaphylactic shock, she had called to ask me what I planned on doing with the Ring that my husband had purchased for his father many years ago. I said that I had no idea. She said she wanted it. I thought it crass and rude at the time and asked Rich about it later. He said his sister was not getting her grubby little fingers on his father’s ring and Rich wanted to be buried or cremated with it. The subject was dropped. I knew my husband’s final wishes for that little ugly ring in the drawer upstairs.
Last night while sitting on the porch with my little dog, Charlie, his sister called. She’d already talked to her brother earlier. She went on and on about how horrid it was for her to have her brother so sick. I was pacing the porch at that moment and stopped, stilled by her words.
It’s awful for you? Really?
“Well yes”, she replied. “It is so hard for me to know my brother is sick. I’m just distraught.”
How awful is it for you? I looked out at the mules grazing in the pasture.
“Well I hadn’t seen him in such a long time and when I saw him this last time, I was so struck by the changes in him.”
Oh? Well, I suppose if you don’t see your brother for a few years and he has cancer and a stroke there would be changes.
“What is he going to do with That Ring when he passes on?”
Um, he is not dead.
“I know, but what is he going to do with it? I mean his daughter can have it maybe, but I’d like to have it. He bought for my father and I know what it is worth.”
He wishes to be buried with it.
….long pause… and then, “Well no he shouldn’t do that. He can be displayed with it but then you have to take it because my Grandmother said that the funeral home people steal jewelry. And besides he just shouldn’t be buried with it.”
I will follow my husband’s wishes. I state this emphatically.
“Well I wouldn’t. In fact I’d take it before they close the lid.”
OMG. OMFG. I am now speechless. I am silent. It only takes her about 30 seconds to start in again about how she wants it and how she should have it. I pull the cell phone away from my ear and consider hanging up…tossing it into the grass and walking away…or telling her to go straight to hell.
I say Oh crap, there goes Charlie … I have to run…
She tells me to “think about it.”
And I hang up thinking. This is the woman who wishes not to be involved in her mother’s life struggles with kidney disease and dementia. But wishes to come in and ‘clear out the apartment of antiques’. She then decides that she wants This Ring.
I watch Charlie find a good spot to pee.
And Gollum comes to mind.
“We wants it.
We needs it.
We must have Precious!” ~~ Tolkien
And I break out with a smile. I shall defeat Gollum at the Gates of Modor!