Thursday, August 25, 2011
A very hard day today. Flip was fine when I fed him lunch and took him for a walk around the floor, but he awakened from a nap a totally different person, angry, aggressive, frustrated and not his sweet-tempered self at all. He was throwing punches at everyone, making fists, baring his teeth and hissing like a small child who is pretending to be a scary monster. Several people were in fact scared, and the woman who was scheduled to be his evening sitter refused because she said he spat at her. (I think he must have hissed and perhaps some saliva escaped, but I didn't see it.) Security was called (again.) He remembered the words "Fuck you!" and hurled them at everyone. I think he has reached the end of his endurance for the hospital, which is like prison in his case as everyone is pushing and pulling him and controlling everything he does. Another dimension to his pain derives from being relatively young and used to exercising his body. In his mind, I think, he is fighting for his life, Flip against the world. He even yanked my arm off his, even though I had just helped him in the bathroom by aiming his penis (inexpertly) at the toilet. His life has lost much of its dignity.
He has been accepted to a facility in San Francisco, but it will take more than a month before his name comes up on the waiting list. The hospital is discharging him tomorrow, and unless another place in San Francisco comes through at the last minute, he will have to go to one of two nursing homes in Oakland, which is even farther away in the East Bay than Berkeley. The better of the two is in a dangerous slum, and I am not pleased that I'll be alone on the street there at all hours, going to and from wherever I find parking. I have fought hard against this but don't have a choice as he is considered medically stable, and Medicare won't pay hospital charges once a doctor has made that determination. This explains why the hospital in San Francisco booted him against his doctor's orders and without my consent. It's obscene that our health decisions are no longer made by medical people but by insurance adjusters and accountants.
There will be many days like today, and some better ones as well, randomly distributed. A youngish, strong man with an elderly person's disease is a lot like a Doberman Pinscher, a breed that was created by crossing the Rottweiler with the Black and Tan Terrier and German Pinscher. While I have known some lovely Dobermans, it is generally a recipe for disaster to combine an energetic, tenacious terrier with a much larger, aggressive animal. My point, admittedly far-fetched, is that Flip's youthfulness in combination with a mind that is rapidly losing its behavioral filters is someone who could become dangerous to himself and others. While I am not afraid of him, today made me aware that he has become unpredictable and cannot be relied upon to be the delightful, intelligent, extremely compassionate man he always was. I just called to see how he's doing tonight and was told there was another episode. It sounds as if he may have had some kind of psychotic break, but perhaps it's just his brain cells exploding like popcorn over a fire.
So tomorrow he moves again, ready or not. This disease is intellectually fascinating and utterly heartbreaking. I can honestly say that given a choice, I would have preferred to remain ignorant of this particular knowledge.