I have refrained from contacting you as I anticipated your soon visit. In that your visit has been postponed to March, or beyond, I feel compelled – for Eloise’s future – to attempt to inform you of the complex situation at Koralee Place.
I apologize if my “shouting” (high volume and negative tone of voice) has biased you against my communication. I automatically “shout” only when dissed by persons I love. I immediately regret this automatic response. It will require extensive “conditioning” to remove this response. I have no “free-will” to control this. I am sorry. We all have such regrettable automatic responses.
Recent neuro-science studies report that every human person’s “conscious experientials” are isolated “hallucinations”, created by the person (from input), yet believed to be “objective”. The four persons in this extended household: myself, Eloise, Tommy, and Stephanie are distinct inner “wrlds”. Larry’s hosted “wrld”, called “nuet”, is as hallucinatory as any others. This is a report from that private “wrld”, and makes no claim to “objectivity”; although Larry believes this report is an attempt at meta-objectivity. The information cited below may assist you in your future relations with Eloise and myself. i expect you to give high priority to Eloise.
LARRY in a nutshell: (read first only to establish Larry’s authenticity.
My body is in rapid decline, arms and hand becoming increasingly dysfunctional. Left am useless. I stagger, without cane or walker, fearing the eventual fall – and broken bones. I can’t pick up pills and frequently drop items. I can keyboard, with many typos. My knees will eventually eliminate walking. Both I and Eloise face compulsive elimination, often embarrassing. My basic physiological systems appear good, so I could “live” another decade. I Envy Stephen Hawking.
When in “focus”, my mind is as lucid as ever. “Out of focus” I am a Stimulus/Response Mechanism; I wander about from stimulus to stimulus. I am lucid in direct conversation or when on my computer (when I actually forget my body, and deformed hands). The frequency and significance of my insights are increasing (from my perspective), but my competencies to share and dialog are declining.
I “clearly, subjectively, experience” the blindspots in Eloise, Tommy and Stephanie. None are receptive to my attempts to inform them of these “blindspots” – which is natural and typical. We four “live” in radically different “wrlds”, each believing that “our wlrd” is the “real, objective world”.
In my “wrld”, I believe I am among a few who recognize this (diverse “hallucinatory” wrlds), yet aware that we are each in such, ourselves.
ELOISE in a nutshell:
Eloise is 10 years younger than Larry, but both appear to be sliding into dementia. Larry accepts this, but Eloise resists – blaming her dysfunction on the weather, her pain, or circumstances. Eloise anticipates a “return-to-normal”. Larry anticipates further decline and seeks compensating actions. Eloise blocks such preparations.
From Larry’s perspective, Eloise has been in “continuous decline” for a “year”. In retrospect, the decline has progressed for years; as has Larry’s own decline, in retrospect.
Eloise had been is some continuous pain in the 48 years Larry has known her. In all these years she has mastered her pain and accomplished much. I respected this situation, but made no special attention to it, except when she was in need. Eloise preferred that her pain be invisible. This is no longer the situation. Eloise’s continuous pain is the primary focus of her attention – which she now admits.
At the moment of this writing, I had helped her into bed and covered her, after slathering much of her body with Voltran – a daily ritual.
Eloise’s PAIN can appear in different parts of her body, primary at different times. Feet pain blocks walking. Back, shoulder, hip, leg, face, and head. There is always some disabling pain, restricting her activity.
Eloise is usually tired, she fatigues easily. In the past few months, Eloise has been unable to do tasks she previously did, having me do them – which is OK, so long as I can do them. Both of us are very limited in our mobility. Although Eloise uses store motorized carts (with Piper) when shopping (Larry walks pushing a shopping cart), she hasn’t used her own motorized vehicle for many months, even with a new and more convenient carrier on the KIA.
Eloise has taken on a few tasks I used to perform: watering plants and picking up dog poo. These fatigue her greatly. My lack of stability and fear of falling, as well as the pain in my arms, keeps me from these tasks. She continues with doing the laundry, but she will soon need the front-loaders elevated. She is often too fatigued to complete a task – yet insists that this is only temporary.
I don’t like “labels”, but “Alzheimer’s” may be a condition Eloise is in, in stages. My dementia is diagnosed, accepted, and treated with medications. Both Eloise and her doctors deny any dementia, and won’t ask for or prescribe medication. Eloise is slowly becoming cautious about her longtime PCP (who saved her from her HepC), because he seems oblivious about her pain needs. The medical system depends on short mental tests to determine dementia. Both Eloise and I do well on such focused tests. However, it is how we behave when not focused, that is of concern.
Eloise has become very slow in verbal response. She struggles to find the words; much worse than I. Not only words, but how to respond in sentences. When she does respond, it is often about peripheral aspects and not direct to the issues. This is common when I hear her response to inquiries, by telephone or F2F. At other times, Eloise can be quite lucid in conversation. Eloise is very aware of this, but believes it is temporary – due to her pain, a bug, or the weather – and not evidence of DEMENTIA, a condition she refuses to acknowledge. Forget about any specific label, we are slowly loosing “our marbles”.
Eloise spends much of her time watching TV, including ads. Unless I operate the remote, she refuses to use DVR, and prefers viewing with ads. She permits, but resents, me using the DVR to fast forward thru ads. Eloise, for many months now, spends hours, daily, viewing Home Makeover Programs, for which she is very familiar with the stars and their lives. This is in line with Eloise’s fantasies for the life-she-missed or the life-she-wants. I don’t criticize her TV viewing preferences; but they have changed. She will often be found standing, in midst of doing something, transfixed by the TV. She often sleeps while viewing, or listens with her eyes closed. She is also addicted to catalogs, of which we receive many weekly.
I interpret Eloise as obsessively attracted to what I would call “trivia” (my interpretation). She has always been attracted to the sensory immediate (as an artist). However, there is a distinct absence of any interest beyond “the sensory immediate” – unless I bring it up. Larry often views Eloise’s current interests as a reversion to childhood. She has expressed little interest in working with her various art materials – until a few days ago, after we made some purchases at the Gem Show.
This is, of course, a MIXED SCENE. There are moments with the “old Eloise”, as moments when the “old Larry” reappears. This subtle behavior can only be observed during extended life behaviors, and cannot be detected by brief tests.
From Larry’s perspective, Eloise has become aggressively defensive of her “mental stability”. Any attempt to inform her of a lypo (a typo in behavior) results in an attack on me. I seek mutual constructive feedback – helping each other handle our disabilities during eldering. We are frequently “at each other”. I refuse to submit to her dictates, but my responses to being attacked is often not what I would chose. We accuse each other of being negative, or of attacking each other. We are both increasingly forgetful.
Eloise prides herself in being a NYC driver. She HATES (her word) all STUPID drivers. Her emotional expressions of hate to other drivers makes me wish never to ride with her. She is overly aggressive driving, taking risks I would not take. She is unresponsive to facts that such aggressive driving may save her only a minute or two – and often nothing. She insists in staying in the lane furthest from the lane she needs for her next turn. Then she jockeys with traffic to get in the proper lane, often “just in time”. Eloise tailgates, expressing anger at the “stupidity” of the driver in front of her. She rapidly approaches a car ahead, coming to a quick stop that always accelerates me in my seat. Many times during a trip I call attention to the car ahead; while Eloise says her foot was already on the brake. Recently, there have been a few occasions when she was distracted, and my shouting avoided an accident.
Nothing I do or say makes any difference in her driving. Tommy is also very critical of Eloise’s driving. It will be a major struggle to get her to stop driving. I fear driving with her, and worry when she is out that she won’t be in a severe accident. I drive only very short distances and believe I am safer than she; but she won’t permit me to drive when we are together.
ROUTINE TASKS – Eloise continues to be responsible for doing the laundry. We both do the floors, but Eloise mops because I can’t, with my bad arms. Eloise now waters the plants and cleans up after the dogs. We share feeding the animals. She needs me to accompany her shopping. We eat out frequently, with leftover/takeouts sometimes providing for two more meals. Recently Eloise has been so fatigued by dinner time that I must do the bulk of meal preparation. That is about all that we do, “about the house and yard”. Other tasks simply back up, not getting done.
It has been over a year since Eloise has expressed any interest in being creative. She has not touched her new beads since the gem show a year ago. Many a canvass stands unfinished. She has difficulty reading books, but does find interest in magazines about archeology and history. She reads the newspaper daily, which I ignore – I get my news online.
She gets much mail – to which she devotes time, processing. Many promotions, sweepstake offers, tons of catalogs (which she looks though all).
Eloise’s attitude fluctuates, sometimes as if she was “multiple personality”. Within minutes of a very negative incident with me, she behaves as if it never happened. I am totally unable to engage her in any any useful dialog or planning for our future. She is confident she will recover her prior competencies and dismisses me as nothing but “negative”; yet “hate” and “stupid” are her favorite words. Meanwhile, any statement by me about something we might need to do is labeled “negative”.
Eloise has no friends left alive in Tucson and turns down offers by others to explore friendship. There are no “adults” she can consult or confide in. Her daughter and grandsons are useless for this. She has no source of constructive feedback to evaluate her behavior changes. No one sees the state of this house. Sally, that was why I was waiting on your visit.
Should you tell me that I was wrong, I would accept it. Eloise is in good contact with Michele Baker, Susie’s elder daughter living in Colorado. They visit, but she is never invited to this house. She is in occasional phone or internet contact with her childhood friend, Candy. And, she has occasional phone conversations with her family in New Jersey. Three male friends from her distant past call occasionally. But, Eloise seldom initiates phone calls. I periodically bug her to call you, but she waits for you to call. Eloise is very lonely. There are many ways she could meet new people. I fear, deep down, she doesn’t want others to see this home.