Give the Sick a Chance

Currently reading: Duma Key by Stephen King on page 189.

I have had people in my life, late in their life, with diseases that cause mental breakdown. These people are often overlooked and treated as if they have lost all hope. Many people treat them as if they have nothing left to say.

I remember visiting my grandfather in the nursing home. He had Alzheimer's and had a tendency to drift into the wrong era. He would be having a conversation and out of no where he would ask about his grown children as if they were still teenagers. He would ask if they were home from school yet or something to that effect.

I was warned about this before I went to see him. I was told that he might not seem like himself. So, going to visit him I was prepared for whatever. But, when I got there he seemed incredibly lucid. He seemed to understand what was going on. He did have one of the slip ups where he turned to his wife and asked about something from the past. I don't remember what it was he said, but that isn't exactly important.

The thing I remember about the situation was the look on his face and the defeat he showed when he heard what he asked. I don't know how to describe what he was going through, but it was obvious that he had meant to say something completely different. He looked at her and opened his mouth a couple times as if he was going to try and ask something else, but decided otherwise.

I always felt that his mind was still there and still as sharp as ever, but for some reason he was having trouble making the clear connection with his body. I really don't think he meant to ask about the past, I think there was a question he wanted to ask, but for some reason it came out wrong. It was hard to watch, but not because a great man was fading away, I really don't think he was. It was hard because a great man was getting stuck behind a failing body.

But, it makes me wonder. When those connection weren't made correctly and he said something he didn't mean to, could there have been wisdom in the sentences that people just overlooked? When a dying person starts talking non-sense could there be a great message behind it? I think we trust what we think we know too much and should sometimes try a little harder to be less scientific. We might learn something.

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