Friday, August 26, 2011

No quick takes this Friday ...

This has been a fairly disturbing week.

If you read The Other Blog, you know my younger brother, Bob, is bedridden due to a host of maladies stemming from type-1 diabetes. Taking care of him is a challenge not only physically but spiritually, since I'm lazy and a bit self-centered.

Because Bob's circulation is poor and his mobility highly limited, his legs often swell up. About every year or so, the edema leads to infection; his blood sugar starts to climb even as he eats less (and when he's well he eats barely enough to keep a decent-sized hamster in the pink), and he starts to lose coherence.

This cycle started again Sunday, with a new twist: brief periods of lucidity interchanged with extreme sleepiness. Even when he was speaking clearly and coherently, he had a tendency to swap words around, leading me at one point to wonder why he wanted me to put soup cans in the refrigerator. When his legs are swollen, Bob has occasional panic attacks; now the attacks were coming every three to five hours or so.

One such attack woke me up at 5:30 am Wednesday. Sleepy and disgruntled, I stared at him as he explained, "I don't know what time it is; I don't know what time it was. I don't know. I don't know." His blood sugar was 246 mg/dl — an absurdly high number, as he'd had maybe six bites of food in the last twenty-four hours. That was it ... time to get him over to Denton Regional Medical Center.

(Ironically, Bob had a visit scheduled with an opthalmologist that afternoon, and one of his home health-care therapists, Robin, was scheduled to come over when it was time to leave and show me how to get him in our car using the new transfer board. Mom and I got him in with little problem and without Robin's presence.)

Since his admission to DRMC, Bob's periods of sleep seem to have changed into a pattern of withdrawal from the rest of the world. Because he's not eating, he's being fed intravenously; last night, he refused his medication. When we went to see him yesterday afternoon, we had the great good fortune to meet Fr. Tim Thompson, our former pastor, as he was leaving; with his characteristic gentleness, he gave Bob the Sacrament of the Sick. (Note: Priests like it when you ask them for a parting blessing.)

It isn't my habit or desire to use this blog to talk about such things. However, I felt I owe you, my readers, an explanation for my sporadic posting. Please keep us in your prayers; while I've got some extra time available, I'll try to make up for lost time.