Thursday, April 28, 2005

36: sad BBC story about dementia

Mayatime: 5 Cimi 4 Uo April 28, 2005

I just read this story on the BBC website and it broke my heart. I'm sitting here sobbing. I know the link will go away so here's the whole story.

Link: (has a picture of their yard, pretty boring)



Church elder smothered sick wife

A 80-year-old church elder who smothered his wife of more than 50 years as he struggled to cope with her dementia has been admonished.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that Kenneth Edge, from Grangemouth near Falkirk, was "severely depressed" and could not come to court.

Judge Lady Smith took the unusual step of dealing with Edge in his absence.

Edge earlier admitted culpable homicide by smothering his wife Winifred, 85, with a pillow in March 2003.

His doctor took the view it would be "severely detrimental" for him to come to court.

Lady Smith said: "In the circumstances I am prepared to admonish him in his absence. There seems no point in continuing this case to try to get him to court."

'Loving marriage'

The judge heard that Mrs Edge, a former Sunday school teacher, had been married to her husband for 55 years.

They had no children but shared a variety of interests during a "long and loving marriage".

When his wife became ill with senile dementia Edge began to suffer blackouts from the pressure of taking care of her at their house on Grangemouth's Cedar Street.

The court heard that Mrs Edge had not been sleeping and her husband was trying to remain alert at night to help her.

On the night she died, Mrs Edge woke and began waving and thrashing her arms around.

Confessed to police

Her husband put a pillow over her face and Mrs Edge offered little or no resistance.

When he realised what he had done Edge phoned the police and confessed.

At a hearing 18 months ago, Lady Smith told Mr Edge: "It is perfectly plain that you have punished, and will continue to punish, yourself because you have removed from your life your lifetime partner whom you have loved and cared for.

"You did so in circumstances precipitated by the enormous stresses and strains you had been put under as you tried to care for a woman who ceased to be the woman you married, and whom you had known and loved for more than 50 years."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/04/26 12:11:58 GMT


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

35: vet visits, green playing cards, depressed cats, happy fish

Mayatime: 9 Caban 15 Pop

Last week my dad was supposed to help me take two of my birds to the vet. Three of my six birds have epilepsy, and they have seizures when I take them out of the house or in the car or basically anywhere. I called him the night before to remind him to be at my house at 4:00; the appointment was for 4:30. Then I called him at 3:40 and said, "Come over now. I'll see you in 15 minutes." I went outside with one of the cats and cleaned the lawn furniture, watching the cars go by. None of them were my father. Eventually I went inside and saw to my horror it was 4:08. It takes 20 minutes to get to the vet, and no dad! I called my parents' house and asked my mom when my father had left. She replied that he was sitting there waiting for me to pick him up! I did not have time to pick him and that nullifies the whole point of having someone there to shut and open doors for me while I carry the birds to the car. I was kind of angry. It's not like I depended on his memory--I called and said "come over now" how much more explicit can I be? Apparently he chose to hear "I am coming over to get you."
I was 2 minutes late getting to the vet, but they didn't say anything. The vet who hates my birds was there (she said flat out after one of them had a seizure in her exam room that she didn't want to work on them ever again) and they asked if I wanted her or the other doctor. I said the other doctor. Then when I came out and needed another appointment for the next two birds, they tried to get me to go to her again. I didn't want to say "She hates my birds" because that sounds mean, but she's the one who refused to work on them.
I still go over my parents' house once or twice a week to play cards. Now we play War. Since there's three of us, we use 2 decks. I bought a 2 pack of decks, a red deck and a blue deck. Every time we play, my father says, "Wouldn't it be nice if we had a green deck?" (That's not what he SAYS, it's what he MEANS.) He loves green. I shopped around and found that the Bellagio in Las Vegas has green decks, and a found a guy who was selling used Bellagio decks in pairs of green and brown, and he agreed to sell me a pair of green decks. One night while we were playing cards, we were talking about Patches, our black and white kitty I gave to my father for Father's day many years ago. She died right after I gave my parents Jasper. My mother says she died of a broken heart because she missed the dog so much (they were puppy and kitten together and best friends)--after Alf died, whenever a neighborhood dog barked, Patches would rush to the window to see if it was Alf. I should scan in some pictures of them and put them here. So my father asked if a cat would miss a person when he died, specifically, if Jasper will miss him when he dies. It was a very sad moment. Then my father decided, on his own, that Jasper would miss my mother more if she died than he would miss my father. (Probably true, Jasper adores my mother and tolerates my father, who insists on picking him up constantly and carrying him around, which he hates.)
My mother keeps talking about getting another cat, but my father thinks Jasper would be jealous. In reality, what would happen is, my father would transfer his adoration to the new cat. I don't ever remember anyone interacting with Nippy, the cat we had when I was born, but once we got Streaker, the first Siamese cat, no one except me ever paid attention to poor old Nippy, who died when I was 15 and she was 16 (I guess she died-she was sick and never came home). Then when we got Alf, Streaker was pushed aside. He died of feline aids, and I got my father Patches, and although he still liked the dog, Patches became his favorite. And so on. I guess I should be glad I'm an only child, or I'd probably be ignored too in favor of my younger sibling. (Can't even imagine having a sibling. I wonder what it's like?)
I had to buy another fish tank. The old one I had the betta and his catfish friends in was starting to crack; every day there were more cracks and/or the existing cracks were larger. So my betta is extremely spoiled now. I bought him from one of those little round bowls where he barely had room to turn around, and put him in a 2 gallon tank with a filter, 2 plants and 2 friends, to his utter astonishment. Now he's in a FIVE gallon tank with 5 plants, two rocks, a stone monster, and 2 friends. Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled. I've spent about $100 to sustain this $3 fish. It was pretty funny; I set up the new tank right next to the old one. I took the plants and the stone monster out of the old tank and put in the new, along with the heater. So the 2 gallon tank was bare except for the rocks and the 3 fish. The betta would swim to the glass and press up against it, looking into the next tank where his plants were. Then he'd swim to the front of the tank and look at me as if to say, "why can't I get to the plants?" It took a whole day to get the new tank warm enough to transfer them. As soon as I did, the betta went right into the plants. The little fish still zoom around and then nap. At least someone in my life is happy!