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Monday, July 18, 2016

Musings on Alcohol-Related Dementia (ARD)

I was the last in the house to retire last night, but I still made it to bed ahead of midnight.

I had my first consequential break in sleep just after 4:00 a.m. and used that as a bathroom break, and fragmented sleep followed thereafter.

I believe that I rose at something like 7:03 a.m.

I don't know how my younger brother Mark manages to keep his clock-radio set at 4:20 a.m. for the start of his workday ─ he was in a sorry state when he got home last evening around 7:15 p.m.

I had come downstairs around 7:30 p.m. to get an early start on some T.V. viewing and to keep him company, but he quickly started bitching about how full the fridge and freezer are.

He bitched all the way to the downstairs toilet, so I took my leave and went back upstairs to lie upon my bed and pass time there till nearer 8:00 p.m.

I heard him coming back to the kitchen downstairs still bitching, and then he realized that I was no longer present to have been delighting in the wonders of his salient observations of everyone's ill-doings here in the house.   

He made some sort of noise of befuddlement at the realization that he had been regaling himself; and then the next thing I knew, he was upstairs and standing at my open bedroom doorway complaining that my eldest step-son Tho had been asked to mow the lawn that day, but it had not been done.

Mark had earlier done a fair amount of yard work, including using the weed-eater and related activities.

And now, he griped, it's probably going to rain.

I had wondered on whether rain was coming, for it had clouded up, and I had heard distant thunder earlier.

Anyway, Mark finished his complaint about Tho and the unmowed lawn, and then he threatened to me that Tho and his younger brother Pote were going to start paying $250 a month apiece for rent.

His final growled words as he left to go back downstairs to finish preparing his supper were something to the effect, "You can spread around the good news!"

I remained upstairs until it was nearing 8:00 p.m., and then went down to tune in Preacher.

Possibly Mark had been able to reflect on the likelihood that I was not relishing his company, for he seemed to have shelved the bitching for the evening.

However, by about 15 or 20 minutes into the T.V. show, his brain had succumbed to the beer he'd been swilling and he was unconscious in his chair.

He remained so until just after the show had finished.

He drinks far too much.  His brain shuts down about four nights out of any seven, although the duration of the shutdown varies quite widely.

During those unconscious lapses, he can make the most pathetic little strangling snores.  Sometimes he'll speak to someone who isn't here.

And too often, his unconsciousness will be terminated by a gagging choke that will initiate a session of utterly aggravating sneezing that can last five minutes, with an interval of 10 - 15 seconds between each violent sneeze.

I guess it takes that long to wind up for each ensuing sneeze.

I have no idea how someone can keep sneezing to maximum effect with each of those sneezes when there can be so many of them, but it's an unwholesome experience to be stuck in the same room with someone who is filling the air with the deepest vapours of his lungs.

I won't speak of the other foul vapours he commonly fills the house with ─ sometimes starting as soon as he steps inside the door, and I haven't even laid eyes on him yet.

Mark turned 64 earlier this month.  He wants to work until after he's 65 because he doesn't have a company pension.

Quite apart from CPP and OASP, he is going to have to rely upon what he has saved up in RRSPs over the years.

And so he is trying to continue working for as long as he can bear it.

However, from what I see of his deteriorating mental functions each evening ─ I swear that at times it is as if he is suffering dementia ─ I am wondering if he will be capable of living on his own if he makes it to 70.

He commonly fails to recall things that we have discussed in an evening, or the subject matter that he has brought forth and which he will bring up in successive nights as if it is a brand new topic.

It becomes so irksome when he will interrupt my concentration upon a favourite T.V. programme just to ask me something that he has already asked me more than once in previous nights.

He just doesn't remember it.

And it puts me into a rage sometimes because I am wasting my breath ─ and having my show spoiled for nothing ─ because he probably won't remember what I tell him this latest time.

What is going to become of him when he has retired, and no longer has a workday to remain sober for?  He'll then be able to start drinking as early as he likes.

But maybe he'll find that he can't afford to be doing that.  Heck, on my pension, I can't afford to drink in a bar at all ─ I can barely afford to drink here at home with beer and booze bought at a government liquor store.

I love my sober brother, and of course I have all of those years of memories of when he was younger and 'a swell guy.'

But too often now, the ageing sibling I have to suffer in the evenings is quarrelsome and opinionated, sniping, and of the most sour disposition.

It is the sniping that particularly rankles me.

With his face contorted into an ugly grimace, he will spew his bitchings at me about both of my step-sons, and even my wife Jack.

It is almost akin to having a viper coiled at my chest, or some small demon perched on my shoulder.

The hateful, spiteful, snarled remarks about anything that 'gets his goat' lays me so damned low ─ I don't need it.  I'm barely hanging on myself.

I am still unsure if I will bother living to reach my 70th birthday in October 2019 ─ thoughts of suicide creep over me more often than I speak about here, or that I am comfortable with. 

All I want from an evening is the chance to enjoy the lift of some drinks while I lose myself in a couple hours of T.V. shows. 

Give me that small peace, please.

Perhaps his state will be more controlled this evening.

I had the day to myself, and it was a fairly sunny day.

Tho had gone to work before I got up for the day, and his younger brother Pote rose around 8:00 a.m. and had soon enough left the house to catch his bus to work. 

I never put in the amount of toil at the new post at my Latin Impressions website that I perhaps could have ─ I started adding content to it yesterday.  But there is some discouragement at play.

When I wrote about the website here yesterday, I enumerated the 11 (I think) days in which it had absolutely no visitors over the course of the previous four weeks.  Well, when I logged into it this morning, I was able to add yesterday to that tally, as well ─ not one visitor.

It is difficult to work at something that seems pointless.

But I also wanted to get out this morning and mail a bill payment at nearby Cedar Hills shopping plaza (96th Avenue & 128th Street here in Surrey) ─ it's roughly a four-block hike to get there.

The payment is due on Thursday, so I'm hoping that the payment was picked up from the mailbox this afternoon and will get sorted and delivered on time.

And since I was right outside Shoppers Drug Mart, I did some shopping there.

Then, awhile after getting back home, I spent an hour in the early afternoon lying out on the backyard sundeck while wearing just a pair of shorts ─ this was my first bout of such sunbathing in over two weeks.

As I reported earlier, it was mainly sunny, and definitely on the hot side.

Incidentally, Tho came home from work shortly after 3:00 p.m....showered...and then took off.  He never mowed the lawn.

Pote came home from work around 5:00 p.m., and to my astonishment had in short order begun mowing the lawn.

I don't think Mark even mentioned it to him ─ Tho must have.

This is only the second time that Pote has mowed the lawn since moving here from Thailand in September 2008.

The latter afternoon clouded right over, but I took these two shots of him from the vantage of a dirty dining room window as he worked in the backyard a little ahead of 5:30 p.m.:

I expect that he may have been 'persuaded' to stand in on that chore ─ Tho allows him rather liberal use of Tho's car, after all.  I'm sure Pote wouldn't like that privilege curbed.

Now an update on the lawnmowing.

After Pote commenced mowing the front yard, his girlfriend Priyanka showed up.

He had her try her hand at the job, but she quickly opted to enroll as cheerleader instead ─ these shots were taken through the living room window:


I think I have said enow of my day.  I am going to close off now with an entry from my journal of 41 years ago when I was 25 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

I only worked one day a week in New Westminster at a charitable organization called S.A.N.E. (Self Aid Never Ends) that today is known as Fraserside Community Services Society

I worked as a swamper on the S.A.N.E. pick-up truck. 

Back then, S.A.N.E. was located in a building on Carnarvon Street, right about where the New Westminster SkyTrain Station now spills out onto Carnarvon.

However, on that particular week 41 years ago, I was staying overnight at the home of my younger brother Mark and his girlfriend Catherine Jeanette Gunther ─ they had gone on a bit of a holiday to the Edmonton area, and they needed me to tend to their German shepherd Daboda in their absence.

At the time, they were renting a home together in Whalley ─ the house was located on Bentley Road, not far at all from 108th Avenue & King George Highway.
FRIDAY, July 18, 1975
I checked the clock at, I think, 6:28 a.m.?

The morning is a mix of cloud and sun; I am not greatly pleased at having to hurry off to S.A.N.E., even the sky is mostly cloud.  There may even be rain.

There wasn't, but the sun didn't come on strong till the evening.

Anyway, I walked straight home, having forgot to fill out my welfare form.

My foul complexion concerned me whenever I looked in the mirror throughout the day.

From home I went to S.A.N.E. directly.

Bill didn't show, so Howie assisted on a dump trip.  After that and a pick-up, we both got off at 3rd Ave. & 9th St. for lunches, he quitting for the day.

After lunch I delivered my paper to the welfare, then went to Field's and bought a colourful T-shirt for $3.13.

Back at the store, a fellow arrived with a load of items we unloaded downstairs, which I after proceeded to carry up. 

Then I went home with Esther to drop off our new dolly, and had a beer in the back yard with Charlie and Gary.

Pre-lunch while loading for the dump, Judd stopped on his way to deliver Keith a lunch; Steve and Dee Dee were along.

And thus pretty well ended my day.

I noted this morning an inconspicuous pencilling on my door from David to come see him.

I left S.A.N.E. with two attractive encyclopedias:  The Readers Encyclopedia, and the 2 volume set The "King 's English" Encyclopedia

For a spell there was a nice looking blonde at S.A.N.E. loitering about; she eventually enquired of Esther re Bobbie Ross.  Were I not so shockingly complected, I would have communicated with her, for she proffered me a slight encouraging smile at one point, but I was insecure.

Tonight I overate somewhat, nutritiously but of excessive carbohydrate.

At midnight I'll be viewing Escape from the Planet of the Apes

Daboda  hasn't been eating as he usually does; I believe tomorrow I'll just give him ¾ rations.

At S.A.N.E. I ate the final slice of Vy's 'bon voyage' cake.  And I contributed 25¢ to Esther for a birthday card for Verna Monday (is she 33?).

Bedtime is 2:00 a.m.
So that morning I hiked from Mark's Whalley home to my room in New Westminster.

It was likely then that I noticed the scribbling on my door from my old friend Philip David Prince ─ he had his own room elsewhere in New Westminster.

I was employed through an employment incentive programme in place between S.A.N.E. and New Westminster social services.  The latter would pay me the going welfare rate for a single person as long as I completed a monthly declaration of need, and was dutifully working at S.A.N.E. ─ an extra stipend was paid out for that.

It may have been as little as $50 each month, but it did pad out the social assistance somewhat.

I suffered overmuch for my complexion ─ it wasn't as bad as so many others, but it still dragged me down emotionally.

I cannot remember my co-swamper "Bill."  I'm not too sure now who "Gordie" was, either.  Esther St. Jean was usually my driver on the truck ─ she was a delightful woman in her early 40s.

Prior to lunch, it was Judd (Gerald) Smith who stopped in.  He was the younger brother of Art Smith, an older gent in his early 40s whom I had grown close to as a result of his own employment at S.A.N.E.  I don't remember who "Keith" was, but Steve was Art's youngest child, and Dee Dee (Angela) was his middle child (he had three kids).

Esther dropped me off practically at my room that day for my lunch; and afterward, I took that declaration to social services ─ I think the offices were on Sixth Street not too far from Columbia Street, and on the left-hand side as one was walking downhill. 

I doubt that Fields department store is still on Columbia Street, but I don't really know.

When I was having the beer at Esther's home, Charlie St. Jean was her husband, and I suspect that "Gary" was the boyfriend of Esther's youngest daughter Melodie.  Was his full name Gary Foreman?  Maybe.

At some point that day at S.A.N.E., I finished off the final piece of cake left in a farewell for "Vy" or "Vi" ─ I can no longer remember her, nor where she was to have gone or moved away to.  The upcoming birthday girl was Verna Williams (I think that was her last name) ─ she was a dear Indigenous woman who seemed to have the role of manager at S.A.N.E. 

I have no memory of "the 2 volume set The "King 's English" Encyclopedia," nor what ever became of it; but I still own The Readers Encyclopedia by William Rose Benét.  My edition is copyrighted 1948, so it must be the first edition.

I probably took the books back to my room, and then hiked to Whalley and overate a supper there.

Poor Daboda!  He sure wasn't getting much exercise.  I don't even say if I let him loose that evening.

I had been doing so for only about a half-hour to 45 minutes, letting him exercise himself.  I had by then done so much walking each day, there was nothing left in me.

He would disappear for a time, but eventually show up.  By then, he was calm and accepting of getting rechained. 

Still, he was alone all the darned day ─ it makes me feel bad for him now.
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