Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Not in the traditional sense, horses are far more unreliable and less tolerant than Hollywood has made them out to be. In my opinion, they are one of the most devious animals on earth. For that reason and the fact that saddling a horse is a PITA, I would jump on my old Yamaha 125 and head for the nether-regions of our property. With me I would take my holster and pistol along with a roll of bright orange rubber tape. If I found a break or a weakness in the fence, I would tie a piece of tape on the offending section and ride off in search of another breach. Others would come behind me to make the repairs.
On one such occasion, I was rolling out the appropriate length of tape to tie on the fence when I noticed a Monarch butterfly on the barbed wire. Our ranch was on the outside edge of their migration path to and from Mexico so it wasn't rare to see them in large numbers, but seeing only one was.
Upon inspection, I saw that the insect had found a way to get her wing stuck onto one of the barbs. I gently pulled it off and looked at the small, almost-perfect 3 corner tear at the edge of the wing. I let it crawl to the tip of my finger and she flew off but not as surely as most. Her pattern was erratic and stuttering but eventually she compensated for it and went on about her business.
That few minutes in time has somehow stuck in my mind and now I see a reason.
When I brought Diane home from the hospital after her stroke, I had already prepared myself for taking care of her physical needs. I knew it was going to be a long and contentious road. What I was not prepared for nor did I know anything about, were the mental challenges we were to face.
Diane began acting strangely about the 4th day she was home. Of course she is terribly weak and she is taking 15 different medications so at first I attributed her behavior to her medications, but as the week progressed, these "changes" would appear about 5:30 pm each night. She would have conversations with relatives long dead. She would accuse her daughter and me of trying to poison her.
It was heartbreaking to watch. As I researched this problem, I found a condition known as "Sundowner's Syndrome. The problem with almost every reference I found was as it pertains to Alzheimer’s victims, and not stroke sufferers.
There is, as I have found, to be a difference. My thanks to those in the medical profession who answered my request for help.
My biggest concern was that this would be a permanent condition. However, I learned that a long stay in a hospital when the patient is largely unconscious or unaware can lead to this as well.
We've been two nights now with focus and clarity.
This all brought me back to the butterfly wing 4 decades ago. How delicate the butterfly wing is, yet it carries the butterfly thousands of miles every year to migrate. How delicate the human mind is...yet it is mighty. Minds have spanned rivers, built cities and cured diseases. Minds have led with the first tentative footsteps into space and have explored the sub-atomic worlds that will ultimately surprise us more so.
Yet they fall prey to the simplest of changes and they trap whole bodies inside a black captivity.
I suppose my point is, if any...we're not always going to be able to do what we do best. Someday, we may find ourselves talking with our deceased grandmother while others look on helplessly. I guess we all might have something to get up and go do. To use our minds for good things, while we are still able.
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 11:16 AM