hospital all night
forgetting to hear
the forty-five minutes
he backed and forthed
into a chair
trying to remember
how to sit down
what do they teach
in medical school?
he can go home
what about the test to predict if he'll have a full-blown stroke in seven days it won't do any good you wouldn't want him to have that big a surgery in his condition would you why not he could die he's dying anyway every day another piece of him is gone what about an angiogram? an mri? ... they'll page me when you get here. we'll talk. He didn't have a TIA; he'd had a fever, which kicked up the Alzheimer's, fast.
The doc turned out to be lovely, stayed with me more than an hour. She has a 6 month old baby and her mother has Alzheimer's. She called in a social worker for us, and on a Sunday. While the social worker was in the room, I saw that piece of Alzheimer's I'd only read about before tonight - more of the repetitive movements, again and again the folding: a bedspread here, a nightgown there.
Over and over, the folding, until corners matched up just so, the folds just right/precise. They had to be precise. It was his job and he was doing it, just as he had to find a way to sit in the chair by himself. It might have taken him 45 minutes, but he completed the task.
He found a way to sit down, without my help. He might as well have been at work reading a slide or performing an autopsy, so filled with concentration was he. By the time he snapped out of it, I'd finish sobbing; our rhythm was just right too.
The social worker said: You've never seen him do that before? No. Get used to it. That's what they do.