My father was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. It is a Parkinson’s related disease that results from damage to nerve cells in the brain. It affects movement, control of walking, speech, swallowing, etc. It was tough for us to see his decline. It was particularly tough on him as his mind was good right up until the end. It was a broken hip that took him into the hospital for the last time.
A few weeks before he died I was in for a visit. I was seated across from his bed. We were having a casual conversation when a nursing assistant arrived with his dinner tray.
She looked at me and said, “Well hello. How are you today?”
“I am well thank you.”
She turned to my father, “HELLO MR. CAINES. I SEE YOUR SON IS VISITING.”
“Yes”, he replied.
She turned to me, “Would you like to feed your father?”
“Certainly. I’d be happy to.”
“MR. CAINES, YOUR SON IS GOING TO FEED YOU YOUR SUPPER. I’LL BE BACK LATER TO GET YOUR TRAY.”
She smiled and left.
Staring up at the ceiling my father said, “Christ, there’s nothing wrong with my hearing.”
One thing the disease couldn’t take away from my dad, in addition to his hearing, was his sense of humour.
“I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.”
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