Lolo’s Alzheimer’s is worsening. My father-in-law, who we took in when we moved from Iloilo City back to the mango island of Guimaras, is becoming increasingly combative and violent. He recently tried to bludgeon my wife’s head with a huge stone as he struggled with her as he attempted to leave “The Farm.”
Fortunately my spouse was able to take the rock away from her father and avoid serious injury. He had every intention of using that big stone as a weapon.
“Your pride is above your head!” my wife told Tatay (Father.) “I try to help you. I bathe you. I feed you. And now you try to stone me and beat me just like you did when I was little!”
Though Lolo cannot control his brain and silence the voices within his head, it is still very frustrating to my spouse and I as we try to deal with the senior’s Alzheimer’s he’s been diagnosed with since Good Friday 2013.
My father-in-law takes each meal with two or three of his constant companions, action star of the Philippines, Fernando Poe, Jr., now deceased, Roberto, an older relative who is still alive, and Amando, his son who lives in Palawan. He admits we cannot see FPJ who only appears to Lolo in spirit form. Evidently, Fernando’s ghost is hungry as Lolo is always trying to feed the specter pan de sal.
Fernando recently told my father-in-law that he was “disappointed” as “Domingo” (that’s Lolo’s name for me) won’t let them leave “The Farm.” But FJP still wants to blow P200,000 on a fish pond in Guimaras that he has his eye on. But I suppose as long as Fernando keeps getting fed he’ll be sticking around.
At times, Lolo carries on a loud tête-à-tête with his “buddies,” other times he whispers under his breath much in the matter of “Brick,” the youngest of “The Middle” clan from network television.
As his Iloilo doctor pronounced, Lolo’s condition will only deteriorate and there is no hope that he will get any better. Prayers and miracles are is only salvation. And with apologies to my Catholic readers, I’m not counting on any help from Pope John II, albeit the deceased Pope is on his way to sainthood. Jesus? Now that’s an entirely different matter.
Lolo has good days and bad days. But lately, it’s been mostly bad. My father-in-law will pack up his blanket, put on his hat and announce he’s leaving to go back to his home in Buluangan. Problem is, he has no home there anymore and is clearly incapable of caring for himself.
So we treasure the good days, such as today, when my father-in-law is sitting quietly in front of the television watching cartoons on the Disney Jr. Channel (our young nieces and nephew from Guimaras are visiting this weekend.) He’s done a little sweeping outside this morning but hasn’t given any indication that someone is coming by “The Farm” to take him anywhere today.
Lolo still recognizes everyone. He has periods of lucidity, but again, he days are becoming much darker and moodier. He doesn’t sing aloud as much as he used to and compose his own lyrics on the fly as he once did.
Yes, Lolo’s Alzheimer’s is worsening. His wife, who lives at “The Compound,” only a 30 minute walk from us, has left for Manila and won’t return for several months. Lola (Grandma) is staying with her oldest son and hasn’t been to the big city in years. She is too old and frail to care for Lolo; the two have been separated for years anyway.
Life goes on, such as it is. I can’t imagine what Lolo’s world is like but hope and pray that I don’t experience the same affliction as he does as I grow older. It’s not a world that I would enjoy visiting even with Fernando Poe, Jr. as my constant companion.