Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sundowner's syndrome

Beve's been out at his dad's the last two days, staying right there in the retirement complex, taxi-ing his sister and step-mother around and about.  Eating meals on the dot of 8, 12 & 5 in the dining room.  A woman came up to him this morning and said, "You look exactly like my deceased husband."  I told him, "Oh yeah, well you look exactly like my living one!"  He slept in one of the 'model' apartments, where the regulated heat was set at something like 100 degrees.  The elderly have poor circulation; unfortunately, the Beve does not.  I've always thought of him as a human sweat-box, even in the middle of winter, so he was pretty miserable.

See, Grampie's in the hospital.  In the convoluted story I got, it sounds like he swallowed a chicken bone and ended up in ICU with pneumonia.  I haven't been able to get any straighter story, so we'll have to go with ithat. He seemed to be on the mend by tonight when Beve got home, but we just heard he tried to pull out his I.V. and catheter, and is hallucinating.  It's something called "Sundowner's Syndrome" and is fairly common for a person so sick.  They'll probably control it with drugs and he'll get over it,, thankfully.

Sundowner's syndrome.  I asked the Beve if it meant the sundown of a person's life, or just occurs after sundown.  Beve didn't know, but both are equally possible for Grampie.  He's really in the twilight these days, no matter how long that twilight lasts. But I wonder what a spiritual sundowner's syndrome might mean.  Not what it means medically, but thinking of sundowns and how beautiful they can be, why shouldn't there be a time when we live our lives in that blaze of glory, splattering color all over the horizon.  Beve's mom always loved the poem, "When I am old I shall wear purple."  She had it framed and in her bathroom; when she died I brought it home with me to remember her.  That's how I want to live out my life--not caring about the externals, just doing what God tells me, no matter how unfashionable and crazy-looking. If sundowner's syndrome means I'm seeing the world in ways that others don't, if I seem like I'm hallucinating because I pay more attention to the voice the world can't hear, and listen for that voice everywhere I go, then bring it on, I say.  If it means ripping out the ties that bind me to the petty and material, and freeing me to seek eternity, I'm all in. Waiting for the King of glory to come in.

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