Thursday, September 29, 2011
4:00 p.m. Today's project was to welcome our long term care insurance's nurse to our dining room table for the semi-annual assessment of Steve's needs and the way the policy's dollars are being utilized.
The three of us got off to a rough start, because Steve struggles so hard with writing that even initialing forms is a struggle. After managing it two times, he began to get upset. So the nurse assured me that as Power of Attorney for him, I could do all of his signing and initialing. "Plus," I said, "He is present as a witness!"
The conversation was between the nurse and myself, and Steve was listening as she questioned me about his abilities in every single area of life. He looked a little self-conscious, but answered a few times for himself. He got up and got an apple after about 45 minutes, and then settled down in the kitchen. The interview was very detailed and lengthy, but not out of line for all of the services that policy can provide. Steve came back and sat down, but it was awkward, almost like talking about someone while they sit there, but unless I told him he needed to be elsewhere, there was no real way of avoiding it, not for two hours, anyway! I felt bad that the focus was on Steve's deficiences, because he couldn't help but overhear. It had to be devastating, to hear, for instance, that he can no longer dial a phone, or has occasional difficulties dressing.
But these are the current facts--and there has been a lot of mental deterioration in the last six months. Daily, in fact, he struggles with set routines, like feeding the dogs. And this is just the last three days. We live in a fallen world, and the fact of death and breakdown each one of us will experience sooner or later, is the curse all humans live under! Hear I Corinthians 15:21-22:
For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
The grueling assessment was over, except for Steve's "Mini-Mental" Assessment of cognitive skills. He had just been through this about two months ago at the neurologist's office, and it left us in tears, but a current test was needed.
I left to take care of a few things in the kitchen, namely deal with a Mary Kay emergency with the senior consultant under me and her recruit. There were several texts and calls to answer, so I was able to get a handle on the situation. Meanwhile, I overheard the nurse's first few questions, such as "What day is this?" and "What season are we in?" with Steve not knowing. He didn't know his birthday or address, either. Suddenly I heard him cry out tearfully, "I CAN'T TAKE THIS! I'M FALLING APART!" as he escaped the dining room and flung himself on the couch in the family room.
I went over to the nurse, told her that the results were the same at the neurologist's office, wrapped up the rest of the signatures, got assurance that she would recommend an emergency alert bracelet for Steve and grab bars for our shower, and then she left. No matter how upsetting it was for us, the nurse was sympathetic, as well as noting the data. Steve's mental condition is undeniably bad now, and his emotions are following after, due to the fear and frustration he is experiencing.
Alone at last, we embraced, wept and prayed together. We made our lunches, and prepared to go to my appointment with a wonderful Christian lady who uplifted us with her enthusiasm and zeal for sharing with the unsaved, as well as our mutual love for end times prophecy.
The Mini-Mental test threw us into the stark reality of a "new normal," but I Corinthians 15:53-57, NLT gives this assurance:
For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.
Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
"Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?"
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are all "terminal," as I heard a doctor say. But here is the end of the story: those who, like Steve, have taken Jesus as their Savior and followed Him in this life, will find perfect healing and eternal life in His presence forever more. Nothing that we suffered from here on earth, whether back pain or Alzheimer's, will even be remembered in the heavenly hereafter!