Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The state of denial is a weird place to live...

I am watching someone live in a state of denial and it's hard to keep my mouth shut. The past couple of weeks I've been staying at my Mom's home where my brother is living. Mom's in a nursing home so it's just the 2 of us there. Normally he's an impatient jerk to family members but this visit, he's been pretty nice and that makes me wonder just what's going on.. He's been visiting a nurse practitioner about high blood pressure and they want to run stress tests in a couple of weeks. I can tell he's anxious about it all.

I can also tell he's suffering from bad emphysema and he mentioned something about COPD - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. I also worry about colon cancer since it runs in both sides of our family and he's never been checked. At 66, he's terribly short winded and he can barely do anything requiring exertion. He has an ugly cough that rattles from deep within his chest. He can't walk to the mail box without stopping to catch his breath. He looks at least 10 years older than his age. However, he talks about things as though he's much younger and more able.

He talks about fishing, moving to the mountains and buying a boat. He talks about travelling to see friends in the Philippines, seeing beaches in  Hawaii and Mexico in winter.   He talks about others in health with disgust and complains about how they treat their bodies but still drinks several beers a day and finishes off one pack of cigarettes by evening.  I'm quite realistic so it's hard for me to listen to this.  I want to scream, "Look at what you've done to YOURSELF!"  "How can you even think of buying something at your age in your condition?!"  But I don't, I keep my mouth shut.   I say nothing to prevent arguements - for his sake, it's the last thing he needs and, selfishly, I just don't want to deal with his vile temper.   I know he can't have long, a year, perhaps 2 at most.  I wonder how much his body can take.  I patronize him I suppose but it's easier on him and on me.   I went through this with an uncle years ago.   He was terminal and we all knew it but we let him live in denial.  He had hope for every day.  He was interested in things and happy every minute.  I can only hope the same for my brother for every day he's got left.