Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Now I know the real story

On Thanksgiving, my dear friend Henry's husband, Reg, posted on Facebook. It was about the traditional holiday meal he'd prepared but would eat alone since Henry became "agitated," and the police took Henry away. Henry is in a psych ward, under surveillance until it's decided whether he is a danger to himself or others.


Reg's post implies that he was striving to give his husband an old-fashioned feast, but Henry ruined it. Turns out that is not really what happened. At all.


Henry is living with a traumatic brain injury. His condition has deteriorated precipitously in the last few months. In October, he suffered a pair of grand mal seizures and now he is unable to shave or use his phone without help. He is often confused about where he is. On bad days, he can't control his bodily functions and needs a diaper. Occasionally he confuses Reg with his father. 


Believing this, I accepted Reg's scenario. Only now I know this ...


1) Recovery from the grand mal seizures was complicated by Henry's ongoing alcohol abuse. Henry doesn't know where he is. Henry can't drive. Henry has no money. There is only one way Henry can get booze: Reg has been buying it for him. This is unconscionable. The doctors told Reg that he is "a failure as a caregiver." Henry has been assigned a caseworker.


2) Reg did not call the police on Henry. Neighbors did. Before dawn on Thanksgiving, Henry was apprehended nude, banging on neighbors' doors, demanding to talk to his brother Raul. This is not the first time this has happened. Henry snuck out a few weeks ago, then wearing shit-stained underwear, and did the same thing. Then the police returned him to Reg. This time, they took Henry away to the psych ward.


3) The management company has warned Reg: if this happens again, they will be evicted from their apartment.


I think we can all agree that the doctors are right; Reg is a failure as a caregiver.


Since Henry's accident I have felt just about every emotion. I have been heartbroken, angry, hopeful, insistent. Henry is dear to me and I hate what has happened to him.

But right now, I feel empty. Tired. Resigned. I love Henry, but our story is not going to end well and there is nothing I can do about it.

I must just cling to how he wished me a happy birthday Wednesday, hours before they took him away. Somehow, somewhere inside his broken brain, Henry loves me as much as I love him. That's all I have.



WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

PS I no longer participate in WWW.WEDNESDAY via that link because her blog won't accept Blogger comments. I mention this only to save you the frustration I experienced trying to link up.

1. What are you currently reading? Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage by M. C. Beaton. I don't usually read two volumes from the same mystery series back to back, but that's a personal preference, not an enforceable regulation, and so I felt free to break it now.


At the end of the last installation in Agatha's saga, we were titillated by sudden and repeated references to Jimmy Raisin, Agatha's long-ago first husband. Agatha has been a middle-aged retiree for all the time we've known her, and I was so excited to find out about her backstory that I couldn't wait.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley by M. C. Beaton. This book was originally published in 1994. I had to consistently remind myself of that as I plowed through, because it includes events that had me scratching my head and asking, "Haven't these people ever heard of Google?"

Well, no, they hadn't.


Jessica Tartnick was a local character who lived in the same county as our heroine, Agatha Raisin, but a few towns over. She seemed to have two gifts: stirring oratory and pissing people off. When she is found murdered, there's no shortage of suspects.

This pleases Agatha. Not because she disliked Jessica; she'd never met her. But because her talent as a sleuth has always impressed her handsome neighbor, James Lacey. So Agatha is on the case.  Yes, her motive is that selfish. That's one of the things I like about Agatha. She is a definitely flawed woman. She is not driven by an unshakable desire to see justice done. She wants to impress a guy.


As mysteries go, this isn't so great. I figured it out pretty early on, and I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But it's important in the series for character development. We learn so much about Agatha and James that I'm glad I'm reading these order and have been able to let events unfold the way M. C. Beaton intended.


3. What will you read next? I don't know.