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Casey's Slope

July 30, 2017

 

 

Stage I

 

Name: Casey Jones.

Age: 61.

Witty, independent

Good-spirited and fun

Inspired with visions of pending retirement

35 years of good will at the steel mill coming to a close.

 

And opening,

Precious time with

Precious grandkids

Children

Marjoree, his wife

Absent of impairment

A nice and simple life.

 

Stage II

 

Set for enjoying the golden years

For Casey, everything is in place

Except his watch

Which lately has been hiding its face

Where did it go? The good one, you know?

Friends assure him that memory declines with time

Don’t worry; everything is fine

 

Although impractical,

Forgetfulness with ageing is quite natural.

 

Stage III

 

A visit to the doctor

At Marjoree’s request

Was a battle

But only partially against his will

 

Doctor,

Other than the odd botched word

Everything is fine–don’t you concur?

Count backwards, you ask?

An easy task.

75, 74, 71…no–72, 73…

That’s not right…

 

His face is tight

Muscles in prolonged contraction

Burn with lactic acid

 

As the doctor leaves the room Casey waits for a reaction

Back in with a firm breath

 

Alzheimer’s disease?

Progressive degeneration?

That’s an oxymoronic sort of way to say

I’ll drive myself insane

Through self-mutilation; desecration of my own brain

 

Stage IV

 

His head loses weight

As alpha helices turn to pleated beta sheets

And as they build

Pills endeavor to conceal what is real:

Dense, plaque deposits

Deterioration of cognition

Something is choking the living daylights out of him

He wonders, would ignorance be bliss?

Forgetting to fret would be a kiss on my face.

Where is that watch, anway?

 

His reason wilts and exudes on him a guilt

That he will be a burden

On society

His family tree

Marjoree

 

As scientists search for a cure

A magic little vial

From in vitro to clinical trials

It looks like this may take a while

 

Stage V

 

A need for assistance with the mundane

Periodic feelings that he’s verging on insane

His mind a myriad of dysfunctional molecules

Where is that…what’s it called?

The missing watch becomes a wrong name becomes an unfamiliar face

 

"Casey, she’s your daughter. Her name is Grace."

 

The MRI says his brain will die.

It’s shrinking in size

"Moderately severe cognitive decline"

I’d say my brain works 25% of the time.

 

Aggregated amyloids gain armloads of power in numbers

Daggers to neurons

Acetylcholine–minimal.

Memory and cognition–low.

But there still exists a familiar glow

Relationships hold strong and grow

 

Stage VI

 

With pajamas over clothes

And shoes on wrong feet

Casey wandered down the street

Marjoree had no clue

What she would do

Is he safe?

Is he alive?

Five miles away

Found hours later by police

In the park, at night

Feeding ducks on the lake

With a smile on his face 

Same person, different life

Different day? Same wife.

 

Needing care for 24 hours, more or less

Powerlessness

Absence, apathy, happiness 

Cureless, careless, carless, sick 

Making love has taken on new meaning:

Caring for incontinence and spoon-feeding

 

Who is bathing me? She looks familiar

Could she be my wife?

I don’t know, but she is very nice.

 

Stage VII

 

Name: Casey Jones

Age: 75.

Not entirely alive

Monosyllabic, senseless, but not useless words

I kreng kawfe mer jow

Leaves his mouth

Enters down a knowing earpath

Communication in emotions of the face

Smiling deep eyes, worried lips

Recognition of expression as a thrilling level of cognition

Meaning in moments

 

In death

An avalanche of memories of

Love, flesh, colour, sin

Collide, collapse and conquer him

Rise over run

To the end of Casey’s slope.

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