My father has entered a state I think of as Schrödinger’s Patient, or Schrödinger’s Parent.
Intellectually, I know that he’s dying but there are times that I don’t know if he’s dying quickly or slowly. Sometimes he has energy, his eyes are animated, or he sits up in bed and leans forward to engage you. Other times, he lies back, he drifts, he looks at things that aren’t there.
It’s an uncertain state. A quantum fluctuation between this life and the next. Maybe. Yesterday we opened the window when we visited. It had gotten a bit warm, and the predictable afternoon breeze was welcome. He remarked upon it at least twice.
“This is great. The wind. The breeze. I’m really enjoying it.”
He wondered about where he was going. What was the next thing that was happening. What is the next state? What is the transition?
I thought he was going to talk about his faith, or his thoughts about death. Then he shifted a bit in the bed and said, “I might be going here.” And then he turned to the other side, “Or I might be going there.” And he stretched his toes, “Or I might reach my feet down and scoot off the edge of the bed, and use my walker.”
“I don’t know.”
He’s entered a kind of profound lizard brain state, when the smallest movements, actions, and thoughts demand utmost attention. Philosophy wasn’t really on the menu.
It’s both affirming and sad to see it happen to a man who had such intellectual curiosity through his life. He mused that “all one’s accomplishments… deciding which side of the bed you were going to curl up on.”
But the breeze was good. And that was all he needed at that moment.