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Missing Georgie

October 29, 2022

Facebook reminds me that a year ago today I was enjoying playing in the autumn leaves with Georgie and Joe.

No leaf playing here this year.

Joe’s 90+-year-old mum is in hospital in Winnipeg, where he grew up, and he and Georgie have gone there.

It started off with hospital visits for breathing difficulties. Eventually, after Joe’s brother’s ex-wife the nurse stepped in, a proper diagnosis was made. TAVI heart surgery might solve the problem, but it’s a question of whether or not her assessment makes her a candidate. The assessment is taking a very long time and the odds don’t seem to be in her favour.

Thanks to “streamlining” of the health service by the Conservative government in Manitoba, not all hospitals offer the same service, so Mama D has been shuttled back and forth between hospitals for many weeks. Confusion has set in and is increasingly clouding her mind. Terrible for her. Harder for Joe and his brother.

My mother was younger than I am now when she died after a series of heart attacks. I would have given a lot to have had her in my life for many more years, but, assuming these things could be predicted, never at a cost of watching her mind slowly disappear. Mike’s mum already had Alzheimer’s when I met her. Over the next decade it just got worse and worse. It’s awful.

I feel for Joe. I really do. The situation in and of itself is distressing. The uncertainty is so much worse. Even if the heart surgery goes ahead and there is a physical recovery, the brain is not coming back. A move from the apartment he helped her move into last year into a proper nursing home seems inevitable.

And then what? When do you leave the frightened and confused woman who brought you into the world and return to your home three provinces and many, many miles away? It’s not even really a question of “when”, more of “how”? How can you do it?

Everything is on hold. He has no idea when he might be back. 

Georgie hasn’t been completely deprived of leaf play. They have leaves in Winnipeg, too. 

I’m missing them both. Every Friday I go over to check Joe’s post box and deliver its contents to the house. It’s so strange to walk in there to silence. No loud and enthusiastic greeting from Georgie. An empty house which is likely to remain so for some time.

No walks with them for the foreseeable, which, given how much I enjoy them, is sad for me, but nothing compared to what Joe and his brother are going through. At least he has Georgie with him.  

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