wings and things


on January 30, 2014

I saw Anthony this afternoon at the nursing home, and I showed him my blistered, peeling, bleeding hands and feet and told him that I had seen a doctor who had prescribed cortisone cream.

The doctor was more fascinated than concerned, when I told him I thought I had ‘pompholyx’. So, while I scratched away at my itchy hands and feet, he looked it up and confirmed my self-diagnosis. I just wish he hadn’t insisted on looking at my always-dirty-from-the-chook-yard feet – oh well.

Anyway, as I was telling Anthony all of this in my usual dramatic way, he pointed to his own hands and said he had the same thing. Well of course he didn’t have the same thing – it was just skin cancers on his old hands but I appreciated his empathy.

But then he whispered to me that it might be Parkinson’s disease and this is how our conversation unfolded:

Anthony: There is a doctor here who knows about it.
Me: About what?
Anthony: Your hands, this – he has black hair, young guy.
Me: Is he the doctor replacing the one on holidays?
Anthony: I don’t know, but don’t trust him, Jules.
Me: Why?
Anthony: He wants all of the Parkinson’s people in an experiment.
Me: Oh Ants it’s probably just a student doing a survey – is he asking you questions?
Anthony: Yes, personal. Don’t tell him anything, Jules.
Me: Ants, do you think you might be imagining or hallucinating some of this?
Anthony: I don’t know, maybe – oh and the family came this morning to take this place over.
Me: The Goyders?
Anthony: Yes – there’s a lot of money – be careful.
Me: I’ll check it out if you check out that whole doctor thing.
Anthony: One of them has red hair.
Me: That’s the priest isn’t it?
Anthony: No, the doctor – another one….
Me: I have to go now, Ants but I’ll be back tomorrow.
Anthony: Why do you have to go?
Me: It’s getting late, I have to get groceries, go to the chemist and look after Mingy.
Anthony: But where do you live now?
Me: I live at Bythorne, silly, on the farm!
Anthony: Do I still have a corner room there?
Me: Yes, but I can’t look after you overnight now because you are too heavy.
Anthony: But it’s still my farm.
Me: Your beautiful, beautiful farm, Ants, and Ming and I are taking care of it.

After this conversation, we hugged and kissed and I came home to Anthony’s resounding absence.

44 responses to “Surreal

  1. It’s amazing how loud and piercing the silence can be… HUGS!
    Diana xo

  2. These conversations have got to be difficult… but I guess if when you leave he is calm at least that helps some…. Diane

  3. Sending a hug. Hope tomorrow’s a better day.

  4. Touching post. “Anthony’s resounding absence” speaks volumes! I hope the cortisone cream takes care of your hands and feet. It sounds absolutely awful, and the last thing you need. Hang in there.

  5. Judy says:

    I was just thinking that you actually feel his presence even more than his absence. Such memories and reminders are what must be so sad. I live in my home where I grew up and sometimes I feel the ghosts of my parents swirling around me. It is both comforting and poignant. This Anthony that you visited today is a stranger. There is sudden and wrenching loss and then there is just “this.” This is the “long goodbye.” I remember it so well. It is grief and you are grieving him while he is still alive.

  6. FlaHam says:

    Julie, the love you have for Ants is beyond anything I have ever encountered. It so wonderful to watch even now, it must have been truly amazing back in the day. It is wonderful you have this love to share, and it must sometimes be a burden. But you manage it quite well. Please take care, be safe, Bill

  7. Hugs. My heart opened up as I read this and the silence was filled with the beauty and wonder of the love you share. Thank you.

  8. mimijk says:

    It hurts so damn much…sending you so much love.

  9. Oh, I’m so very sad for you Julie. Such a cruel disease! My sister tells me that mom is very confused a lot of the time too. I’m going to see a huge difference in her when we get home again to South Africa. Hugs to you.

  10. I give you a lot of credit for keeping up with your husband’s train of thought. That must be exhausting! Good luck taking care of your hands, that sounds like no fun at all. 😦

  11. I hope that the cortisone cream works and big hugs from me to you 🙂

  12. I love your love Julies. ❤

  13. bulldog says:

    The itching I went through a while back has been identified as an allergic reaction to fragrance added to a soap I was using… they made a mix of cortisone and aloe and that helped clear the problem…
    Sterkte with Ant, must be difficult what you go through… I still stand in awe of your handling the situation…

    • jmgoyder says:

      Yes I am avoiding all chemicals – like fragrant soaps.
      When I was a nurse, working with people who had Alzheimer’s disease, I learned how to converse on their wavelength and this has helped me a lot.

  14. There is a resounding silence when someone we love isn’t where we want them to be. Sending you, Ming, and Anthony a really really big hug from San Diego on this last day of January.

  15. Sending you warm hugs…

  16. Lynda says:

    That last line made my throat go tight…
    sending a (O) to you, Julie.

  17. viveka says:

    This can’t be easy … you’re one of the strongest women I know – but I suppose that there is no way out from this. So glad that you still have the kisses and hugs!!!

  18. mrs fringe says:


  19. That absence and silence can be the hardest thing in the world. Hugs to you Julie.

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