This has been a tough week, with tougher weeks to come. On Tuesday afternoon, I received a call telling me that my brother was 'not well'. The call came from his neighbours on the share-farm out of Port Macquarie. Generally speaking, they each mind their own business and might not see each other for a week or more at a time. I have been known to ring them and get them to check on him when he doesn't answer his phone. This time it was not hard to diagnose the problem; I could do it over the phone. He had suffered a stroke. I spoke to him on the phone; he was hazy and non-communicative. Apparently, it had happened maybe 4 or 5 days earlier and he was wandering around confused and hungry.
A neighbour took him into Wauchope Hospital and he was quickly transferred into the Stroke Ward in the Port Base Hospital. Which is where we found him on the Thursday.
The gerentologist left us in no doubt as to the severity of the stroke. The left half of his brain in nearly totally destroyed. And there is a haemorrage into the dead areas. All caused by an irregular heart-beat for which he was getting inadequate care. All they can do is prescribe bed rest. No medication or surgery will solve the problems. He can walk, but his speech and understanding are grossly affected. And the clots will continue to be thrown off, causing more infarcts. If he can survive the next few weeks, the seeping blood has a chance of being reabsorbed.
This week coming he will return to Wauchope Hospital, and the social workers will decide where he will be placed for future care - either hostel or nursing home. He will not be returning to the farm here he has lived for the past 28 years. We were out there on Friday. Very sobering visit. We have a potential home for his dog, Free. We have engaged a neighbour to slash around his house to keep the bush at bay. He will also get Barry's car inspected once I have paid the green slip.
We have to do all the organising bits with no legal standing whatsoever. I guess we throw ourselves upon the Public Trustee. So good that we had the long weekend together at Lake Cathie just two weeks ago.
Barry is 66.