A few days ago I stopped by Dad's place to take Judy to lunch and then for a massage. Instead of meeting Judy outside of the complex, I decided to go to their apartment (since I was early) and have a chance to say, "Hi!" to Dad. He was at the table, in his pajamas, having recently finished breakfast. I gave him a hard time about his wardrobe. He responded with two or three words that made sense, followed by several words of mumbo jumbo. I asked him something else, and got a similar response. Often what he says doesn't always make sense, but the syntax of his speech is always correct. This new speech pattern was totally different. His statements almost always began with three words that were correct, such as, "Say, I need…" followed by several rhyming words and then a string of words beginning with the same consonant. So his complete sentence might be, "Say, I need vegan jeegan delta dingy doggish."
I asked Judy if this was new. Apparently, he was fine when he got up and through breakfast, and had just recently begun to have the communication issue. As we talked about this, Dad seemed to slip further away from the here and now, and continued his gibberish. Each statement continued to follow the pattern of several words in correct context, some rhyming words and then a string of alliterative words. In hindsight I wish I had recorded his speech. It was really quite fascinating.
Dad was seated in a dining chair that has wheels, and he kept trying to scoot away. Judy and I were seated on either side of him. If we asked him a question, such as, "Do you want to go sit on the couch?" He'd respond in his new pattern. We had no clue what he was really trying to say. Finally we were able to turn his chair to face the table and he put his head down on the table. He swore a few times. Sometimes when we asked if he was hurting he'd respond in the affirmative. Several times he indicated that his head hurt. However, other times he would say he didn't have any pain. Dad remained slumped over, alternating with having his forehead on the table, or having his head on his hand. Periodically he would lift his head and look out with bleary eyes. It wasn't clear if he really saw anything or even knew if we were there.
While this was happening Judy and I were watching the swift approach of a sever thunderstorm. The skies darkened. Thunder boomed and the sky lit up. The wind began to whistle and shake the windows. The tree outside the window was being whipped and small branches were flying loose. The rain pelted the windows. Hail began to pound down. Dad became unresponsive. He didn't lift his head. He swore occasionally, but didn't talk to us much. Judy and I shared concerned looks over his head. As the storm worsened, and Dad's conditioned worsened, the rain outside was matched by the tears in our eyes.
I couldn't help but feel the eeriness of the storm coinciding with the crumpling of my father. I couldn't help but imagine that some transcendental spirit was doing battle with the strong will of my father - perhaps trying to wrest him away from his earthly roots.
The storm blew past and the sun began to shine on the mountains to the west. The sun made its way to the grounds outside the window and a crew of grounds-keepers who had been chased inside, came out to resume their task of trimming the shrubs and cleaning up the branches and leaves.
Dad sat up, blinked his eyes a few times, and commented about how the men were raking the leaves and branches. His speech was perfect. He was 'in the moment'. He made perfect sense. He turned to Judy and asked about lunch.
Dad was back!
If I were more spiritual, I would argue that the storm was a manifestation of the angels' frustration and anger when they came to take Dad, and he refused to go. His will overpowering them.
It makes a great story….
Disregarding the spiritual aspects of this experience, one might come to the conclusion that my father experienced a TIA. It explains the behaviors we saw.
But having watched Dad slumped over, with his head on the table. Having heard him swear. Having seen the miraculous transformation that came about as the storm passed…
one has wonder!