Dr. Kenneth Ring on Terminal Lucidity

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Dr. Kenneth Ring on Terminal Lucidity


Quote:Käthe was among the most profoundly disabled of the patients at the asylum. Happich paints a vivid picture of her mental status. “From birth on,” he writes, “she was seriously retarded. She had never learned to speak a single word. She stared for hours on a particular spot, then fidgeted for hours without a break. She gorged her food, fouled herself day and night, uttered an animal-like sound, and slept … never [taking] notice of her environment even for a second.” As if that weren’t enough, Käthe suffered several severe meningitis infections over the years that had damaged her cortical brain tissue.

Yet, despite all this, as the woman lay dying (shortly after having her leg amputated from osseous tuberculosis), Wittneben, Happich, and other staff members at the facility gathered in astonishment at her bedside. “Käthe,” wrote Happich, “who had never spoken a single word, being entirely mentally disabled from birth on, sang dying songs to herself. Specifically, she sang over and over again, ‘Where does the soul find its home, its peace? Peace, peace, heavenly peace!’” For half an hour she sang. Her face, up to then so stultified, was transfigured and spiritualized. Then, she quietly passed away.”

Quote:The scenario is basically that Bill’s [Kathryn’s husband] mom, once a highly competent individual, became increasingly incompetent over the last few years. The onset was slow, noticeably starting in 2005, beginning with short term memory loss, putting things in strange places & throwing everything away to full-blown advanced dementia resulting in uncontrollable behavior, inability to reason, and inability to function in most ways. She could not sit still, she would wander all day and all night long; we put up baby gates to keep her out of the kitchen, and at night from getting to the rest of the house. She regressed to the mentality of an 18 month old, and was unable to put sentences together, often saying, “I want” or “I need” with nothing else in the sentence. It was rare to get a full sentence out of her most of 2010, and even back in 2009 as we struggled constantly to figure out what she was trying to say. She had dropped from 120 lbs to 82 lbs. At 98, she began falling often, and finally fell on her side and broke her hip. In the emergency room, she was talking in complete sentences sometimes, i.e., “Get me a new leg.” That sentence in itself was amazing, but when Bill went out of the room, she turned to me and said, “Give me the bad news.” I did, telling her that her hip was broken. She said, “Oh my goodness”. She clearly understood. Several times after that, she told us she loved us, not to forget her, and that she won’t forget us, all in complete sentences that we hadn’t got out of her in months. 

Quote:On the day ‘the miracle’ happened, we reached the door, knocked, entered the room — and saw how my grandfather lovingly held my grandmother’s hand and, yes, spoke to her! At first, we just didn’t trust our eyes and ears. But then my grandmother looked at us one by one (all the five of us). Her large, beautiful eyes were perfectly clear. The haze of oblivion, of apathy, the ‘dead gaze’ had given way to an expression of limpid vitality. She who hadn’t recognised us for a year, who hadn’t even reacted when we visited her, addressed every one of us by name. On that day, however, my grandmother said in plain, clear German that she was glad to ‘be back’, and to see us. 

Then she looked lovingly at her husband, my grandfather, and asked us to take good care of him…She took his hand. I saw my grandfather’s face – thick tears were running down his cheeks. Between sobs, he barely managed to say: ‘I love you’. And she answered: ‘I love you!’ – and her gaze … I myself weep as I write this down, because I can see the clarity, urgency and love her eyes expressed that day as clearly as if I could see them now. 
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2023-06-07, 09:12 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 1 time in total.)
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'The clouds cleared': what terminal lucidity teaches us about life, death and dementia

Alex Godfrey

Quote:It was a heartbreaking process. After an ambulance delivered Marshall to the hospice, the staff introduced themselves. “The chef said: ‘Mr McMillan, I’m the head of the kitchen and you can have anything you want.’ My dad said: ‘Could I have a milkshake?’ I was standing there with the administrator, and I whispered: ‘He’s diabetic, he can’t have that.’ And she squeezed my arm and said: ‘Honey, none of that matters now.’ So that was hard.” Soon after that, her father began “experiencing visits from people who were already dead. One day I walked in and he said: ‘You see that room across the hall? Your mother and your grandmother and your aunt Dot have been in there just cackling up a storm.’ And those are all dead people.”

But one Friday, Marshall “snapped out of it”. He was sitting up in bed. “We saw him talking to somebody and the colour was back in his cheeks. There was all this excitement in the room – he was back to being himself. He was a very, very smart man, a very astute commentator on the human condition, and he was back to commentating,” laughs McMillan. One of the staff brought him his favourite drink, but he rejected it. “Now he was aware that he couldn’t have a milkshake. He said: ‘You can’t give me that.’” For the next few days he was back to his old self, but after that he once more withdrew from interaction, falling into “complete and utter separation”.

Quote:The opportunities, Eldadah says, are immense. “It gives us some pause with regard to our current theories and understanding about the nature of dementia. We’ve seen enough examples of this to be reassured that dementia can be reversed – albeit temporarily, very transiently – nevertheless, it does reverse. And so the question then is how.”
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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  • Typoz
Should we try to bring Merle into this discussion?

David
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  • Sciborg_S_Patel
(2023-06-08, 04:55 PM)David001 Wrote: Should we try to bring Merle into this discussion?

David

I already quoted the relevant articles in the thread.

Makes it easier to separate the Skeptic section (too often just noise) from the rest of the forum (the signal I am interested in).
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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  • David001

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