Tim had an appointment with his primary doctor on March 5. As usual I went in with him. He had told me ahead of time to remind him to ask Dr. Gonzales about his coughing/congestion (chronic bronchitis), his “lurching” walk (“Sometimes I start to galumph and if I galumph, I have to run to catch up with myself”) and his increasing depression.
But when Dr. G. came in Tim started telling her casually that he’d had a couple of “little seizures” during the past month, one of them knocking him out of bed.
I was shocked: “Tim, you didn’t tell me!” He said sheepishly, “I told Jerry. I didn’t want you to worry.” Listening to Dr. G’s questions and Tim’s answers, I found out he had similar episodes back in his twenties and thirties, “mostly in libraries when I was looking up at the top shelf. I’d get a ‘buzzy’ feeling that would go away after a few seconds. Then once I had a big buzzy feeling and I woke up on the floor.”
“Did someone call 911?” I interrupted.
“No, people walked around me. It was only a few seconds. I wasn’t overly concerned.”
“But you’re having them again?”
“Just in the last month or so.”
At that moment, as Dr. G. was prescribing an ultrasound of his carotid artery and an MRI and referring him to a neurologist, I knew. This was it. I realized Tim can never–safely–live alone again.
When we left I was still processing this. But Tim said thoughtfully, “So that’s how it may be. I’ve had these little ones and I’ll just have a big one and that will be it. Not a bad way to go.”