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Death and disability

One of B's housemates died last week. He was 40, and just didn't wake up one morning. Like her, he would have been unable to tell anyone that his tummy felt sore, or his chest felt tight, or his head felt funny, and of course it might not have made a difference anyway. (I assume that the necessary investigations into cause of death have been made, and I don't expect to hear the outcome; we're not his family.)

I went to see B yesterday for the first time since our holiday (and obviously the first time since her housemate died). She was, simply, sad, and wept tears of grief beside me as we walked in the gardens. I'm sure that she knows that a sad thing has happened and that the chap who used to sleep over there isn't there any more; I'm certain that she will have picked up on the mood among the carers, who of course are devastated. The cliche is that autistic people lack empathy; this simply isn't true.

B doesn't do cuddles, but I was glad to be able to take her out for a small change of scene. I drove her to a couple of favourite walking spots but, while she enjoyed the drive, she wasn't interested in leaving the car (this is normal enough if she is feeling under the weather) and then required a lot of persuasion to go back to her house at the end of the trip. Again, I'm not terribly surprised that she wasn't rushing back to the awareness of a new absence.

B's own lifespan should in principle be the same as anyone else's, meaning that she may well outlive us by a couple of decades. On the other hand, she too may miss out on diagnosis of some life-threatening condition because she cannot tell anyone where the sore bit is. Neither of those thoughts really helps me sleep at nights.

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
inner_storm
Aug. 28th, 2016 07:03 am (UTC)
That's so sad... were they roommates for a long time?

I'm glad you were able to take her out and she was able to grieve...

Of course this worries you... It's difficult...
nwhyte
Aug. 28th, 2016 07:17 am (UTC)
B moved to her current accommodation in September, just under a year ago. It's always difficult to know to what extent you could describe her relationship with her housemates as friendship. But she noticeably enjoys hanging out in the communal spaces, even if she does so without otherwise interacting with anyone, and she would certainly have a strong awareness of any change of circumstances.
rosefox
Aug. 28th, 2016 07:06 am (UTC)
I hope that in some fashion she is comforted by her memories of him.
mizkit
Aug. 28th, 2016 07:26 am (UTC)
Oh, poor B. Poor you. *hugs to all* (Well, possibly not B, who would almost certainly not appreciate hugs from a stranger. Love to all, then.)
atreic
Aug. 28th, 2016 08:23 am (UTC)
That's so sad. Thinking of you all
alitheapipkin
Aug. 28th, 2016 10:45 am (UTC)
That is very sad, best wishes to you all.
rmc28
Aug. 28th, 2016 12:26 pm (UTC)
How utterly sad, and I empathise with your worries. You are all in my thoughts today.
daegaer
Aug. 28th, 2016 01:52 pm (UTC)
That's very sad - poor B, and of course, her poor housemate and his family. And what a worry for you.
bohemiancoast
Aug. 28th, 2016 03:09 pm (UTC)
This must be very horrid, both for you and for B. I'm sorry.
trepkos
Aug. 28th, 2016 04:43 pm (UTC)
So sorry. Why can't she tell you when things hurt?
nwhyte
Aug. 28th, 2016 04:52 pm (UTC)
Because she can't talk. Background here and here.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 28th, 2016 07:18 pm (UTC)
Condolences and commiserations N. I try to remember every day that the most important part of my job is working to make access to NHS services easy for everyone as far as I can in my role. So thank you for this reminder of what really matters, and best to you all.
nwhyte
Aug. 28th, 2016 09:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks, anonymous commenter.

But before we get any deeper into the NHS I should clarify that it doesn't apply for me here in Belgium.
strange_complex
Aug. 28th, 2016 10:23 pm (UTC)
I'm really sorry for B's loss, and for her whole community. Your point about her vulnerability to missed diagnoses is very sobering, and I'm not surprised it worries you. Something similar probably happened to a friend's sister-in-law recently, who similarly couldn't really communicate her problems. But I suppose every life has its own dangers, and it's clear from your collected journal entries that B's life means being cared for, protected and loved by a lot of people and to a very high standard. So I hope you're right that she will live as full a life as the rest of us. She has every chance.
makyo
Aug. 29th, 2016 08:08 am (UTC)

I'm really sorry to hear this. Best wishes to you, B and the rest of your family.

newandrewhickey
Aug. 29th, 2016 04:40 pm (UTC)
I'm so terribly sorry. I hope B's as OK as she can be.
shereenb
Aug. 31st, 2016 02:13 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry for B's loss, and I'm glad you were able to spend time with her seeing places she likes. I'm embarrassed to say I'd never before considered the implications of restricted communications on someone's health. But I understand how it would keep you awake at night.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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