By Paul Rucker
Key Themes: Mental Health, Real Life, Alzheimers
Battling monsters is a job for heroes. So what do you do when there are none to be found?
The story begins with a hydra disguised as an illness that grows two more problems for each one that is conquered. Before long a brain eating zombie emerges that gobbles memories slowly, relentlessly returning to feed over and over. It cannot be killed only endured. A shape shifting demon throws up roadblocks to increase suffering, not content to disguise itself merely as individuals but even taking on the face of an entire title company. Opposing them are people who use humor to fight despair, relationships to forge strength, and compassion to find understanding. The key is not in winning but in accepting the challenge.
About the Author
Just an ordinary man with an ordinary life is how Paul Rucker would have described himself until taken hostage by a battle he could never win, but needed to fight. An administrator at a small school district in Santa Cruz, California, he was born in 1952 in an area of orchards destined to become Silicon Valley. He is the father of three sons all employed in education. His main purpose in writing “Disorderly Conduct” is to share an experience that changed his life and perspective on mental illness. His secondary reason was to thank all the people who gave selflessly of time and resources to help a stranger, especially Rebecca Bumb and Nelson Hom. Always an optimistic, positive personality; Paul found those qualities severely tested when exposed to the ugliness of a mind unraveling. Ultimately his faith was reinforced by the actions of others that demonstrated an innate goodness in people which inspires them to help others.
Paula was out of intensive care and in a regular room by Saturday afternoon. Her doctor called and talked to my princess, who passed on the details to me. “Paula had a stroke. She was severely dehydrated so they had to give her lots of fluids, but she’s stabilized now and should make a full recovery…physically. They have her in restraints because she kept tearing her I.Vs out and wanting to go home. The doctor recommended she be given Halderol to calm her down…I
think it’s some kind of anxiety drug. I said okay, and told her we would bring the healthcare power of attorney and fill out the paperwork when we get down there. I thought we could stop by the condo and get Paula her photo albums. She’d probably like something from home.”
The last place I wanted to be was that damn condo, but I agreed. “We’d better get going then. I didn’t sleep much last night and I want to turn in early tonight.”
On the way down she updated me on our reluctant guest. “He or she has used the facilities, partaken of the cuisine, and observes the staff from the farthest corner beneath the bed. There is progress though; when I bent down to look it didn’t growl or hiss, just stared at me with those huge
“I’ve never seen eyes that big on a cat. Paula has big eyes too. Maybe it’s true about people looking like their pets. Gwen reminds me of you, graceful and elegant.” She smiled. “I wouldn’t describe myself that way. That sounds more like a description of Beck.
I’d say Gwen has my loyalty and wariness. She doesn’t like everyone but when she likes you, she likes you forever.”
That sounded more like Nelson to me. It’s funny how differently people’s perceptions can be.
“Remind me to ask Nelson how he would describe Gwen…and you.”
When we arrived at the condo I realized we had left all the lights on. No need to waste energy, so I went around turning them off while my princess rummaged for stuff to take Paula. I left the light in the dining room on. My wife commented, “Is that to keep the burglars away or make it
easier to find stuff to take?”
“That’s to make it easier for us if we need to come back here at night. I don’t know why we would need to, but when it comes to Paula I’ve learned to expect the unexpected.” The idea of a burglar busting into this place was pretty amusing. It might cure them of a life of crime.
The hospital looked more welcoming in the daylight. I had a little trouble finding where I was supposed to park. I laughed. My wife looked at me questioningly. “When we came here last night it seemed like I drove right in and parked. Now it’s daylight and I’m not as stressed, and I can’t
find the right lot.”
“You probably parked in the wrong lot last night and never even noticed. There it is.” She pointed to a sign with an arrow directing where to go.
The front desk was manned now. The receptionist brought Paula up on her computer and directed us to the sixth floor. We shared an elevator with a friendly elderly man carrying flowers.
By the time we reached our floor he had shared the sad story of his wife’s illness. We wished him luck and went to the nurse’s station to inquire about Paula. A helpful nurse directed us to her room.
This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 16 February, 2012.