Next week's cover story, currently titled Insult to Injury, explores the social isolation and tragedy that often befalls those who suffer head trauma.---
While I was working on it, my aunt in the south east of England was put into Seaford Retirement Home. She's suffering from Alzheimer's. As I talked to mentally handicapped folks fighting to get back into society at places like day treatment center Alliance House, at the back of my mind was Aunt Joyce, fading into the twilight of her disease.
My cousin kept me in touch with emails. His father was dying at the beginning of this September so he took his mother to see her husband of 50 years on his hospital death bed. "We took Mum to see him yesterday, but today she is too confused to go. She knows he is dying, but does not really understand it."
He went back to visit her with his wife at the home a few weeks later. "While Mum does not necessarily know she is there, she seems very content," he wrote. She talks very quietly and they struggle to understand her. They stayed with her for 45 minutes. "4 minutes of that time we had a limited converseration, a cup of tea and a biscuit and the rest of the time she just fell asleep."