Aw Lewy, Lewy

Once again, the mystery of the brain.

In our family, we have a loved one who is fading. The doctors don't know what it is specifically (appearantly they learn about our ailments once we're stretched out on a cold slab). The terms dementia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's are bandied about inconclusively. Even "Lewy Body", a term that sounds like it originates more from major league baseball than from biology.

However, he is fading in time and space. His brain is producing fibrous tendrils of proteins�literally cobwebs of biological matter�and crowding out new memories, logic, even perceptions of reality. He masks his lapses in reason with humor and self-deprication. But even the home he has known for 22 years is becoming stranger and more dangerous. The stairs to his bedroom, the garage, the bathtub... all are navigated at his peril.

His long-term memory is still good: images of his childhood home, his mother, his brother, dates and details about Elvis and the music scene on the Mississippi Delta.

But the new memories are muddled and clouded by illusions, hullucinations, confusion and doubt.

When this happens to us, where do we go? Where does the spirit reside? In the frontal lobe? The cerebral cortex? When recognition goes, when humor leaves, when speech and gesture desolve,... where are we? Where will he be?