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That’s a medical term. It describes a condition that is developed by friends and family of people who have encephalobrainfuckitis. If you don’t know what that is and don’t want to click the link, basically it means cerebral atrophy and she will continue to go downhill. She’ll go down a little, fight her way back up and stay there for a while (and no one knows how long), go down a little more .. have a harder time coming back out of it … etc. Ad nauseum.

They told me this would happen to MoC. I even saw it for myself when she was at the rehab center – or “the home” as she calls it – days when she was so tired she could hardly move and times when she was mentally fuzzy and confused. For some reason, even though they told me it would only get worse over time, I thought – no, I convinced myself – that it would just go away and stop happening.

The last couple of days were really rough for MoC. When she’s like that, she doesn’t have good coordination, is more prone to falls and is confused as hell. Yesterday she not only couldn’t track a conversation but she couldn’t even track what she was saying as she was saying it.

Today I got off work a little early and went to see her. And she was perfect. So perfect in fact that I was wondering if I had encephalobrainfuckitis.

We sat outside on the porch for a while. She was telling me about her care-giver who is a real pain in MoC’s ass. MoC was trying to stab herself take her blood sugar and Joy was hovering, trying to help and getting in the way. So I told MoC to tell her to knock it off.

Me: Just say something like, “It’s better for me if I do as much as I can on my own.”

MoC: Did you just mimic me?

Me: No!   (and I didn’t. Honest)

MoC: Yes you did.

Me: No, I was just saying …

MoC: Well, it was just like watching myself say it.

Me: I didn’t mean to, sorry.

MoC: I know you didn’t mean to!

And then she mimicked herself.

MoC: “Do you have a daughter?”  “Can I deny it?!?”

No, MoC, no you can’t.

Remember when she was dreaming that she was in another room? That’s happening again. She told me that last night she woke up and she just knew she was in a different room with different furniture – and she couldn’t remember who was with her that night. So instead of just yelling “Hey you!” she got out of bed on her own to go to the bathroom.

After my heart started beating again, I told her she absolutely cannot do that – ESPECIALLY when she’s confused like that. It’s just her brain messing with her, but it messes with her body, too, and that’s when she is most likely to fall.

We talked about my very last paper for my very last class. She told me to work on it tonight and that I would probably “put a large stain on it.” Then she shook her head and said, “scratch on it.” Then she looked me right in they eye and said, completely seriously, in an “I see dead people” stage whisper:  “It’s the stroke.”

Me: Dent in it?

MoC: Exactly.

When I got ready to leave she said what she always says, but with a twist this time. “I’ll be right here. I mean, I probably won’t be in another room of another house.” Total deadpan.


One of the things that I’m extremely good at is just putting stuff that I don’t want to think about completely out of my head. I do that with MoC’s situation because it’s a defense mechanism. If I think about it too much, I’ll just get overwhelmed. But the result is that it always surprises me when this happens. And it is truly gut-wrenching for me to watch.

Then it gets suddenly better and I’m left reeling from that, too.

But all I have to do to put it in perspective is think about how difficult it must be for her to deal with. When she woke up last night, she didn’t recognize her own surroundings. I can tell her she isn’t losing her mind, that it’s the encephalobrainfuckitis, but how much comfort is that?

I can’t even imagine what it must be like to not know what your brain is going to do to you from one day to the next.

When I think about it like that, I realize that she’s probably one of the bravest people I know. She doesn’t let it get her down – at least not that I can see and I know her pretty well. How do you face something like that – something that seems to happen randomly, without warning – and still manage to enjoy as much of your life as you can?

People have told me I’m a lot like my mom. That’s not true, though. I will never fill her shoes. I can’t even stand in her shadow.