The Last Days of Ptolomey Grey

The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray series  tells the story of a 91-year-old man who is forgotten by his family, friends, and even himself. He suffers from Dementia which makes him worse off until finally he is given a great opportunity to recover his memory for a while, and he uses this golden opportunity to uncover the mystery case of the death of his nephew.

So I started watching this show and since the first episode I didn’t know how to feel about this ragged, hoarding, old man they call Pity. Ptolomey – the P is silent. He’s nice but he’s taken advantage of by nearly everybody he meets. He’s the definition of a vulnerable elderly person.

But as I kept on watching and saw the “inner” light shine again, it made me think about the serious degradation of the brain as it goes through Alzheimer’s and dementia. As he remembers who he used to be, memories of buried treasures and killings in the South, he can also see how far he has come from the normal self he had. A shave, a new suit, a new confidence – that’s all it takes for him to look and feel like a respected member of the community and not a forgotten one.

What gets me is what’s going on in my mind. It’s a whole lifetime just spinning around in there, but not everything. Especially not the time when I was afflicted.

There’s a short discussion with Robyn that really put things into perspective about how it feels to forget:

– You think I made a mistake.
– What you care about what I think?
– What you think is very important to me.
– Them people don’t give a shit about you.
– Yeah, I know.
– Then why you ain’t listen to me? I could’ve got you out of there. Why you let them people fuck with you like that?
– You remember when you first met me at the repast? What’d I smell like?
What if you had told me to go in Niecie’s room, look in the top drawer of her bureau and bring you the red socks? You think I would have remembered any of that?
– No, but somebody could give you a bath, and I could get them socks for myself, so…
– Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, Reggie took care of me. Now you doing it. So let’s flip this.
– Flip what?
– What if it’s you who smelled like body waste? You who can’t remember from one word to the next. You who got the mind of a child in a grown woman’s body. What would you do?
And don’t say you’d jump out a window, ’cause you can’t even remember how to open the damn thing up.
And that’s how this thing is.
You don’t know whether to hate your condition or to hate yourself.
– You felt all that?
– Yeah. All the time.

This made me tear up like crazy. Don’t know why but I felt a sudden desire to donate to the Alzheimer’s society.

PS: The show reminds me for some reason of Flowers for Algernon * Daniel Keyes

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