Last night I came home to find the above message from Evelyn, my eighty-five year old neighbor advising me as to her daughter's current medical condition. Together they share a small apartment in my building with Evelyn the live-in nurse. It may seem cruel to post a message like this but for the past several years I've been listening to her melodramatic updates ("The doctor says she won't make it to Christmas") as to the seriousness of her daughter's many ailments and lately I've grown skeptical. Like other people here, I've run errands for them, lent them small sums of money and offered countless, if meaningless, words of encouragement.
But I've also begun to see more erratic behavior from the daughter as she shuffles through the courtyard in her flannel nightgown with her ever-present flyswatter and smoking her cigarillos ("doctors orders"). Lately she's begun to stand totally still on the landing lost in what I'm guessing is an opiated haze.
The low point occurred earlier this week when the daughter collapsed outside their door. Not surprisingly, Evelyn screamed bloody murder. I dragged her daughter inside but although she was trying to talk, for the most part she seemed merely oblivious to her situation. Later I tried to talk with Evelyn about the possibility that painkillers are a big part of her daughter's problem but she wasn't listening.
In other words, I wish them the best but I've begun to detach myself from their lives.