My parents are going to remain in Oregon for a few more days, so Joshua and I are still caring for my parents' dog.
Joshua does not go to work until 11:15 a.m., so he is with the dog until that time. The dog is alone in our apartment from 11:15 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. or so, when our landlady gets home from work. She lets Rex out and allows him to run around the yard for a while before Josh and I get home, which is very kind of her. Rex seems to be perfectly content spending a few hours each day in our apartment alone. I think he naps most of that time.
My parents are doing OK. My uncle suffered horrible burns during his radiation treatment--a very aggressive course of therapy was required--and, according to my parents, he looks very bad indeed. My father said that it was all he could do to keep from crying when he first saw him.
My father was the only one of my uncle's siblings that my uncle's wife called and asked to come to Oregon. My parents did not know, until they arrived in Oregon, whether my uncle's wife had called other siblings as well. My uncle's wife must have been terrified at the results of the radiation treatment, which have included burns and severe blistering, and apparently she did not know anyone else to call.
My parents had never met my uncle's wife before they arrived in Oregon on Saturday. She is his second wife, and she has been married to my uncle since 1989, but she did not accompany my uncle to Iowa to attend my grandparents' funerals in 1990 and 1993, as she had never met my grandparents. Consequently, this was my parents' first opportunity to meet her.
She is in great distress now, which is to be expected. My uncle is weak and fatigued from his many treatments, and it is almost all he can do to get up and sit in a chair for a few hours each day. A short walk around the yard is a major challenge for him.
There is little my parents can do except offer assistance around the house, and offer support and encouragement to my uncle and his wife. My mother is taking care of the house and meals, and my father stays at my uncle's side most of the day, sometimes talking and sometimes not.
I asked my father why my uncle called him, and no one else in the family. My father really does not know the answer to that question. His only response to me was "He knows I'm dependable".
My father told me that my uncle remarked to him "Now, I regret that I never had children. At times like this, a man needs children. You are lucky. You have three fine boys to look out for you."
My father did not know what to make of that remark, and neither do I. Did my uncle not have children because he was too focused on his work, or were there other reasons why he and his spouses elected not to have children? None of us knows the answer to that question.
My father says that my uncle has been asking many questions about me and my brothers, which my father finds odd, as my uncle never exhibited much interest in us before now. My uncle asked to see photographs of us, so my mother called my brother in New York (he is the camera maven among us three boys) and my brother sent some photos to my parents via email.
My parents said that my uncle cried when he looked at the photos.