They told me it would happen, but I didn't believe them (more fool me). I was young, optimistic, naive. Then it started ...
First came a subtle change in my awareness of scent. I noticed that I smelled differently – almost overnight. I no longer had that odour I associated with the previous me. I was wholesome – how could this strange smell of decay be me? Nobody commented but I could tell they'd noticed as once I'd have noticed it in others too. They were alien to me and now I was alien to them but not in a bold, obvious way.
Then came taste as an equally primitive manifestation. Food didn't satisfy me as it had. It became tasteless pap. I yearned for something more to satisfy me but nothing did.
I noticed my sight getting more blurry, and I couldn't stand bright light. I looked in the mirror. Was this vacant expression really mine? Other people and the world in general seemed less real to me. People snubbed me, even if they knew me. Others laughed at me or ignored the changed person I'd become. Some looked at me with disgust or horror, fearing one day this might be their fate.
My body stumbled, as did my mouth, too. My faculties were slipping as was the control of my body. Accidents happened daily because I longer connected with the world as I had formerly. Slow, staggered movements wrecked my body's fluidity of movement. My mind, once sharp, was now a blunt instrument (recall was negligible or totally absent). My talk was vague, faltering as my brain crumbled into oblivion within its bony cage.
It was starting to become obvious to others that I was no longer my old self but my wife refused to accept it.
'Ruby let go! He's becoming a danger to himself and everyone else around him – and that means you, too!'
'I won't give him up! My Jim, my Jim...'
'Ruby, he's not your Jim anymore!'
And with that my brother-in-law arranged my collection, to save his sister from the violent rages that were part of my condition.
They keep me locked in here now. The nurses control our behaviour through various drugs and physical restraint where necessary. Because I don't talk doesn't mean I don't think. I'm locked in this rotting shell and nobody can hear me screaming in rage and helplessness.
I won't forget you, you barstewards! You think I'm not aware of the brutal, de-humanizing treatment I receive at your hands? You think I'm a mindless, inhuman monster? Well don't turn your back on me in contempt or you'll find out how alive I am!
One day I'll...we'll break out of here – then watch out! You can't treat us like this forever and get away with it. One day the old and decrepit like me will rise up and revolt, then we'll see how much you care home carers, really care!