On the balmy day of March 11, Danny casually asked me a question, which I chalked up to another confused delusion that wouldn't amount to much...."Where are my cars?"
"What cars?" I asked. What do I MEAN, what cars? He went on to say that he had 6 or 7 cars which he gave to someone to sell when he left for Germany...or did he just give them to this person to watch over, or fix? He went on and on about it later in the day. He named the types of cars they were...his dad's Bonneville, a Camaro, a Mazda RX7, a black Jeep Eagle and several others. Some of these I knew had existed in the past, and some I hadn't heard of.
The next day he started up again about it. He thought 2 of his cousins, who he incidently never had any relationship with, had them and had agreed to sell them...but he was given the first 400 bux and never a cent more. He was angry about it.
As the days wore on, he talked about it more and more. It became an obsession. He became radical about it. He started following me room to room ranting about it all day long. They wont give them back. They are hiding them. I am telling them not to give them back. I have the keys to them, etc.
We made calls to his aunt, uncle, sister, mom, cousins. They explained what happened to the cars they knew of...smashed, broken and junked etc. Danny wasn't accepting the explanation.
As time progressed and we moved through the month of March, more and more cars were added to the list, until there were about 13 to 16 of them, and ones that I KNEW he never had. A Lamborgini, TWO RX7s, two camaros, a TransAm, an Eclipse etc etc.
Danny went on from morning til night about this, only letting it rest sometimes for a day here and there, and when he was sleeping. He was becoming irate. He wanted to call the local police, the state police, his command post in the army, the CIA and FBI. He was on and off with his coat, ranting and complaining. He called other relatives....the ones he actually said HAD all the cars. They of course were clueless.
After awhile it became so that Danny would pile us into the car and make me drive all over the countryside looking. Maybe they were at his boyhood/teenage house...he remembered seeing them there. Or some garage where he used to live. Or on a mountainside near the "camp zone" (another mythical place from within his juggled memory). We visited more people asking questions. I felt so embarrassed for him as he told people about this. Most knew he'd been in a wreck and was injured, but they had no clue that he was this way. I would try to shoot them "looks" so Danny couldnt see me, to try to get them to realize he was so very confused, but that he actually believed what he was saying.
This went on for almost two months straight...daily. So many car rides to look for them, so many discussions and debates. I began to realize that altho his cognitive therapist and doctor said to try to "orient him to reality", this would only anger him and escalate the situation. I decided it best just to agree when possible. It wasn't like I was going to make him believe something that wasn't true...he believed it anyway! I was sooo exhausted and irritable from the constant search. He wanted to drive my car to look for them and I had to start hiding my keys all the time.
There were other items he was missing as well...like a credit card he insisted he had given me to hold for him that had a tiger on it...or sometimes he said plants were pictured on it. At times he thought it was an army debit card, at other times it was just a regular credit card. Then he came to the conclusion that he had used this particular card to purchase all "the cars" over the internet and that he was now so in debt because they were withdrawing the payments from this (apparently bottomless) card.
He wanted to know where his big black box of cds was (I never saw any of these things), and his military ID card...where was THAT? And his black cell phone...not the one he had at the time of the accident, but another one he insisted he had since the accident.
He eventually got so radical about the cars that I had to schedule an emergency appointment with a doctor. I was near nuts. I could imagine the folks in his family, shrinking when they look at their caller ID, KNOWING it was Danny to go over the whole car thing yet again. Family would ask "Has Danny been asking about 'the cars' today?" THE CARS, as it became rather affectionately called....well, I guess thats the wrong word.
As time went on he mentioned the cars less and less. He would discuss it more and more calmly. About two months ago (July) he was mentioning it barely at all. In August he would ask me when he started asking about cars that he had, and just today I asked him if he still believes he had a Lamborgini. He said "no"...I asked if he thinks its POSSIBLE he had one...he said "Yes...I'm still wondering if I could have bought them."