We met with Dad yesterday, my wife and I. I had my girl call his girl and we did lunch.
First we had to see his doctor. That was the result of a call I got from Colleen the other day. She is one of the care aides at his “village”. She relayed to me that Dad is having more pain at night now and I guess he’s buzzing the aides at night trying to get another Tylenol.
He still doesn’t quite seem to understand the fact that there are no pills to get. At this stage, living in an Assisted Living facility, any medications he has been prescribed can only be given to him if they have been put into blister packs by the pharmacy. There are no meds of any kind that can be taken, or given, on an as needed or as requested basis. This is to prevent residents from self administering, or perhaps preventing other residents from “helping someone out” by providing meds. Any and all medications are also kept under lock and key, accessible only by the aides.
Both the doctors visit and lunch went well, although he is still easily confused during professional visits. He has challenges hearing even with his hearing aids and unless the questions are put slowly and with some volume he has trouble understanding. I find I often interject and sometimes I think it’d be better if I just kept my mouth shut. It’s good for him to converse with others and it’s equally important that the professionals talk to him. Often I find they will pose their questions to me, but that further alienates Dad from the conversation.
We were fortunate in this instance as the doctor speaks easily to Dad and he seems to like her. She prescribed an additional Tylenol 3 for his nightly meds and hopefully that will keep him pain free through the night.
Lunch was our typical event, conversations circled around family members and what they are up to. I questioned him as to which of his sisters he has chatted with and whether my sister has called.
Sometimes he’ll come up with some nugget of info that we have no clue as to it’s significance. As an example a few weeks ago he asked me to guess who he saw in the mall. When I couldn’t come up with the answer he told me it was Larry and Ida. Well blow me over. Both have passed away, Ida some 25 years ago and Larry 2 years ago. When I mentioned this to him he said it must’ve been his son then. It’s hard to tell what’s the early dementia and what is just an honest mistake.
He seems to enjoy lunch with me though and will often want to pay. I allow him to most times and while it could be seen as taking advantage of him I believe it makes him feel good. He sees it as repaying me for my efforts in making his appointments and catering to his various needs. He has little in the way of outings and has no means to do something for someone else either. Here he can take his “boy” out.
“How pleasant it is for a father to sit at his child’s board. It is like an aged man reclining under the shadow of an oak which he has planted.” -Sir Walter Scott
I have to remind myself he won’t be here forever either. This time with him will end, sooner rather than later. Even though I lament his frequent idiosyncrasies it is often part of our aging process. Whether I like it or not I may be in that situation at some point myself. At that point it may be my daughter taking care of me, and she will be saying “Dad, Dad, Dad”. Lord help me.