Dad, Dad, Dad

Photo 2011-12-12 5 38 53 PM

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.

Photo 2011-12-12 5 38 53 PMHe 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.

Can’t pull myself away

I’m sitting here, along with my wife, in front of the tv and wanting something different. Why can’t I pull myself away? I’m obviously not watching, but I am still hearing the dialogue and still taking in some of the goings on, enough that I know my focus is not on what I am doing. I am literally of two minds. One is listening (partially) to the tv and the other working on this blog.

In light of what I said in my last post about intensity I must be daft. It takes me back to school days where I would argue that I could watch tv and study at the same time. It is draining me on some level and much like watching a horror movie I can’t pull myself away.

I was talking to the Assisted Living Coordinator at Dads new home the other day and found her comments interesting regarding her work/home life balance. She was running pillar to post at work and I asked her if it was always like that, and what does she do to come down when she goes home?  She said she loves to read but when she gets home she’s too up, too wired to relax and take up a book. I can totally relate. Gloria thought perhaps in my case it’s because at work I adapt, essentially putting up a facade or front between me and work life. Unfortunately it requires energy to do so, much like a forcefield requires energy to maintain it’s shield. Then of course when I get home the forcefield comes down but my batteries are drained.

So here we are, full circle, at home with drained batteries and unable to pull myself away from the mindless sponge of television. Woe is me!

Mentally tired, Move complete

It has been a long few days, maybe closer to weeks by now since we started moving Dad.  Even the prior days/weeks I have been arranging doctors and trying to get finances and tax info straightened around, closing accounts and setting up new Doctors and Opticians.  It all took place since Friday 9th.  The culmination was over the last 4 days with his move into an Assisted Living facility in Trail.

He seems like he will really like it there, the smell of flowers in the air, the lawns, the friendly staff and maybe the novelty of the move itself.  He was exhausted when I took him home last night to spend his first night in his new abode.  I could see the strain on his face, watched him drag his feet and stumble down the hall, even with the help of his walker.  I don’t want to do this again he told me, I think I want to stay here.  We’ll see I thought, let’s wait until you’ve settled a bit then maybe another move closer to us won’t be such a strain.  Maybe he won’t make it until then, who knows.

On the drive to the coast to pick him up I had some time for some thinking, mostly about my stress level and how I was reacting to the whole event.  I pondered some of the articles and passages of books I’ve read lately, about intensity and what it means.  For me, at that time, intensity meant an infux of sensory data, a berating of my consciousness by the sights and sounds of the drive.  By the thoughts and memories I had of the past few weeks.  The mental drain.  Calgon take me away.

I felt like I was hyperaware of the sounds and noises mostly, lesser so to the visual stimuli.  The din of traffic, the thrum of the tires on the road and the throb of the engine were somewhat draining, that and sometimes the conversation inside the cab overloaded me as well.  I became conscious of “Intensity”, at least my definition at the time.  Was this all because of the past number of days events?  Or was i just more aware of what my body was telling me?  Perhaps a little of both.

Foul mood, 2 Strikes and a Home run

Boy did I get into a funk yesterday afternoon.  I was in a pretty good mood during the day, all things considered, but when I got home I just felt plain ugly.  Perhaps some of the issues regarding my Dad came to roost.

I’ve received news at last that he can get into an Assisted living complex in the area, in fact we can move him any time.  I spent a chunk of my time yesterday trying to come up with some plan and schedule as to how we can do that in as short a period as possible.  I had a couple meetings later in the afternoon and felt somewhat harried at that point, in fact I had to leave my last meeting a bit early to get out of the building in time to go to the airport.  I had to pick up my bag that had gone AWOL after my trip.  Unfortunately it was not early enough as I saw the airline counter people leaving as I was just driving up and there was nobody left there that could give me my bag.  Strike one.

Next stop was to the shop where work was to be done to my truck last week.  They still had my keys.  They also explained why they didn’t do the work requested, another mis-communication.  Strike two.

Then to home finally, where my wife went through the litany of things she’d done, mostly for me.  It just overwhelmed me for some reason and I got all uptight.  No verbal exchanges took place, instead I had a glass of wine (or two) chilled and had some smoked salmon for dinner.  All’s good, home run.

Still not sure what the cause of the stress/funk was but I felt better this morning.  Still have a whack of things to do for Dad, to accomplish his move in a relatively stress free manner, but we are making headway.  Just have to remain calm and collected.

Update on Dad – Good news

Some good news came through this morning, my dad’s assessment was completed and he’s been identified as needing more permanent assistance, ie placement in an assisted living facility.  That itself is not the good news, of course we (he and us) would prefer he be as independent as possible however his mental capacity and physical capability has diminished lately and more care is required.  That the assessment was completed is the good news.  Now we wait.

For me it’s a weight off, I was becoming overwhelmed with the process and my personal mental care was/is suffering.  I am trying to remain positive, to relearn some emotional skills, understand myself and improve.  Perhaps this was a test.  Did I pass?

Whew

Well I just finished cutting the lawn and cleaning up the edges among other things, I’m “all in” as they say.  Not sure who “they” is but “they” know their way around sayings.

My sister Br texted me telling me she’s talked to Dad tonight and he had no home care workers come today.  Not sure what that’s about.  She also said he was getting more pills from the pharmacy and she was curious why he had to get them, usually they deliver.  When I talked to Dads case manager yesterday she indicated he had to take his pills back to the pharmacy and get different ones.  Sounds like he (Dad) is not quite clear about what’s happening or Br misunderstood.  Possible  a combination of the two.

I really am avoiding this whole thing I think, I should likely be more involved in his care, albeit from a distance but this is likely when he needs me the most. It pains me to think about what is likely to happen to him.  The sooner we can get his assessment finished and bring him out here to live near us the better.