Monday, August 31, 2009
July 15, 2003
I wanted to drop you a quick note to tell you that a patient at F_____ P_____ Hospital named W......... L......... called me to tell me what an outstanding job you do serving as a chaplain at the hospital. He recently was in for a second eye surgery and greatly appreciated your spending time with him. He commented on your gentle, assuring manner and the spiritual strength you gave him.
God Bless you, Don, for using your spiritual gifts to help others by communicating Christ's love to those who are in a stressful situation and need the peace that Jesus offers.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Computers are connections and so are people we love. Some times it is scary to put his faith in the Lord. He has a magnetic condition he can't control... He can relate to Vets and sees combinations of names...
When I asked if Mom had visited him today, he told me she had, and she would be there throughout the day. I asked if his television was connected and he said it was, but when I checked later, I was told it wasn't. He asked me for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with some milk. After we hung up, I called and asked the CNA if she would order him a sandwich from the kitchen. She told me he would be eating soon, and I reassured her he would definitely finish his dinner.
I asked Dad if he would like me to paint him a picture with beautiful colors and movement in it and he told me "that would be wonderful! I would like that..." I will bring it to him in a couple of weeks when my husband and I go out to visit him.
Mom came to visit at lunch time to watch Dad devour turkey, gravy, stuffing, veggies, potatoes, apple cake, ice cream, coffee and milk. He was still hungry, so Mom gave him two more 100 calorie snack packs. Dad continued to sit and stare at his tray as if he stared at it long enough, more food would reappear. Mom asked him if he was still hungry, and of course he was so she ordered him a fruit plate. When it arrived, Dad finished off a large scoop of cottage cheese, a banana, sliced apples and sliced pears! Mom gave him his 12 almonds a bag of Cheez-its and he inhaled that as well.
She has a tough time when Dad does not make any sense. She doesn't know what to say, and gets upset when he ignores her or does not answer her questions. For me, it is easier to just let him talk, briefly comment, but just to listen to him.
His nurse is so kind. He clearly has so much compassion for Dad. He called to tell me after we talked on the phone, Dad seemed angry. Dad was still holding the phone with his mouth clenched like he was angry. The nurse took the phone and no one was there so he hung up. He asked Dad if he was in pain and Dad was fine.
God Bless these wonderful, kind individuals who extend their gentleness and care to patients who once were strangers, and now are treated like their own family members...
Saturday, August 29, 2009
We had planned on doing that for Dad back in May, but he was laid up with his rapid heartbeat and leg ulcers. Ironic how things worked out so my niece can move in, help, and keep Mom company.
Both my husband and I are feeling the effects of the heat...it is miserable out there! We watched Senator Ted Kennedy's funeral this morning. What a tribute to man, patriot and father.
Tonight we are going out with friends for dinner at Dan's Famous BBQ and to see Post Graduate. Wish it would cool off at night. Unlike California, it stays in the high 80's at night...just miserable. Thank goodness for air conditioning in cars, restaurants and movie theatres....
Friday, August 28, 2009
I called and spoke with the nurse and he assured me Dad is walking some of the time. He had walked down to the dining room for dinner tonight. Typical, Dad is so motivated by food, I guess he feels he will get it a lot quicker by going to the food! He told me Dad's hands were a lot better and that he was feeding himself.
Mom sat in a chair enjoying a cup of coffee the nurse brought her and watched Dad scarf a fish fillet sandwich, mixed veggies, cold slaw, milk, coffee and some pineapple upside down cake.his lunch as if soon someone would come and take it from him.
She wheeled him back to his room and helped him into bed. She read Dad some of his favorite poems, some lyrics to a few of the hymns he used to sing at church and some verses from the Bible. Mom takes it personally when Dad seems more entertained with the border on the wall up near the ceiling. Dad would start talking about negativity and Mom gently re-enforced the positive.
The nursing home has installed Dad's new TV, but it is not hooked up yet. His room mates, "The Laugher" was asleep and "Speedy" was out wandering the hallways, so they had the privacy but Dad was preoccupied with the wall paper border. She quickly got his attention by giving him two bags of cookies, some Cheez-it crackers and some almonds.
Dad sure seems to be more emotionally consistent. He takes his medication without any trouble and is no longer scheming ways to escape...He has a great appetite and still has range of motion. He seems resolved that the nursing home is where he lives now... I just want Dad to know we all love him and feel comfortable, safe and protected.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Not healthy for body or mind to neglect sleep...I read that somewhere lately...I need to recharge...
Spent the day running errands for myself and my husband. Came home and made phone calls. Some where after that I must have sat down, because I fell asleep.
My husband went grocery shopping after work and I put everything away. We went out to Claims Jumper for dinner. They had a promotion fund raiser where by, the total of the meal is multiplied by 15% and the restaurant donates that amount to Diabetes. We thought it was a good cause, and an opportunity to go out on a little date...
Now we are home, and it is too late to call Dad. No one called or emailed any visits with Dad, so I guess it is time for sleep. My eyes can't focus anyway...I am soooooooooo tired....zzzzzzzzzzzz
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Family: I went to visit Pops today. I found him in the lunch room eating along with about 40 or 50 other people. Some were eating and most were watching TV. When I broke out the ice cold chocolate shake and the juicy cheeseburger, all eyes were glued on me and Dad!
I mean, I feel bad that I did not have enough to go around... the way they were all lookin' at me...but hey, I am here for my Pops, I gotta' take care of him. I wheeled him out to the patio so he could have some privacy and no one would try to snag his food.
Here is what he ate for lunch:
Jack n the Box cheeseburger
Jack n the Box chocolate shake
Bag of trail mix from Costco
Peas and cheese dish
Side of carrots
Glass of milk
Glass of water
I got full, just watching him eat it! The kicker is, he fed himself 90% of it and it took him about 8 minutes to finish it all! I think he just "stamped" the food with his teeth and swallowed!
He was in a real positive mind set.
He said he needed to keep the faith, stay positive and appreciate each day. He said he really enjoyed his visit with Mom and " _____ Doll" last night.
I had discussed some things with Dad about how we all need to appreciate each day that God gives to us and he really latched on to that. I also told him, being at the nursing home, is away from "The Rat Race of Negativity" in the outside world. In many ways, it is really a very peaceful place.
I also told him to keep it simple and to remember the small things and the memories. I pointed out one green tomato on a tomato plant growing in a planter on the patio where Dad had just devastated his lunch. I reminded him of when he used to empty the fridge building me a huge "Dagwood" sandwich (the best lunch ever!). Dad smiled and said he remembered...
When he was workin' the trail mix, like it was the last bag on earth, and he had 18 seconds to finish it off; I asked if he remembered when he would eat nuts and how he used to shake them in his hand before tossing them into his mouth. Dad smiled, and the next batch he took in his hand, he did it. It was a Classic moment, and made us both laugh...
I heard the crazy cackle from the guy in bed one...(he could nail down the bucks in a haunted house!) I met Dad's newest room mate in bed two, he spilled his milk from his lunch tray. I soaked up the milk on his tray and bed. He spilled some on his PJ's on the outside of his leg and asked me to clean that too. I told him, "You're GOOD buddy" and left him a stack of paper towels. Funny guy...LOL...(He better save that trick for the pretty nurses...)
I lifted Dad out of his wheel chair to help him into bed, and as I did, he tensed up and keep repeating, "DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!" (it reminded me of Ray in RAINMAN) I reassured him, making sure he knew I would not let him fall. Got him all squared away, hugged him, gave him a whisker rub and told him I loved him. I asked if he was comfortable and he smiled and told me was.
That's all for now, heading to Vegas tomorrow morning. And Donna, it is just a turn around, I come back home Friday morning.
This was a GREAT visit!
Love you all,
Not only did my brother allow me to experience his visit through his eyes, but he made my day with his own unique way of telling a story. God has over Blessed our family with humor and togetherness. We are a family of great Faith and belief in God. It is one of our greatest strengths. Together, we use our humor for the good times and to get through the difficult ones...
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Dad has a new room mate. Mom and my sister call him "Speedy" because he talks non-stop. My sister went up to Dad and gently started to rub his shoulders so she wouldn't startle him. She faced him, greeting him with , "Hi Dad". Dad looked at her and said, "Hi Donna". Mom chirped in with "Guess again..." and then he recognized her, calling her by his pet name for her.
Mom brought Dad a magazine and my sister brought Dad a deck of cards. He used to incorporate them in a game he was devoted to prior to going into the hospital. He impressed her with his memory of the suits of the cards. She tested him by asking him what 6 plus 4 was and he responded "10...and 10 more is 20".
She has decided to bring something to interact with and interest Dad, instead of just sitting and chatting. She video taped him as well. We all feel the need to document things with Dad. We want to record everything, as everything with Dad is very precious.
We have decided to make a photo album for Dad with every one's picture in it. When we visit, we can bring it out and see who he can identify, and we can also use it to reference family when we share family news. I think Dad will enjoy just looking through it as well. I think it will keep him company.
As I watched the video of Dad, my first reaction, is Dad's short hair. I don't like it. I got used to his Clint Eastwood look. I think it suited him better. Now he looks like a "patient". His eyes seem so sunken in and his poor left hand...even the knuckles look as swollen as his hand.
Dad is curious. He wants to investigate everything. He loves to tinker and just enjoys the tactile experience and the mental challenge of figuring how things work. I watched his swollen fingers collect the cards and handle them... I smiled when he smiled when he held them. I know he will have fun entertaining himself...or coaxing one of the CNAs to play a game of cards.
Dad used to be a Magician and used cards in his act. Oh how he would entertain us with his magic tricks! I could see that spark in his eyes, as if he was thinking back and remembering how good it felt to hold those cards in his hands...
Tears come to my eyes as I write. I just sense his time is getting closer. I don't want to lose my Dad. It is so difficult to think of him not being in this world. I know he will always be in our hearts, but not hearing his wonderful voice and feeling his hugs.... just breaks my heart.
It just wrenches my guts out to watch this wonderful, kind, gentle, sweetheart of a man, wither away. Despite his example of having peace and calm in the midst of all this hell, just speaks volumes about the man we all love and know as our Dad...
Monday, August 24, 2009
Dad had thanked me for calling him on his birthday. Telling me how much it meant that I would think of him under the circumstances. Dad has always been so modest and unassuming. He was very worried about my living so far from home. I lived in Tucson, Arizona at the time. My whole family was grieving along with me, as my fiance was much loved by all of them. Dad did not want me to be alone, and was glad I was staying with the family of my fiance's partner.
My fiance was a narcotics detective and was the first officer killed in the line of duty in over 47 years. We had decided it would be safer for him to continue his line of work in Arizona, rather than come to LA county. So I had moved there a year earlier. He was killed during the drug bust he led.
Dad had been an insurance agent and was answering questions I had asked him about my policy. Dad reassured me my coverage was fine, telling me I had enough to be concerned about after such an emotional shock...
He told me he loved me and missed my presence. I sat on the floor holding his letter, drifting through memories...Thoughts of Dad always fill me with love and make me smile...
We used to walk around the block together when we lived at his parent's home in Pasadena. Back then, the neighbors used to burn their leaves. For some reason the sound of a rake scraping against the ground reminds me of Dad. When I first learned how to roller skate, he was with me. His strong hands holding my foot as he tightened them with the skate key and buckled the leather straps. He'd hold my hands and pull me along.
When he used to say my prayers and tuck me in at night, I'd wrap my arms around his neck and he'd pretend he fell asleep... fake snoring. Then, suddenly, he'd lift his head and me with him, making me giggle with delight. He would do it over and over before kissing me on the forehead and telling me to sleep tight.
When I was a pony-tailed preteen doing the dishes, he would come up behind me and lift up my pony tail and kiss the back of my neck, telling me what a great job I was doing.
I called Dad tonight and ended up waking him up. He sounded like anyone does in our family who is suddenly waken from a deep sleep... groggy and out of it. But, he didn't care, as soon as he heard my voice say, "Hi Dad", he knew it was me. There is something in the way Dad says my name, that warms me from the inside out.
He told me he could tell by my voice how much I loved him. God, that made me feel soooo good. I have always loved you so much Dad...good night, sleep tight Papa-Doots.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
When I had visited Dad last week, I had taken a picture my grandson drew for him and taped it to the cupboard to his closet so Dad can view it from his bed. Dad had asked for some pictures of the boys, so Mom brought in two recent ones and taped them beside the picture. I think it would be a good idea to get a photo album for Dad and fill it with every one's pictures so he can flip through it and see all the faces of those who love him so...
They brought Dad a hardy lunch of steak, mashed potatoes with gravy, mixed veggies, two slices of whole wheat bread, pudding, milk and coffee. Course he polished it off in a hot second, and his Angel CNA, brought him a cheese sandwich on wheat bread, knowing he would still be hungry. He not only finished that with gusto, but also a bag of almonds Mom brought, along with a 100 calorie snack pack! Sure nothing wrong with Dad's appetite!!
Mom read the Bible and his Daily Bread to him, but he kept looking off into space as if he was not really interested. He started rambling about bad vibes, but Mom quickly encouraged him to remember what my brother told him yesterday, to concentrate on the good.
She thought he looked tired, so she leaned in to kiss him good bye, and was pleasantly surprised to get a few compliments from Dad. He told her how pretty she looked and when would she be back to see him. That really shows Dad is feeling better! Maybe those anti-depressants are finally kickin' in...
He told Mom I had called and told him I loved him and he had told me he loved me too. What a wonderful gift that he remembered that...I tell him every night, even when I don't speak with him, when I say my prayers...
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Normally, that would be a meal in itself for most folks, but not Dad. His lunch arrived, and my brother fed all that to him too... PLUS ice cream. He brought Dad 3 more Palmeria flowers in a zip lock baggie. Dad enjoyed my brother opening and shutting the bag for him so he could take in the beautiful scent of the flowers.
Dad has a silver fox crew cut goin' on...thanks to the pic my brother sent via his cell phone. Most of his darker gray is gone and just a "snowy cap" is left. He told "Pops" to pose for me so I could see his new hair cut. Dad has a big smile on his face. My brother told Dad it was too bad they did not have any styling gel, so he could "spike" his hair for the picture. Dad laughed and told his son he wanted to look "cool" like he did.
My brother made me laugh when he told me how next time he is bringing his "buzzer" to trim Dad's eyebrows. He told me how "unorganized" they were so he combed and styled them for Dad.
Dad also enjoyed the Orange Tropical chewing gum my brother brought, not to counteract the scent of the Plumeria flowers...(no doubt), he thinks of everything!
He read Dad from his Daily Bread and showed him pictures of his dogs. Dad loves animals, so I know how much he must have enjoyed that. They did some praying together and when Dad began talking about the "good and the bad angels", he reminded Dad to only be concerned with the good ones...
Friday, August 21, 2009
Poor Dad can't even feed himself or go to the restroom, so he must rely on the staff to do that for him. Mom said his new "do" looks good. It is not a buzz cut, it is a crew cut. Hopefully one of my siblings will take a photo with their cell phones and send it to me. Mom has no clue how to use her cell camera much less send it via email...
I told Mom his left hand was swollen right after he went into the nursing home in Glendora. They put ice on it and it went down after a couple of days. When I was talking to Mom, I could hear the nurse come in and tell Mom they were going to do an x-ray and take blood tests.
I left another message for Dad's primary doctor, and AGAIN he did not call me back. I am going to call every hour on the hour until he calls or one of the nurses gives me the common courtesy of some kind of a response!! I left messages every day this week for Pete's sake!!! I wanted the doctor to know the same thing happened in early June with his left hand being swollen.
When I called the charge nurse this afternoon, he still did not have the blood results, but he said the x-ray showed osteoarthritis in his left hand (no change since June 8, 2009). He said the right hand was degenerative joint disease. He thought the swelling had gone down in Dad's right hand, and Dad did not want a pain pill earlier... so hopefully, he will be better soon.
I spoke with Dad earlier when I called Mom. Dad was very talkative and his voice was deep and fairly normal. He was very fixated on the pain in his hands. When I tried to change the subject and told him everyone thinks he looks very handsome with his new hair cut, he applied what I said to his hands. Then his lunch came... I know I come second to food these days, so I barely had time to tell him I loved him before Mom chimed in, telling me she had to hang up because his lunch had arrived.
At least he is eating well, taking his meds and seems more resigned to living in a nursing home. I feel very comfortable with the nursing staff and CNAs. They seem very caring and compassionate. I have never seen Dad looking neglected. Even Mom said the staff kept coming in and checking on Dad...sure glad, because he definitely cannot ring his buzzer!!!
Sweet dreams little Papa...we all love you so very, very much....
Thursday, August 20, 2009
He said Dad looked a lot healthier having gained some weight. I noticed the other day he was sporting a little belly action. My brother said mentally Dad can't finish a thought or a sentence. I keep imagining Dad's brain... The CT Scan showed his brain was so atrophied, the doctors were "blown away" he could still talk. I can't help but imagine all the short circuited neutrons and mental connectors in his brain. It seems like Dad had a forest fire in his brain cells and so much has gone...
Been trying to call and talk to the nurse and there is no answer. The operator said she is probably dispensing the meds. I'll try back in an hour... Just want to check in on him and the status of his hand. I will try to talk with him as well.
It is almost 9:30pm and I finally spoke with the charge nurse. She said Dad was more alert and talking more, but staying in bed. His hand still hurts. He has degenerative joint disease in his right hand, so that really limits him. Basically, it is old bones...I wonder if he should take some calcium. They are keeping his hand elevated with ice packs and giving him pain pills at night so he can sleep. The nurse told me she really liked his new hair cut.
I wanted to talk with him, but he was asleep...sweet dreams Dad. I'll talk to you tomorrow.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Spent the day unpacking and doing laundry. Bit by bit, working on my de-clutter project...
Called the nursing home to check on Dad. The nurse told me Dad's hand is still swollen and they are continuing the ice bag treatments. He's hangin in...being a good lil Papa taking his meds and eating all his food.
Still no call backs from both his doctors. Ticks me off! After my blood test tomorrow, I plan on harassing their offices to get someone to return my calls. The nurse said one of my brothers visited Dad today...but not sure which one was there...
Still tired and sore...think it is time to call it a night...
Got to my friend's house around 10:30am and we visited for awhile with her best friend who is leaving on vacation up to Oxnard to stay for a week on the beach... OH HOW GOOD THAT SOUNDS!!!
We left around 11:30am and and stopped in Baker for a bathroom break and to have some lunch around 1:45pm. Had to have a few Diet Pepsis to get my eyes to stay open. We left Baker around 2:30pm and got to my friend's house a little before 4:00pm.
My sister called. She and Mom went to visit Dad. They brought Dad more cornbread and a chocolate shake. More 100 calorie snack packs for his drawer and some chapstick, cause his lips looked dry yesterday. When they arrived, Dad had just finished a big hamburger dinner, but had no problem devouring both items they brought him. He looked more rested and kept his eyes open, looking more alert. His right hand was still red but less swollen. They asked the nurse for an ice bag and put it on his hand.
My sister noticed Dad still had some ketsup on his fingers from his dinner, so she wet a wash cloth and was attempting to clean his fingers on his left hand. Dad jerked his hand away from her like she had hurt him. Again, he seems to be very sensitive to touch...
Mom hung up and put away his clean laundry.
Dad was talkative, but did not make a lot of sense. He doesn't seem able to complete a thought or a sentence. They just allowed him to ramble and they intently listened. He recognized both mom and my sister, despite staring at the ceiling and out the window quite frequently. I think they feel it was not a good visit when Dad is like that; but, I feel Dad no longer has a social filter. He no longer is concerned if his actions seem rude or bored. I think since his psych meds were switched to the evening instead of the morning, he is awake more during the day and he has always been curious...
He has always had a vivid imagination too. The other day, when I was visiting him myself, he told me he was looking for ways to improve his room. I imagined him decorating it in his mind and that made me smile, because he was using his imagination and that keeps him occupied.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I just called the psych ward and spoke with both the Social Worker and the Meds Nurse. They had planned to discharge Dad today, but looks like it will be tomorrow. I spoke to Mom last night, and she said the psych ward had switched the distribution of his Namenda 10mg and his Lexapro 15 tab at night instead of in the morning, hoping he will sleep less during the day. I confirmed that this morning.
His energy level is very low. I would imagine that might present a problem with him at night having to use the restroom and being so groggy. I asked the nurse to ask the CNA to watch for Dad falling or for needing assistance to clean himself up in the morning.
It sounds like Dad is getting tired of living the "nursing home life" and the bathroom routine is wearing him down. I know he lives for our visits. Poor Dad has never been very good at adapting or spontaneous things. He has always been a dreamer who dreams. His habitual procrastination, unfortunately, was the demise of many of his dreams and plans...
He has always been extremely particular with precise ideas how he wanted things done. His plans were immobilized with his need to be a perfectionist. If it could not be perfect, it was not worth showing anyone. His self criticism would eventually result in shelving his project for later after more research. If he was doing something for someone else, he would throw himself into it completely, but for himself, it was a huge challenge.
I have learned so much from his examples. His ways taught me not to succumb to perfectionism, because basically, it is born from ego. Ego is all about oneself. Now, I view perfectionism as a one way street to not get anything accomplished. All those futile efforts end up feeding back on oneself and everyone can see it except the person obsessed with it. The person ends up exhausted, unhappy, dis-satisfied and full of regret.
I spoke with Dad last night during Mom and my sister's visit. My sister called me so Dad could visit with me on her cell. He sounded so tired, so confused, so fragmented and like it was a struggle to keep engaged in our conversation. I told him I would bring him hugs and kisses in two days along with an In and Out vanilla shake. I prayed and Dad kept repeating "yes" and I had him repeat our favorite verses to calm us down, "Lord, please keep me in your Spirit" and " I am a child of God and He loves me".
I need to physically see Dad. To sit in his presence and absorb how he is. To get a personal feel for his state of health. My sister thought Dad seemed out of breath. There is definite possibility Dad's health is declining faster than his mental deterioration. I will see and know more tomorrow...
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
He had a discussion with some of his friends about it as well, and one of my brother's good friends had such a bush, and bought him a starter plant. My brother had planted it and it began blooming like crazy, so he brought one in for Dad.
When he reminded Dad of the flower and then handed it to Dad to smell. Dad gave my brother a huge, bright smile after taking in a long sniff of the fragrance. Dad repeatedly brought it up to his nose and enjoyed the wonderful aroma, smiling bigger each time. He told Dad, "Hey Pops, that's a little piece of heaven right there," and Dad obviously agreed.
As my brother read some verses from Dad's bible to him, he stopped and asked Dad if he would like some gum. Dad really likes Altoids Cinnamon gum that come in a tin. My second to the youngest brother got Dad started on it. This time, my brother offered a spearmint type. Dad took a bite and his eyes just lit up with the fresh, minty, explosion of flavor in his mouth.
They had a discussion about good versus evil. Dad seemed preoccupied with the evil and my brother quickly reminded him "if Dad has God in his heart, evil does not stand a chance". My brother told Dad how he knew how loving Dad is. Dad tried to apologise for the past and not spending enough time with him, and my brother told him one apology was enough. He did not have to apologize ever again. It is forgiven. God knew how loving Dad was and holds him close to His heart. That brought another big happy smile to Dad's face.
He told Dad how much he loved him and got a "whisker rub" from Dad. He left the sweet smelling flower on the bed stand beside Dad's bed, along with a pack of gum. Sounds like a great visit. My brother always goes to visit Dad with positive energy and looks for only the upbeat. I think that is a great plan when visiting Dad...
Monday, August 10, 2009
I spoke with his meds nurse and asked her to ask the doctor to lower his dosage of the anti-depressants. She told me it takes 3 weeks to fully level out to see the results in a patient. We discussed Dad getting the Ensure shakes 3 times a day instead of once, and to remove him from the restricted diet. We can now bring him outside food into the psych ward. Course, we have no doubt have to "smuggle it" past the other patients.
Being in the midst of this difficult journey dredges up so many thought patterns. Some days I feel like I am losing my mind. The grief, sadness, over-protectiveness toward Dad not being able to look out for himself... It all swarms around me and tightens like a giant fist squeezing my chest. The burden of it is unbearable at times. Some times I feel I cannot take a full, deep breath.
I cannot help but imagine when I lie in my bed at night, thinking of Dad lying in that horrible place with shouting and screaming. Does he take himself to another place? Does he sink deeper into depression? Does he wonder how he got there? Maybe his delusions of getting a job as a Missionary give him hope and something to look forward to...
There is no way I can make sense of it. This journey we are all on is the same path, yet we may each take different alternate routes looking for a short cut. I can busy myself with no problem, but Dad is always with me. I see his face before me when I close my eyes and say prayers for his protection... and for all of us to have what we need to get through this...
Some times, when I find myself doing something he used to do, I wonder if I will end up like Dad. The thought terrifies me. The terror of it makes me less rigid, and wanting to be more compliant. I am referring only to my private life and relations to others. When it comes to being Dad's Advocate, I will not rest, I will be tenacious and diligent. I will not drop the ball, I will not give up. I have to stay on top of everything and make sure he is getting the best care we can possibly get for him.
I need to call my siblings and hear their voices. I need to know they are OK as well. This is just so difficult. I believe in God, but some days, it is so hard to understand why God would allow Dad to suffer this way, when Dad has been such a good person and such a faithful servant of the Lord...
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Dad's right eye is all goopy again..my sister got a doctor to look at it. He thought Dad had an eye infection and will prescribe some eye drops. It sounds like Dad is losing his spunk...I think it is those damn anti-depressants. How can he have Alzheimer's, be on Alzheimer medication AND anti-depressants??? I am going to look into that. I just don't like the way his voice sounds. It sounds so weird...
Dad keeps talking about this foreign land... somewhere he wants to go...I wonder if he means heaven? Dad is looking so weak and frail...he weighs 110 pounds. My Lord, he is literally wasting away! Are we ever going to get him OUT OF THERE!!???
Thank God Dad still knows who we are...I can't imagine going into that hell hole and having Dad not even recognize us...we can't feel we are deserting him when we finish a visit and walk out of that place...knowing Dad can't.
My step-son is visiting and I am trying so hard to put a smile on my face and stay connected. I feel like my body is here...but my heart and mind are in California wanting to be with my Dad, Mom, sister and brothers...
Friday, August 7, 2009
I agreed with him and thanked him for always teaching me the truth. He changed the subject and told me he was suppose to be in a foreign land...but could not remember where it was... I asked if he had watched any television programs about foreign lands, and he told me he had and what a great program it was.
I told him I was coming to see him next Thursday and I had lots of hugs and kisses for him. He told me he loved hugs and kisses... Suddenly he told me he had to go to the restroom and we said good bye...
I did make contact with the Social Worker today and she told me the Psychiatrist had stopped the Seraquil on Dad on 7/31/09 and had started him on the anti-depressant Lexepro on 7-30-09. The doctor had increased the Lexepro on 8-5-09. She did not know why, so I called the Psychiatrist's office and spoke with his nurse. Dad's main doctor is out of the country, so I asked for his Associate to contact me. I want to know if he was taken off the Seraquil for the Lexepro due to conflict? Is the Seraquil not working? (I know Dad particularly would refuse to take that medication and would refer to it as "the bad one"). Can an elderly patient with dementia take that medication safely?
I also told both the Social Worker and the Psychiatrist's office I wanted to be notified if Dad's medications are changed, stopped or re-started. I want to stay on top of these drugs they are giving Dad. I am thinking that is why his voice sounds "funny" because of the anti-depressant.
I will have to ask my siblings to check for "dry mouth", which would indicate the anti-depressant might be too strong...
Hang in there Dad....hang in there.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
If he slept all day, there is a good chance, he will be up all night...
Mom got a list of all his medications today at her visit. She arrived and he was in the lunch room finishing his lunch. Dad finally got shaved! She asked if she could comb his hair and he did not answer her. A lady patient was having trouble breathing, and Mom asked Dad again about taking him to his room and combing his hair. He agreed, only to lie down and close his eyes after she combed his hair...
Dad is not on the anti-psychotic meds anymore...maybe that is because he is on the anti-depressant. I tried to call the Social Worker three times, once she was in a meeting, once she was with a doctor and the third time she had already left for the day.
I called his Cardiologist and asked if he had changed Dad's heart and blood pressure medication. He hadn't, so it was Dad's primary care doctor. The cardiologist's nurse approved of the changes and took down the list of Dad's new meds.
I left a message for his primary care physician. We have decided since Dad has so little pleasures these days, why not take him off the low sodium diet and let him eat what he wants. Dad just LOVES to eat, so let him!! I think giving him the joy of enjoying his food is worth the risk to his health.
Out of frustration and sadness for what my sister is going through right now, I just broke down and sobbed for a couple hours. She and I had such a traumatic experience at the psych ward with the naked lady attacking us. I know it took so much for her to go back in to that snake pit for Dad. The fact she found him in such shabby shape, added insult to injury in seeing Dad so confused and deluded. My heart breaks when I think how heartbroken she is...
I know my second to the youngest brother is having a difficult time as well. Both of them just want their Dad back... We all do...but deep inside I feel him slipping further and further into that black hole called Alzheimer's...
I ache to see Dad...just to put my arms around him and hug his little, crooked, bony body. To look into his eyes and see him smile. To hold his hands and show him how very much he means to me. I feel so empty when I cannot hear his voice, even if what he is saying, makes no sense.
Even though I could not talk to you today Dad...I will call again tomorrow. I love you Dad. God Bless you and keep you safe through the night...
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
One of the big drawbacks, is basically Dad not taking his medication on a regular basis. I found out Dad is "his own free agent" and can make his own decisions. I thought, since we had an Advance Medical Directive and Mom and Dad had a Living Trust, those things were covered. Not the case.
The Social Worker was telling me in order to force Dad to take his meds, we would have to request Treatment for Dementia clause in their Advance Directive or have a Conservator ship. She encouraged the Conservator ship, and told us we could download the form from the LA Superior Court and file it ourselves. She said a Conservator ship contains 16 powers, but three specific powers refer to his situation that could help us down the road. I need to talk to her again by what exactly she means by that.
So far, in my research, a Conservator ship allows placing a mentally dysfunctional person into a locked unit, against their will. Is that what the Social Worker was referring to? Does she anticipate that down the road?
If Dad can refuse his medication, why can't he just refuse to stay in the nursing home? Or in the psych ward for that matter! What is the difference? Guess I have to put that one on my list of questions for tomorrow...
This whole thing is an absolute NIGHTMARE!!
I hope it never comes to having to place Dad in a locked facility...that would be more than I could even imagine.
When I talk with Dad, he still recognizes my voice... most of the time and he either tells me he loves me or responds he loves me after I tell him before I hang up. But, all the "talking" in between is usually him rambling about things that make no sense at all, bizarre comments and his ever constant obsession with the "repetitive syndrome" of having to urinate or defecate. Whatever bizarre comments he makes, such as going to Iraq and joining the Muslims has to be impressions from watching the television news. The other day, he was going to become a missionary and take care of the children.
I know Dad has been a procrastinator most of his life and if he has any connection to that, he must have many regrets and sadness. There's a lesson in there about not putting something off, and to take action to follow your dreams, no matter what.
Maybe it is the distance and being away from Dad, reading all my families emails, but I feel God gave us a miracle on Father's Day. Since then, he seems to be in a steady down hill decline. It is highly doubtful, Dad will get any better...
My youngest brother said it best, "We need to look for all the positives we can on our visits with Dad"... "If Dad knows who we are, that is a positive"...