This blog was formerly dedicated in 2009 to my Dad who died of Alzheimer's in 2013. It's been three years now...and I find myself missing I am re-inventing my blog... because, after all, life is about moving through, and going forward...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Am I looking for something that is just not there?

When Mom and I checked in at the nurses station at the nursing home, the charge nurse, told us Dad had taken his meds and eaten both his breakfast and lunch. She said he was being " a good Papa", and Dad had been walking around the halls most of the morning.

Mom and I brought clean clothes, some socks, shoes, his slippers and another pair of sandals for Dad. We brought him some cornbread with honey spread, which he loved and really "perked up" for... Food seems to be a real motivator and something that peaks his interest.

I asked Mom to read her book out in the lobby, so I could be "one on one" with Dad. I thought I could evoke more conversation from him that way...

Dad seems almost disconnected. He did not have his usual reaction toward me when I came into the room. He was staring at the wall in front of him with one hand in his lap and one hand stuck inside the wet wipes dispenser. Almost suspended, like he forgot why he was reaching for the wipes. He looked at me with kind of a "blank stare", as if he was not sure who I was. It kind of seemed like he was in a trance. He seems to move in slow motion. Often, he would look away from me and gaze and search the wall, like he was looking at something.

At times, he seemed annoyed or upset. Some times angry or agitated. I would hold his hand, hug him, kiss him or tell him I loved him and he seemed to "tune in" a little more...but still seemed distant... like a kite flying high above my head, and I had to pull him in.

If I sat down too close to his legs, or hugged him too tight, he reacted like I had hurt him. Periodically, Dad would kind of gasp or shiver, like he had a chill, yet his hands were warm and he said he was not cold.

As my brothers visits the past few days, Dad repeatedly mentioned the same phrases, "It's all part of the plan", "It's all about Mom's plan" and "It's all about God's plan". Those were the biggest sentences he used, except for "I like ice cream", so I went and got him some strawberry ice cream from the nurse.

He seemed like a little child when I would give him the ice cream and the 100 calorie snack packs. I offered him a choice, the chocolate grasshoppers or the pecan sandies...and he told me he wanted BOTH. Then he literally inhaled them, shoving several in his mouth at a time.

As I was helping Dad get more comfortable, I noticed his legs are so thin, as if his calves have shrunk. His feet are a bright purplish red. It feels like something is wrong. I don't know what it is exactly, but I know I will call both his primary and psychiatrist and ask them to examine Dad soon.

Dad's room mate was not comatose today...he was AWAKE and making noises and kept letting out the most fiendish cackle... I felt so bad for Dad to have to listen to that. I decided to read the Bible to Dad, and in doing so, it seemed to calm down his room mate as well, because he was suddenly quiet. Dad closed his eyes and calmed down too.

I was there about 2.5 hours and Dad seemed to be tired. I told him to rest because his dinner would be there in about an hour.

When I usually look into Dad's eyes and tell him I love him, I can see the love he felt from me in his eyes and the love he was giving me. He told me, "I know" and I started to tear up...he said he loved me too...but I just felt so incredibly sad. I feel like dad is either giving up, or its the combination of his meds or he is sinking more into the black hole and Alzheimer's is claiming more of him...

Am I looking for something that is just not there? Is it simply the natural course of this horrible disease?

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