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 blogging...so I am re-inventing my blog... because, after all, life is about moving through, and going forward...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The reality of Dad 's dreary life...

Mom went to visit Dad yesterday at the nursing home.  She talked to the Director of Nursing about my phone call to her about taking Dad out for Thanksgiving.  Mom told her we were still discussing and praying about what was the best thing to do for Dad...Mom told her we were afraid of him not wanting to return, and he has been doing so well, not having to go back to the psych ward.  She agreed with Mom and told her that may be a problem...

When I spoke with Dad's nurse yesterday, she told me Dad had been yelling at the staff because they would not allow him to walk on his own.  His gait is very unsteady, and he has already fallen two times.  The staff feel he should be in the wheel chair at all times, unless someone can assist him walking.  Dad does not like that plan, and wants to take walks inside the building and outside on the patio. 

When he lived at home, he took a daily walk every single day.  I imagine, when he slips in and out of reality,  on those reality days, he no doubt, does not understand why he can't do what he has always done...

Mom found him in the day room, watching Little House on the Prairie, on a huge big screen TV.  She watched two episodes with him and half of Pride and Prejudice.  Dad was more interested in watching, than talking, so Mom took the cue, and watched quietly with him.

Dad is still preoccupied and possibly traumatized from Halloween. He told Mom, "Tonight was going to be the scariest night of all".  Mom explained that Halloween was a week before his birthday, and asked if he remembered his birthday celebration.  He said he did, and was shocked so much time had passed. They watched more TV, then, suddenly, Dad told her, "I am very happy here, my prayers have been answered."

Dad looked out the day room window and remarked how beautiful it was outside.  Mom said there was an Asian family dining together out on the patio.  Dad looked at them, and told Mom, "There is one of our sons"... Mom said, before she could stop herself, she told him he was mistaken, and their son was not out there..

Dad told her one of my brother's friends came daily and read the Bible to him.  This time, Mom did not correct, that Dad was again, mistaken...

Dad's next Care Review meeting is on Tuesday.  I will attend via conference call, and Mom will go and attend the meeting. I am very frustrated at not being able to reach Dad.  It always seems "it is the wrong time" and they ask me to call back.  I call back, and I am disconnected.  Mom has warned me NOT to complain during the conference.  I know Mom is scared to death the nursing home would kick him out, if I made a fuss...

I am also concerned as to why I am not being informed of these issues with Dad...until I call them! I am the first on the list to call, and it is not happening consistently.  Bottom line, I HATE that Dad has to be living there in that nursing home.  I just HATE IT.

The reality of Dad's dreary life, really has me in an emotional tail spin.  Especially, with the holidays approaching.  As much as I want him to be there, it is now clear to me, we would need an aide to assist us with him.  He needs so much care and supervision.  He can do very little for himself.  He would feel embarrassed to be in a wheelchair when everyone is walking around.  All the noise, laughter, talking, he gets overwhelmed if too many people are talking.  He still does not have his hearing aid either, so he would feel left out not being able to even hear.

Dad could very well become agitated and emotional being inside my brother's home.  There is a possibility, Dad may not want to go back to the nursing home.  He used to tell us all the time how much he wanted to come home or to one of our homes. It could be dangerous if he did not want to stay in his wheelchair.  The last thing we want to happen, is Dad to get so upset and get combative.  We don't want him to end up back at the psych ward...

The Director of nursing told me we could not take him longer than 4 hours we also needed his doctor to give us permission, via a doctor's order.  To me, that is ridiculous, getting permission to spend time with one's Father!! I know they have to keep his world consistent and mellow, because he can get over excited and act out...I know they are looking out for his best interests...I know we have to also.  I am being selfish, only thinking of how I will feel, if he is not there...

Still, it sucks.  Not having Dad there with us, is like he is already dead.  I just cannot get myself to go into that nursing home to visit my Dad on Thanksgiving...how would I ever explain to him, why he is not with all of us?

5 comments:

Fran Hill said...

You must feel so frustrated and worried. I can't imagine.

Mari said...

Alzheimer's disease stinks! It's really crummy that it is doing these things to your Dad and that you have to be making these decisions about how to spend the holidays.
I will tell you that a lot of our family members will come in and spend time with their loved one on another day, at least if they are residents who are unable to tell which day is the Holiday. The resident is happy to have visitors whichever day it is and it seems to be easier for the family when it's not on the actual day.
It sounds like your Dad is pretty content on a day to day basis, and taking him out may start up the struggle again. I've seen that happen a lot.
There is no excuse for them not calling you. On our residents call lists, the person to be called first is listed as #1, with other family members listed as 2...
You have the right and I think the responsibility to bring that up. I know you have had other concerns as well. My advice is to pick the most important things, maybe just 2 things and bring those up. If you list too many problems they won't kick your Dad out, as your Mom fears, but they may take the attitude that you can't be pleased. If possible, comment on some positives as well.
I can't speak for your Dad's nursing home, and I know each one is different but I would hope that they are desiring to give good care and giving them just a few things to work toward would be accepted. I know that approach works best at my place.
About the order from the Dr for going out - we have to do that too. In our case it's part of the state regulation. They say that if a person requires care like that, the Dr should be the one to decide if it's safe to go out. You can't imagine the amount of red tape and rules we have from the state.
I hope this is helpful, and doesn't bother you to hear my experiences. Sometimes people just like to hear how others handle things. If you have any questions about how things work at my place, please ask. If you want me to be quiet about it - tell me that too!

Donna B said...

Thank you Fran, I know Dad really is being well cared for, but the emotional impact of the holidays, just pulls the rug out from under me.

Mari, you are so kind and generous with your expertise. I greatly appreciate all your input. Thank you so much for sharing the regulations with me. It is reassuring to know this is all standard operating procedure.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Donna, I admire your ability to write about your father with such honesty, considering how painful the experience must be. My best to you and your family. It's gotta be hard.

Donna B said...

Thank you Linda! From a published authoress, as yourself, I really appreciate your comments. It is therapeutic for sure...

You and I could probably have a great conversation over lunch about BM (That is Bastard Men...and the initials are so apropos). Let me know if you are up for it. My email is donnab6464@gmail.com.