I leave this Friday for California, to visit Dad for Father's Day. I have been thinking back how far our family has come this past year. Over the next four days I will be re-printing the posts from last year, the week before last Father's Day.
I have recently read several posts of families who are just beginning this journey with their loved ones, and hopefully, these posts might help them too.
June 14, 2009: It's a Long Way Home
So much has been going on with Dad's hospitalization and nursing home stay. Seems one day blends right into the other and the hours of the day just fly by. All of us are visiting at every opportunity and staggering around like zombies. All Dad wants and thinks about is to come back home. We all know he wants to return to where he believes he should be, but sadly, we know that would be an emotional disaster of epic proportions.
We have to find him a new home where he will be safe and will not be overwhelmed by the remnants of responsibility that stab his brain like sharp needles causing mindless reactions, motivations and obsessive needs to do things he is no longer capable of doing. He creates and repeatedly pulls mountains of stress down upon himself, all the while blaming it on everyone and everything, oblivious he brings it all on himself. It breaks our hearts to see him continually jump again and again into that emotional and physical quick sand.
He seems to be with us 30% of the time and the rest he is lost in this walking nightmare. All we can do is love him and wonder if he will disappear a little bit more each time he is caught in the chaos of his mental storm.
Please Lord, help us find Dad the right place for him. Help us, direct us, give us the patience and the strength. Introduce us to the people that can help us find him his new home where he will be safe.
June 15, 2009: You Gotta Laugh or You Will Cry All Day...
Our family has always been blessed with a fabulous sense of humor. Over the years life has tried to slam us from behind and blindside us, but our humor has always bounced us back up. One of my faults, when I spend a lot of time alone, is to misplace my humor. It's way more fun to laugh with someone else, especially my family and friends.
Today reminded me how to stay "recharged" with energy by receiving phone calls from my siblings. We're an incredible blend of seriousness and warped humor. It can take the edge off a very stressful and emotional situation. I'd be totally lost without my brothers and my sister. Totally lost.
Naturally, "our kind" gravitate toward others who love to laugh and we all are extremely blessed with life long friends. Where would we all be without a friend to call in the wee hours just to cry or share what is disturbing either of us. Friends have a way of saying just the right thing that brings a smile or a sigh of relief. It is impossible to feel alone when a friend is crying with me or saying the one thing that makes me laugh.
I'll never forget one of my friends telling me, "If you can't eat, then I can't swallow". She told me that at one of the lowest points in my life, and made me feel so important and so loved.
Dad will be discharged in two days. We do not have a place for him. We have no idea how we will get the money or get necessary papers filed before Wednesday. We are all emotionally drained, sleep deprived and mentally drained. We all agree, we KNOW he cannot come home. Yet, like a trapeze artist flying through a foggy night, I trust we will all be there for one another and some how, some way, we will make it happen.
June 16, 2009: Just When You Think It Can't Get Any Worse...
Miraculously, I slept in today. I awoke at 8:30 am and shortly after waking, the phone rang. It was Dad's doctor. I have grown to greatly respect this compassionate, woman physician who has been treating and caring for our Father. She told me they had tried to give him a psych evaluation but Dad refused to answer any questions...AGAIN. He informed the doctor he knew his rights and he was not speaking to anyone but his doctor. Dad still will not acknowledge any doctor except his primary care doctor, whom Dad argued with constantly.
Dad's doctor told me his paranoia and hallucinations are not normal and it was not safe for him to go home. His state of mind would make it difficult to place him in a nursing home. She felt it best to transfer him to a psych unit for evaluation and to monitor him on some medication to help stabilize him with his paranoia and delusions.
The empire state building could have fallen on me and had less impact that her words! I started losing my voice and couldn't think. I was in shock and horrified to think of my sweet Father being strapped down and taken to a psych unit.
I can't even describe the day. One of my brothers had to rush to the nursing home in hopes of calming Dad down because Dad tried to escape and was yelling and raising hell! I was frantically packing and throwing clothes in the car determined to drive to California to be with our Father.
By the time I arrived, he had already been transferred and both of my brothers were with him. Unspeakable words were spoken by our Father to his sons. Words no child should ever hear or have to endure. All we can think of, is this walking-monster-nightmare he is in and he can't wake up!
When we discussed the days events, we all look at one another and know what everyone is thinking. We want to storm the place and bring Dad home! We want to cling to the remnants of his lucidness and prove to the doctors how wrong they all are. This just can't be happening. Some one PLEASE wake us up!!!!!
Tomorrow I have to seek some professional advise. Someone who knows what to say and to tell me how to say it. How does a child tell their parent they can't come home and they are so paranoid and delusional they can't function?? How do we do that??? It just breaks my heart.
Here I sit in my Father and Mother's home. Mom is here, but Dad is not. It feels totally weird. It does not feel like home without him.