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...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

This Is One Of Those Difficult Days...

It's almost midnight.  We just returned from dinner with my husband's daughter and son in law in Riverside.  Before we saw them, we delivered Christmas gifts to my husband's two grand daughters in Irvine and then the six of us went out to lunch...

We started our day with my husband's youngest son coming to our hotel for breakfast at 9 am.  He worked late last night at Disneyland, so waking up early to come dine with us was a huge compliment.  He had to work today at noon, so our visit was short but sweet.

By 10:30 am we were on the freeway, on our way to West Covina to see Dad at the nursing home. We arrived just before 11:30 am and saw Dad in the dining room waiting for lunch.  We didn't stop in to see him right away, instead, I headed straight for the nursing station.  I shared our concerns and observations.  I reviewed my list with the charge nurse. I am concerned Dad has become immune to all the antibiotics he has been on for various UTI, yeast infections, MRSA, and eye infections. She nods in agreement it is a possibility...

The nurse told me the doctor would probably not want to put Dad on further eye drops as he had just finished a ten day stint of antibiotics for his eye.  I urged her to contact him and told her we wanted an outside consult on his eye.  I think we should know if it is in fact cancer.  Even if it is, Mom doubts Dad would allow any treatment.  Four years ago when his Opthamologist told Dad he wanted to do a biopsy on his lower eye lid, Dad refused, totally disagreed with the doctor and stopped going to his office.  Dad was convinced parasites had invaded his eye lid.

The charge nurse promised she would call Dad's doctor and call me back.

My husband and I went in to see Dad.  He saw me at the entry to the dining room and gave me a huge smile.  He called me by name and did the same for my husband.  He seemed happy.  He suggested we go out on the patio.  It had rained last night, so everything was wet.  It was a bit nippy, but the sun was out.  I felt a little chilly, but asked Dad if he was cold.  He told me if I was fine, so was he...


Dad began to tell us about being so afraid of losing his youngest son and when he came to visit the other day, he cried for three days with relief.  It broke my heart.

He told us the nursing home would be expanding and cutting down trees to do so.  He told us about people being drunk and "shooting up the place".  He told us how well they control everyone because they got the drunks to calm down and be remorseful...

He told us how well they kept track of every person living there and where they were at all times.  He said they knew everything about them.  He talked of, Doctor-Doctor, "Pickles" and the other wonderful care givers who take care of him.

As he talked I just drank him in.  He had not been shaved yet.  His white beard stubble stood out on his ruddy complexion.  His silver hair is growing longer and probably needs to be cut, as they keep it short now... But I like it longer.

He is stiff while sitting in his wheel chair and moves robotically from side to side.  He motions with his right hand, waving it to accentuate a point he is making... His hands are bent and crooked.  He keeps his left hand up to the left side of his face as if he is shading it from the sun....

He is wearing the beige warm jacket we gave him for his 90th birthday... he tells me it keeps him nice and warm when I check to see if he needs me to get him his blanket...

Some days I can barely keep it together when I gaze at him.  I hate he is in a nursing home.  I hate that we must have a short visit and leave him to go visit other family members today... I hate he is living there with so many other people, some yelling, some with missing limbs or body parts, some coughing loose, phlegm type coughs... I fight back tears...

I took our Christmas card out of my purse and gave it to him.  I have to help him open the sealed red envelope... the strength in his arthritic fingers is not what it used to be... He begins to attempt to read the card and I can tell he can't see well... I ask if I might read it to him and he looks at me and smiles and thanks me...

He loves the words, he tells me I always pick just the right card.  He is so kind, so gentle, so loving, so gracious...

A CNA walks to us on the patio, carrying a lunch tray for Dad.  Dad wants to eat inside, so I push him in his wheel chair to a table near the window.  We are in the way, we have to move so the girls may serve all the residents.  We don't want to "hover" over Dad as he dials in his focus on his food and begins to chow down...  I lean over, kissing him on his cheek, and tell him we will be back in a moment.  He is too busy eating to respond...

My husband and I go to an alcove near the dining room and sit down in two wing back chairs.  I am quiet and silent.  So is he.  He distracts himself by watching the various employees coming and going out the alarmed door.  We see Doctor-Doctor.  We share a hug, but she seems very distracted.   She is busy helping serve lunch.  She tells me not to worry, she will keep an eye on Dad, regardless of where she is assigned and excuses herself to help deliver food trays...

I want to throw my face in my hands and cry and wail... instead, I look at my husband... "This is one of those hard days", I tell him.

"I know"... he replies.

"I don't think I could live in a nursing home," I say, "And it would break my heart to have to visit you in one..."

My husband nods his head in agreement. "I'd rather have a heart attack and go quick," he says...

"Me too..."


We listen to a woman cursing and yelling.  My husband looks at me and tells me she reminds him of his Mom towards the end... I remember silently with him...

I think it is easier when I am focused just on Dad.  Not being with him while he eats, seemed to turn up the volume and everyone and everything seemed so much louder...

I stand and watch Dad through the dining room window.  Dad's right hand steadily raises the styrofoam cup to his mouth and drinks from it.  I bob my head back and forth to see if I can tell if he is finished eating or not.  Finally, I walk to him and am relieved he has finished eating.  He is polishing off his coffee and the last of his Ensure...

When he tells me he is full, and everything is eaten and emptied, I wheel him back to the alcove where my husband is waiting.  We sit and chat some more...

I ask Dad about his Christmas party and he elaborates about how good the food was and how he loved watching the little children... He tells us how much he enjoyed seeing my sister and brother in law and his youngest son and Mom the other day...

I can tell by his eyes he is tired.  He usually gets sleepy after he eats... I ask if his full tummy has made me want a nap...  He smiles a tired smile and agrees it would be a good idea...

With my husband walking beside Dad in his wheel chair and me pushing, we arrive at the nursing station.  I let the charge nurse know Dad is ready for a nap.  She asks me to leave Dad with her and she will get a tech to put him to bed.  Dad reaches to shake hands with my husband and Dad gives me a huge smile as I lean down to kiss him good bye...

Next stop, Irvine...  and we drove there in silence...

Some times, there just are no words...

6 comments:

Thisisme said...

Well Donna, you can probably guess that I am writing this with tears in my eyes. Your poor dad, and, as I said in my last reply, it is so heartbreaking for us to see them like that. I do really feel for what you are going through at the moment, and all I can do is to send you a big (((hug))) and blessings from over here in England. Take care.

Mari said...

I'm sorry you had such a hard visit. It's not easy to see our loved ones decline. I agree - it's easier to go suddenly. One blessing you have is that for the most part, your Dad seems happy.

Chatty Crone said...

My heart hurts for you. I have been there and I know the pain you are going thru. I am so sorry.

sandie

gayle said...

I am so very sorry you had such a hard visit! Thinking of you!

The Words Crafter said...

I'm just sending you lots of {{{{hugs}}}}. I remember those kinds of days......

Pat said...

That's got to be hard for you, Donna, seeing your dad in the nursing home. I'm sorry for both him AND your family.