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, February 20, 2011

It's All Part of This Crazy War Dance of Alzheimer's/Dementia...

I went to sleep watching TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL marathon episodes and woke up to a phone call from Dad at the nursing home.


"No, this is Donna... Hi Dad..."

"Where are you?"

"In Nevada."

"Then you are no help to me...I can't get a hold of your Mother or anyone."

"Mom is probably in church... wh---"

"I have an emergency.  This is important. I can't take a taxi because I don't have any money."

"What's wrong Da--"


"What happened?"

"I am NOT going to discuss this over the phone.  I want to go to (gave the address of the house where Mom lives) or to anyone in the family's home.  I have an EMERGENCY!  DO YOU HEAR ME?"

"Yes, Dad, yes...I will call..."


"OK, Dad...I will hang up and do my best to get ahold of someone in the family.... but I have a private line, it is safe, you can talk to me.  What happened?"


"Calm down Dad... I'll call...  I will work on it and call you back...."I lov----"

"Good-bye"  Click.

I had to gather my wits... was I awake or did I have a nightmare about Dad?  He has not done this in such a long time... it brought back horrible flashbacks when he first went into the hospital and called me to come pick him up....

I called the nursing home and spoke with the charge nurse.  Dad was calm cool and collected, until he was put back in bed at 8:30 am to elevate his feet.  He even had all the student nurses fussing over him.  Apparently, he told them he wanted to speak to his wife.  They called Mom, who did not answer as she was in church... Then, they called my cell, (didn't hear it) and then the house phone, which was right by my bed.

After our phone call, I guess he was agitated and yelled and screamed for a few minutes before apologizing profusely to everyone and not wanting to discuss it anymore... The nurse assured me Dad was fine and was in the activity room for church services.

Relieved, but still rattled, I hoped hearing the words of the Lord would calm him down...

I left Mom a message, spoke with my youngest brother and my sister.  I wrote a family email to everyone.

During the day I have made calls every couple of hours to check on Dad and they keep telling me he is resting or in activities and doing fine...

Mom called around 3:30 PM and said she had a message from Dad at 2:30 PM.  His message said he had a cold and needed to come home to take care of himself... I told her I would call and check on Dad  again...

I talked at length with the male nurse who spends so much time with Dad.  I have to remember it is more emotional and difficult for us, than it is for Dad.  Some times Dad's short time memory is in tact and some times not.  Same with his long term memory.  It's all part of this crazy war dance of Alzheimer's/Dementia.

Personally, I feel guilt because he sounded so alert, but so upset.  None of us want him to live in a nursing home, but he has to.  We can not give him the 24 hour care he needs.  It is so emotionally draining for all of us, especially when Dad tells us he wants to come home.

I will call Dad tomorrow, acting like nothing happened and hope for the best.  I will be grateful these phone calls do not happen every day...


Mari said...

Those kinds of calls are so hard. You are right though - often the person with the disease doesn't stay in that place. They go on and have forgotten the whole thing but the family members keep hearing that voice and feeling bad.

Jeanie said...

Not what you needed today. Hopefully he will wake up tomorrow with his head in a different place. It does sound like he calmed down today....I hope so. Even though you know he is not thinking clearly it must be so hard to hear him be so upset about wanting to go home.

betty said...

I think you handled it the best way Donna. You didn't try to minimize what your dad might be feeling/going through as he was talking with you with his feelings nor did you get "too" upset about it. You tried to unravel the picture and get the story of what was going on and then try to deal with it the best you can. I know it is hard but I do think you are handling it the right way, especially calling him tomorrow and going about talking with him without mentioning what transpired today


Theres just life said...

That happened to us with Jack's mother. His sister tried to take care of her at home, but you are right this required 24 hour care. His mom would get up at all hours of the night and make coffee and breakfast. To her it was morning and time to get up. She would sometimes forget she was cooking and leave the stove on with an empty pan on the burner.
It is a terrible disease that takes its toll on the whole family.
Hang in there, I am thinking of you and sending you hugs.

JeannetteLS said...

I hope that, in fact, things ARE better today Donna. There is nothing in the world you could have done beyond what you did. You put everyone on high alert. You checked on him. Such a dreadful disease. We all wish we could help YOU, too, but all we can do is offer reassurance. Heard the guilt twinge there-we HAVE to have him there. It is the best thing FOR him to be with people who so clearly understand every aspect of the disease. as well as how to help all of you. And, so, how is your BACK then today?

Betty W said...

Grrrr! I typed a long comment, and when I wanted to post it, blogger ate it.
I´m sorry you had to go through that with your dad. It´s something my mom does too and it´s always hard to believe that she is not really "there", that she will have forgotten what upset her the next day. So hard to take!

gayle said...

I know how much phone calls like these worry you! Plus that is all you probably think about all day long! Hopefully the next news will be better!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

My husband, who is in his 50's, has Alzheimer's and is unable to express himself verbally anymore. I know that he will have to be in a nursing home at some point, when I can no longer take care of him, but dread it so much. The whole thing is taking a toll on me, too, because I am on duty 24-7.

It sounds as if your dad has adjusted as well as possible to his new routine, but it's such a heartbreaking disease. I didn't know it could be this hard.