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, January 6, 2013

I Don't Want To....

I have been trying to talk to Dad for over a week now... This morning the nursing home called to inform me Dad's left pinkie toe has enlarged quite a bit in one week's time.  Last week it was 11.5cm x 12.5cm wide and 2.5cm high; this morning it was 13 cm x 12.5cm wide and 4.5cm high.  Dad is not complaining, but the wound care doctor visited and suggested Dad's primary doctor be notified.

The other day, they told me Dad had lost 13 pounds in one month.  He now weighs 138 pounds.

He is sleeping a lot and not wanting to get out of bed...

The nurse mentioned Dad was still in bed.  He did not want to get up because he was cold.  I asked if I could speak to him.  The nurse gave me to one of his male care givers and he told me to hang on while he went to Dad's room to help him on the phone because Dad doesn't know to answer it...

I could hear the caregiver talking to Dad telling him his daughter was on the phone...

"I don't want to...I don't want to..."

I could hear phone noise, then Dad said, "Hello...."

"Hi Papa-doots!"

"Oh, my dear...I have missed you so much.  I want you close to me all the time..I want you here with me right now..."

"I have missed you Dad...I love you so much."

"I love you too dear....I want you here right now..."

I could not help myself...I felt so guilty for not visiting him at Christmas....I had just got over a cold and Mom had said he had a cough, and we always rush around to see everyone when we drive to California for Christmas, and I made the decision to stay at my oldest daughter's home longer....to see her, her family, my youngest daughter, her fiance and my youngest grand son....I wanted more time with them...to spend the day instead of a few short hours...so I did not visit Dad....

"I know...I want to be with you too...and give you lots of hugs and kisses...I was sick over Christmas (I lied to him...) so I sent you a card...I did not want to get you sick... Did you get my card?"

"Oh...yes...I think I did get it....but I am scared of cards...they come and go, it snows and then they go...cards don't like me anymore...I don't like cards anymore...they scare me..."

I was not sure if he meant greeting cards or playing cards..." Dad, do you mean cards in the mail or playing cards?"

"I don't like cards...they look scary to me..."

I figured he meant playing cards..."Well Daddy, you don't have to look at cards...how about listening to some nice music?"

"I love you dear...I want you here with me..."

I was starting to cry....so I changed the subject and asked if he enjoyed his visit with Mom and my sister Holly....

DEAD SILENCE....

"Dad?  Papa-Doots?  ..... Daddy?"

NO ANSWER...

I began to sing our song...the song Dad sang to me as a baby in my crib....Bye, Bye, Blackbird....

NOTHING....

I kept singing...until I began to sob....

I hung up....composed myself...and re-dialed the nursing home...asking someone to help my Father as I think he may have dropped the phone...

The male caregiver came on the line and asked me to please hold again and he would help Dad get on the phone...

"I don't want to...I DON'T WANT TO!!"

Pickles, his female caregiver came on the line..."I am so sorry, but he does not want to talk". 

"It's OK...he is probably tired....it was almost noon...and it is so cold now...I asked Pickles if she would please put a warm blanket on Dad...she told me he already had two blankets on him.  I asked if she would please warm one in the dryer and put it over him....I could tell Dad was lonely and scared and a nice warm blanket would calm him and quiet him so maybe he could take a nice nap...

If he just had the treatment on his toe, and he saw it, I knew it would upset him...

I feel so sad... My strong Father is now like a frightened child...and I feel as if I have abandoned him...

Each year after his birthday, I wonder if we will get to celebrate another birthday with him.  He is 92 years old.  He needs dental care, has rampant skin cancers ravaging his body, and his mind is a twisted car wreck... it is just a matter of time.  It is like living on the edge of a cliff.

I miss my Dad.

It gets harder and harder talking about him with my siblings...we all know, we all feel it...but we just can't bring ourselves to speak the reality of it...we just continue to be grateful for the time we have with him...yet, each time we see him, with his right eye half closed with skin cancer, his growing melanoma on his left temple, and his covered left foot, more bulbous inside his sock than the visit before...it is just horrible.

It's bad enough with the Alzheimer's...but watching him get eaten up by the skin cancer is so cruel....

He was no stranger to skin cancer. He loved the outdoors, his hands in the soil, swimming in the ocean, lakes and family swimming pools...he didn't use sun screen until late in life... Half his left nostril was distorted from cancer being removed...maybe he couldn't handle it anymore...

When he lived at home with Mom....his dementia made him so suspicious and paranoid.  The small blister on his left pinkie toe was so treatable...but he refused to go to the doctor....when I told him I thought the redness on his lower lid, which had not healed, was cancerous and he needed to go to the Opthamologist, he got upset with me; telling me it was not cancer....it was parasites...and he was collecting them in a jar.  He showed me.  I could see black specs on cotton inside an empty medication bottle...

I tried to tell him it was not parasites...it is a wound not healing...which is a sign of cancer...I begged him to go to the doctor...

He told me he was not stupid and he was going to take it to a lab not covered by his insurance, because they were in on it...he would take it to a different lab and they would confirm it was parasites...

I remember how sad and afraid I was....because he was presenting all the signs and symptoms of this insidious disease which claims the intelligence and personality of so many as technology allows them to live into their 80's and 90's, only to be robbed of their life and family as they knew once knew it...

I want Dad to have dignity.  I don't want him to slowly decay away...while he alive...

I am not even sure if Dad can express pain...or discomfort...maybe he sleeps to escape...

Maybe his time on earth is growing to an end...

Just the thought of my Dad's death, makes me cry.

I don't want to think about it...I don't want to....

6 comments:

Mari said...

What a hard phone call. I don't know if you saw my post last week but my Dad has also been in the hospital. He's now home but the Dad that was strong and healthy on Christmas is not the same and I pray he regains his strength. It's hard to see. My sisters and I were talking about the way our Mom died suddenly and we said as hard as that was, it's also so hard to see your parent suffering.
Praying for you and for him.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

He could be a hundred and fifty and still you would cry, not wanting him to go.
Donna, I'm so sorry you have to watch him go through all of this.

Jeanie said...

I am so sorry you are having to deal with all of these difficult emotions about your dad. I hope in the midst of all that is going on with him now you are able to find some comfort in the many, many good memories you have of him when he was more himself.

That corgi :) said...

Oh Donna; I'm just so sorry. I don't know what to say other than I'm so sorry.

betty

Linda O'Connell said...

Donna,
I am reaching out with a virtual hug for you. I know it is so very difficult to see and hear your dad in this condition.

Let go of your guilt and the notion that you did something wrong by not visiting at Christmas. Hold on to the happy memories. I love your side bar picture of the message in the sand.

My prayer for you is peace and confort.

Donna said...

Oh Donna, my heart aches for you. I can't even imagine what you are going through. Try and remember the good times and please don't feel guilty for not visiting him at Christmas. I am sure he would have wanted you to visit your family. A big comfort hug to you.