Tuesday, May 25, 2010
A Very Brief History of Dad's 'Situation'
The first signs of dementia that my Mom, Megan, and I noticed in my Dad was when Wal-Mart told him to take some time off work for a little while. That was 5 years ago and he was 65 years old.
My parents are divorced and my sister, Megan, is 23 and I am 26. I am not going to bore you with the past history of our relationship with our Dad but it wasn't really a typical father-daughter relationship. As we got older, we didn't see him as often (both of us busy with high school, college, work etc), so we had no idea that he was showing signs of Dementia. We weren't surprised though because his mother had Alzheimers.
He lived in a mobile home park for seniors and did OK on his own for a while. We tried to visit but we didn't live close, so it wasn't very often. In April 2009, we hired a caregiver for him during the day and we knew financially that we couldn't do that for long and that he would need more extensive care.
We found a Board and Care in Huntington Beach for him. B & C's are homes that five or six people live in with 24 hour care. Unfortunately, the woman running the place rubbed my Dad the wrong way and on April 5th, 2010, he ran away in the rain -- he climbed out the window. He was soaking wet and was almost a mile from the home when I found him. He thought he was in Pasadena where he grew up. I was furious. He was smiling.
The three of us scrambled all week to find him a new place. We were naive and finally realized that he needed to be in a lock-down facility especially designed for Alzheimers and Dementia patients. We found an extremely nice place for the price in Whittier and moved him in. Two days later I went to visit him and he wasn't there -- he had run away again. This time the police were contacted. The Fire Department found him and he was taken to the hospital.
There he was sitting in the hospital bed with dried blood on his head (he had to get stitches) and wearing a shirt that said, "I'm too sexy for my hair that's how come it isn't there."
He went back to Whittier Place and has been there for six weeks now. He still tries to leave but the staff are amazing and really try to keep him busy. It's tough on all of us and every time I see Whittier's number pop up on my phone, I get nervous.
This blog will provide me a way to share this experience with people and to bring to light the issues surrounding this disease. And most of all, I want to share my memories and experiences that I am having with my sweet Dad. Some moments are so amazing and crazy that I can't not share.