Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Revelation

When I look at my phone messages from the last week, Whittier Place called me Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And we visited him on Wednesday (and today). No days off from Dad this week. He's been quite frustrating and I'm sad to say that I am losing my patience. It's difficult to explain how annoying the phone calls are and how we are finding that we don't know what to say to him anymore. (He wants to leave, he's locked in, he has no money, etc.) Blake went with me today to see Dad and afterward made the comment that reading the blog or hearing about our visits is nothing like the real thing... I guess it just seems like a story when I tell it, but it's real life and we deal with it every day.

Both Megan and Blake made the comment that Dad's short term memory seems to be getting even worse. We would spend ten minutes calming him down and then LITERALLY one minute later or less, he would forget anything that we said to calm him down and we'd be back at square one. That's probably the worst part of the phone calls because they only call when he's upset and it's our job to calm him down.

We got a nice surprise today though. Dad's half brother Ron and his wife
Linda who live in Oxnard and are making the trip down to see Dad. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see them, but I spent some time making sure Dad knew who was coming. Once he understood who they were, then I would tell him that they were coming today. He would get incredibly excited and shocked and then completely forget. This process was repeated at least 4 times in ten minutes. It kind of made us laugh after the fourth time of telling him because he would act so surprised and shocked every time. (The last time we told him, he actually jumped up and down like a 4 year-old.)

The strangest thing about our visit today was that Dad knew something was wrong with him. He asked me "Is my brain going?" and said, "I could walk down the street with you and I wouldn't remember." (That one gave me chills.) He even said, "Maybe I bumped my head because something is wrong in there." I wonder if a lot of Alzheimer's patients have revelations like that.

He was completely frustrated about the fact that something was wrong with him and it was surreal sitting there with him and listening to him talk about it. Blake was really cute because he told Dad, "You're being too hard on yourself" and Dad looked at him like he was the smartest man in the world. He felt a little better after that and
really liked that Blake was there. It's good for him to have another guy around.

We also talked a lot about Dad's daughter Kelly and that's when we took the picture that I posted in the blog. Overall Dad was in good spirits during our visit, but the phone calls that I get are so bad that I always think our visits are going to be the same way. That's usually not the case though. He was still flirting with the staff members... kissed one lady on the cheek, tickled another one on her shoulder, kissed the hand of the lady serving him lunch, asked one lady if she had a sister for him. He had everyone laughing as usual. Why can't you be in that mood all the time Dad? I think that's why the staff can tolerate his lows because his highs are so sweet and funny.

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