Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mardi Gras

Since the blog yesterday, we were able to accomplish some much needed chores for Dad and we're already feeling less guilty. We took him to the doctor yesterday because his neck was so stiff that he could barely stand up straight. Although the doctor couldn't do much besides write a note allowing Whittier to apply heat pads and pain relievers, it had to be done. I couldn't help but take this picture. He couldn't raise his head very high, so everyone was able to clearly read his hat....
Yep, it says FBI, female body inspector.

I think I felt the worst about not dealing with his dental needs quick enough, but it honestly took us a while to figure out what kind of coverage he had if any at all.
We figured it out and got up early this morning in order to get him to the VA in Long Beach by 8 AM. He hadn't been wearing his dentures lately because he has pain and sores from the dentures, but we're on the way to solving that problem and we all feel much better.

Dad was super sweet today in the VA and since there are so many 'characters' in the VA, he almost fit right in. He was talking to all the strangers in the hallway and when he saw a man in a motorized wheelchair, he yelled, "Hot Rod Harry!!!!" He even (in his own way) told the dentist how grateful he was that I was with him. He wasn't making sense, but then he clasped his hands in prayer position, bowed at me with gratitude, and then looked at the doctor as if saying "See, I'm lucky". Pretty cute.

On a side note, I learned today that when we were getting those anxious phone calls about a week ago, they happened to coincide with the passing of Dad's roommate. While he wasn't in the room when it happened, I'm sure he experienced some distress and confusion which in turn resulted in phone calls to us. I knew there was something that must have triggered his behavior. It's kind of weird that Whittier Place never told us.

AND, most importantly, according to Megan, the Mardi Gras party was a blast and Dad was definitely The King! They had a parade with floats and costumes and once Dad realized they were all clapping for him, he began bowing and blowing kisses to all his fans! The pictures say it all!

The care-givers even told Megan where the actual spiked punch was... and these were her words, "I needed a spiked drink. I'd been following Dad around for 2 hours, dealing with his costume and masks, and attending to him." It just cracked me up, because she sounded like a bridesmaid who had to attend to the bride throughout her wedding day... And I could just picture Megan following him around and trying to explain why he was dressed up while making sure his feather boa didn't fall off. Well, she got her spiked drink but as she walked off to grab something, Dad almost drank the whole thing. Wish I could have been there.

Anyway, it's like Megan said when Dad was singing along to Peggy Lee in the Doctor's Office yesterday, "This is our life." Good or bad. It's our life.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Guilt. Ugh. I don't like this emotion. Because you feel it right away, and it kind of gnaws at you (I am picturing a mouse gnawing on a piece of rope). Then suddenly you're in tears and you finally realize the reason is... Guilt.

I am sticking my tongue out at that word right now.

Ever since my Dad has been having 'normal days' at Whittier Place, Megan and I have been cutting back on our visits. It can be as long at 7-10 days before one of us goes to see him, and that alone makes me feel guilty. When you compare that to how often we were seeing him in Fallbrook, then we would look like Saints!... but, in this situation, 7-10 days is long time.

I feel like we're being judged for not being there as often as we were in the beginning (and I'm sure they're not judging us... but who knows), and I feel guilty that it takes so long to get his prescriptions and doctor's appointments, but most of all, we feel guilty about trying to get our lives back. We were both lucky enough to be in a position to drop everything and go running when there was an emergency, but with both of us concentrating on our futures, we feel a little selfish. (And I hate that word! But that's how I feel.) Now that there's only concern, but no emergencies, we're more reluctant to cancel our personal time to go running to Whittier.

Part of me thinks that it's only normal to feel selfish, another part of me thinks... GET OVER IT! and do what you have to do! But, how long will we have to do what we have to do? This revelation led me to another thought -- I am FINALLY realizing the longevity and commitment to this disease. We handled the emergencies and thought that was the hardest part, but now it's the maintenance that is feeling really heavy. . . . .

And heavy is the only word I can think of at the moment. Who knows how long this is going to last? Phone calls need to me made, appointments need to be kept, and we need to stay on top of his financial situation for as many years as it takes. It's difficult to balance out his medical needs, his finances, his needs at the home, and personal visitations. I'm feeling overwhelmed by future days of Dad. And I love my Dad, but he's a child and as much as his home will handle the day to day things, he needs us for everything else. We're the only ones.

As selfish as we may want to be, we won't let that get in the way because I don't ever want to feel that we have neglected Dad for our own personal reasons. Elder neglect is unacceptable, and I think that would be the worst thing that could happen. Dad is relying on us because there is no one else, so we just have to find the perfect balance between our own personal time, and Dad's needs. We also have to assess what is urgent, and what isn't, and take one thing at a time. I guess that's the only way.

HOORAY! As I was finishing this blog... Dad's prescriptions just arrived in the mail. Megan is currently with Dad at the Doctor's right now, but now I can go meet her and deliver the prescriptions to Whittier Place! One thing down... next up... Dad's dental concerns.