Thursday, October 4, 2012

It takes a Village

It takes a village to care for my Dad.  And that Village came out in full support the past few days.  There have been some developments in the past two days that could not have happened without our Village.

Valley View Gardens has been so accommodating and we are so lucky that they took him back into the home.  They also still have us at the discounted rate, even though it's over our budget, but I know they are doing everything in their power to help us.  Thankfully, some of our family members have donated money towards Dad's care this month, so that lightens the burden a little on that front as well.

Also, because I am the Co-Chair for the Long Beach Alzheimer's Walk, I have started making some wonderful friends in the Alzheimer's community.  Once I told my Co-Chair about my Dad's behaviors, she put me in touch with a trusted Geriatric Psychiatrist friend of hers. We figured out that since my Dad has Medicare Part A, it will cover an admittance to a psych ward where he can have his behaviors monitored.  Everything happened so fast, but I knew this was the next step, so when I got the call yesterday morning that they would take him, I agreed to it.

They wanted to pick him up in an Ambulance, and I put a stop to that real quick.  The last ambulance bill we had was for $1000 and it took a year to get that taken care of.  So, I called my good friend, Colby, who my daughter just happens to love and asked if I could drop the baby off at her house.  I just knew it would be easier and faster with my Dad if I had two free hands.

My Dad and I continued on to Anaheim General Hospital where they checked him out at the ER.  We were only there about two hours, and Valley View Gardens had a contact who met us at the door and welcomed us in.  Finally they agreed to admit him to the off-campus facility in Buena Park where the Psych Ward is located.  The Doctor even said to me, "Usually we transport him by ambulance, and I will probably get in trouble for doing this, but I will let you drive him there."  It just seems like everyone was making an exception for us, or calling in a favor.  We are so thankful.

A few more words about this whole psych ward thing.  It seems extreme, but I think this is absolutely necessary because although all his behaviors are not uncommon for an Alzheimer's patient, they have become so bad that it's affecting his care and could ultimately jeopardize his place in his future home at the VA facility.  The behaviors I am referring to include:  Peeing all over the walls, masturbating and disrobing in public places, refusing showers and grooming, being combative and aggressive, walking the hallways at 2 AM and ultimately disrupting other residents by getting into their beds... the list goes on. 

So, for the first time in three years, I have a peace of mind and a calmness surrounding me.  For seven days, I won't get phone calls filled with bad news, I won't get complaints about Dad's behavior, and I won't have to worry about him getting kicked out, because this is a psych ward and I am sure they have seen it all.

So, thank you to "The Village" that made everything easier this week.  Thank you to Valley View Gardens, my Co-Chair Janie and her Gero Psych friend Dr. Macina, my baby-sitter and best friend Colby, and to my family for helping out with the financial burden.  And of course, the undying support from Blake (who made me a fabulous martini when I got home last night), Megan, my Mom and all the family and friends who passed on their encouragement this week. 

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