Monday, July 15, 2013

A Heavy Heart

As I made my way out of the VA hospital today, I noticed those quintessential Los Angeles palm trees, and I felt the warm sun on my back, and I could see the incredible blue sky, but I just stared straight forward and thought to myself... none of that really matters.  All that matters is my Dad -- laying up on the 4th floor in his hospital bed, arms tied to the posts, mouth gaping open, cheeks sunk in, and eyes practically rolling up into his head.
I sit here with a heavy heart today.  Alzheimer's has taken my family on such a twisted journey, that I feel like I can handle anything, and I can, but I just wasn't prepared to see my Dad looking like that today. 
He was really out of it, very doped up, and almost catatonic at first.  His mouth was stuck open and since this made it impossible to form words, he just made noises.  After greeting him, I walked back out into the hallway to speak with the nurse.  I stood there waiting for her to finish with another patient and that's when the tears began rolling down my cheeks.  I dropped my head to hide my face and held in the sobs that were threatening to come out.
They paged the Doctor and I went back in to Dad's room.  He noticed that I was there and made some more noises.  I actually silently pleaded...  Why is my Dad being held hostage on this earth?  Give him mercy.  Don't make him live like this.

This morning, Dad had become agitated again, so they injected him with some medicine.  The twitching, disorientation, and gaping mouth are side effects of that injection.  I have no idea if he was like that all weekend long.  They didn't feed him lunch because they weren't sure he could swallow. 

Finally I spoke with the Psychiatrist, and found out that they are moving him down to the Psych Ward this afternoon so they can begin to clear him of these strong medicines in a controlled and safe environment.  That decision brought me a little relief.  The Psychiatrist and General Doctor have both shared with me that they don't think he will be welcomed back into the VA home where he was living.  Ultimately, that is the decision of the home, so we don't know right now.  It scares me to think about what the next couple of weeks will bring, but honestly, the most important thing for me right now is to get Dad back to normal.  Whatever normal is for him these days, I have no idea.  But it definitely wasn't what I saw today.

I stayed by Dad's bedside holding his hand.  He became more and more cognoscente in the hour that I was there and even gave me a couple small smiles.  I wiped the boogers from his eye, gave him drops of water for his dry mouth, and applied chapstick to his cracked lips.  It wasn't much, but it felt good to do something for him.  

Today Alzheimer's wins.  I am defeated and for the moment have no fight left in me.  I know that will change in the coming days when we have to fight to keep him in his home. 

I took a picture of Dad but I feel that it's pretty disheartening, so I won't share it.  I will, though, keep it as proof of the ugly face of Alzheimer's.  Below is a picture of his restraints and of us holding hands.


  1. I am so sorry to hear this. So, so hard to see a loved one like that. Continued prayers for your family, especially for your dad. I pray for peace for all of you.

  2. Bless you, until a family is faced with this no one understands what it is like to take care of a loved one with Alzheimer's. My father inlaw has been in a memory care home for two years and it has taken a toll on everyone. My father inlaw is failing daily and has no quality of life and it is breaking my heart. Tomorrow we will celebrate his 84th birthday. Stay strong and focused. Your love for your dad will get you though each day.

  3. I am so sorry to hear the heartbreaking news.
    as a caregiver to this terrible desease, I feel your pain. The pain is so raw that it made me cry.
    I pray for you, your dad, and your family.

  4. I'm so sorry. I know what you are going thru. My daughter was small when I became the care taker of my mom with Alz. I also prayed for peace for her. We are here, praying for you and your dad. Stay strong.

  5. So sorry and heart braking to hear of Mr. Dave ,I have so many , memories of him Stay strong you all will be in my prayers

  6. Alzheimer's is such a disheartening disease. ( My Mom died last March before she became really bad, for which I am so grateful.) Kristin, I so admire you, what a faithful, loving daughter you are, and how apparent it is that you are doing everything possible for your Dad. I agree that your love for your Dad will carry you through this time, as will keeping focussed on what really matters. Make sure you take good care of yourself during this time, too, because it is exhausting (as I'm sure you know). I am praying for you and your family during this time, and also that God will be gracious to you as well as your Dad. It was so nice to meet you at Blair's shower, I don't know how I ended up here, but I am so glad I did.

  7. I stumbled upon your blog by accident, but I am certainly glad I did. My heart aches for you and your family. I can so sympathize with you. My Dad has Alzheimers. After reading everything I can about the disease, I feel sure he is somewhere in the middle of stage 7. He is at home, my Mom is the full time caregiver. I have a sister and brother. We all try to help as much as we possibly can, with jobs and families of our own, sometimes you know that the time you are helping is not near enough.
    The the emotions and feelings that you have posted are so true to my own, but somehow I can not write them in the manner that you have been able to.
    I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. It is so true, we have to keep fighting and keep pushing for more research, it is too late for our Dads, but if we can help someone in the future, so they don't have to live through this, I will do all I possibly can.

  8. Thank you to everyone for your kind words and for sharing your own pain with this terrible disease. Like one of you said, it's so difficult when they are 'failing everyday and have no quality of life'. That really does make it heart wrenching. I'm so glad we have a community of caregivers, family members and loved ones who can understand what really happens when a loved one has Alzheimer's. Thank you again for reaching out. You are all in my thoughts and prayers!