Monday, July 22, 2013


As you can guess from my title, Dad is now in the Psych Ward at the West Los Angeles VA hospital.  (This title is for Megan because she made fun of me for hashtagging psych ward (#) when I posted a picture.  I had to add a bit of reality to his great smile though.  We had a good laugh about it.)  Anyway, it's actually a geriatric psych so many of the patients have some form of dementia or Alzheimer's and the doctors are very experienced in this field.  It's so reassuring knowing that he is in good hands.

A week ago I was pretty devastated seeing Dad tied to the bed in his drug-induced state, but the next day I woke up ready to fight (I just needed that one day of mourning).  I wrote a strongly worded email to the social worker at the home who has always responded promptly.  I explained how upset I was to see Dad in this state, how I felt the home dumped him in General Medicine and made him sit in a bed for 4 days in a doped -up stupor tied to the bed, and most of all, how upset I was that no one at the home had contacted me.  

The Social Worker called me fifteen minutes later.  He didn't have answers for most of my questions, but he did assure me that they are not kicking Dad out of the home.  That is not their intention at all.  Their protocol at this point is to re-evaluate my Dad when he is ready to be discharged from the psych ward to make sure he is still a good fit with the home.  So, we're not out of the woods yet, but I am happy to say no one is giving up on my Dad... for now.

And that definitely applies to his Doctor at the psych ward.  She spends so much time talking to me, answering my questions, asking me questions.  She told me "We're in no hurry to get him out of here.  We want to make sure he is stable and that his medicine is correct so that when he returns to the home, he will not fail."

When I visited him last Thursday he was smiling, speaking words and small sentences, and he even made a funny face once or twice.  They're giving him Depakote and Olanzapine (Zyprexa) and he is being monitored throughout the day.  He is still restrained around his waist in a big wheelchair because he cannot walk and they are worried he will fall out.  But, he seemed almost back to normal... his type of normal at least.

After visiting him today, his 11th day of being restrained to either a chair or bed, he still isn't walking.  They try to get him up a few times a day, but the motor function isn't there and I am sure the medicine isn't helping.  At this point, they are worried it may not come back.  Since it's been 11 days, he may have forgotten and his body may not have that instinct any more.  I spoke with the Psychiatrist and a General Medicine Doctor when I arrived and they are working on a plan to get him walking again.  They are also still tweaking the medicine. 

And so... we trudge along and take it day by day. 

Thank you to everyone for their support, encouragement, and love.  It's amazing how all that positivity can boost our spirits.  It also feels good to know people who may have never even met my Dad are rooting for him!  It means so much. 


  1. Thank you so much for your blog. My mother was placed in a nursing home a year ago and I recently had to relocate in a city 4 hours away. I've been trying to remain a relationship with daily phone calls which was working amazingly well until she had 2 recent surprise surgeries ( double mastectomy for breast cancer and metal and screw implants after a fall for a broken arm). Of course these have caused her A.D, to progress. I just returned from a visit and had prepared myself for the latest "new normal".

    Your blog has helped me tremendously when I need to be around someone else who understands what me and my sister are going through. I wish I could express more eloquently what a service your blog is to other families but for now Thank You and your father is in my thoughts and prayers.

    1. Thank you for your comment! It means so much to know people are reading and relating to our story. I am sorry to hear about your Mother. It must be so difficult on you to be so far from her. I am stressed by the hour drive in traffic, but cannot imagine 4 hours! Please keep in touch. My thoughts go out to you, your sister, and your Mother.

    2. Ditto, ditto, ditto! I too can't really express how much it means, but as an only child and about the only one I know in my age range that is going through any of this, I really appreciate the sense of community -- and perspective -- that this blog and its followers give me.