Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Bad Week, A Good Week

Last week I made a comment on Facebook that things weren't going well for Dad and that I was too stressed out to even write a blog about it. Basically, after two weeks of being at Valley View Gardens, the staff evaluated Dad's care needs according to his behavior and their observations of him from the past two weeks. Long story short, the following is what they read to me over the phone: "Aggressive", "Anxious", "High Elopement Risk", "Aggressive Behavior", "Sun-Downers", "Resisting Toileting", "Resisting wearing Diapers", "Pees on Walls, Carpets, Furniture and Outside of Building", "Xanax not really helping" etc. They even reported an incident where he "hit a caregiver". I asked if he stood there and actually decked the caregiver, or if he was trying to get away and hit them in the process. It sounds like it was the latter. (For those of you who don't know, "Sun-Downers" is when a patient repeatedly gets anxious and more difficult in the late afternoon and evening.)

When I told them that all this behavior was a side effect of the move and transition to a new home, they sounded shocked. I don't even know if they believed me. I shouldn't be the one having to tell them that moving is a tough transition for an Alzheimer's patient. That's Alzheimer's 101. It was really frustrating to know that these were their first impressions of Dad.

When we moved Dad into the new home, we did let the staff know about his Peeing issues and that as long as someone reminds him to use the restroom once an hour and shows him where it is, then there shouldn't be a problem. Obviously that wasn't passed on to all the caregivers. I also pointed out that he doesn't pee his pants. If he has to go, then he will unzip and go (i.e. peeing on the carpet), so diapers are not going to help, and he doesn't need them. I also gave them the go ahead to contact the doctor and increase his dosage of Xanax if needed.

The aggression is what really worried me. Basically the only memories I have of my Dad's Mom was when she had Alzheimer's and she was pretty aggressive. I know this a part of the disease, so I hope this is not a new trend.

We waited a few days to visit Dad again, because we were worried that we would trigger him to get upset because when Megan had visited him earlier that week, he was very upset and actually stormed off. Megan kind of followed him and while on the phone with me, witnessed him trying to jump the fence. She said when he found her again, he was covered in leaves, shrub, and dirt. He was trying hard to get out, but luckily was unsuccessful.

Soooooo, it was with trepidation that the two of us visited him two days ago. But, he was back to his jovial, sweet self, even though he was a little doped up. He was wearing a diaper, pajama pants, and tennis shoes with no socks. But hey, let's not sweat the small things. At least he wasn't yelling at us and trying to jump the fence. We did make sure he was wearing socks when we left. He feet and toenails are so gross. Hopefully the Podiatrist comes soon.

Also, when we got the bad report about Dad, I called Whittier Place and asked for their help in the matter. Lynnette and Veronica were very upset about this news and made a phone call to Valley View Gardens to give them tips about Dad and to assure them that he was not always like this. We really appreciated them stepping in and sticking up for Dad. We heart Whittier Place.