Just received this email from my stepmother. My dad who I have a complicated relationship with (left when I was a baby, back in my life in my 30's) is nearing the end.
I'm a bit torn up about how to deal with this. We have made amends but I do feel quilt for not seeing him as much as I could/should have. Has anyone else here defat with this sort of thing? If so do you have an advice or insight? I think I'm just writing this more as a way to get me to think about it more than anything else.
This is the email I received . If it reads a little strange it's just because I removed all the names.
Just wanting to thank you for the lovely birthday card you sent. And, I hope you have a great one on Monday. This year for me is very different. he doesn’t even know it is my birthday. You will not recognize him now. This is how I have described things.
In the blink of an eye, my world changed from glorious technicolour to a muted grey. I blame it on the falls. Who could believe the impact of falling out of bed would have such a tremendous outcome? My soul-mate, my hero, my husband and the love of my life suddenly disappeared into the hollow chambers of dementia.
Who is this man aimlessly pushing a stable walker around the house? Sometimes he pushes it sideways, sometimes backwards. A reminder to him that it is a front wheel drive will alert him to turn it around to safely reach his destination.
And then there are the delusions and hallucinations; people appear out of nowhere, writing on the wall, lines and pullies on the windows keep him up at night and confused during the day. Our bungalow has become a two story house in he’s mind. All typical reactions to a concussion and vascular dementia. Some days he is quite clear and I feel perhaps the concussion is lifting then then voila, the confusion rears its ugly head in a flash.
This charming, intelligent man cannot focus on watching his favourite television programs anymore. Always a movie buff, his mind wanders so readily, he misses what it is all about. A tragedy for someone who spent his life working on sound in the film industry.
It's the lack of sleep that makes it so difficult. he will wake up, look at the clock and exclaim, “It’s 3 o’clock, time for tea”. His days and nights are frequently confused.
Luckily, he can still shave himself, but his balance is so bad, he requires assistance in showering. Preparedness in managing the aging process is key. We have a raised toilet and handy grab bar, a shower with shower seat and grab bars. The amount of time spent caregiving has taken over my life.
I spent my career as an eldercare consultant providing solutions to those living and dealing with various forms of dementia. Now I am living it 24/7. What an incredible picture is presented when a loved one enters this realm of uncertainty! Life changes in a flash. Creativity in managing day to day living becomes paramount. How to get through the next 24 hours is a challenge? Reactions to situations is never normal.
FYI applications are in for long term care as of late December. I am working on getting him into Respite for a couple of weeks, so I can have a break. Yesterday when the LHINs coordinator came to have him sign the papers, he refused. Now I am not sure when I can get a break. Thankfully Ralph is here Monday Wednesday and Friday from 10 – 4 or 5.
, I am certain you are in the throws of assisting your father to care for your mother and it is not easy. Watch for caregiver burnout in your dad.
I am not complaining, merely explaining.