This is probably repetitive, but Dad is getting worse. I don't mean to say that I expected him to get better, but in good weeks he stays at least the same. This was not one of those weeks.
I'm almost feeling bad writing about his problems. Those who are experiencing elder care (spouse or child) already know how the weeks go, and those who don't can't quite understand it. But the last week has gone downhill, and I have to write about it. Nothing especially "horrible". It just the increasing confusion that makes things so difficult.
I'm not sure whether I imagined this in a dream or whether I saw it in print somewhere, but I have this image of a 1 panel cartoon with a grampa, a middle-age adult, and and a baby. Each has a thought balloon...
The middle-age adult's says "they are driving me crazy". The Grampa's says "I'm getting worse". The baby's says "I'm going to get more able".
I'd rather have the baby, but I have the Grampa, and I didn't get to choose.
Lest you think that this middle-aged adult doesn't know what babies are like, I do. I was the eldest child and my youngest sister was born when I was 15. Guess who was the constant babysitter? I'll bet I changed more diapers and cleaned more bottoms than many fathers. Not "all" but "many"...
Dad is more confusing almost every day. I both wish and don't wish that he would reach the point where I can't care for him
1. The "wish" part comes from the way he is so confused sometimes that he confuses ME and I don't know how to respond. I would love to be relieved of the confusion. The simplest things are baffling him, and he seeks explanations. I give them as simply as I can, of course, but simple isn't always complete and he can still detect that "sometimes".
An example: It is the time of year here when days stay warm but nights get cold. I am used to turning on the heat at night and the AC in the day to keep the house between 7 and 73 year-round (yes, I'm a temperature wimp - I have a very precise comfort zone). Outside, temp variations are broad because there is wind and open air. Outside, I am happy between 60 and 80.
Anyway, Dad has insisted that the floor vents in his bedroom and the TV room (where he spends ALL day) be blocked "from that damned freezing air". Which worked well all Summer... But now the temperatures fluctuate. Yesterday, he called me in to look at the floor. He was horrified to find COLD AIR pouring up from the vent!
There was a reason. The day before, I advised Dad that I was turning on the heat at night so he wouldn't feel too cold. But that he would have to replace the closed vent cover in the daytime when the AC came one cuz it got over 80 degrees. He said he understood that. But he forgot that of course.
Tonight, we had the exact same discussion, and he (angrily) said he understood the vent had to be changed each day, Tomorrow, we will have the same discussion again, because he won't recall any of it (and more importntly, won't understand WHY the vent has to be changed to suit his comfort zone. I understand that he will NEVER remember about the vent... I accept it. But it drives me nuts to explain the same thing day after day.
2. The "don't wish" part is that I don't want Dad to lose his mind. I am used to him being angrily conservative while I am unapologetically progressive (not always "liberal", there's a difference). But him being "nuts" (technical term, LOL) is very different. He asks me the weirdest things sometimes.
Is the chicken cooked?
Do you have a sandwich for yourself? (He has the other half of our mutual lunch sandwich - It's a big loaf).
Same with giving him a half a peach after a meal. "Do you have some for yourself?" (Yes I have the other half and its on the plate right next to me).
Are you having dinner too? (seeing two chicken thighs cooked and one on each of our plates).
He won't eat a snack of potato chips if he doesn't see some on my plate.
But those are the minor examples.
He knocked on my bedroom door last night at 3 am and asked if I was warm enough. Warm enough? I was sweating from the heat of 73. And at 3 am? And does he not think I can mange the temperture of the house? HE can't. He has no idea how the thermostat works.
He asks the same questions EVERY day. Did I get enough sleep? Am I hungry? Do I see a groundhog outside? Did I hear someone knocking at the door? Have I washed? Can I hear the TV?
He's basically insane. I sleep well; if I'm hungry, I eat; If I'm cold, I wear warmer clothes (he doesn't), if someone knocks at the door, I will answer it (seldom happens), I wash my hands a dozen times a day (cleaning kitty litter boxes or handling raw meat). I can hear the TV across the house at the volume Dad needs it at. I think he thinks I am a child again.
I have learned to answer most of his questions YES/NO. Explanations beyond that baffle him. Two thoughts in one sentence is one more than he can follow.
This is too long a post, but it is not long enough to express all my confusions with Dad...
Here is Dad complaining of being cold. Wearing shorts and the thinnest possible knit shirt...