email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Place For Dad

Well, I got word today that the assisted living facility (ALF) will have a room for Dad April 18th.  I don't plan to think of "why" so suddenly; sad things happen.

I'm suddenly busy with making plans for next week.  And Dr appointments...  I'm glad I got Dad to a dentist this week; one thing out of the way.  And I got Dad to the eye Dr today; it turns out his cheap drugstore glasses are just fine for his needs and he has no other vision problems.

I need to get Dad to his geriatric internist Dr ASAP for the ALF medical evaluation and will call for an appointment tomorrow.  They can usually arrange an appointment in 2-3 days, so that's OK.

The difficult plans are getting Dad, his personal stuff, and bed to the ALF (near the rest of the family and about 90 miles from here.  I suggested 4 plans to my sister and am waiting for her thoughts on them.  All plans involve a family member driving down here and only one doesn't involve me driving up there.  I hope she likes the one where I don't do any driving.  LOL!

It is all a bit more sudden than I expected.  But if it all works out, I will sure be relieved.  I know that doesn't sound very kind, but I'm a bit worn out.  Even Dad says he feels bad about how much work I do to take care of him.

I won't say I'm "happy" to do it all, but I'm "willing".  I'm sure you understand the difference. 

When I retired from office work in 2006, I came home and told the cats "I'm here, forever, and I'm yours".  I felt complete freedom to just live "my way".

When Dad leaves here in bout a week, I will feel much the same way.  It's been a hard year, and it was an important experience in my life.  I would have gladly skipped the experience, but I'm sure you know what I mean. 

I'm going to speak some truth here.  I won't miss his daily presence.  He has been a demanding "guest" for 11 months.  I was perfectly happy with him living down in FL, and I will be perfectly happy with him living in the ALF for the rest of his days.  I don't have to see my family every day in order to love and care about them.

If Dad had been 10 years younger when he moved in with me, things would have been different.  We could have talked, shared some experiences, etc.  But that was not the case (and he wouldn't have moved in with me 10 years ago).  Every time for the past 4 months, I have regretted each conversation beyond "its dinnertime, go to the table".  His mental confusion has driven me nearly crazy.  Any accidental reference I made for months has caused a long, confused explanation that left me mentally exhausted.  It's not his fault, it's mine.  I should have learned what to talk to Dad about.  Meals, weather, golf channel, etc.  I talk too much when someone else is around.

But the move is about set.  I could make a joke about "the long national nightmare is over" (Ford about Nixon), but that's not really true.  I know how frustrated Dad is about is inabilities.  I know how angry he feels at himself when he can't find words (and I try to comfort him about that).  I know how frustrated he is when he can't walk easily.  I have learned how much he struggles to maintain his personal life and do what he needs to do on his own.

When I watch Dad, I see my own future.  I understand that a day will come in a future decade when I am in his shoes.  While I have a vague plan to "check out" just before I get to Dad's condition, I also realize I might not remember those plans at the right time.  Life is complicated and death is more complicated.

I will miss Dad, in a way.  This has been an intensely "togetherness" year.  But I will be gladder to get my life back.  And it will start in about a week.  I'm not doing cartwheels though the yard, but I will be relieved.

11 comments:

The Cat From Hell said...

You have done a terrific job! You have stepped up and done what many other people would not have and you have come through it knowing that you not only did your best, but you did well! Assisted living will be easier and you will enjoy your father more. And 90 miles, that's how far we have to go for a "real" store. Its not so bad!

Thumper said...

It's not his fault...not yours either. It really isn't. You've done everything you could, and he's been well cared for.

Tell ya what...my mom is =this= close to dying, and caring for her has been a huge burden on my sister. She could be =this= close to dying for a very long time, and my sister is stuck. Totally stuck. No one wants our mom to die, but when she does it will be with a sigh of relief for everyone.

The end of life is rarely fair...so you won't do cartwheels, but getting back your own life is a good thing. And getting proactive care is good for him. Win-win.

ScottinVictoria said...

It's life and you understand that. I am glad you have found a place for him and that you are getting your freedom back. It is ok to want that, to need that. I'm sure people have been getting a bit worried about YOU - the lifestyle you have been living is not necessarily healthy for you - but it is over and you have done right. If he could articulate it, he'd probably say you've done a good job...that he is worried that you have to do so much is probably his way of saying it. I never thought of you as the caretaker type - proves anyone smart enough can do anything if they put their mind to it. I'm happy you will soon have your life back and that your father will have the care he needs.

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

Scott, please email me at cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com. I can't get through your email filters.

Megan said...

Thinking of you Mark.

Thanks for being willing to share your thoughts and feelings.

Megan
Sydney, Australia

Derby, Ducky said...

You have done good. You are showing signs that you need a break from elder care and it will come soon.

Agree with Thumber, while you won't be "happy" there will be relief that is over. You can resume your usual way of life.

So hang in there until you get him moved and settled. Then decide on how often you need or want to visit.

Mariodacatsmom said...

YAY - This is something probably long overdue. I admire you for coping as well as you have, but I'm very happy for you that your caregiver days are about over (on a full time basis anyway). I think I said in the beginning that it's the hardest job in the world - not so much in the physical sense (tho there is that too), but mentally draining. Alzheimers is the saddest disease, and my heart goes out to the patient suffering from it and to the family of the patient. I've been in those shoes. You can be very proud of yourself for coping as well as you have. Whatever happens from here, you can be at peace knowing you did the best job possible under the circumstances.

ScottinVictoria said...

Hey Mark,

For some reason verizon is rejecting my mail to you from multiple email addresses.

Try me at ayaka20 AT telus.net

Thanks

Scott

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

Scott- Telus demands that I set up an account with them. I won't. You can't reach cavebear2118@verizon.net?

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

Oh damn, I said "com" before. Sorry, Scott

Shaggy and Scout said...

Glad it's coming together for you & Dad.