Hi all! It's been a while since I have posted. Seems time flies here on Planet Alzheimers, and sometimes, I can't find the living room, let alone the computer!
Today, I was on the phone with my son (he had a car accident - no one hurt - but he needed advice), and while I was concentrating on the phone call, I noticed dad's little dog in my back yard, just laying by the trampoline. I finished my call, and went to see what she was up to.
And there was dad, fully 100% UNDER the trampoline, on hands and knees, picking up small stones! I asked him to come out, and he blew me off, so I went in to go to the ladies' room, and when I came out, he was gone. *whew*, thinks I, he had gone back into the house. So I walked over to his backdoor, and went in - no dad. I searched every room. No dad. So, back outside I went, calling his name. No reply.
So I went back to the trampoline. And there he was, IN THE FREAKING BUSHES, on hands and knees (and remember - this guy can hardly walk), digging out more little rocks from the soil. He was totally hidden in the bushes.
I got him out of the brush, convinced him to let me help him up and take him indoors. I got him in, gave him a big glass of juice, cleaned him up and changed his clothes, and saw that he had about 5 piles of rocks stacked on top of his trash cans. Just regular old rocks.
I took his BP, and of course, it was high (150/105 - his usual is 110/60), his pulse was high (105!), and he was red faced and worn out. Clearly, I cannot leave him during his nap time now. We are at full time care -without breaks, I fear.
He must have had some kind of thought that he needed to collect some rocks.
Y'all got any experience with this kind of (manic?) odd behavior? He can't tell me what he was thinking - he can't string together the words. I don't think he even remembers it.
And it's so nice to be back. I will look forward to hearing from every one of you! I've missed you...
Hey Deb, you're back! Hooray! I worry about people who suddenly disappear, fearing that something bad has happened.
So he has become an amateur geologist! Complete with field expeditions. I hope he found what he was looking for. Seriously, it is bad for him to raise his BP so much, and doesn't it make you feel that since he needs 24/7 supervision, he may be better off in some kind of facility?
Oh Deb I'm so sorry, I bet that really scared you! I remember when my DH told me he "took a walk today" just around the neighborhood. I freaked out a bit but that was before I had daily caregivers in our home. It was then I decided he needed someone there while I worked and then he took a fall and hurt the hand he landed on, (bruised and really swollen) and I started looking for help. He also kept silver dollars in his pocket which he carried and stacked daily and he "collected" sticks outside in our yard when we would be out there. I think the manic behavior is part of this crazy illness and most patients have something they do. I agree that it might be time to look for a facility so that you can get your life back. Possibly an adult day care so you can have a break or a full time place that can keep him busy and monitor his blood pressure etc.
Good luck, God bless and my prayers are coming your way!
Ahhhhhh. I see. It probably is just part of the disease, then, no?
Full time care. Yes. I see the need for it. I see the time is here. And the reason I can't go "facility" yet is that he honestly gets a lot of pleasure (at least I THINK he does) from being in his own home, being with his stuff, seeing his little dog and having a modicum of independence. BUT. This episode was so "out there" that it does indeed worry me.
I am going to start the whole ball a'rollin with a visit to the doctor. I am making an appt today for him, and we will git 'r done.
And it's nice to be back, y'all. I have missed you all a bunch. This really is a lifeline, and every one of you are life jackets. Complete with towels!
Thank heavens he didn't get hurt out huntin' for rocks. Perhaps he is busy making a fort to hide in? Or he is going to throw stones at mean ladies who yell at you?
Little deb, at this stage of the disease, he is getting where he won't realise where he is soon dear. If you want to continue to scare the crap out of all of us and yourself...(sigh), LOL...then look into having someone sit with him during the day, or investigate adult day care where he can go for several hours during the day. HE needs to have someone with him all the time now. He can't be left unattended. But I worry about the 24/7 frame.
What about the evening hours. What happens if he gets up at night and goes outside and starts to wander? This is scary dear....
But the first thing is to get him into the doctor and get him checked over and make sure that everything is ok. We will hold onto your towel and hold you tight.
We have been WORRIED ABOUT YOU....welcome back dear.
Last edited by ibake&pray; 08-20-2008 at 08:02 AM.
I just can't come here without finding myself smiling. Ibake...so incredibly nice to hear from you, and Deb and Martha...and all the gang. Especially on days when I find that I have hardly smiled, and certainly not laughed, this is the place where I can come to feel yoga/church/spiritual peace. I love you all so much, and have missed you.
The reason I was gone so long, (and I feel like I can be honest with you wonderful people) is because I KNOW in my heart that it is time for facility for dad. I KNOW I have to get the 24/7 care on board, and now. Actually, it was time 3 months ago. And someone told me (on this board) that I was making you all worn out and dizzy with my musings and terror and heartbreak regarding dad. So I figured I might be in the wrong place, because I was not in the proper mindset to let him go. I felt like I might be just whining, and driving all YOU fine people up the wall. I never want to do that. I come here because I need you. And I trust you. And even though I could not bear the thought - then - of "putting dad in a home"...I am becoming quite aware that the time is upon us.
I have said it before, and I will say it again: This is such an isolating disease. I feel so alone, except when I am here on this board. I am surrounded by people - my husband (who asks how dad is today, but getting him to walk the 50 feet to see dad is sometimes like pulling teeth), my 12 yr old son (not much help there. Remember - dad is mean to my son sometimes, and I try to protect son from that), and a month ago, our 30 yr old daughter moved back in with us as she sold her home and wants to save some more money for a year or so, so she now lives with us. (Just to add a little joy to my life, actually. My daughter is my BFF, and even though there are now four of us and her dog living in 900 square feet, it's nice to have her here. Except when it's not. Heh. But for the most part, she is a joy.) And she loves grandpa, but she doesn't want to go see him, either.
And you know what? I don't blame them. It would be nice respite for me if someone ELSE would take him dinner and sit with him and listen to the silence and try to make conversation, hand him a Kleenex as his nose drips down his face and cut his meat for him, but that is not going to happen. It's me, and me alone. (This has no place in this thread, but just to throw it out there - have any of you ever resented the REST of the family that does NOTHING to help with the demented one? I wanna choke my brother in California - he never calls, emails...nothing. And my family here in the house...sometimes I actually RESENT them for not helping here. Am I nuts?)
So as I sit here in tears at the refreshed realization that if it is to be, it's up to me, I thank you all for keeping me centered.
It's time. It will take time to do, but it's time.
I am sooooooooo glad you are back But I am going to pop you with a towel before I hug you. The very reason you stayed away is the reason we are all here for each other. The step from caring for a loved one to giving them over to a care facility only second to losing them to death on the hard list. When you are struggling with that or any situation it is not whining. It is coming to grips with a tragic reality and that is why we are all here. We are here to get a grip and give a grip. So don't you go away again. Now I will give you a great big hug for coming back We had a string of the corner of your towel that we were hanging on to and somehow knew you would make your way back. We are addictive you know!!!
My mom spent the last summer she was home sitting in the pine straw in her flower beds. She had hundreds of feet of flower beds and she took up all the straw, one handful at a time, picked all the leaves and sticks out of it before laying it back down. Then she took the new pine straw, one handful at a time, made sure it was perfectly clean, and mixed it with the old straw being sure it was all probably fluffed. It took weeks and she was out there hours every day. If it was extremely hot the sitter would make her come in if possible but as soon as the sitter turned her back Mom was back in the straw. The winter before it was washing windows..... over and over. It makes me glad that my Dad's obcession is reading the newspaper, especially the funnies. The subscription to the newspaper is the best money we spend for him. He will read and read, lay it down to for some reason, then ask where it is and reread it like he has not seen it before. It is part of the disease.
It is definitely time for you to have a break and your Dad to have the 24/7 care that he needs. You can take some of his things with him. You can visit him as often as you want but then you can go home and sleep at night knowing he will not wander away. You will be able to go to the bathroom without being concerned that he will do something detrimental to his health. I to went through that denial, guilt, beating myself up, dragging my feet, procrastinating, and all that other stuff you are doing. But the first night I knew Mom and Dad were safely in AL..... I slept like a baby for the first time in forever without a worry that the phone would ring. You would be doing your Dad a favor. He will get the care he needs and in return he would also get back a well rested daughter who is better able to deal with life because she can take a few minutes for herself. So go for it and get it done.
Again.... I am glad you are back. You need to be here and we need you here. No more absences ok
I wanted to add my two cents in here if I may.......
I also understand your frustration of having family members who do not want to help. I have 3 aunts who all each live within 10 minutes of my grandmother....and countless cousins, not much further.....and none of them have seen her in over a year. So we try, from 3000 miles, to do what we can, to call, to visit.....just to let her and my uncle know we have not abandoned them, and they are not alone.
I have watched my uncle care for my grandmother 24/7. And I have seen the toll it has taken on him....he really is no longer the same person. You're right about this illness being "isolating"......because he tells me if ever he runs into someone he once knew, he doesnt know how to communicate anymore with people. Because it is only him and my grandma. Kind of like when you first have a baby, and you crave that adult conversation.
Anyways, what I'm trying to say, is that if you can find somewhere that will take good care of your dear father......I believe it is the right thing. I only wish that my uncle could find a place like the ones that some of the ladies describe here. Where he is, he hasnt seen anything that is not "gloomy and scary".....nothing that looks like it would be a safe and caring place for her.
Take care of your dad, but take care of yourself......it is a really hard balance, but you also have family that need you.
Take it from a "daughter' who loves her mom and "knows".......
Love, Caroline xo
AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH (Deb heaves a big cleansing sigh).....
Oh my gosh, how I love you all! Deb, consider my behind thoroughly popped by your towel. And thank you all for holding onto the tiny thread of my towel I left behind. No more disappearing act - promise. Or as my son demands, pinky promise.
Deb, you oughta be a writer. I swear I could SEE your mom working in the straw. And I know just what you mean - they are so methodical and precise in their actions. Daddy must have 250 lbs of rocks - in the house, on the porch, in trash can lids that he actually WATERS (he calls it his rock garden)...and he is in LOVE with his rocks. Just like your mom was with the straw. Strange, strange disease. At times endearing, at times so frustrating...
My dad uses a $150 Norelco electric razor. I mention the price because that is a TON of money to me, but he has no idea of value anymore. He loves his razor - he is a chronic shaver - many times a day sometimes. Anyway, he took the thing apart last week. Clear apart. Every tiny screw. There were 14,262,128 parts. I know, because I counted them. Ha! He requested I put the bloody thing together, because he had no idea how this happened to his razor. The situation was a total mystery to him. No idea at all. Even though all the screwdrivers were still on the table. So, slowly, carefully, painstakingly, I actually put the thing back together. Took me...are you ready for this?...four hours. But it was back together, and working well.
Wiping the sweat from my brow, I fed him supper, readied him for bed, and tucked him in. He was pleased that his razor was fixed.
The next morning, I went to fix him breakfast, and guess what? You got it - 14,262,128 parts, IN A COFFEE CUP...and when I showed annoyance, he got mad at ME. I said, "That's it. No more." Threw the entire mess into the trash, got my keys and walked out. I went to Walmart and bought him a $40 razor, brought it home, plugged it in, and said, "Look! New razor!" And he is a happy man. You know the best part of this razor? A total of 7 parts.
There is no rhyme or reason to any of this. Not what dad does, not what any of our loved ones do.
Carsam, thank you for your kind words. Deb, thank you for the remonstration. ibake, thank you for...well, thank you all. Since Deb has threatened to get a stack of towels and come find me if I try to disappear again, I guess you'll hear from me soon. And given my current situation, that would probably mean SOOOON!
Love you all...
...little deb (I love that. Thanks for the nickname!)
I literally busted out laughing at your razor story little deb. I guess I should have mentioned that we converted my Dad to a cheap electric razer long ago. He does not take them apart because he has never been "mechanical" and I don't think a screw driver fits his hand but he does open the top and then beats it on the side of the sink to clean it out. When we find the top in one place, the blades scattered on the floor, and the base in another place he has no clue who has been messing with his razor. At this point I think he has three cheap razors. The one he broke last that I eventually fixed, the one that was bought to replace that one, and the always presesnt spare. He is like your Dad, he will shave, forget he has shaved and shave again. I guess it is better than not shaving.
It is good to have you back little deb Now stay put!!
Deb - you know how people write LOL - laugh out loud? I write it too, to tell people that I found them amusing.
Well, the visual I got on your dad BEATING his razor on the side of the sink, with blades and top flying everywhere, had me LAUGHING so loud that my daughter came out of her room to see if I was ok! I am still doing that "trying-not-to-laugh-so-I-am-just-making-gagging-sounds" laugh.
You know why it's funny (other than you write like a champ)? Because I have BEEN there. I have witnessed dad absolutely destroying stuff - in the name of fixing it or cleaning it.
And sadly, I see him with childlike confusion when he is holding the broken watch or the handle-less coffee cup, or the cracked bowl. And all I can say is, "It's ok, daddy. I'll fix it." Anything to see him smile.
I will not leave again, God willing and the creeks don't rise. Promise.
I don't think I can live without you all...really.
Hello Ladies, You are just the best, all of you. Your funny, caring and your always here to help me "one more day". So glad your back little Deb. You have been missed. Its been a tough few days with Mom. Much too hard to explain right now. But just know that you ladies are my lifeline. Love you all.
Sorry,but calling you Little was the only way I could keep you two apart. Now, I wish that I could smak you from here to Sunday and back....You my dear had us all scared and worried. Deb and I have plucked threads from towels and wove them into a string that is in a big ball-the colors are red and purple because one day she pitched a hissy fit that was beyong all epic propotions . i actually had to tell her to pull up her big girl panties and get on with it! Well, she decided that the towel are now all red and purple to match her big girl panties! But I digress..This ball of twine was stretched out into cyberspace to find you so you could grab hold.
We knew we had hit a sore spot with you and it was raw and ouzing and festering. We also knew that until that wound started to either be cauterized or it would continue to fester and ouze. But only you could make the decision to carry on until your entire family collapsed or your daddy passed. OR you felt yourself smacked and pulled up YOUR big girl panties, grew up and started to do the right thing and came back to us and asked for help to find daddy a new home.
You see, we have been there. And yes, you will make it through this next part too. You sweet thing you just think you can do it alone. God sent you here for a reason. Now take advantage of it. Think of the poor souls who don't have the advantage of this place.
And yes, I would have gladly throttled several immediate and distant members of the family who called and said, why aren't you doing something about your parents? And when I asked them, Why aren't you helping? they hung up.....but they were there when we emtied the house.....
Now little deb, hang onto the towel for dear life..we missed you and are glad you are back.
Your daddy is like mine. My dad insisted he could fix the toaster. Took it apart,(this was back when you didn't just throw things out, but actually took them to the repair shop). and finally threw up his hands in disgust. Mom put everything in a paper bag and took it to the repair shop. The very kind repair man looked into the bag and said "what's this?." Mom said, "a toaster." He looked again and said "I've never had a bag of toaster before." But he got it working again...and then he asked mom to tell Dad next time not to help him so much a head of time.....LOL.....
glad you're back....
Last edited by ibake&pray; 08-21-2008 at 06:58 AM.
Does this mean I get a new purple or red towel? For REALS? Oh wow. I love purple towels!
But I am afraid I need kind of a big one. Like maybe, "bath sheet" sized? See, dad is doing strange stuff lately. The geologic surveys, the rock retrieval, the razor deconstruction...
And I am so so sorry I worried y'all. It's not like me to worry folks. More to the point, it's not like folks to worry about me.
My big girl panties are pulled up, now, ibake. I have a wedgie they are pulled up so far. And I see things anew. It's time to move forward. And move, I will.
Thanks for giving a crud, ibake. And thanks for the new towel. Here! (Deb flips opposing corner of towel to ibake) Hold on to the other side...there may be times you have to drag me through this process.
I love having people to count on. It's a blessing. Or rather, a Blessing - with a capital "B".
Honey, I know how hard this is. I have had to do it too. I have cried enough tears to overflow the Mississippi. For you, the task will be easier, your daddy won't know when you put him in a home. My father was still cognizant when he was put in the AZ wing by an evil nurse. And I couldn't do a d#mn thing about it. The guilt and pain are still there and it will be year the end of Sept that he p[assed. The only good thing is htat he was with Momma when he passed and we had convinced him that he was there to help her along.
So yeah, I know what you are facing, and I know how hard it has been for you. And we have been worrying about you you brat! But I know that it is hard to see Dad through clear glasses, not the rose colored lenses that we wear in hopes that some miracle has happened overnight and that the brilliant man that raised the dome and you has returned. I know that you grieve for your father that was and you grieve for your family that was and you grieve because legally you cannot beat the living crap out of you brother. And you wonder how your father could have sired him as well as you, and you wonder how human compassion can be missing from the son who was raised in the same family as you. And you hope that a very large truck comes by and runs him over when he is crossing the street. Yeah, I know, it's not easy.
Your hubby and kids love your dad, but it is too painful and scary for them to see him as he is now. They want to remember him as the FIL and grand father that was before-when he was coherant and fun and loving. My own boys suffered so with this-it broke my heart when they could barely spend the weekend with my parents. I knew they were still the same people who adored them to the ends of the earth, why couldn't they see that? So, try to cut them some slack before you cut off their arms. It's hard on them too.
My dear, I am glad you returned. We were all so worried that we had pushed you too hard or too fast. But you seemed to be standing on the brink of an abyss where your family was going to disintergrate because of the stress of daddy...
So, Little deb. Time has come dear. Start lookin, Daddy can have some of his "stuff" with him in a NH and you will be better off for it..and so will your family. Trust us on this one.
I'm glad you have returned I have been praying for your safe return...Jill
Last edited by ibake&pray; 08-21-2008 at 07:07 PM.