Sunday, September 25, 2011

Flu Shots

Ok.  So the retirement community where my folks live isn't perfect.  It still does its best to service its residents.  Take, for example, flu shots.  Walgreens, it seems will be offering flu shots for all residents.  All it takes is filling out a form and showing up.  For my mom, they will come to her.  For my dad, he'll have to go to them.  A few glitches.  First, Mom's form is filled out by someone else and they leave off her Medicare number.  Then they can't find the file with her Medicare number on it.  Can I get a copy to them in the next forty minutes to meet the deadline?  Then my Dad's shot is scheduled for the Jewish holidays.  How's that for timing?  Right idea, not particularly well executed, but I'm grateful that they try.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Eldercare and Dale Carnegie

One of my dad's friends from Chicago called the other day to find out how Mom was doing.  Apparently he wasn't getting much information out of his conversations with my dad.  Dad's friend is 92 years old, still drives (so did Dad until he moved out here) and lives at home with his wife and his wife's caregiver.  (His wife has a form of dementia as well).  We speak about my mom, he fills me in about how he and his wife are doing, (He is still working out three times a week at the Y.  His wife just broke two vertebrae and is in a lot of pain) and a bit about a mutual friend who is currently in rehab after falling and breaking her arm. "I'm more worried about my dad," I tell Dad's friend.  "He seems to be down in the dumps and suffering from inertia."  "Your Dad ought to be thinking about his time when he studied that motivational guy (he's referring to my Dad's studies with motivational guru Dale Carnegie who espoused the power of positive thinking)."

I have left a message with Dad's doctor asking if perhaps an anti-depressant prescription might be the answer to his depression.  The doctor leaves a message on my voice mail.  "I talked to your dad and I just don't think he's ready for anything.  He seems fine to me."

Well, Dad, better take out the old Dale Carnegie manual.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Life Goes On

Can't believe it's been ten days since my last post.  I think we're settling into a pattern, though Mom has been under the weather for the last several days.  In the last ten days I've only received three phone calls from Mom's dementia unit, one about her being sick, one about the doctor's report and one about the need for bringing her a new toothbrush.  (In her unit, there is no such thing as personal items!) In between, I visit her and see for myself that she's not feeling well.   I've taken Dad to his weekly bridge game, gone shopping for him, filled a pill prescription, done his laundry and taken him with us to the mountains where he and my husband have watched marathon football games and only stopped for my meals which are anything but gourmet.  At least once a week one of my parents' friends will call to find out about Mom and Dad and to fill me in on the latest incidents that are happening to them.  Two of my parents' friends fell, one is in rehab with a broken wrist, the other has two broken vertebrae.  We are getting ready for the Jewish high holidays.  I've got Dad writing New Year's cards to his friends, and I'm making Mom's traditional plum cake for her dementia unit.  Then I've been anointed by my son to make the Break the Fast dinner for the family.  In between I packed up the mountain kitchen and am trying to finalize the plans for the remodel.  Life goes on.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"That's Not My Style"

Sooooo, Dad came with us to our mountain home for Labor Day weekend.  We were joined by our son, our daughter-in-law and our two grandsons, ages five months and three and a half years.  Amidst the racing cars, the rattles, the Lego blocks and the sippy cups and burp cloths, Dad wove his way from room to room, constantly asked what day we were going home and camped out in my husband's study in front of our new plasma tv where he was surrounded on a rotating basis by the children, my husband and my son.

He was morose.

Sunday we all left him to fare for himself while we went for a hike.  (I realized later that I was totally out of cell phone reception and that he'd have to call my brother in Chicago or 911 if anything went wrong...oh the guilt).  Upon our return, we all unwound, exhausted from our adventure.  Around four, my husband tapped me on my tired shoulder to say my dad was hungry.  Apparently he hadn't had much to eat for lunch.  Both of us had told him what to find in the refrigerator but he didn't put forth much of an effort.  I hurriedly rushed into the kitchen, whipped out guacamole, salsa and chips for us and Edam cheese and stone wheat crackers for Dad.  (I knew he would probably have preferred salami but I didn't have time to get to the grocery store.)  I placed the spread in the study for all to munch on along with small plates and napkins.  About a half hour later, he brings his plate with remnants of the cheese and crackers into the kitchen where I am preparing dinner.  I look at the half-filled plate and he says to me, "It's not my style." I respond with acceptance, "Sorry, Dad.  What is your style?"  He looks at me with an empty gaze, "I don't know," he says.

I'm frustrated with his inability to find his happy place and thinking maybe I'll call the doctor when we return to see if he'll prescribe some anti-depressants.  The way he is behaving is like his reading patterns. He reads a book for thirty pages and then sets it down.  Our trip to the mountains is the same.  He comes with expectations but then loses interest.  I'm at a loss.