Monday, April 23, 2012

Same Old, Same Old

Dad is in a holding pattern.  He spends most of his day sleeping in his chair watching golf and now that the season is in full swing, baseball.  I see him daily during the week and on the weekends, Keith helps me out by taking Dad for walks if the weather is good.  He is very weak and can barely transfer from his chair to the wheelchair without great effort.  He is still able to comprehend most of what is going on, but he cannot speak his words without losing his breath or his train of thought. Hospice workers come and see Dad regularly: the social worker, the chaplain, the nurse, the certified nurse assistant who bathes him unless he says no.  We seldom take Dad to dinner anymore since he basically eats nothing.  For a while he was drinking Burger King strawberry milk shakes, but a week or so ago, he nixed them as well.  We did make it successfully to half of the sedar dinner that the senior living facility hosted during Passover.  We did not make it for the caregiver to bring him to our house the following Sunday for fried matzah with the kids and the boys.  My brother and his wife came for a brief visit at the beginning of the month.  They move to Albuquerque in June.  Last week I hired a new care management company.  The old one never returned my calls and that was hurtful to my sensitive self.  I hired the company so that I could plan on getting up to Vail for the concert season without worrying about being around for Dad.  I also hired them to visit Dad twice a week just to break up the monotony and spell me a bit.  We'll see.  Dad's friend from Chicago is planning an early May trip to see his daughter and Dad.  I hope Dad's still here to see him.  We take it day by day.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Yikes

April 4, 2012

Yesterday I went to see my dad and accompany him downstairs to the beauty salon to have his nails cut.  As I walk in, he has collapsed in front of his walker with the caregiver standing behind him.  Soon after there are two caregivers, a nurse and myself trying to figure out how to lift him up and put him down.  So much for the beauty salon.

The rest of the time is spent lecturing him on why he has to eat to gain some strength, how he can't get out of his chair without help, and a bunch of advice on how to make it through the day.  Dad will pay attention to none of this.   He laments that he is "a pain in the ass."  "No, Dad," I say.  "I just want you to feel better."

My panacea:  First I try abortively to visit a nursing home as yet another alternative to care of Dad.  Then I go home, drink wine, bury myself in a NYTimes crossword puzzle that's way too hard for me, attempt unsuccessfully to talk to Dad, go to dinner, turn off the phone and attend a somewhat vapid musical revue of the life of Johnny Cash.  Tomorrow's another day.  We'll take it as it comes along.

I'm afraid I'm not the ideal caregiver example.