A Daughter’s Journey With Her Father’s Alzheimers

July 1, Canada Day!

This will be my last post for awhile. As mentioned before, my direct involvement with doing things for my Dad has ended. My older brother takes over now. He has taken time off from work this summer and will be here.

Dad has his cataract surgery scheduled for July 9. There has been no change in the date. The Rx for the eye drops is on my fridge. I sent a reminder email to my brother about it and he asked me to get the drops, which I am not doing. My younger sister recently told me that my brother had asked her to come here this summer and give Dad his required eye drops. My sister lives several provinces away and does work full-time.

Her and I had a little discussion as to what my brother is thinking and doing. We wonder if he has realized what he has signed up for. I know that he is capable of doing so but wonder how committed he is. Being here for Dad in the summer and spending time with him and taking him to his homestead property is one thing. Having the added task of doing eyedrops  of two types 4 times a day for three days before scheduled surgery is just the beginning. After that Week 1 is both drops 4 times a day. Week 2 is 1 drop 3 times a day. Week 3 is 1 drop 2 times a day and Week 4 it’s down to 1 drop once a day.

Day of surgery need to allow an hour’s drive to the hospital and be there at whatever time in advance that is required. And the day following surgery is a morning visit to the surgeon for follow-up. It all adds up to a lot. Dad will be tired for sure. Plus needing to wear the patch afterwards and to exercise caution.

When I first found out that Dad was having his surgery so soon, I was surprised. I had hoped that he would already be living in long term care. And if we had taken the offered bed, he would be there already and the drops would be taken care of by the nurses. However, that is not the case.

Recently the geriatrician went to visit Dad. I  arrived late at Dad’s just after the Dr. had started. It wasn’t planned that way but would have given the Dr. an opportunity to see how Dad is when alone. The Dr. started out with his usual questions as to the time of year, the month, etc. When asked the year, Dad said 19 and then 20 but couldn’t say 2015. He said the Dr. was firing questions at him. He got up and walked away with his walker. Dad was saying that he knows the date and that it is on the newspaper that he reads every day. I’m sure the Dr. has experienced this reaction from patients before.

He told my Dad that he would not continue with the questions if Dad would allow him to take his blood pressure. So Dad came back and sat and allowed the Dr. to do that. So it ended up being a short visit!

The Dr. was going to send a report to Home Care. Him and I talked briefly about Dad’s name being on the list for a long term care bed. And also that a bed was offered but declined. Dr. N. knows that my brother will be taking over for the summer. So Dad will be seen again but not for some time, perhaps in December. Dad still expresses that he wants to continue living where he is and on his own. He says that as long as he can make his own meals and get around that he is okay.

I’m still finding this whole situation mentally tiring. My sister and I both agree that Dad should move. My brother doesn’t. I also found out from Home Care that my brother has asked them for their input and assistance in figuring out a way for Dad to stay living on his own. This was certainly news to me. I’m upset, actually really pissed that my brother would not tell me this development himself. It was making me feel that all my efforts have been in vain. My husband has said to me that my brother and I are in a “pissing match”.

At work I see families that have struggled with the decision to put Mom or Dad in “the home”. I see them struggle when they come to visit and when they leave. I hear the resident telling me that he/she is going “home today”. They have their plan that there is work waiting to be done. They are trying to figure out how to leave the building and how to get their drive. It is upsetting and depressing for all involved.

And so my journey continues. Earlier in June, I said to someone that no matter what happens, it will all work out and happen the way it is meant to. I need to find that optimism again. I want to lose the frustration and anger that I’m feeling. Whenever I’m over stressed, I quickly lose my sense of humour.

The sun is shining and the sky is blue. Going to take a few hours and get out for a drive and enjoy some of the Canada day festivities. My work schedule now becomes night shift.

To those of you reading, Happy Canada Day. Enjoy the summer.


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