The Disease

Having your mom in a wheelchair is the pits. One of the things I miss most is going shopping with her on my birthday. We would spend the day having a fashion show and picking out an outfit or two and end the outing with a wonderful lunch. She could still go shopping with me but it would just be too difficult. It would be more work than pleasure.

Having your dad be diagnosed with dementia sucks! I hate that word but it is most fitting for this disease. On July 2, 2015, I spent the better part of the day with my dad and my two youngest children. We went to lunch and to some stores in Homewood and we had fun. By that night, my dad had no idea that he had spent the day with me. He did not remember any of it. By the next night, he did not know who I was. He even tried to have me arrested for trespassing.

My mom called me to come to the house because he was confused and he was trying to “go home.” My mom was not able to help him because she was stuck in bed and the sitter was as panicked as I was. My 86 year old dad was frantic to leave his house and “go home” and Janice, the sitter, and I were trying to keep him in the house. It was awful. We ended up calling the police to come help us. Initially they thought is was a domestic dispute but they were able to ask a few questions and realize that my dad was sick. Sick. What does that mean? Except for the anger in his eyes he did not look sick. He looked like my Dad. He looked at me with no recognition at all. It was one of the worst nights of my life.

July 4, 2015, every doctor in my Mom’s address book was out of town. Not only out of town but on an extended vacation. Now what? Sedatives were our salvation. All we could do for my dad was give him a sedative to keep him calm. We were all terrified that we would have a repeat of the night before. If my dad raised his voice we gave him a sedative. If he looked confused, we gave him a sedative. It was not helping him and it was not helping us. It was not fair to keep him in a stupor just because we were afraid he would get irate and try to “go home.”

Welcome to the next worst day of my life. My sister and I admitted my dad to the psych ward at Brookwood Hospital. I will not bore you with the details of the next two weeks but let me just say that my sister and I will NEVER do that to my Dad again. The nurses were wonderful but the doctors were non existent. I am not sure we ever saw one! We succeeded in getting my dad off all his meds. Basically we dried him out and then we checked him out. We can never recommend that facility to anyone. If you are not happy with the care your loved one is getting, make a change. Do not be afraid to fire a doctor. As a matter of fact, fire several of them! Start with a clean slate. It will not solve all of your problems but it will certainly make you feel better and you can function a lot better with a some clarity.

Trust your gut. If you think something is wrong; it probably is.

 

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