Posted by: expectingamiracle | February 20, 2009

Things you never think will happen

I don’t even know where to start, really.  Things went downhill with my dad.  The Aricept seemed to help a bit for a few days and suddenly things got a LOT worse.  My mother was up until 3:00 a.m. one night with him because she could not convince him that there weren’t people who were going to come into the house and try to kill them.  She took him back to the doctor the next day and was told to take him to the ER in a neighboring city.  He was admitted to their psych ward.  He has been there ever since, almost 3 weeks.

The diagnosis is dementia.  The CT scans show atrophy of the brain and vascular changes.  They don’t know what has caused this but I am certainly suspicious of the fact that has a history of brain cancer (treated in part with radiation) and also heart disease (which makes sense with the vascular issues).  He is on several drugs now and they are helping, but he is not “normal”.  He has probably not been “normal” for quite awhile,  but a lot of it we just attributed to hearing loss,  and short term memory loss, when maybe that wasn’t what the true problem was.   Anyway, he is not so delusional now, although he does still have some odd thoughts in the evenings.  Mom says he is no longer agitated and anxious though, which is good.  She said the meds have made him more subdued, which I think his GP had said the anti-pyschotic meds will make you “not really yourself”.  But it’s certainly the lesser of two evils since he was not himself by any means, when he was thinking people were out trying to kill him.

The tough thing is, even with meds, he can’t live at home.  He needs 24 hour care and Mom just can’t do that.  She can’t watch him every second of the day to make sure he isn’t delusional/doing something he shouldn’t.  On Tuesday he will be discharged and go to live in a senior home.  It’s a small home for those who do not physically need a “nursing home” but still need 24 hour care due to dementia, etc.  It is only 5 miles or so from my parents house,  so Mom will be able to visit much more often.  I guess there is always a slim chance that he could go live at home again, but we aren’t hopeful.  This is a progressive disease. 

For a few days, I almost couldn’t stand it.  It tore me up.  And then I somehow had to shut that out.  I cannot change it.  All I can do is be there for my Mom and do whatever I can to help. 

It’s unfair.  He’s only 57.  But when I go down that road I have to remind myself that he could have died 14 years ago.  He is still here and he is still “with it”, at least some of the time.  I just hope he can be happy for whatever time he has left. 

Right now, I don’t think I am letting myself feel everything that I need to feel, or that I will feel.  I’m sure there will be days to come in which I rage against why this is happening to my family.  But for now I can’t.  It won’t do any good anyway.

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Responses

  1. I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. It must be so hard for you to watch that. We kind of grow up seeing our parents as these people who are invincible and will never grow old. Then as we get older we have to watch them be able to do less and less and it really sucks.

    My Mom had a hip replacement last year and my Dad just had his shoulder replaced in Jan. Those are OLD people surgeries. It’s so sad and hard to see their bodies go downhill. I’m thinking of you…

  2. Dementia is horribly unfair for anyone, but espescially someone so young. I had to go through it with my grandmother, but cannot imagine what it must be like to go though it with a parent. It is such an undignified disease. I am thinking strong thoughts for you, and your mother and father as well. The rage will come and when it does we will be here.

  3. I came over from the L&F and I’m so very sorry to hear this news. My mother in law has dementia that is progressing much more slowly than your dad’s, but it is still very difficult. I’m hoping that something can get sorted out for him with the meds and bring him peace from the paranoid and scary thoughts, and I’ll keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers as you figure out where to go from here.

  4. Here from Lost and Found. I’m so sorry for this terrible news about your father. I wish you and your mother strength and peace to deal with the future and to enjoy your father as he is for as long as you can. Peace.

  5. Here from LFCA. I am so sorry about your dad. I know it must be overwhelming right now, but you will be able to handle everything as it comes. You are being held in my thoughts.

  6. Here from LFCA: So sorry to hear about your dad. I hope that things start to get better soon. (((Hugs)))

  7. I can only imagine what you and your family must be feeling right now. In a lot of ways our parents are our foundations in life and when they change or leave, much of what we know about our worlds gets tested. I’m so very sorry that your family has to go through this.

    Wishing you peace.
    (LFCA)

  8. Dementia SUCKS big time for ALL involved. I’m so sorry you have to go through it. I am glad he is getting help though. Your in my thoughts.


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