Thursday, December 21, 2006

update on Dad

I was thinking I had kind of a breakthrough with Dad a few days ago, when I asked if he knew how much he started sentences and left out significant elements and left them unfinished, then started other sentences and left them incomplete. He seemed to get it (although I've tried to explain this many times before) and said that he often pauses to choose the best word to fill the next blank, but I pointed out that he often doesn't get around to choosing before he starts another sentence, or at least doesn't say it out loud.
He has done things like pick up our mail, several months old, read it, and then ask us if we've seen it. He mixed up the weeks a while back and ordered pizzas for an event at the Parish House that wasn't happening until the next weekend. He keeps doing things so he can't use the TV the next time he comes to it, even though I wrote out very specific instructions. When I checked the situation I found he had -- again -- turned off the cable channel box, leaving the TV screen blank but the set very much ON. So I reiterated to him to just turn the TV off and on, and use the remote to change channels. We'll see if the idea sticks this time.
I told him I thought some of the difficulty is that he has few landmarks in his vista: if we don't come around, almost no-one comes to see him; he isn't driving, and had said he didn't want a car but is reconsidering the idea that he'd like to be able to get to Hornell or Dollar General now and then, and is worried about imposing on us, and so on. I guess the days must look pretty much the same to him, so I'm trying to check on him more often, and Jeanette is thinking about getting him a calendar and suggesting he put an x on each day as it passes.....
What I think is really happening is that he's moving so quickly from one matter to the next, in his mind, that he doesn't pay attention to what's right in front of him. I know I suffer from this tendency at times. I tire of him going on and on, speculating about something (like last night when we were in the car and couldn't check the reality of what he was talking about, but he kept going on and on with different possible scenarios) that can't be checked at the moment. Sometimes he'll talk at length about something which is of little or no importance to anyone (but he's curious anyway), when I'm trying to bring up something of import.
Sometimes he'll go on and on after I've asked him to be quiet because something came to my mind and I need to retrieve it and write it down, but he'll keep on talking and there goes my thought out the window. I tried again to explain how troublesome and aggravating that is, again yesterday and maybe he got it this time.
I had made a draft of this post a while back, but this week (Jan. 1, 2007) he thought his doctor's appointment was on Thursday instead of Friday. When I asked him if he hadn't put that on his calendar, he said he had changed calendars and not gotten it transferred to the new one.
Anyway, we will try to help him keep things straight, and I will try to keep myself straight, too.

4 comments:

Doug said...

Sorry that this was such a gripe session. I guess I needed to unload. I love the man dearly and owe my life to him, but sometimes I feel like he is abstruse, even though I've known him all my life......

Barb Crumb said...

this is carol...it seems to me that dad has earned the right to be forgetful and fall asleep whenever he can just by making it to 87. on the other hand, i am sure he would like to feel useful. when he was up here he was very helpful with things like washing dishes and vacuuming, peeling veggies and such. anywho, thatb is my two cents worth. luv ya, cmc

Barb Crumb said...

carol again....just reread the part about dad going on and on when you need to retreive a thot... now it is my turn to unload, barb will interrupt with some inane thing when i am reading something deep. i lose my place, change gears to acknowledge her comment, then have to back up to find my place, shift gears again to regain my place. and since reading is hard for me anyway (especially on some of my meds or in manic states) it really aggravates me. because we are together almost 24/7 it can happen lots. we have discussed it and barb is really trying to change, so i can't really continue to complain. but now i have unloaded, i feel better and i extend my empathy to you doug.

Doug said...

It isn't that Dad's falling asleep in annoying. It's that it's happening a lot, at times and in situations when we've come to be concerned that he might hurt himself or that it might indicate something else is wrong.
He is falling asleep when he's otherwise alert and engaged in conversation or something. Maybe it's nothing to worry about, but we do.
On the other subject, I've been there, too. Jeanette and I have worked at things enough that we're pretty good about not messing with the other if they're reading, and not interupting one another's thoughts, etc. She understands how I can get derailed from a train of thought (she thinks maybe I'm borderline ADD).
So what about when you hang around to be sure you've covered all possible business and start out the door and THEN Dad says something . . .