Thursday, May 10, 2007

Loggerheads, watersheds, or butting heads

Hello Siblings and hopefully nephews and nieces, eventually:
One of my recent comment entries was what I called a pity party and I've been trying to move forward from that, so here's my next attempt:
I'm quite concerned about Dad, right when I had been hoping we had gotten things under control.
It seems that Dad fell off the stool in his kitchen a couple weeks ago. He hit his tail-bone hard and then bounced onto his back and ended up with pain in the ribs on one side. His home aid came in that day but he didn't tell her about it. I visited him and had two meals with him that day but he didn't tell me he had fallen. We were at church and checked on him later and he still didn't tell me he had fallen.
I learned about Dad's fall from Sharon (Higgins) who saw him leaving Jean Snyder's memorial and judged that he wouldn't make it home, when she called me later on that Sunday evening, three days after he had fallen. She got her Dad and Lyle Palmiter to drive him home, and he admitted later that he had sensed when he got up in the church that he something was not right. But he didn't have them call me.
He has heard me say, over and over, that I really want him to tell me what's going on. He says he doesn't want to trouble me but I told him Jeanette and I moved back to Alfred to take care of him and Mom, TWENTY YEARS AGO, so it's pretty ridiculous to "spare" me the trouble. We gave up lots of other options to come and stay here.
Anyway, I arranged for an appointment for Dad with Dr. Coch, but I couldn't go to that appointment, so Claire Randolph took him. I'm not sure what was discussed, and have been trying to get in touch with the Doctor since then, but unsuccessfully.
Ok, so I had drafted this much but not posted it, about a week ago . . . and now there's more to tell: I had arranged for Dad to be seen by a counselor and she has set up an appointment with a psychiatrist in a couple weeks. In the session with Dad and her, I said that it hurt my feelings when Dad didn't tell me about his falls and so on, and she told Dad she thought I made some good points, but he didn't really respond to that. Since then, Dad fell again -- evidently on Monday -- and didn't tell me. When the home health aid came on Tuesday, he told her, but only told me when I happened to call to check on him before she left. She was very concerned and didn't want to leave until I got there, but Dad plays it all down.
Since then, I've talked with Dad more about all of this and how the whole idea is for him to let me know what's going on so I can help him, and reminded him yet again that not telling me makes things HARDER, not easier. I also moved the RV up to our place in anticipation of having him stay in it, so he can be sort of independent, but close enough so I can get things done around here and we won't have to move into 33. We really want to get a bunch of work done on our house so Dad would be able to eventually stay in the "spare" bedroom, by winter, when I plan to have our new bedroom suite (downstairs) done. I hope to get the second floor at 33 cleaned out and refurbished enough to rent out, by the fall, as well (the kitchen plumbing needs to be re-done, our stuff needs to be packed up and moved out, and I'll need to figure out a way to organize Sherm's stuff). Meanwhile, I started tilling the garden (the first time in several years) and am working on our spring cleaning, too, so when Jeanette left work yesterday she picked up Dad and brought him up to "Would Knot on Hemlock Hill" so he could have supper with us on the deck. I turned my back on him for just a moment after I got him upstairs, and he tumbled over as he was stepping out onto the deck (no step, just a threshold) but didn't hurt himself. But that's what we've come to.
Dr. Coch had given him Aricept to help with his short-term memory (which really has gotten almost completely ineffectual), but he stopped taking it after a week because he said it was giving him strange dreams and causing him to wake up at night. After much cajoling, I got him to take the Aricept (just starting yesterday) in the morning, so I'm hoping it will help him stay awake in the morning but help with his memory, as it seemed to be, the first time he started taking it. He is falling asleep in his chair at all hours and has fallen asleep a number of times with a coffee cup in his hand. Yesterday he had taken a mid-morning nap and gotten all confused about time and what had happened.
So, my tentative plan is to get him set up in the RV for now, then take him to Carol and Barb's at least for Memorial Day, and then Bert will take him to Queensbury for a while, and we'll go from there, since we've talked about him going to Cathy's and Carol's for a respective spell, too.
Dad received a letter from Greta Potter's daughters saying they had just moved Greta into a nursing home and that her memory was not so good but she'd love to hear from old friends. I'm working on a similar letter to send to Dad and Mom's and Ethel's friends and our cousins, because it's just getting difficult to even carry on conversations with Dad (at least for me) at times, and even casual observers have said things like "Your Dad has failed a lot this year, hasn't he?". He has brilliant moments, but I figure I may be editing and publishing his books after he's gone, unless the Aricept and the counselor and psychiatrist can help him get some initiative and vim and vigor back.
Anyway, I'd been meaning to post something here for a long time, and waking up at 4:30 this morning, for no particular reason, gave me the opportunity.

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