Thursday, May 04, 2006

More Personal Notes

I did not want to get out of bed this morning. My old bones ached and longed to just lie and relax a few more hours. But I had a file that needed finishing, and so I yawned and stretched and forced myself to motivate. The last two weeks have been a blur.

Dad has been moved to a skilled nursing facility for awhile. They got him up and walked him yesterday, and he seemed to be improving. Physically he is gaining strength, but I'm afraid that his mental status is just going to continue deteriorating. He was diagnosed with early Alzheimer's in 2003. All this time he has been able to stay at home and basically care for himself, except for us bringing meals in. Now the disease has begun to physically attack him, and I fear that those days are over.

I printed out the stages from an Alzheimer's support site. Dad seems to be in late 5 and headed for 6. There are 7 stages. He knows us still and lots of other things from the distant past. His short term memory is not that good, and he is beginning to show signs that he can't remember names of common objects. Yesterday he seemed quite normal. He knew his birthday and his address, and he could call our names. But he is showing signs of depression and mentioning death and his time to die quite frequently. My husband fears he will give up if he has to stay in a nursing home. At the same time, I am not sure I will be able to care for him in my home. I know that the worst days are ahead. And no matter what I tell them, I know that I can't prepare his daughter and son for what lies ahead.

My father was struck with a rare brain disease at 46 years of age. He suffered dementia. He could not pronounce words with any clarity. He mixed up common nouns. Some days he knew us; some days he didn't. He was plagued with compulsive repetitive actions, and there was the constant worry of him roaming off and getting lost. It happened once or twice in the six years my mom cared for him. And that is one of the most terrifying things I have ever experienced. Some days he was violent and agitated. Other days he was docile as a lamb. We often found food hidden in weird places in the house. Sometimes he would get in his drawers and dress himself in two or three layers of clothes. One day he complained of his foot hurting, and we removed his shoe to find a baseball cap shoved down inside it. Things like that were common.

So when I tell you that I have my doubts about being able to care for Mr. Green at home, I know of what I speak. My mother, the dear saint that she was, sacrificed years of her life and health for my daddy. She loved him until her dying breath. The three of us girls were adults, and it nearly killed us. I just don't know if I can let my six year old live through this experience, as much as I love my father-in-law. At the same time, I understand my husband's desire to make sure his dad is safe and protected and cared for. Pray that God will grant us wisdom and acceptance. And pray for Mr. Green as I know this is a confusing time for him. God is able to see us through this. We have to trust Him.

7 comments:

Jada's Gigi said...

Praying for your family....

Morning Glory said...

This is such a tough issue. I can't relate personally, but I know people who have chosen to put their loved one in a home, and the loved one has been very happy. It's just such a difficult decision. Blessings on your family as you try to sort it out.

Mike Goodwin said...

You really are going through some difficult times. It's nice to see someone who has so much faith in God. He will be by your side through all of this. I'll continue saying prayers for your Dad.

Mommy off the Record said...

Sorry to hear of the difficulties you're going through. My grandmother has alzheimer's so I know the toll it can take on a family. May you find the strength you need to get through it.

Nancy said...

I have heard how difficult Alzheimer's can be. Thankfully I have not experienced it firsthand, but I have been involved in caring for older grandparents, which is such a difficult thing. I hope that you are able to find comfort from your faith and by knowing that it is such an amazing thing you do, caring for your older family members.

Thanks for visiting my site. You are right, I think the prom with friends might be more fun than going with a date!

Delia said...

My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer's and it's terrifying to watch them go through it. She ended up having to be placed into a care facility because toward the end it was near impossible to take care of her at home. Most of the time she didn't recognize us at all and it was frightening for her.

Before she passed I took my oldest daughter to visit Grandma when she was a few months old. Without knowing me, Grandma knew this was her great grandchild and getting to see the excitement on her face was such a blessing to us. It was instant love between the two of them. And I'm so glad I took her because it was the last time I saw my grandmother.

My prayers are with you and your family as you go through these difficult times.

Jade said...

I'll pray for you. :-)

Your Sister in Christ,

Jade