TV Hospital versus Real life hospital

I’ve mentioned before about my dad’s declining health.  Well, it seems like it’s taken another step down.  Imagine a terraced yard.  Just when I get use to the view from one level, and it’s short comings, comes another step down.  Soon I will be in the street run over by traffic.

My dad has dementia.  And we decided assisted living was best for him 3 years ago, he was still pretty with it, but we didn’t want him to be alone.  I would take him out once a week for a meal or a movie.  Not a full life, but okay.  Then not only did he drop down more, so did I.  Madoff and a new baby made my weekly visits bi weekly.  And he was now using a walker, I couldn’t fit a walker and stroller in the car at the same time so I had to figure that in, and frankly, I was just more stressed, and sometimes visiting him was stressful.

Little did I know that would seem like the golden days.  In the last month he has been in the hospital twice.  Honestly, for nothing serious.  But, the first visit, combined with a change in meds pushed him further away from us.

Today I saw my dad and he said, “where are my girls?”  Meaning his daughters.  I told him I was here and that my sister’s would see him on another day.

Then I said, “you know who I am don’t you?”

His face lost some of the anxious mask he wears now, almost a little expression like his old self.

“I do, but why don’t you remind me.”

“I’m Daphne, I’m your daughter.”  And my heart broke a little.

Then he gripped my hands so tight.

“who am I forgetting?”

I named everyone in our family.  He long ago told me that when he is flying at take off he always recites the names of my mom and myself and my sisters like the Holy Trinity.  It was his prayer for our safety and for his.  I told him we are all okay.

“you are okay dad”, knowing that’s a lie.  The care giver he was with was someone my dad had told me about several times, he liked him, but now he didn’t see him.  I told him he was safe and that I would come again.

At one point when he looked hard into my eyes I saw a montage like a movie of my dad through my life.  A slim, well dressed, well coiffed man in the early ’70’s, more stout but still charming in the ’80’s. joyful at my wedding and even a few months ago at my home for his birthday.  I was searching for what was similar now. My father is a flawed man.  And has not led an exemplary life, but we could all be guaranteed that my dad made the biggest fuss over us.  He loved seeing his daughters.  A month ago he grabbed for Rex, trying to kiss him as Rex squirmed away from the non parent hands.  Now, he barely registered his presence.  Only a few weeks ago dad would have exclaimed, “look at you my boy!”

I know many others have gone through this.  And I guess it’s my turn, my families turn.  But, it totally blows.

This vlog was inspired by his most trip to the ER.

11 thoughts on “TV Hospital versus Real life hospital

  1. I think you’re amazing!

    And going to the hospital, especially the ER is miserable. It always feels like the doctors have no urgency and that things move at a snails pace. If you need anyone to kick some doctor ass, my mom is fantastic at it. She’s a critical care nurse, and if a doctor isn’t doing their job or educating the patient enough beats them to a pulp… not really, she just gives them a lot of hell until they fix the problem.

    Hang in there. I can’t imagine the stress and heartbreak.

  2. Oh, Daphne, I wish I were there to give you a good, long hug.

    It is sad. Dementia is sad. My mother has Alzheimer’s and I cant’ bear to watch it.

    She was so strong and independent and unstoppable.

    It is really like a slow death.

    I’m sorry for your heart, today, honey…

  3. Hey Daphne,
    Thanks for the laugh and for the story. My Father too has turned a health corner and it isn’t looking good. He’s been battling brain cancer for about 4 years. It’s been heart breaking to watch the once very active guy deteriorate.
    The amusing part of haunting hospitals is when you realize that your Dad’s doctor is a lot younger than yourself. You’re thinking “Oh honey bunny, I have shoes older than you!”

  4. So sorry for your dad, and for you and your family. My mom is on about the fourth step down the dementia terrace. Wonder how many steps there are? Attending my first “support group” tomorrow night to see how others deal with this, so thanks for the post.

  5. OH, love you guys. Thanks for such nice commets. Hate it that it’s a club a lot of us are in. Let me know how the support group is Judy. I thought of that a couple of years ago, and then it got better and then I don’t know.

    Just to put in perspective… when my dad first hit the skids I was telling an old friend about it and she said, “well, I’m sorry, but can’t relate as my dad took off when I was 2 and killed himself while I was in college.” Point taken. Least I had many good years with my old man. But, still..

  6. My mother’s aunt had no children…so she & her siblings took over her care when she started wandering the neighborhood in her fancy 1960s nightgowns & looking for her husband (who had been dead over 25 years at that point).

    Dementia runs in our family. Its more like “when” than “if”. I remember just doing a lot of smiling & nodding at Aunt Pat when we visited. I guess the upside…if you can even call it that…is that by the time the end comes, they don’t have any idea.

  7. Oh, man, sorry you have to go through this. I hope you will still see your real dad through the dementia sometimes. Thank you for sharing this with us, all the best to your dad and hang on in there Daphne!

  8. I feel for you Daphne, I really do. My grandmother has dementia…. we, unfortunately live 3,000 miles away. (She lives about 5 minutes from my aunt) We were there with Sarah visiting in August. I think she put together that Sarah was my daughter, sort of, but not that Sarah has any relation to HER at all…. and that was on a good day…. It just sucks. And I’m sorry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *