The shit is officially hitting the proverbial fan.
I was going to write a whole post about checking my Dad into the Alzheimer's/Dementia care facility last week. But so much has happened since then.
The move actually went pretty well, and as depressing as it was, it was nice to know that he is with professional people that are well-trained to take care of him. I stayed for lunch and I will say that the old woman feeding clam chowder to her baby doll threw me off a little. Then there was the squabble at another table between two women over who should be sitting in which chair. It digressed into a shouting match of the "am not! are too!" variety. When the caregiver came over and asked one of the women if she would like to sit at another table, the lady said "No, I can put up with her." The other woman hurriedly responded by saying "But I can't put with you!!" Somehow, peace was made temporarily until another spat occurred. This one involved all four women at the table. One woman seemed to be the shit stirrer, and the other three started to gang up on her. The troublemaker complained that one of the other women walks around like "she owns the place." The response? "I don't have to act like I own the place - I DO own the place!" Well, there's no arguing about that, is there?
A bunch of eighty year olds turned into two-year-olds, and soon to be one-year-olds.
I was laughing out loud, but biting my fist to prevent a scene. I would have been more distressed about the whole thing if my Dad was addled by the arguing, but he seemed to focussing much more on the music that was playing, which happened to be the soundtrack from the musical "The Fantasticks." He loves that music and it was one of the first musicals he ever took me to, when I was probably about seven or eight years old. I know that Dad can only absorb a certain amount of stimuli, so I am glad his brain is choosing the stimuli he actually can still enjoy.
So that was Friday. On Sunday my husband made the two hour trip to see his mother who is paralyzed on one side of her face because the tumor is pressing on her nerves. These nerves are also connected to her swallowing mechanism, so soon she will be unable to swallow. On Monday night my husband and his Dad decided to admit her to the hospital for dehydration. She was taking morphine for the excruciating nerve pain, but it wasn't even working because there wasn't enough fluid in her body to spread it around. As I write, doctors are trying to put feeding tube in her, so that starvation doesn't kill her before the cancer does.
Also on Monday, my stepmom called to tell me that my Dad was in the ER. On Sunday night he had come down with nausea and vomiting, and by Monday the care facility thought he should be in the hospital. My Dad is prone to pneumonia, so they are pumping him full of antibiotics, and keeping him in the hospital for a couple of days. After my stepmom updated me on my Dad, she told that she had to put her dog to sleep that same morning because he had a brain tumor, something she had been worried about but hoping wasn't the case. Everyone loves their pets, but my stepmom is one of those people that has always related to animals better than people. She still can't talk about the day that her beloved German Schnauzer, Schnapps, died, and that was over twenty years ago. Her pets are just about the only thing I've ever seen her cry over, including my Dad. Needless to say, it blows.
I went to spend a couple of hours with my Dad at the hospital on Monday night, and had to take my son, because, as I mentioned, my husband is with his mother. We bought a couple of activity books and sat in my Dad's room. He was sleeping a lot of the time, but seemed to having be bad dreams, and was picking at his bedclothes a lot. It helped him when I held his hand and told him everything was okay, but the man looks like death. A vacant stare and his once six foot frame weighing in at 134 pounds. Not really something I wanted my six year old to have to deal with, but that's life, I guess.
The next day my son and I took the day off of school and work, and continued our tour of Pacific Northwest hospitals to visit his grandmother while she could still talk. It will only get worse from here, and we thought the sooner the better. Oddly, she looked like a picture of health compared to my Dad, though I think that is more related to the fact that she has her mental faculties, then her actual physical condition.
At the hospital there were some beautiful fish tanks. We stopped to look at one, examining the exotic fish. "Look at his one," I said. But no sooner had I said it than I realized it was as dead as a doornail, and appeared to have been in that condition for some time. A hole had rotted right through one side. For crying out loud, I thought, I know I need to teach my son that all living things will die, but does it all have to happen on the same day?