Had a Blast Visiting My Dad With Alzheimer’s

I went to visit my dad in his memory care for Alzheimer’s in the morning and I had a blast.  I honestly have a hard time going to see my dad because it can be very sad.  It’s hard for me because there’s always some drama.  My mom goes in there and tells everyone they need to work harder and pisses everyone off.  I have staff calling me all the time about this problem or that.  Grandma keeps taking him to the non-memory care and will go to the bathroom and leave him alone.  My dad has been falling almost everyday.  There have been times when he is slumped over asleep in a chair or he won’t sit down.  Lots of times, I’m sitting with him and I’ll do Thai massage with him and he falls asleep in 10 minutes.  Sometimes I think, this is it, he’s near the end and I leave crying.  The other day I was just in the ER with him because he cracked his head open after a fall.  When I saw blood and a hematoma on his head I had a melt down.  I thought I was ok with his death but I realized that I was just good at avoiding the reality of the situation.  

 

Alzheimer’s and Lucid Moments

Today was different.  I’ve had a friend tell me that Alzheimer’s patients can have lucid moments where their memory kicks in.  It was trippy for me because it was like my dad came back from the dead.  I walked in there and he wouldn’t sit down in his chair at breakfast.  There were two people trying to sit him down and he was clearly confused.  I came over and asked him to sit down.  I checked his clothes and could see they were wet.  I said, “We need to get him dried up.  How can you eat with wet pants?”  He’s holding his orange juice cup and swinging it around and I look at him and say, “Jesus Christ, stop whipping that fucking thing around like a weapon,” as the juice barely stays in the rim.  I grab the cup and put it down and we look at each other and burst into laughter.  He laughed like how he always laughs squinting his eyes and showing all his teeth.  I smirk at him.  I tell him how I can just see orange juice all over my lap and I don’t like that.  He’d be laughing his head off so let’s move this cup over here, at the other end of the table.  We go to help change his depends and clothes and he’s ready to eat.  

 

Wicked Crass Sense of Humor

My dad has a wicked crass sense of humor.  He worked at The Chicago Board of Trade for 20 years and in order to survive on the trading floor, a certain amount of swearing was required.  I switched out of my polite self and started joking with him like there was nothing wrong with him spitting out cuss words one after another.  Every time I swore he would just start laughing and laughing.  There just seems to be something so suffocating about the formalities of life sometimes.   Don’t get me wrong, my dad can also be a very elegant man and charm your pants off with his wit and clean language too.  Sometimes, in private it’s just fun to swear.  He loved it and I loved seeing my dad laugh.  I started telling him story after story dropping the F bomb and Bitch this and hell with that.  I actually had him laughing so hard that he was crying.  He kept trying to dip his candy in the ketchup and I look at him and say, “What the fuck are you doing?  That’s disgusting.  Here let me help you.”  I pry the wrapper off this gooey piece of hard candy and say, “Wow, they know how to treat you right.  This place is like the fucking Ritz Carlton.  You gotta be kidding me, my hands are sticky as hell?  You want the other one, geez how old is this?  What a dump?”  I told him that the price for his home was a small fortune and that it might as well have been a five star hotel.  “Where’s the swimming pool?”

 

Hanging Out and Swearing Like a Sailor

We leave breakfast and go sit down on the couches.  No-one is around so I can swear like a sailor.  I tell him all about his grandkids and how River is in charge with his soprano scream and Pepper is a ninja, climbing everything making me nuts.  Grandma asks for help all the time, “move this here”, “that doesn’t go there”, “will you get this from the car”.  I tell him how I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off taking care of these three crazies.  We call some of my brothers and try to FaceTime them but it doesn’t work.  I say, “This is a God dame joke, you pay $1000 for a iPhone and the piece of shit doesn’t even fucking work.  What a piece of crap?”  He just starts laughing for like 10 minutes.  So do I.  I put my arms around him and hug him because this is my dad.  This is my funny, dad who loves teasing and swearing and joking about life.  It might sound bad to hear all the cussing but if you are on the verge of death, you don’t give a shit about formalities and just want things to be real.  I was as real as I could possibly be with him.  Let’s face it, the situation that he’s in sucks and I just started calling it like it is.  He was relieved to hear someone else say what he was thinking.  He has a hard time getting everything out that he wants to say so I do most of the talking.  I was just happy that he seemed to understand and love my stories.  This is a big deal for someone with Alzheimer’s.  It was like I was having a conversation with my dad before he was sick.  It felt so good to really talk with him even if he didn’t catch everything.  Energetically, a conversation happened with his responses and disoriented speech and it was so touching.  He was there, like really in there and for a brief moment, I got him to laugh and it warmed my heart for the rest of the day.  I felt love.  I know he did too.  You know when you just know.  It’s like electricity connecting two people.  We see it with the connection of our gaze locking into each other and we feel the warmth deep within our hearts.  

 

Wishing I Could Bring Him Home

As I drive home, I felt happy and sad.  I wish I could bring him home.  I want more moments like this.  The problem is that I can’t be at the house 24 hours a day.  He’s needs 24 hour care.  My mom is too weak to handle him by herself and I have 2 small children.  I’m afraid he would get out of the house and get lost in the woods and die.  That really happened to a resident at my dad’s home.  A man got out who really needed to be in memory care and got lost and died in the field behind the home.  I would have to put locks on the tops of all the doors so he can’t get out.  I just can’t do it.  I cry in frustration because I would love to have my dad home.  I cry because I miss joking with my dad and I know he would be happier at my house.  One of the nurses said that they never saw him laugh like that and I need to come more often.  I tell the nurse what an awesome person he is.  I tell her about all the good things that he did for his children and how he is a good man.  They don’t know, they just see a sick man.  I know his soul and he knows mine.  A lot is said between us energetically with a simple smirk, a glance, a gesture and of course a swear word, ha!  I had a good fucking day, I hope you did too:)  I love the shit out of you all!  Really, I do:)  Peace out and laugh!