Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Pendulum Swings

It was one week ago, Thursday, August 23, 2007, that Dad rather suddenly recovered enough to become ambulatory again. It was in the afternoon that he improved so much and so quickly. The hospice nurse had already come and gone. She and I had talked about his increasing need for sleep and how it was probably due to the steady encroachment of the disease. I told her he hadn't been up much all week and I had been having to bring his meals up to his room and he was not eating very much.

Each day since he has improved. Tuesday, August 28th, was the high point. He went down to the basement for the first time since last year. He was even talkative - at least to an extent - to the hospice volunteer. She remarked that it was the first time he had ever spoken to her.

She was just so happy and excited. I've noticed that reaction before in people and I still find it somewhat puzzling.

He let me bathe him and let the hospice aide shave him. Was that Tuesday or Monday? I don't remember. He had a ballpoint pen, a comb, and a mechanical pencil that he carried everywhere with him. He would not release them. He fought me a few times on changing.

Dad's shadowing also increased. Tuesday when the hospice volunteer came he tried to go with me but I hurried away. That's when he visited with the aide. My son and I watched part of the documentary Malcolm and Barbara: Love's Farewell. Then we went to Starbucks and sat on the patio and drank our Blueberry Frappuccinos®. I had a nice time. I was pretty screwed up really.

Tuesday night was the most extreme and we were up almost all night. It wasn't for any particular reason. He just didn't want to go to sleep away from me. So I'd sit with him and he'd fall asleep and I'd slip across the hall into my own bed. Then I'd hear him and he'd be up and hunting me and we'd start all over.

About 8 AM Wednesday morning I went into his room. He was sound asleep so I exercised. I returned and he woke up but would not get up. So I exercised some more. I took a couple of phone calls and answered some email.

Finally about 11 he was awake but combative. I applied the ABHR. Later he was not so combative but he told me he couldn't get up. I went down to fix some juice for him. He came down the stairs while I was fixing it!

I took him back up to change his pants and by the time we arrived in his room he was exhausted. I managed to get him changed but he went right to his bed. Said he had to. So weak to have just been so strong.

When we go up the stairs together he gets to the top step and reaches with his right arm to grasp the post. He pulls himself up then that last step or two.

So for lunch I fixed some yogurt and fruit. He fed himself just fine. He was recovered but would only sit on the side of his bed.

He's sleeping away and I'm trying to do the same this Wednesday afternoon.

He managed to come downstairs for supper and did fine. While he was eating he handed me something. It was a crown from his mouth. He hardly paused. I kept it. I don't know why.

We're back upstairs now. If I leave he hunts me. If I stay then he sleeps. He wants to sleep but he wants me to be here.

If I go to sleep or have my eyes closed and he awakens then he hollers at me "Hey Hey Hey" pretty loudly.

Sometimes I feel like I am in a vise.

Now it is past midnight on Thursday, August 30. I tried to come to my room about 10 pm the first time. It's been a repeat of last night so far. I'm going to try one more time to sleep in my room and if he still tries to get up and hunt me I'm going back in there to sleep in the recliner.

He's having a lot of trouble walking. His leg kind of crumples and then he catches it and straightens. Still the shuffle but with the added crumple. I bet they don't make an Alzheimer's commercial like that.


SKYGIRL said...

Oh Flint! You are such an extraordinary Son, Man, and Human Being?

I hope, just for tonight, you can take that into your heart, and not just say "Well anyone would?" Because let's face it, anyone, wouldn't!

Your Father is extraordinarily 'lucky' to have "YOU" for a Son.

Night! N.Mc. ;-)

Lori1955 said...

It's hard enough when things change daily but when they keep changing within the same day it must drive you crazy.
I hope you get to sleep in your bed tonight. I never get good rest in a recliner.

cornbread hell said...

when mom gets to that stage i expect i will find strength in remembering your strength.

i hope you got some rest.

nancy said...

i'm sorry you are not able to sleep. i wonder if he isn't shadowing you more because you said he was actually more alert the past week. if that was so he is probably conscious enough to know that something is wrong with him and that scares him. as a result he wants you near him at all times, just like a little kid. doesn't want his safety and security out of his sight.

what a terrible frightening disease this must be for our loved ones.

remember, one more night and then you will have your night away. blessings to you both. i'm thinking of you. hang in there.

flintysooner said...

Thanks everyone.

I slept wonderfully from 1 to 5 and then another 90 minutes. Got in a great workout, too.

We had to cancel our trip. But my son and I are taking a quick trip to another one of dad's farms so I have something interesting planned during my respite period.

I'm like an astronaut on a trip to somewhere - probably that big empty area - with my time divided into arbitrary periods!

Hope everyone has a good day.


~Betsy said...

Oh Flinty - there just aren't words to describe how sad I feel reading this account of your dad's week. I feel so terrible for him...and for you.

I really hope you get some rest and enjoy some time away.

You really are a fine son.