Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Same Shit, Different Day"..or "Dad Gets Old" - take your pick of a title

So what do you do with an 88 year old man who THINKS he is able to take care of himself, but who isn't, really? He has medical issues for which he has been prescribed medicine, but he is so unreliable about taking it that it isn't doing him much good. And he swears up and down that he DOES take it, but yet, the prescriptions were written last August, for 6 months, and he has not needed new ones yet, which means he is taking his medicine AT BEST about 50 % of the time. He has memory loss, which has come on slowly, not like my mother's alzheimers was, just old-age memory loss. And while I'm sorrier than I can say about it, and it makes me sad, and frustrated for him, at what point can he please JUST ACCEPT THAT IT IS SO. He does not feed himself properly. He eats shredded wheat for breakfast, sometimes a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and then, I suspect he often does not eat dinner, but when he does, it is a frozen lean cuisine or similar frozen meal meant for dieters. He gets meals on wheels four days a week at lunchtime, but does not eat them. He claims he does, but he does not. There have been three delivered meals already this week, and there are three meals still in the refrigerator. It's the same with his medicine - when Dave and I used to fill his pill containers, you could come back a week later to fill them again, only to find much of it still full. And yet, yet, he would CLAIM that he most certainly DID take his medicine, just as he claims he DOES eat his meals. How can you refute the evidence??? HOW? He's depressed, and has been so since my mom died four years ago. He has been prescribed medicine for depression, but it doesn't help much IF YOU DON"T TAKE IT.
He doesn't bathe any more. He says he "sometimes forgets to" take a shower or "didn't feel like it today" when the truth of the matter is, he has probably not showered for months. My mom used to take what she called "sponge baths" by filling the sink with water, and using water and soap and a washcloth to clean herself occasionally. Even that would be better for my dad than just not bathing at all, but seriously, the man does not bathe. AT ALL. That is not healthy. That is a sign of not taking care of yourself. What about that doesn't he get? He wears dirty clothes, even though the cleaning lady who comes on Friday washes all his dirty clothes, he continues to wear the same outfit all week. On the night of C's graduation, I reminded him to put on clean clothes before he came down. Several times, I mentioned that. He wore dirty, stained clothes to her graduation. That made me SO sad. The doctor even told him today that he had a body odor, that his mind was not cooperating, that both his daughters, one of his sons,and his dr. all agreed that his mind was not remembering things the way it should, that he should no longer be living alone for his health's sake, that he should consider moving in with one of his childre. I had already told the doctor that I would LOVE to have my dad live with me. No, I don't think it would be easy, or that it would make me really, really happy. I don't think it would make him happy. But I do know I would be able to take care of him - wash his clothes, cook him decent meals, make sure he took his medicine correctly, bathed daily. And being able to do all those things for my dad would put my heart at ease. Instead, because he refuses to admit his weaknesses, because he is a stubborn, stubborn old man, I took him home, filled his pill containers full of pills he won't take, kissed him good night, told him I loved him, and prayed all the way home that he won't have a heart attack or a stroke that will rob him of ALL of his freedom and independence, or worse yet, kill him. My worst fear is that he will have a heart attack, and be laying on the kitchen floor, unable to get up, unable to get to the phone, and that we won't know for days. He is too stubborn to wear one of those 911 necklaces, too stubborn to stop driving, and too stubborn to accept the help he needs. I don't know what to do. Wait, I do know. I've been through this before, a million times it seems. There IS nothing I can do, except wait for the heart attack, the stroke, or the car accident, or the broken hip in the winter. There IS nothing he will LET me do, so all today became was "same shit, different day." Nothing new.
My aunt, who died at 104 with all her faculties intact, used to say "Old age is unlovely and not to be desired." She got that right.

1 comment:

Blossom said...

oh hon,
I am sorry you have to deal with this............
hoping you can get through to him SOON.