Monday, November 26, 2012
As many of you know, last night I asked for prayers for my family.
My youngest brother is the caretaker for our father. They live in Florida. I get to see them once a year in September. Our other brother lives in NE Tennessee and I get to see him more. Our Mom died January 30, 1982. She was only 47 at the time. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage. My Dad, who's 82, was recently diagnosed (finally) with dementia.
I have noticed the past three years his decline but my brother's have been making excuses all the while. Finally they had to admit it. He's going down fast. I honestly didn't expect him to know me when I went down in September but he did. I tried not to disrupt his routine too much by being there. It was hard but he's had enough stresses this year already and I didn't want to add to them.
Earlier this summer my youngest brother had to be admitted to the hospital for his appendix. Even though he was only in overnight, that threw my Dad into massive confusion. I don't think he's really recovered from that. That was the turning point. Now he lives with two people - big Todd and little Todd. Big Todd is some man and little Todd is the son he moved from St. Louis with. This upsets my brother something terrible because he can't convince our Dad he's Todd. Recently he went to the doctor. He scored 13 out of 20 on a dementia test - big problem with the test is Daddy's hard of hearing big time and won't get hearing aids saying he can't afford them. So he just answers what he thinks he hears, which 9 times out of 10 isn't what is said. So that's got both my brothers upset. Then the medicine the doctor prescribed has some awful side effects and my brother won't give it to him. I told our other brother I don't blame him one bit because alot of that medicine is worse than the problem.
I have just been through all this with my Aunt the last three years - her husband had alzheimers. He was hard of hearing too. So I can totally relate to everything. She asked our doctor about alot of these meds and he said he wouldn't prescribe them to his patients because of the side effects. She even asked another doctor his opinion and he said the same.
I told my brother this and he agreed. He's just so upset because he never realized until Thanksgiving weekend how bad things really are.
Our youngest brother, in his 30s, has given up his life to take care of our Dad. I find it very difficult being here and not able to do anything. My brother wouldn't accept the help anyway. He's very protective. He told our brother that he's just trying to keep Daddy's schedule and routine the same so it doesn't upset him. Daddy won't eat if he's run errands and is late getting home - meaning he can't be gone more than 2 hours at a time even if someone is there with Daddy. Daddy thinks he's been abandoned. He'll take a shower and just go to bed if things aren't the way he wants them to be.
Daddy's an ex-Marine and has always had things a certain way - always. He has to eat at this exact time and it had better be this certain food. Let me tell you how boring that got when I still lived at home! No wonder I can't stand eating the same foods all the time - I have to have something different most of the time. It can't be the same exact thing day after day. When my Mom was alive she could sneak in a few different things and he'd eat them but wasn't happy about it.
Four years ago Daddy had knee surgery and it nearly killed him. They didn't think he'd live through it. Then he got depressed and wanted to die. He lost the will to live. They finally got the problems resolved and him medicated to where he'd work with his therapy. This is what started his decline because he had no idea where he was or what was going on. He kept wanting to go home because all they wanted to do at that restaurant was feed him. He was in the hospital a while, then to a rehab facility for a few more weeks. He's just not been the same since the surgery. That's when I started noticing the changes. Maybe it was more obvious to me because I've been around patients (I worked as a secretary on a medical floor of a hospital for 10 years) who have various degrees of dementia and alzheimers. My brothers both had excuses for his lapses.
Daddy's brother died a couple years ago and he'd been in the nursing home with Alzheimers for years. Granny had dementia, as well as several of her siblings. So it's kind of expected. So far Daddy's older sister, my Aunt that I help, hasn't showed any signs. She's just so set in her ways and stubborn - we're working on getting her in a senior citizens apartment because her house is literally falling down around her. Her mind is sharp as a tack still.
Which leads me to the thought that has been in my head for the last 6 years. How will I be affected? It worries me because I had that major concussion 6 years ago that robbed me of alot of memories. I've had to relearn to spell words and do things. I'm always being challenged when I try to do things because my brain isn't getting my body to do the things I see - example watching an exercise video - it's taken me a year to do the simple moves on a Leslie Sansone video correctly. I still can't remember the routine even though I've done it 100s of times. It should be stuck in my head to where I can do it in my sleep. It's not.
Anyway, I would greatly appreciate you keeping my Dad and youngest brother (especially) in your prayers. I don't expect my Dad to know me when I visit him in September. My brother said when he got down there for Thanksgiving Daddy asked him if he was Jesse or Jim (his two deceased brothers) and he told him neither he was Scott. Daddy knew him then.
I remember my Granny when she was at the nursing home. She had no idea who anyone was. She thought Daddy (her son) was her brother who had died years & years before, my Mom was her niece and she didn't have a clue about us three kids. It hurts and it's such a sad thing too.
Thanks for reading this. It's rough but with God's help and prayers we'll all get by. Hugs y'all.