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The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

I Want My Father Back

Another snow day, another day where the wind chill is below zero and another day that I shouldn't bring dad to see mom.  It is too cold outside.  Mom has been clear when the weather is bad or simply too cold keep dad home.  Still last night was horrible.  Dad was talking about dying and was so depressed.  Not even a donut from his favorite donut shop helped.  

So this morning the kids woke up and were less than helpful.  I asked P to make grandpa some bacon.  Somehow he decided to make all the bacon, a full pound.  Then forget to grandpa any.  My hip may have been throbbing but I managed to get them to remember what needed to be done and grandpa did get his bacon!  I got some too.

I knew it was coming, he wanted to see Mom, and could I blame him?  No!  They love each other!  Of course Mom, S, and I have a rule, if school is canceled because of the weather Dad needs to stay home.  Easy to say, not as easy to enforce.  Yesterday with S as backup, Dad stayed home and I went to the new place Mom is at to fill out paperwork and have a short visit with Mom.

Today it is just me and my children against one man on a mission.  He wanted to see his wife.  I reminded him about the weather and the temperature and that Mom wanted him to stay home.  He got up grabbed his walker and followed me into the kitchen.  He played the guilt trip card!  "How do you think she feels in there all alone?"  I caved and we got bundled up for the journey to see Mom.

First I had to check the ramp, it needed to be shoveled.  Luckily B volunteered to do that.  Then I needed to salt it so he wouldn't slip.  Then I got his coat and hat and made sure he had his gloves.  We all were ready and the kids got into the back of the van and P was ready to grab grandpa's walker. We got to the car and got dad inside.  Off we went into the windy white blowing snow polar vortex.  In other words it was cold and hard to see.

School was cancelled and the visibility was low, but I knew where to go and was focused on getting Dad to see Mom.  He was confused and had no idea where he was.  
These were roads he has driven himself, places he has taken me.  These were place he has been in and buildings that he has worked in.  He turns to me and says "I've never been in this part of the city before."  It was heartbreaking because we were right next to the building that he he went to school and earned his Master's degree in.

Now we are at the new facility.  All the close spots are occupied by other cars.  Including the three handicapped parking spots (really three, maybe four handicapped parking spots for a skilled nursing facility?).  I have to find a parking spot that is slush free on the left side of the van because I knew I had to deal with a temperamental wheelchair and a Gather who wanted to see his wife.  Sadly the spot I found was almost as far away from the front entrance as possible.  

My original plan was to drop him and the kids off at the entrance then I could hobble in from any old parking spot.  But the large ambulance parked right in front of the entrance ruined that plan.  So I opened the back of the van and wrestled the wheelchair out and onto the ground.  OUCH! My hip was protesting. 

Then I had to open it.  I've seen my brother pop it open and other people have done it too.  It is like it opens up magically for them.  But for me it is like trying to open a locked safe without the combination.  I push and pull and get it open about four inches.  Not quite wide enough for even my daughter's tiny butt.  I roll it to my Dad's door and he just opens the door and I swore he would have jumped into that chair if I didn't stop him.  

I had to bring out the big guns, I sat on that wheel chair and I used my gluteus maximus to open that wheel chair seat to its maximus.  It worked, it hurt but it worked.  I got him in the wheelchair and looked across the long cold parking lot of despair.  My kids were already off to the front door.  They were much faster than me pushing that wheelchair with a sprained hip.

I never realized how much I use my hip, especially when I am pushing something.  Something like a 78 year old man.  Now my next concern in the snowy wasteland they called a parking lot was locating a wheelchair ramp.  The ambulance was still there and I feared that it may be blocking the ramp.  How was I going to get him in to see Mom if I couldn't find the ramp. 

There it was in front of the ambulance.  I was so cold and the door just seemed to be getting further away.  But I got there and we got inside.  There was a security guard, very different from the hospital.  Roped off areas kept us where they wanted us to be.  We had to sign in, I don't think we ever signed out.  I hope there is no penalty for it.  The facility is lovely from the outside.  It the weather was nicer I would have taken a photo of it.  On the inside it is like a maze.

Luckily I was at Mom's room yesterday and somehow managed to find her room again.  I got him into the room and everything was alright again.  He was happy, she was happy.  I even got him closer to her bed so they could hold hands.  The world just for a moment was perfect!

Once we all got a short visit with Mom, Dad was ready to go home.  After all the work I went to and the pain I had in. My hip I asked to please stay a few minutes longer so I could recover a bit before the long journey back to the car.  

I must say that I like where mom is now, they seem very attentive to her physical, emotional and spiritual needs.  Her auditory needs were a bit lacking.  Her room is semi private and her room mate was a moaner.  She wanted attention. It was constant and just loud enough that it is hard to ignore.  How can you complain about someone that just needs some love and attention.  Okay I mentioned it, but I made sure to phrase it as nicely as I could.  I didn't know her story after all.

To home we went. My kids went to spend time with their dad and my dad took a nap.  

Before he fell asleep he asked about dinner, I said it would be ready in about an hour and I made one of my favorites, pork cooked in sauerkraut.  I fixed his plate and he wouldn't wake up.  I waited and finally around 7:00 he woke up.  But it wasn't him.  He didn't know where he was.  I have dealt with this before.  This was more though.  He asked me who he was?  He asked if I was his wife.  He wanted to know who he was, that was new.  He wanted to know if he was still working, what kind of work did he do?  So many questions that I was unprepared for.  My father went to sleep and someone I didn't know woke up.

I had to show him where the bathrooms were.  I managed to get him to eat his dinner.  I tried to answer all his questions.  But some were difficult.  He wanted to know what happened to his body.  Why was it not working right?  Then he asked me how he got so ugly?  Tears came to my eyes.  

Bed time came and I brought him up to his bedroom.  Sometimes he thinks the room is ugly, sometimes it is messy, sometimes it is too girly.  Tonight it looked good to him.  Some relief.  I tucked him in, even though he refused to take off his shoes.  And went downstairs.  Just a few moments alone before my children came home and performed a show for me.  It was just what I needed to cheer me up.

I finally managed to pick up my pain cream that took two days to be made so now that all are asleep I am finally feeling a bit better and can only hope that my father is back when he wakes up in the morning.  

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