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The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

1:26 AM

Today It is the early morning, almost exactly one week since I sprained my hip helping my father stand up after he got lost in the front room of our house and fell.  The familiar cry reaches my ears, L, L, L, my dad is calling me and it finally happened.  He is standing in his room with his pants and underpants around his ankles.  He has, to put it politely, soiled himself.  

My saving grace is that he is standing next to the walk-in bath tub my parents had installed in their bedroom.  Their house is tricked out in mobility accessories.  There is the ramp to get in the house, the chair lift to get them up stairs, a half bath downstairs, walk-in bathtub, more walkers than people living in the house, assorted canes here and there, two wheelchairs, a scooter (maybe two) and for good measure a crane installed in their Bluetooth, rear view, miles to empty gauge van.

My problem is anytime he sleeps for an extended period of time his dementia goes into overdrive.  He knows to call me, which is good.  I don't even want to think about what will happen when he forgets I am here to help him.  As expected he is unaware of his suroundings.  It takes almost five minutes to get him to walk the four or five small steps into the tub.  Then I have to get hi to sit on the seat, take off his clothes and wash himself.  The hardest part is getting him to turn around so he can sit down.

To make matters worse he is having a bad hearing night.  Though I think he hears more than we realize.  I tell him to take his socks off and he thinks I want hi to take the seat off.  Finally I get him into the tub and his clothes off.  I manage to do this while averting my eyes.  I am sure a point will come when I can no longer be polite, but we are not there yet.  

Of course I took my pain pills before bed and I am a bit groggy so I forget to plug the drain.  Oooops.  So I have to basically start fresh again and fill the tub up.  It takes forever to fill up, more than 30 minutes.  

He does not want to take a bath and tells me to just shoot him.  It must be awful, that period of time between independence and knowing what is happening around you to depend acne and not knowing that you are so dependent on someone else for things we take for granted like being able to get to the bathroom on time, knowing how to get from room to room or just taking a bath.

It worries me that he talks about dying so much.  He is starting to give up.  

We spent the day in the ER with mom. Her platelets were low and she needed a blood transfusion.  Yesterday she was sitting up and talking.  Looking amazing and peppy.

Today she was so pale and tired, barely able to hold dad's hand.  I just hope she also isn't giving up.  She has always been so full of life.  She has always been the one we all went to for strength.  She was our stability.  She is his world and he is hers.

Now it is almost two in the morning.  All I want to,do is sleep.  My meds have made me sleepy but I am afraid to leave the room.  It is like having a baby again.  I can't leave him unattended in the tub.  I am afraid I will find him still in the tub in the morning, I'm afraid of him opening the tub and water going everywhere, I am afraid that he will fall asleep and just slump under the water and drown.

He still is fighting me on washing himself, but he needs to clean himself up or I will have to do it.  I will do it, but I don't want to.  The tub still needs more water in it.  I am so sleepy but I will somehow stay awake and make sure he is clean.  

I need a break, I feel guilty for even thinking that or uttering the words out loud.  I am going out tonight to see Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne from Celtic Thunder.  I have had the tickets for months.  I have been looking forward to it and it has been happy place.  Now that it is almost hear I am afraid to go.  My brother, S, will be here to take care of Dad.  Still I feel guilty.

He tells me that he is going to drown.  I tell him that hewon't, but does he believe me?  I wish he would wash himself off.  I wish he wouldn't need to wash himself off at 2:11 AM.  I wish Mom was well again and home.  I wish when I call my ex to tell him that my mom is back in the hospital and he needs to pick up the kids that he would not yell at me because he needs to sleep.  I wish when my ex calls to see if the kids can come back to my house that he won't hang up,on me and call me names because I am still in the E r with my mom.

I wish that 1:26 AM was just a minute that Dad and I slept through like any other.  

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