sigh

Dad will be coming home tomorrow. There’s nothing I can do to prevent it. I’m going to have to go through the difficult guardianship procedure. We will have home health in – but will they be here enough to really help? Hopefully they will help document stuff. I talked to the physical therapist who has been working with Dad and she’s concerned too and planned to talk to the hospital social worker again. Pointless. They just don’t want to deal with it. Personally, I think the way the hospital has handled a clearly incompetent man is unethical. You’d think they would at least have a psychiatrist on contract – this is an elderly population down here, they have to run into this situation fairly often. My friends from rehab are going through this with their mom but she is still more coherent than Dad.

Oh, and the company that works for the employees of Hallmark was completely pointless. If he lived in Kansas City they might be able to help.

And just to make my evening, the hospital called for me to reassure him I had his wallet. Why does he need his wallet there? Cue his sarcastic you-are-so-stupid voice: to pay for his stay and gas for his (government issued) car. Your car isn’t there, I tell him, you haven’t driven in 6 months. “Oh, you want to bet?”

I can’t take this. I can’t cope with this.

The concerns I have that I have documented with the hospital and will with the home health nurses as well. I figured I would get some documentation from them before contacting the attorney. He agreed to give me power of attorney today but do you want to bet whether he will follow through with – or even remember that? Turns out that what I was told about power of attorney is not true, it will not give me the ability to place him involuntarily at the nursing home.

Concerns

Unsteady, fall risk. 4-5 falls in the last year and a half, ambulance called twice. Fall 1/3 he was not able to get up on his own. If I’m not home or if I don’t hear him fall, he could lay there for a long time. The only reason I found him this time was that I was going upstairs to let his home worker in. He frequently stumbles, arms are bruised and skin torn from running into walls and furniture. I don’t believe he’s capable of using something like Life Alert. He would either play with the buttons or lose it.

He has trouble getting up and down from his chair and has bounced down the last few steps in the stairway a couple times at least.

I am not physically capable of caring for him. I cannot get up and down the stairs easily. He needs to be able to do self care and feed himself.

Self-care. He might shower once per week, he doesn’t change his clothes and doesn’t appear to recognize the need to change his clothes. He is incontinent and will wear the same pants from 2 to 4 weeks at a time. His socks had to be cut off in the emergency room as they were crusted with urine and dirt. He is unable to tell me if he needs something like toothpaste and apparently does not regularly brush his teeth. I’ve made sure that he has things like soap and shampoo but they never seem to run out.

He can’t care for the house at all, or doesn’t. He can’t take his trash out to the big can outside the front door, but he also doesn’t put his trash in the trash cans inside the house. Trash piles up around the table, counter, and floors.

He smokes and leaves cigarettes burning around the house. Home worker has found cigarettes smouldering on the floor by his chair.

He will be unable to medicate himself if he needs to be on medication. I will not be able to call him and tell him to take his medication because he won’t remember even minutes later.

He doesn’t always feed himself. Meals on Wheels delivers a meal daily during the week, I sometimes find it still sitting on the table when I come in with groceries and other supplies. He was microwaving a dinner for himself but lately that has not been consistent. He’s more willing to eat pie or cookies than a meal.

I’m not sure he can dial out on the phone anymore. He can answer the phone but recently told me he doesn’t feel like doing so. I use calling him to check on him, particularly when I can’t get upstairs. He always asks me to make calls like canceling his doctor appointment.

He generally refuses to go to the doctor, asking me to cancel at the last minute. It’s important that he follow up with the urologist because of his history of bladder cancer. He needs a primary care doctor who he will have frequent contact with.

Memory. He has dementia and does not remember things even just a few minutes later.

He doesn’t understand and can’t pay his own bills. I pay them, at his request, and write checks based on having power of attorney for my mom. I need him to sign power of attorney over to me so that if she dies, I will continue to be able to take care of this for him.

Appropriate behavior. Meals on Wheels has expressed concern to me as not only is he very slow in answering the door, he comes to the door in just his underwear.

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8 thoughts on “sigh”

  1. Oh my goodness, my heart just sinks for you. I can’t believe the hospital called you to have you reassure your dad about his fears for his wallet. Surely that is a demonstration, right there in front of their eyes, that he is not fully competent. I’m absolutely appalled by the way you are being treated. I was always under the (mis)apprehension that because you paid for your healthcare in the US, you got a better service. Our NHS can jerk us around because, hey, what are you going to do, you don’t pay for it, they can do as they like, restrict your services, discharge you prematurely, keep you waiting months and months just for a consultation. I always thought it was better in the US (based on nothing at all other than you pay for things, market forces, you know). It’s only through reading your documentation of your experiences with your dad that I’ve come to realise it’s probably no better over there. Worse in fact. You get to pay for being jerked around. How can they not see what is in front of their eyes!? I wish there was something I could do or say. Stay strong Zazzy.

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    1. Polly, we have a great medical system – the best in the world! If you’re rich and in good health, that is. You can’t get people to see the big gaping holes in the system until they have to deal with them themselves – and then they’re all surprised.

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  2. What a mess. I don’t know how the system can let someone as clearly out-of-touch as your father go back home.

    My only suggestion is: can you get one of those med alert necklaces for him to wear? Granted he might take it off. But if he did leave it on, then there would be third party documentation of his falls which might, somehow, help you make your case that he is not safe at home.

    So sorry to hear about all this. Sending good thoughts and positive energy your way.

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    1. I don’t know if we can at least try life alert – but I think it would be pointless. He’d play with the buttons or take it off and lose it, he certainly wouldn’t understand how to use it.

      I’m emailing back and forth this morning with a state’s attorney friend of mine and she disagrees with what I’m being told about power of attorney.

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    1. I’m doubting anything will change. How are you doing? I need to write and find out how things turned out – I’m thinking of you even when I’m not actually writing.

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  3. Just SIGH? I can think of way stronger words than that. You must feel lost and abandoned. No one seems to be helping YOU or even making sure that what is happening is best for your dad. Frustrating and crazy circumstances. 😦

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    1. I don’t have energy for more than a sigh. I’ve vented and talked to many people and it’s only going to get worse if I have to go through with guardianship. And maybe I’m wrong. Hey, maybe he’s capable of living here. Maybe it’s just me that can’t cope anymore.

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