Before I start my blog, Dad has been moved to a new facility: Overbrook Center, Middleport, Ohio, Room 309. I am getting a phone put into his room and will update with a number as soon as I can. Now to the blog…
Yesterday was supposed to be a happy day. It really was. I found a nursing home that is pretty great and only 9.3 miles from my house. Previously driving door-to-door was 67.6 miles. I tracked it yesterday on, what I am hoping, is my last ever drive to Huntington Health and Rehab. But, when I walked through the door and Dad’s nurse Bryan (Dad pronounces it Bree-yan) looked at me, shook his head and said, “Holy crap he is pissed at you.” I knew it was going to be a rough day.
Firstly, HHR once again scheduled an appointment for my Dad’s podiatrist without even telling me. I found out last night at five when I was alerted to his acceptance at a new facility. With Dad being a sun-downer (he does better in the morning than the afternoon), I knew this was going to pose complications as it would be at least one before I could start personal transport (transportation of that distance would not be provided by HHR and an ambulance ride would be a couple grand). He was in the dining room (which never happens) drinking a cup of coffee, coat still on from doctor’s visit. I walked in and pure, genuine evil looked at me from behind Dad’s eyes. He says “You are on my shit list and I need to talk to you where I can cuss, somewhere private.” Well, there is no place private. So, in the hallway outside of his room (with passersby gaped-mouth in astonishment), my Dad started to curse me as if he never knew me personally before that moment.
In his mind: He was in his bed at his home in FayCo this morning when some woman woke him up and put him on an heliplane. They flew him to Huntington, took him around some place and then brought him here. He had never been there before and now some fool was telling him that I was putting him in a nursing home. He had never seen HHR before (although he has been a resident since Dec 28th). No matter how many nurses and passersby tried to convince him he was not on a plane that day, he said we were all fucking crazy and needed put away. He needed to call the sheriff because this was kidnapping. He even believed that he had NOT gone to the doctor today, I was a fucking fool for saying it out loud. In an attempt to try to calm him down, the rehab nurse asked him if he would like to go visit Mike (his rehab therapist who he adores). He said he has no idea who that is but whatever. So, as I start to pack his belonging and take down all the pictures that I have taped up, they bring him back in. And he starts screaming. Those are his pictures, I am not allowed to touch them. Then it switched to pleading – just put the pictures back up, don’t take me from my home Chelle. I never thought you would do something like this. And no matter how much I tried to remain calm, disconnected from his confusion, I sobbed.
He told me I was on crack. That he had actually looked into the crackhouse and the regular guy, the wet guy, who makes the crack was off sick and I had stood in for him. How did I come to this in my life? He told me that I don’t love him, never have. He stated clearly I have repeatedly lied to him, that his house is gone, his dog is gone, he has no friends, no family. The whole drive back he searched his empty pockets for his cell phone so I could call Bryan and tell him we were coming back, please hold his bed.
He is pissed that I am “taking him away from his best friend Jackie”. And though I have remained silent (until now), I can say that this person, who he called his girlfriend, is at the bottom of my list for people deserving to draw breath. I stayed full time with my Dad from mid August through taking him to Richmond in December. I saw her at the house ONCE. And, that was when she lived less than ten miles away. I asked her to help me ONE evening. To give me ONE night off and she couldn’t because she had no cell phone service at Dad’s. Not ONCE did she offer to come sit with him to give me a break. HOWEVER – Dad did inform me that she told him she did not want a relationship “like that” (whatever that means) but that they would be friends. She came to the ICU in Beckley once (maybe twice) and she came to Richmond once. Every time with my aunt (who introduced them) in tow. She has come to visit him twice at Huntington from Dec 28th to Mar 13th. And, to me – this woman must not have the same feelings as my Dad but yet I am to consider her needs as if they are precious. I call bullshit.
So, he is in his room at Overbrook which is a million times better than HHR. You look out the window and see the trees and fields and there are bird feeders with woodpeckers and cardinals. There are two garden areas that they take the patients to. There is BINGO twice a week. And, if he doesn’t hate me too bad today (because his emotions swing like a pendulum from day to day), I am hoping to maybe take him down there for the festivities.
He was still pretty angry, even in his sleep – teeth and hands clenched. I fed him chili and grilled cheese. His neighbor (a nice man named Roy, a veteran) sneezed and I said bless you. Dad asked who that was, I said Roy your new neighbor. Then he lost his mind again – he has no roommate. Older me do NOT have roommates. And when I said, you are at a new facility dad. He screamed BULLSHIT I am in my same bed that I have slept in for over twenty years!
It is hard bit I am truly trying to stay positive. There is a tough financial battle I have to wage. I have to go fill out medicaid forms (assistance from the government that my Dad despised -irony). I get to sit with a new doctor today to discuss his previous care and what to expect next. We were informed yesterday that his big left toe will need to be removed. I am going to the Veteran’s Administration Office because I want someone there to explain to me how my Dad could be in cardiac arrest for almost an hour without having a trachea tube inserted to ensure oxygen was received. There is so much. But removing almost three hours of daily drive time will allow me to concentrate more on all of the important things – good care for Dad, acclimating him to the fact that this is his new home, taking care of my own life – I have been married a month today.
Life is this beautiful. tragic, amazing, frustrating, wonderful thing that most of us take for granted until it is too late. Don’t wait until the last minute – if there is something you need to do, see, experience – if it is in your heart to do these things – DO THEM. My Dad laments that he has seen others do things, why can’t he? Hypoxia has robbed him of any opportunity to do those things at this point in his life. It was unexpected, it is cruel and it leaves devastation of all forms in its wake. Do not let a horrible circumstance make you realize that you have missed “life”.