“I am calling the sheriff! You have me here against my will! Who are you? Where am I?!?”
Yesterday morning was a far cry different than the day of transport for Dad. I received a call from a befuddled Dad that morning. With his hearing impairment he could not understand me but was shouting I needed to get there as soon as possible, paperwork needed to be filed. Once I got there, I walked into the room (with much trepidation, not knowing which way the pendulum had swung overnight). His wound care nurse looked up at me from the bandages on his foot and said, “Hi, you must be Michelle.” Dad turns and says, “You are on my list.” My heart sunk. Then a smile creeped across his face that actually reached his eyes. The next thing he said alleviated all the worry that had given me a toss or turn that night, “This is the best place I have been in the past three months.” I almost cried tears of joy. Music to my ears. (Of course the irony here is that in Dad’s mind he has been to about eight states and Europe, not to mention three different decades – all in the past three months of his residence in Huntington).
I chatted a while with the wound care nurse who told me that he had chatted (pleasantly) all morning with her, telling her about the grandkids and kids. She told me that Physical Therapy (PT) had come by to pick him up but because she was working on his toes, heels and knee, they would come back. I asked if it would be ok for me to wheel him down there. I like to meet the people who are working closely with my Dad on a consistent basis. I found in Huntington, I was more apt to get adequate information on Dad’s mental state from his PT people because they had to actually concentrate on him for an extended period of time vs. come in, change diaper, leave – come in, check blood sugar, leave – ect. The rehab area of Overbrook is nice. They have a lot of equipment that looks in good condition. A number of things (like faux staircases) that are used for occupational therapy. It is staffed (yesterday at least) with all women. I asked how long they would be – till noon (primary evaluation of need). Dad looks at me and says, “I am hungry, I want chili and a grilled cheese.” – smile. So, I ran to Wendy’s, ran by house to pick up his hearing aid (we are going to give this another go) and headed back to him. He was already in his room (still in decent mood). I sat our food out on the tray between us. When I tried to feed him, he said he only wanted help if he spilled something. That was great – fed himself (which does not happen often enough these days). We had great conversation and then he wanted to nap. That was around noon-thirty-ish. I got him into bed and explained I had to go home to finish getting his possessions ready to inventory and admit. He said “I love you.” and I kissed his forehead. A ritual that happens every time I leave his side.
On my way out, the doctor caught me to speak with me briefly about Dad, what to expect and what happens next. Wonderful guy. Took me to an office and sat there with me as I went through a brief summary of how we got to this point. I went through his ailments, various medicines taken, what my concerns were, etc. He explained that the notes received were useless to him. That it was a poor job of transfer documentation that was sent (no surprise). I asked him about the podiatrist’s notation of needed Dad’s big left toe removed. He told me that he would prefer to do a full evaluation and then make a decision first. When I left his office I thought to myself – in that fifteen minutes I received more details and encouragement than I did with Dad’s entire stay at HHR under the care of Dr McCormick. I left Overbrook with a better feeling than I have had for some time.
I had to wash all of his clothes (even the clean ones) before they could enter Overbrook to prevent disease and germ spread between facilities. Understandable. So I had washed all of his clothes, his quilt and his pillow cases to make sure to comply. I waited until evening to return. I had dinner with my husband and his parents, Bobby repaired Dad’s broken eyeglasses, I printed out a property list (along with photos of things he would have) and then made my way back. As I walked up to Overbrook, I greeted the CNA who was just getting off shift. She is a warm and wonderful woman so far. She told me that she put some clothing racks in Dad’s closet (I was carrying in his possessions as I met her at the door). She wanted to make sure I had some in case I had forgotten to bring any. She had been very thoughtful all day. Because I had all of Dad’s clothes and he woke up at the crack of dawn, he had told her he was cold. She made her way to the laundry room, to unclaimed items and found a pair of warm fleece pants for him to wear until I arrived with his clothes. I told her thank you for all of her help. She had been an angel. And I asked how he was. ((insert the shaking of my head))
After Dad’s nap and true to his sun-downing nature – he woke as a tyrant. He told her that the sheriff needed to be called because he had no idea who she was or where he was or how she had gotten him to this place. He sat up on the edge of the bed with a start. He wanted to speak to his daughter or to the head nurse or to anyone, immediately! She became stern with him and told him: “Fine! But… you have to get out of that bed and into this wheelchair to do any of that.” And he responded: “Like this?!?” And stood, unassisted and took the steps (by himself) to the chair and sat down. Promptly shushed her out of the way and using his feet as a motor, exited the room and headed down the hallway. What I would have given to see my Dad stand unassisted. Another thing that does not happen nowadays. She said he made his way to the charge nurse’s office and sat in there for some time discussing matters of utmost importance. When she saw my concerned face – she told me not to worry, the charge nurse listens to all the patients, even the confused ones and patiently lets them vent or chat or get over being alone.
Dad was in bed asleep by the time I made it to his room (asleep by 730). I chatted a little with him groggily. I helped his roommate Roy retrieve a piece from his razor that had fallen far under his bed and out of his reach. And then I kissed Dad’s forehead and left for the night. He asked that I come early in the morning because there was much needing to be discussed. I patted his back and said, “Ok.”
I am preparing to head that way now. Who knows what today has in store for me. At least I am not facing it with the utter dread I had yesterday…
Thanks for checking in. Remember, if you would like to visit or send Dad a note, it would lift his spirits and is completely welcomed!
Categories: Personal History / My Own Words