Sunday, May 1, 2011

Old and grey and full of sleep, nodding by the fire


I wasn't ready. I had been warned, but it didn't sink in. A picture IS worth quite a few words. Upon occasion.

He fell within the first week of my being in Paris. My daughter did not just act in my stead. She thought more widely, and deeply. Not dispassionately, but with a firm sense of process. This is the new normal.

He does not know who I am. There is no cognition. Very little, or none. Tomorrow he will undergo an ACAT assessment with the view to be classified High Care. If he were to be assessed on the Mini-Mental scale, he would struggle to register. At all. Less than 10 shows significant dementia. The great bulk of the population scores between 20 and 30.

On Wednesday possibly, he will return to his nursing home, but to the dreaded Second Floor - God's waiting room. Not that he will know. He still has a taste for chocolate.

10 comments:

Julie said...

Some of you may find this offensive. It is confrontational, but I do not mean to offend, and I am not offended. It is important that I have this images. Important to me, for some reason difficult to define. And it is important that I try to find those words, words are my means of coming to terms with what is happening to him. And to me.

So, bear with me ...

Dianne said...

I find it difficult to know what to say to you Julie - you have a wonderful daughter - and he still likes chocolate!

brattcat said...

Oh, so many of us have traveled this road. Please know you are not alone, though it may feel that way at times. This is not offensive. Your father is beautiful as he straddles the boundaries of life. We've seen him over the years. We care about this journey he is making now. I hope, when it is my turn, I, too, still have a taste for chocolate, and that someone will care enough to put a taste of it on my tongue.

Ann said...

Not offensive, beautiful and incredibly moving. I have no words.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Julie, these photos are important. Respecting our loved one in all their life stages is enriching. My heart goes out to you.

diane b said...

Oh, Julie, what a sad time for you and him. It was wonderful of your daughter to take care of him while you were away and protect you from the sadness so that you could enjoy your holiday. She is a gem. I looked after my mother and watched her go through similar stages, except it seemed to drag on forever. Dementia is one of the worst illnesses to suffer and to nurse. I hope you and your family will cope with the situation as best you can. All my sympathy is with you at this time. You have lost your father even though his body is still alive. You will grieve now and relief will come later on. I hope I haven't offended you, but I have experienced it.

Julie said...

No offence taken, Diane. It was interesting today. I went up at lunch-time knowing I could be useful and feed him. WHich I did, and give him his medication and comb his hair which was my Sunday arvo job when I was about 10. As I combed, I pulled him close and put my arms around his head. His hand came up and clutched my elbow.

Dutchcloggie said...

Very moving pictures, Julie. I understand so well what you must be feeling for the most part. Knowing it will happen soon but not how soon. Knowing you should be ready for it but afraid that you aren't.

Jane puts her arm around me everytime I lean over the bed. It is the only sign I have that she knows who I am as she does not do it with other people. I suspect something similar with your father. He may not 'know' who you are but it is likely he 'feels' who you are.

freefalling said...

No way!
Not offensive!

When it was near the end for my Nan, I just thought how incredibly lucky we all were. She had a brain tumour and dementia coz of it - but it happened very quickly - she faded away over 4 months. We were lucky because we got to be there for her during that time and little things became so meaningful (like combing her hair). She was lucky coz she was in no pain and no distress - and had had a long wonderful life and died with those who loved her surrounding her.
If dying can be beautiful - her passing really was.
I hope you get to have a similar experience with your Dad.

cara said...

Wow. These images are so powerful. I cried - not really sure why because I don't know him. I guess the fragility and complete dependence at this stage of life can be naturally provocative. There's a bit of wanting to reach out and care for him but there's also a bit of "I wonder if this will happen to one of my parents... or me".