What I’ve been doing

Letter I wrote to my sisters yesterday.

Hey Sisters,
Although I am trying to get the time off, I may not be able to attend the meeting on Thursday (what time??) at the nursing home – I left work early on Friday to attend last week’s meeting.

I have spent a lot of time at the nursing home over the weekend. I am horrified that they have Daddy in the dementia unit. He is forced to sit in his wheelchair from 9:00 – 1:00 when they eat lunch. He is in absolute agony with his back which is exacerbated by the wheelchair. After I met with the “Team” on Friday, I was able to persuade them to allow Daddy to take a two hour nap in his bed every day after lunch.

He is then put back in his wheelchair where he remains until 7:00 when they start wheeling them back to their bedrooms.

When he is not in his room, he is forced to sit in the uncomfortable wheelchair in the “dining room” where they have daily activities. The room is full of women and each day I’ve been there, I’ve only seen three other men – one man stole daddy’s glasses. None of the men talk to each other – daddy tried to strike up a conversation with the man next to him, but the man just babbled. You two and I know that Daddy is not going to participate in the activities – not because he’s Daddy – because he’s a man – as a matter of fact the other 3 men don’t participate either

What I am saying is DADDY DOES NOT BELONG ON THE DEMENTIA UNIT. He’s completely oriented to time and place whenever I am there. He asks about Don and the kids – he knew I had left early from work on Friday by looking at this watch. It is not OK to me that he is on that unit – he is well aware that every one has dementia and he even said to me, “I’m no freak – I don’t crawl on the floor”.

I even spoke to his nurse (coincidentally, her name is Joan) who agrees that Daddy should not be on that unit – she stated to me she felt that from the very beginning. But Mom just keeps saying, well we won’t worry about that until Thursday when we meet.

I am afraid that Mom is just glad that she doesn’t have to watch him every minute and she is afraid to cause a ruckus for fear that they will send him home. Mom feels that the three or four hours she sits with him is enough to make up for the bedlam he is exposed to daily. IT’s NOT!!!! What about the other hours he’s alone???!!!

I am concerned that they are now giving him the Ativan 4 times daily now and he even said to me, “Joanie, this medicine is making me dopey”. I actually felt he was getting better, stronger until they started giving him that crap again.

Listen, if he were laying in his bed (which is on the floor now) , watching TV, having his meals brought to his room, slowly fading away – that would be one thing. But he’s not!! He is being forced to sit in that chair – forced to stay awake – forced to sit next to these drooling, babbling, crying, shouting people and he looks horrified. My heart is breaking!! I cant eat, sleep. I’m constantly looking at my watch trying to figure out where he is and how alone he must feel.

I am going to bring him in a TV and will look into his getting a cable hook-up as the man next to him has a TV but never turns it on.

Does he need daily care – yes. Does he have dementia – NO!!! He needs to be off of that unit!!!!!!


About JJ

“"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.'” William Butler Yeats
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One Response to What I’ve been doing

  1. That’s really awful. I hope you’re able to get something done for your dad. The fact that he has been moved in with the mentally ill is bad enough, but having to be in pain just to suit someone else’s schedule is intolerable.

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