Saturday, July 7, 2012
I am Still Here
Nevertheless, since my absence, a lot has been going on for me and my family. Things are okay now but back in May, there were a couple days I felt my whole world turn upside down.
My 72-year old father is in the early stages of Alzheimers. He was officially diagnosed in October and was put on the lowest dose of the Exelon patch. He has his good days and his not-so-good ones and in early May, he had a bad day. My father, intent on meeting up with friends, went missing.
I was at work and my sister called me mid-morning to inform me Dad was missing. He was supposed to meet his friends for golf at 9:00 am. One of my father's friends called my mother inquiring about his whereabouts or if Dad forgot. My mother's heart sank as she told the friend Dad left the house around 8:30 am. My mother called my sister in a panic and my sister called the local police. After a while, they issued a 'senior alert.' A 'senior alert' or in some jurisdictions, a 'silver alert,' is similar to the "Amber Alert" system.
After several hours, my father was found and the police drove him home. My sister and I drove to my parents' house (about one and half hours away) and we had to go pick up the car where my dad left it. (It didn't start and we had to call a tow truck. I am so thankful the car did not break down whilst Dad was driving.)
After a nap and some dinner, Dad seemed a little tired, confused, and yet happy to be home. We asked Dad if he remembered what he was supposed to do that day and he didn't have a clear answer. Everything seemed like a blur to him.
Lately, my father seems to be doing better. He is staying active, working in the yard, reading the paper everyday, and taking morning walks with Mom. My father's neurologist stressed to us that physical activity is VERY IMPORTANT! Some studies have speculated that crossword puzzles and games like Sudoku are helpful for maintaining memory function but in the end, not really. Again, physical activity and socialization are the key.
Most of my talks with Dad seem very normal but sometimes I can see and hear the differences in him. Most days I am okay, and yet there are a few where "it hits me" and I either cry and/or feel very pi$$ed off. I think, "Why him?! Why?!" I waver between super positive to 'I want to wave my hands and make it all go away.'
I admit I am worried for Dad but I do not want to be so consumed in my worry that I miss out on the good times with him. Each day I strive to call him and Mom on the phone and I make sure to visit them a lot. I spent the Fourth of July with Mom and Dad and it was a fun day. Dad really seemed like his 'old self' and he was even telling funny stories about the time he and Mom went through the citizen classes (for becoming a US citizen) back in the 70s. Dad and I also had a great conversation about the upcoming Presidential election.
I am going to be positive for Dad and for now, that's all I can do. I will not wallow in self-pity because, really, what good is that? It's not. I need to be strong for my family and be there for them. I will see each day as a blessing because it is. Family is all that matters.
With much love to you all!