During my visit on Sunday, dad asked me if I would take him out for Italian food this week. I said I would take him on the first nice day. Yesterday was warmer than it had been for awhile and the rest of the week looked uncertain due to the possibility of rain each day. When I got to dad’s apartment he was sitting in the dark and looked half asleep.
I walked in and opened the blinds to let in more light. I told dad I planned to take him to lunch if he wanted to go out. “Where?” He asked. I told him I would take him wherever he wanted to go. I made some suggestions and all sounded OK to him. The fact was that he didn’t remember one restaurant from the other even though we have been to some many times.
I took his warm jacket from the closet and handed it to him. “This is too heavy”, he said. “I will wear the red one instead.” I reminded him that it was pretty cool and he is always cold. Still, he knew what he wanted and I went along with it because he is my dad. He wore his red cap, as usual. When we got to the car he commented on how cold it was. I put his walker in the back seat and he got in and put his seat belt on. I turned up the heat and he said that was nice now.
It was only a mile to the restaurant so we were soon there. We went inside and the waitress seated us at our usual table. She gave us the menus and dad looked his over. It seemed to me that he always had the ravioli when we went there, but to dad it was like a new place and he reviewed the whole menu. “I’ll have the lasagna”, he said. I was surprised but just said that it sounded good. I ordered the chicken tenders as I knew I’d be eating leftover lasagna later in the week.
When the waitress came over, dad asked about wine. He didn’t see any on the menu and wanted to know if they served wine. “Sure,” she said. “Don’t you remember? You had wine here before.” She remembered what kind he had last time, but this time he wanted Chianti. I turned to her and said: “He has Alzheimer’s. He doesn’t remember. But that’s OK.” Oh, she said, “I’m sorry”. I don’t think dad heard the exchange as he is hard of hearing, and I told the waitress not to worry about it.
Our dinner came and as usual there was much more than we could eat. Dad said everything was good and we should get a “doggy bag”. I asked for boxes and we took the rest home. When we got back to his apartment he went to his Lazy Boy for his nap and I took the leftovers home. Now I have enough to last me the rest of the week!
I thought about how lucky I am with dad. He has had Alzheimer’s now for many years. Yet his dementia has not progressed very much in the past few years. Sure, he can’t remember whether he has been someplace or not. But he can still read the menu and order his meal. He still cracks jokes when people ask him a question. He knows me, my son and grandson, though he can’t remember that he saw my sister just last month.
I would like everything to just stay the way it is. Dad’s health is stable for now. He feels well. He looks better than he did 6 months ago. And he is 94 years old. I know he won’t live forever and I have to make plans for unwanted events. But, for now things are good. I want to just sit back and enjoy them.