This has been a fairly quiet week with dad, though there were a couple of things that concerned me. When I went to visit dad on Tuesday he was at an activity. I went to straighten out his room until he was done and then walked down to meet him.
The rooms in his assisted living facility are on four halls that intersect to form a large square. One can walk in either direction and eventually end up exactly where you started. I went to the lounge first as that is where dad usually sits. From there I walked to the activity room and he had already left.
I continued around the square and could see dad about 25 feet in front of me. I followed until I caught up and walked with dad back into his room. He went in and sat down on the chair that I usually sit in. I had never seen him do that before as he always sits in his favorite Lazy Boy.
I asked why he was sitting there and he looked confused. Why not sit in this chair? I said it was OK but he usually sat in the other chair. Anyway we sat in that room and talked briefly and then he was ready to go to lunch. I walked with him to the dining room and then went home. I never figured out why he sat in a different chair that day and since then he seems to be back in his normal routine.
The next time I visited I told him I would take him to lunch. Did he want ravioli or shrimp? He chose shrimp and we drove to the fish restaurant. Unfortunately after we got out of the car I discovered they were closed for vacation and we had to get back in the car and go to the other restaurant anyway.
Dad was OK with that and by the time we got to the second restaurant he may have even forgotten about the first restaurant. The thing that concerned me that day was that dad was unable to fasten his seat belt each time we got into the car. That was 3 legs on this trip and all 3 legs he was unable to fasten his seatbelt. I reached over him and fastened it for him. The main thing that concerned me about that was that this was the first time that dad has been unable to do his own seat belt.
That same day I noticed that dad’s eye looked infected so I took him to see the nurse when we returned to his assisted living facility. This time the nurse was much more responsive to my requests and she told me there was another resident who had conjunctivitis and he probably had it too. She would call his physician for eye drops that day. And then the next time I saw her she said the doctor had called in the prescription right away and he started on the drops that very first night. His eyes were improving within 2 days.
I will mention here that I got a letter from the county representative of the state health department this week. They had completed a review of my father’s records. The letter seemed to indicate that they hadn’t found anything, so I called and spoke to the woman in charge. Indeed that had found he had missed medications but they did not cite a finding. I asked if I should just call them directly next time and she said yes. She was very open and said such events were unfortunately not unusual and they tend to blame the doctors for not being responsive. Still, ultimately it was the ALF’s responsibility.
She said they don’t tell the ALF who filed the complaint but since they looked only at dad’s records, they would draw their own conclusions. I said that was fine as I had told the ALF that I would be filing a complaint.
In any case, I found myself wondering if the nurse was more responsive to me this week because of the complaint I had filed. She didn’t say anything about it and neither did I. I am just glad to have them respond to problems as they occur.
Today when I visited dad he was asleep in the lounge with his lady friend asleep against him. I pulled up a chair and we spoke a little and he napped a little. It is hard to talk to him when I am not right next to him, but often even that isn’t enough to get a conversation going. They were watching an old movie on television though he said they weren’t really watching it.
My son and grandson were unable to visit this week so it was a quiet visit. I did take time to talk to the aides and request that they shave him as he hadn’t really gotten much of a shave this week and looked really scruffy. The aide told me that a new aide had gotten him up this morning and just told him to shave but of course he didn’t. I guess she didn’t realize he doesn’t shave himself and today was not his shower day.
He also needs a haircut so I asked one of the aides to request that he be taken down for one on the day when the beautician is there. The beautician is only there once a week. I had requested before that dad get on a schedule to get a haircut once a month. Still, that hasn’t been happening so I put in a request for this week.
Dad asked me if he has to go out for a haircut or if someone comes in. I told him the aides will come for him when it is time and they will take him to the room where he gets his haircut. He has done it many times before, but he really doesn’t remember it at all.
He asked me today if I would take him to “Long John Silver’s” this week as he wanted to have some shrimp. I told him I will take him to a fish restaurant this week but I don’t think he remembered that he almost had his shrimp last week. I don’t think we have Long John Silver’s nearby but we do have places where he can have shrimp.
After this week I can see that dad is really not doing as well as I had thought. He has good weeks and bad weeks and even during a week like this he still knows who I am and still gets himself to the dining room for his meals, etc. Each day we have is a gift at his age and I am thankful he is still doing as well as he is.