Last week when I published a post, a message popped up telling me it was my 250th post! I was surprised though I have been writing this blog since December 2011. When I started, dad had recently been discharged from the hospital and nursing home after an illness. I was stressed and looking for support from all of you, and you sure have come through for me. I have found a lot of support and information from my readers and am truly thankful for that.
Dad took awhile to recover from his illness and get back his self-sufficiency. Over the first 6 months he became more and more independent. He started to sit in the lounge more and later he began to take part in some community activities. For awhile he seemed to be signing up for most of the offsite luncheons.
Now after 30 months, dad is slowing down again. He still sits in the lounge a good part of the day, but he rarely signs up for trips outside of his ALF. His hearing is deteriorating and so is his vision. He seems content to just sit in the lounge. He rarely watches television or reads a newspaper though he is often sitting in front of the television while one program after the next plays out in front of him.
Dad always enjoyed visits from my son and grandson and probably still does. However, in more recent months, dad has not been very communicative during those visits. His hearing makes conversations difficult, even when I mute the television which is always running. I think he still likes to have my son and grandson there even though they don’t do much talking.
This week my grandson was playing computer games while visiting dad. The little guy refused to go over and say “Hi” to dad or to give him a “High Five”. But dad watched him play some of the time, and seemed “spaced out” at other times. My grandson gets shy around dad because he doesn’t respond the way he used to.
Sometimes I feel like I can have easier conversations with dad when it is just me and him. However in the past month I have also found that difficult as dad asks me to repeat every comment about six times before he understands what I just said. So often we just sit in silence watching the television.
I try to bring pictures and other conversation starters to keep dad responsive to my presence. Still, I was most successful last week on the day we went out for lunch. Dad ate very well and finished his entire entre for the second week in a row. (Usually he just finishes half.)
His appetite is better when he eats out. He has his favorite meals and almost always orders the same thing. However, often the next day he won’t remember that we had eaten out at all.
I was feeling encouraged until I noticed his tooth was chipped. I commented on it but dad didn’t want me to look at it. He insisted it had been like that for awhile, but I knew this was a new problem.
I felt frustrated as things were finally starting to calm down. I know dad would just like me to ignore it, but I can’t. This is a pretty big chip. I called his dentist and made an appointment which is for tomorrow. I hope there is an easy fix but wonder what it would be. The chip is big but I know he wouldn’t want to sit still for a lot of dental work.
This is his front tooth so I prefer not to have it pulled. I think he would have a hard time learning to use dentures at this point in his life. He would forget they were there! Anyway there is no sense in worrying about it as we will have to deal with it tomorrow.
I have to admit I miss my “old dad” for his sense of humor and interactive conversations. Yet, I am glad we are still able to get together regularly for lunch and some time for conversations, brief as they are.