I know, I know, it's been a long time. There's been a lot going on around here and quite honestly I haven't been able to think of a way to put a positive spin on it and I didn't want to be Debbie Downer. (I just made that name up. If there is really someone named Debbie Downer reading, I'm sure you're very nice.) Of course there has been good stuff too, but I've been having a hard time lately. Maybe if I spill it all out on the Internets it will help.
I moved Dad into the nursing home on Jan 6th. He was mostly okay with the move. Of course he hadn't packed a thing, so we did that and loaded up my car. When we first got there they checked his vitals and found that his blood pressure was high. He was not happy at all that they didn't allow him to keep all his herbal medication in his room to take whenever he wanted. They also gave him a bracelet that will set off an alarm if he walks out the front door. This is standard issue for all dementia patients. We filled out tons of paperwork. Actually there is still more paperwork that needs to be done. I don't think it ever ends.
He was alright for the first week or so. He really likes the food, so that helps. This is the first time in years that he has eaten so well on a regular basis. But then the complaints started. He wants to leave and get an apartment. He wants to take his herbs and medication from his "doctor" who is some schmuck in California that sells drugs over the internet. He discovered that not everyone has to wear the alarm bracelets and now he doesn't want his anymore. He wants to walk outside by himself. There have been a lot of compromises. I think he is learning to live within the boundaries that have been assigned to him, but he's not too happy about it.
Because he is so close to me now I have been able to go visit him several times a week and make sure that he sees the kids on most weekends. He is close enough for me to visit on my lunch breaks, which has worked out nicely except for the fact that I have about a 50/50 chance of feeling like poop when I leave if he's having a grumpy day. It's really a crap shoot. Sometimes he's really happy to see me and other times he has a list of complaints ready for me.
I've found that nursing homes are a lot like day cares. I think I have gotten pretty god over the last 6 years at spotting problems with day cares so I feel confident when I say that I believe that this is a good place and they want the best for my dad. The nurses there are about 85% awesome and 15% meh, which is way better than I had hoped for.
There's more to the story, but that's the main bits. I'm seriously tired of repeating myself to every individual person, but some of it is too much or too personal to put up on a public blog so I can't just tell folks to come read about it. I appreciate all of my supportive friends that have helped me through this transition. And a shout out to my awesome hubby that has had to put up with so much lately and has been really wonderful about it.
It's another of those life lessons, and not the first time I've had to learn this one either. I think everyone has that one thing in their life that they feel like if they could fix it then everything would be alright. Guess what? It doesn't work like that. You will find another problem to replace the one you just got rid of. While is super keen that I don't have to worry about Dad's basic needs being met anymore and I really do appreciate that, now I get to worry about things like him refusing to take his meds and being upset with me for making him move or my own guilt for causing him all this unhappiness. I would still say I came out on top in that deal, but some days just plain suck. On those sucky days when I'm leaving and crying my way back to work I put on this song very loudly and it helps me feel better. This is the clean version, which is not what I listen to in the car, but I thought I'd keep it PG up in here. Also, it's you're feeling brave, go look for the official music video on youtube. It's gritty and real and worth a watch.