Friday, June 4, 2010

Rain, Paperwork and Confusion

We're getting a good soaker here today which means another delay in our bathroom remodel project. So I made a pot of chili and curled up on the sofa to read.

A few minutes later Sweetie arrives from the doctor's office where he had his stitches removed. He gave Dad a huge stack of mail from his Post Office box and the fun began. Rather Dad's confusion did.

He made his usual comments about all the solicitations and junk mail and then took out his check book and started writing. I decided to move to the table and offer to help write out checks. Good thing I did as he'd made out one to Direct TV and was looking for the envelope. He had received one of their huge postcard advertisements, not a bill.

Things deteriorated from there as he insisted on sending a "change of address" to every envelope that he received with a yellow mail forwarding sticker. Try as we might we couldn't convince him that his change of address had been filed and these bills had just crossed in the mail. When my youngest sister called he sat in his chair to talk to her and I sorted through everything, stuffed checks in envelopes, stamped them all, attached his address labels. When he completed his call I showed him the stack of mail and said I'd walk to the mailbox with it. One bill was mailed while six stamped were wasted and the junk mail was stuffed in my pocket.

Later, I gathered up the garbage cans to dump them all in the kitchen can. Heard a rattle in his can and discovered he'd thrown away a bottle of pills! Now we have to figure out how to keep him from gathering up the garbage or go through it again once it's in the large cans in the garage. When he takes his nap we're going through his pill minder and his pill bag.

Next I called his doctor's office to change an appointment due to his up comping trip to see his sister. I was told he'd called them yesterday and cancelled all upcoming visits and said he didn't need a doctor anymore.

According to the calendar where all his appointments are listed, one appointment was for his pacemaker check via the phone line. I called them to see if he'd cancelled that and was told he'd called but was so confused he hung up. Good thing I called them too because instead of a phone line appointment he has his annual checkup in Marquette on June 9th.

No wonder I'm feel like I've been through the mill today!


HermitJim said...

Guess it comes with age...! My Mom is having more of those days as of late.

In Mom's case, I'm more concerned about her losing things, like her glasses and credit card!

Just have to remain aware of what they are doing without them being made to feel helpless, I guess!

debbieo said...

Even if you never get a thank you or atta girl you are doing the right thing and God will bless you for that. I am so glad your dad is there with you two. A few stamps is a small price to pay to save a lot of money.
I really enjoy reading about your life and prepping and you and sweetie and your dad and your dear sweet neighbors. Keep it up.

Stephanie said...

Many hugs! It's hard being a caregiver. Just make sure to take small breaks here and there for yourself, otherwise you can't be there for your dad.

treesong said...

Thanks Hermit Jim, Stephanie and Debbio for your comments. I've come to tears twice today, mostly because I know his mind is slipping away.

Unless you've been a caregiver you can never fully appreciate how much it means to be able to vent or cry or whatever to someone else.

Dad is taking a nap now - I think. Don't want to tippy toe down the hall to check on him for fear of what I'll discover. We managed a walk when the rain let up and four times he asked when he was going to see his sister - who he called my his mother's name. When we got home he said we needed to go to town to his P.O. box because Sweetie had not remembered to while he was at the doctor's!!

It's pointless to disagree or say he's forgotten or wrong because he gets angry. So I feel like I'm walking a tightrope while watching for small cuts in the line and being shot at from below.

Right now I hope he sleeps so I can nap. If not I told Sweetie he's got to keep alert while I rest. He's been so tired the last couple days that he's slept 12 or more hours.

What a crew, one dementia/heart patient; one emphazema patient and one MS patient. God help us all.

Anonymous said...

Make sure you tell the could be one of his meds is causing the confusion or the lack of one of them. This seems sudden, relatively speaking. You need to be in on all the doc visits and stuff he does like the bills from now on. Make sure your phone number is at least a second contact number for appts. if not the first.
I wondered the other day when you told about the toilet paper if it was confusion or him just having a good time with you. And yes being a caregiver is hard on a person...vent here, we will listen and advise....sometimes a second non partisan opinion helps clear things up or helps you see something you didn't before. Know we are here as we can be. hugs B.

treesong said...

Thank B! I have called the doctor's office concerning his behavior today. The nurse said it could be further deterioration or a mini stroke. He has an appointment Monday for a B12 shot & I suggested I come with him because I have things to do in town. (LIE!) I'm the main contact on all his forms so I don't know what more I can do.

I'm praying he'll wake up in better shape. Thanks again, Treesong

Just went through his pill minder and pill bag. Nothing amiss thus far.

The nurse I talked to said he's possibly had another mini stroke but said they couldn't see him today. It would be a battle to get him in there today anyway.

His comments about the toilet paper were his typical dry humor and he has seemed fine lately.

Did it MY way said...

God Bless. I know the pains of a care giver. If you have the need to talk you have my e mail.

Anonymous said...

First let me say how much I enjoy reading your blog, it's one of my favourites and I always learn something from it. Hopefully I can be of some use to you now.

I'm a Registered Practical Nurse working in Long Term care with residents who have behaviours like your Dad. I'm sorry to say but it gets worse.

I would suggest you call his MD and have your Dad take a Mini Mental Exam (not sure if it's called that where you live) to determine if he is still competent to manage his own affairs. In Ontario, someone a diagnosis of with what appears to be Alzheimers-like dementia would no longer be able to write cheques or cancel their medical apointments, their affairs would be handled by their Power of Attorney.

FYI, he may become more resistive/agressive as his disease progresses. Also, he may start to leave the house at night without telling anyone, a small loud alarm at the top of the door where hc can't see it/can't reach it would be helpful. Hide the car keys.

It also would be a good idea to make an apt with his MD for a med review, you should be included, if not at least write down everything he is doing lately and make sure the MD knows about it.

If this behaviour is a sudden change it may be a Urinary Tract Infection, this can create some pretty bizzare behavour, have his urine tested to be on the safe side.

I'm so sorry you are going through this, I know it isn't easy and it's a lot harder when it's someon you love. Your family are in my prayers.

Mrs Mills

Anonymous said...

What is sad is that your siblings have chosen not to help you with your father's care.

My two sisters and I went through this same thing with our mother, but we were able to split the load three ways which gave each of us a break from time to time and yielded a much better quality of life for her in her final years.

Take heart in the fact that he has at least one child who is performing their Godly duties out of love and obedience.

Because of your loving service to your father, in just this one case his bills were paid properly, his pills were saved and his Doctor appointments will be kept.

His declining years will be tough on you, but God always honors those who do his will.

Imagine the mess he would be in if you hadn't done these things for him.

Anonymous said...

Yes, if you are trying to talk to your dad about his future care, do it on a lucid day ,before it gets worse. B.
I would also like to say my dad and my hubbies dad both had mini strokes which left them belligerent and they never were before. You could never tell what they were going to do next . I wonder if it can all be done with the docs help ...the power of attorney to you. Ask his doctors or nurses , I think they would know.
Thank goodness for folks like Mrs Mills.

Anonymous said...

Yes, if you are trying to talk to your dad about his future care, do it on a lucid day ,before it gets worse. B.
I would also like to say my dad and my hubbies dad both had mini strokes which left them belligerent and they never were before. You could never tell what they were going to do next . I wonder if it can all be done with the docs help ...the power of attorney to you. Ask his doctors or nurses , I think they would know.
Thank goodness for folks like Mrs Mills.

Susan said...

I have started this post three times now and always end up whining about my problems taking care of my Mom with the "help" of siblings. I think I will just let you know that you are not alone. There are many of us out here that are caring for parents and at times feel like it's a thankless job. Hang in there, we're all in this together....Susan