The Dementia Diary

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The Fallout

English: Logo of Alzheimer's Society.

English: Logo of Alzheimer’s Society. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello! It’s been a while. Here’s a quick catch up on the last couple of months.

After The Big Bang the ‘sons’ (plus No.3 son’s uninvited wife) got together to come up with a plan to better manage looking after their dad.  I deliberately stayed away because, despite being the main carer, he is not my dad and I should not be making decisions for his care.  No. 3 son’s wife had a couple of tantrums, shouting at Husband, accusing me of being ‘rude’ to her and stormed off twice.  The upshot of the day’s gathering was that the rest of the family would arrange for more carers to visit F I L and would look into having him moved into residential care.

We suspected this would all be empty gestures.

Extra care was arranged and a residential home was visited.  F I L cancelled the extra care visits.  Husband and I were no further on or better off.  We asked the family to speak to F I L about how important the extra care visits were for his welfare and to reinstate them.  No-one did.

F I L recently had his 80th birthday.  The family came together for this.  Virtually the first thing said to me was ‘It must be nice not to visit [F I L] every day now he has the carers coming in more?’

I choked back the urge to laugh and answered seriously.

‘Yes it’s very nice, but of course it means that [Husband] is having to visit at least 4 times a week’

‘But [F I L] has carers every day now!’

‘No. He has them three times a week.  He cancelled the extra days.’

The brothers and their wives looked at me like this was news to them.  I guess sometimes it doesn’t matter how you say something, you just won’t be heard.

Two weeks ago F I L had a rapid decline.  He can no longer work the shower.  Dressing himself takes hours because he can’t remember what he needs to wear and wanders round looking for clothes.  He rings us at least three times a day to tell us he is ‘bewildered’.

Husband and I are making sure that, between us and the Carers, F I L is visited at least 3 times a day.  No. 3 son has made a couple of these trips.  He works shifts so Husband asked him to call the Carer Service to ask about arranging more visits while he was home during the day as we would be at work and it would be difficult for us.

He didn’t.  He’s not directly affected by this decline mental decline.

The following day Husband had taken (even more) annual leave to meet with a support worker from the Alzheimer’s Society. I begrudge this, not because it is time spent helping his dad but, because it’s time he doesn’t get to spend with me or our children and his brothers don’t have this problem of balancing time with their father, their work and their families.  No.3 Son was also supposed to attend this meeting, but cried off that morning.  I do appreciate he had worked a night shift and was tired, but Husband had been either at work or looking after his dad from 6.30am until 9.15pm the previous day.  He was tired too.

So the upshot is that Husband and I, despite the family’s promises, are still handling everything on our own.

The one highlight is that No. 3 son has made arrangements to have his dad over on Christmas Day, although this was before he got worse.  We are fully expecting this to be cancelled as F I L  is more work now and they won’t want their children’s day ‘spoilt’.  Time will tell.

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The Big Bang

Yesterday F i L had two medical appointments.  The one at lunchtime was to have a heart recorder fitted for 24 hours.  This was a follow up to a Cardiology appointment I had taken him to.  We need to establish whether Aricept will have a detrimental effect on his already irregular heartbeat.  Husband and I both had to work so No. 3 Son took him. Unbeknown to me No. 3 Son had just come off a night shift, but I was being made aware of what a hardship it was for him to take his dad to this appointment.  I have very little sympathy.  I have done enough of these myself, although I now understand better why he was saying that he couldn’t do two days visits in a row.

The afternoon’s appointment I took him to and Husband met us there on his way home.  It was F i L’s medication review, during which he kept telling the doctor that he was concerned about his memory.  There were no changes needed to his current meds.

Because Husband and I didn’t take him to get the heart monitor, we didn’t have all of the facts about when it needed to be removed, how to return it etc.  We spoke to F i L about this before leaving him yesterday evening, reminding him that he would need to call No. 3 Son if he had any queries, but of course he forgot.  This morning I got a call.

“When do I have to take this thing back to the hospital?”

“I don’t know.  I wasn’t with you so you need to speak to [No. 3 Son] about it”

F i L called No. 3 Son, who is apparently still working nights and was consequently in bed.  His wife called me almost immediately.

“What’s happening about this heart monitor?”

Aaaaargh!

“I don’t know! [Your husband] took him and we don’t have all of the information.”

There was a little to-ing and fro-ing of who should know what, when she said to me

“We should all get together to discuss what is happening to [F i L].”  All good so far……..

“We don’t want him to become a burden to you!”

That was a platitude too far.

“That’s a bit late.  He became a burden to us about a year ago!”

She took affront to this, but it needed to be said, and then started giving me the ‘explanation’ as to why they can’t help more.

“[No. 3 Son] works shifts and I’ll be working three days a week soon too….”

“Husband and I both work full time.”

“We’ve got 3 small children”

“We’ve got children too!”

“We live 20 minutes away”

???????

20 minutes?  My daughter walks for longer than that to school

The explanations (also known as excuses) kept coming and I couldn’t bring myself to mollify my sister in law by saying ‘You’re right.  Your life is so much tougher than mine.  You shouldn’t be helping.’  It was all just words and we’ve heard them all before.

She continued…

“You need to tell us what needs to be done to help.”

“I don’t need to tell you anything.  He’s not my father, and I shouldn’t have to explain what he needs in terms of help.  We told [No. 3 son/your husband] what we needed a year ago and we’re still waiting for anything to change.”

Anyway, the conversation continued with her trying to get me to confirm that they shouldn’t be helping, to a point where I had had enough and ended the call.

Husband and I went to get the heart recorder to return it as No. 3 Son had already refused to do it.  The hospital department  we needed was closed for the weekend, and we were asked to come back with it on the Monday, when we will be away on holiday.  Husband managed to convince someone to hold it for us at the hospital until the Monday morning.

Later in the afternoon Husband got a text message from No. 3 Son.

Just got up. [Wife] in tears. What’s going on?’

When he showed me the message from his brother my immediate response was that she had ‘finally developed a conscience’.

I don’t know if a reply to this got sent but I did notice that Husband had sent a text to his brother earlier saying

[My] Mrs is stirring it!’

Thanks for the support!

The next text from No. 3 Son was

‘He’s got enough money.  He can go into a home.’

Husband replied along the lines of

‘Why? So that he can be forgotten about?

My verbal reply to Husband was

“Your father is not going into a home, because it’s the best thing for your brothers. He will go into a home when it is best for him.”

He doesn’t need this yet.  He needs daily support, but while he can maintain his independence and dignity he should. What we want is for us to continue pretty much as we are, with us doing the bulk of the work, but with the other sons doing something!  Mow the lawn, help with shopping, take him out.  Just do something on a regular, not begged for basis.

We’re going away.  I’ve implied that we go tomorrow and return next weekend.  In fact we are away Mon-Fri only.  F in Law is aware on some level that we will not be around, and is worried about this already, and I suspect that Husband and I will ignore his calls so that other members of the family experience a little of his reliance on us.

I also suspect that when we return we will be fighting a battle to NOT have him put into a home

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The Medication Review

I haven’t been posting much lately because the volume of appointments and errands for F i L coupled with the volume of work at the moment, on top of Surgical extractions I’ve had done have more or less exhausted me.  I’m due to go away, for the first time in a year, shortly but as we’re camping and the weather in the UK is diabolical right now that may not happen :(.

Anyhoo!  Yesterday I received a text message from F i L’s GP reminding him of an appointment.  I get all of these messages because a) he can’t operate a mobile phone and b) it’s a good way of tracking all of the appointments he’s making there.  I asked Husband what the appointment was for as it wasn’t in my diary and, as he was as clueless as me, he called the surgery to find out.  It was F i L’s annual medication review.

The surgery had booked this appointment for him and sent it out directly to him and we hadn’t intercepted it.  We umm’ed and aah’ed until 11pm last night as to whether we should let F i L go on his own as no-one could go at such short notice with him.  If there were changes made to his prescription he wouldn’t remember what they were and, of course, there was the possibility he wouldn’t know why he was there.

This morning, bright and early, I got a call from F i L telling me that he was going to the doctors this morning but would be back in time for the afternoon appointment (don’t get me started on that fiasco!)

As far as I was aware husband hadn’t spoken to F i L about the appointment yet so I was surprised that he knew about it.  I spoke to Husband who in turn spoke to F i L. He told his dad that this was a review of all of his tablets and that he needed to take a pen and paper to write down anything he needed to tell us.

When I arrived for the afternoon appointment (someone was due to arrive from the Alzheimer’s Society by 3pm, but by 3.50 they still hadn’t) I asked about the review.

“Oh the doctor is giving me some special socks!”

He then went on to tell me about how he went to the pharmacy to get them but has to go back in the morning to have them fitted.

“What did the doctor say about all of your tablets?”

“She only asked me how I was. I told her that i was having trouble walking and that it’s embarrassing and she told me about the socks.”

“You didn’t talk about your medicine?”

“I don’t know”

I had just refilled his medicine box and was worried I may overdose him so I rang the surgery to check what had happened.

It was just as he said.

Despite the fact that he has confirmed Alzheimers his GP relied on him to be fully aware of why he was having the appointment, even though the GP had requested it!  Of course he didn’t have a clue and fell into his default position which is talking about his knees or feet.

We have remade the appointment for a time when both husband and I can be there.  We are going to insist that no communication goes through F i L.  We will insist that if an appointment is made a note is taken of what the appointment is for so that he doesn’t spend all of his time speaking about his feet and knees, and I am going to make it very clear that however it appears on the surface F i L has no cognition. All that is left is a veneer of polite chit-chat.

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The Jigsaw Puzzle Puzzle

Pieces of a puzzle

Pieces of a puzzle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

For some weeks I’ve been talking to Husband about getting F i L a couple of jigsaw puzzles.  The ones we have seen that have pictures that would appeal to F i L have way too many pieces (1,000 plus).  Those that have fewer pieces have pictures on them that are aimed at toddlers.  I haven’t been able to find a middle ground.

 

Last night I was looking on the internet for something suitable.  I came across some acceptable puzzles that were designed for disabled/dementia suffering users.  I was shocked when I read that they have 11 pieces.

11 pieces! Is that all?

Having spent time yesterday explaining how a word search works, and having F i L not understand/remember a conversation a few minutes before I’m now starting to think that 11 pieces may be too many.  Where on earth am I going to find a suitable puzzle?

Today inspiration struck.

He has an old calendar lying around that he won’t think to throw out.  It has some lovely pictures on it that I know that he likes.  I’m going to scan those pictures and make them into my own little jigsaw puzzles for him! Some will have more pieces than others but it might just get what’s left of his little grey cells working.

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The Word Search

A wordsearch

A wordsearch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Husband and I went to see F i L yesterday evening to start working through the list he had given us.  In the time that had lapsed since talking to him on the phone the list had grown longer and he had worked himself up.  He had his papers out and was rifling through them trying to make sense of his world.

We sorted things out, arranged his appointments, let him know who would be taking him, replenished his medicine dosing box, and calmed him down.  We talked to him about the need for him to go out to more groups, which he is still resisting, and the fact that he has actually chosen what he would like to do.  We told him that he does not have a choice in this.  We are making the arrangements and he is going.  Full stop.  He seemed happy that we are taking charge and making decisions for him.

We gave him the talk (again) about using or losing his brain.  He’s had a word search puzzle book sat on a table for some months now but to the best of my knowledge has never looked at it.  I handed it to him.

“You should do these puzzles to keep your brain going.”

“What’s that dear?”

“It’s a book of word searches.  You bought it.”

I’m not actually certain that he did, but we didn’t buy it and I can’t imagine any body else doing it for him.

“How does that work then?”

Husband looks incredulous.  His father doesn’t know how a word search works.  How is that possible?  We talk him through the process and when F i L manages to find a word on his own the pride he feels is palpable.  I am resolved to get him some more ‘childish’ amusements to keep his brain ticking over.

When we left we took the letters with us that were causing anxiety.  If he can’t see them he doesn’t worry about them.

Husband and I picked up F i L’s renewed prescription today and went back round to his house.  He was hunched over the table shaking his head, going through the papers again.  Whilst Husband went out to the garden to mow the lawn I sat with F i L.

He knew that he was puzzled by something.  He knew that he was looking fr something.  He didn’t know what it was.  He sat shaking his head trying to work out what was bothering him.

“I’m trying to form the question” he said to me.  “I don’t know what the thing is.”

He went out to his kitchen.

“Yes!  That’s it!”

He came back carrying his calendar.

“What’s that?”

He was pointing to an appointment to see a cardiologist written in his hand.

I paraphrased so that he would understand.

“That’s an appointment to see the doctor about your Alzheimer’s medicine.”

It’s actually an appointment to check his heart and current medication and to get a decision as to whether the Alzheimer’s meds will counteract the heart meds.  This will decide whether or not he can have the Alzheimer’s medication.

“I don’t know about it.  I can’t find anything written down about it.”

For the first time out of sight is not out of mind.  He’s looking for a letter that we have taken from the house!

“We know about the appointment and we have sorted it out.  You don’t need to worry about it.  One of us will go with you.”

He’s still shaking his head moments later when Husband comes in from the garden.

“I can’

t find the details for this son.”

“We’ve just spoken about that” I say prompting him to remember the conversation a few minutes ago.

“Yes I know.  You might have the letter but I can’t find it!”

He doesn’t understand that he can’t find the letter because we have it.  He has forgotten the discussions yesterday and I am not convinced he understood the conversation today.

The word search remains untouched since we left yesterday.

“It’s marvellous,” F i L says “I’ll do more of that.”

Somehow I think he will forget and things will go on as before

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The List

Last night while Husband and were out (I was making jewellery at my WI craft group and Husband was playing tennis) F i L phoned.  It’s been a few weeks since our last panicked evening call.  The only person in the house was Boy and when he saw, via the caller ID, who was calling he didn’t answer.

Boy told Husband about the call when he returned from tennis, and husband told me about it this morning.  It was lunchtime before he had the opportunity to call his dad back.  I got an email almost immediately after.

It went like this:

“Phoned him…[No. 3 Son and his wife] were there this morning

 

1.    ‘Do I need to get an extended warranty for my washing machine? –No. 3 Son said no’ 

2.    ‘Letter from Britannia building Society’ –I said don’t do anything we’ll have a look when we’re there next

3.    ‘Can’t get my head round this dial-a ride stuff- No. 3 Son said he would sort it out’ !!!!!! ????

4.    ‘The nurse hasn’t come yet’ –I said look in the yellow book to confirm the appointment….ok hang on……………………….………..yes you’re right it’s today……………was there a note from [me] in there?    ……………………hang on i’ll have a look……………………..……………………….no !

5.    ‘No. 3 Son says can you help him with the fence’ –i’ll speak to him

6.    ‘I’m really in a bit of a mess. when can you come round?’- wasn’t No.3 Son there today?????? “

Grrrrr.

I’m riled.

No. 3 Son has been to visit yet we’ve got a list of stuff to sort out!

The worrying part for me is the bit about the nurse visit (the rest is just annoying).  I have booked a district nurse to come and do F i L’s blood test at home, because I can’t keep taking time away from work to take him and he gets lost if he goes alone, and also to do some blood tests that his GP has asked for.  I have to call him to make sure he DOES still have the paperwork.

“Hello [F i L].  Has the nurse been yet?”

“No.”

“OK.  When she does your blood test, there’s another form you need to give her today.  I put it with your yellow (warfarin) book.  Is it still there?”

“Hang on dear…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….Yes there’s a form here.”

“Keep that with your book and give it to the nurse when she comes, ok?”

“Yes dear.”

“Put it in the book…..”

“OK……….I’m in a dreadful mess.  I’d be so grateful if you could come round and help me.”

“[No. 3 Son]’s coming today.  He can help.”

I know that No. 3 son has been and gone but I want to hear F i L’s explanation for why this son has been unable to sort stuff out.

“Oh, well, he said he was going to do the fence and, well, you know, that’s enough……..”

It’s enough for No.3  Son to turn up once every couple of weeks and promise to do something, but us turning up 4 times a week and being given a list of stuff to do isn’t!   F i L hasn’t even asked him to help!

I am angry  that No.3 Son can’t see that he needs to put himself forward to help.

I am angry that F i L will only ask me and Husband about his list of concerns.

I am angry that we have to do all of the drudge work and get no recompense, emotionally or otherwise, for it.

One thing that did make me smile:  When No. 3 Son’s wife arrived today, F i L asked her if she’d like to look around his new house.  He’s lived there for almost 2 years now!  I smiled because she, and No. 3 Son got to see for themselves today how quickly the years are being wiped away from F i L’s memory now.  He doesn’t even know that his 8th grandchild, their son, has been born because that happened within the time that he has lost.  I also smiled because a little part of me hoped that he was being sarcastic.  I hoped that he was saying “Haven’t seen much of you in the past couple of years! Let me remind you where things are in my house!”  Unfortunately I think it was just the former.

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Father’s Day

Father’s Day brings about a lot of mixed emotion for me.  I am very happy to see the relationship my husband has with our children.  He is a great dad and a fantastic role model and I am happy to help our children make his day special.  Dads  like my husband deserve this special day.

F i L has had a sometimes strained relationship with his sons.  His own father was distant.  The women in his family were more dominant, and although he had 5 brothers, all somewhat older than him, in terms of a role model for fatherhood he didn’t have much.  F i L however was involved in raising his boys, playing with them, giving them rules and boundaries to live by, doing his best for his family.  He was pedantic, often out-dated in his beliefs and attitudes, and this led to tension between himself and his growing boys, but what was never in doubt was that his intentions were always to do his best for his family.

My father left (with my mother’s agreement) when I was 11 years old.  He had in effect ‘left’ some years before when he started going to the pub every night, or working away.  I have very few memories of my dad doing anything with my family.  I have fewer memories of him being happy to spend time with me and my brother.  I have lots of memories however of him leaving us sitting outside pubs, for hours on end, while he got drunk.  We hid in case our mum happened upon us and realised we weren’t in effect spending the weekend with our dad as arranged.  He never had food for us in his flat.  He would buy a take away for us (with a 6 pack of beer for him) and the leftovers would be the next days breakfast.  I learnt to drink tea and coffee at an early age because otherwise I would be thirsty.  There was no bed for my brother and I.  I would sleep on the sofa, fully clothed, under my coat, while my brother would sleep in my father’s bed, next to our passed out parent.  The heating would never be on, and the windows  were always open whatever the weather.  He didn’t have a tv.  There was nothing at his flat for us to do.  But he was our father and we wanted to spend time with him.  I think I kept going back hoping that one day he would want to spend time with us.

Finally, after years of rejection, after being compared to my mum (who was of course the source of everything bad in his life even 25 years after their separation), after his disappearances, drunken phone calls, policemen calling me to collect him from cells, I got the message.  My dad was never, NEVER, going to be a father.  He didn’t want to, or couldn’t be, a father.  It took a lot of time but eventually, after becoming a parent myself and then the death of his mother, I accepted this.

Although I have never thought of F i L as a father figure for myself, I get incredibly frustrated now when No.1 and No. 3 son’s don’t care for him.  They could point to my relationship with my dad and say “Your dad’s sick and needs help but you’re not doing anything to help him.  Why are you critical of us for doing the same as you?”  I ask myself this often.  They don’t appreciate that, despite his faults, F i L has been a good dad.  They don’t see their own failings as fathers, and continue to blame and reject him for his.  I genuinely tried for more than 35 years to have a relationship with my dad but he made it clear, via his actions, that he didn’t want the same.  F i L wants a relationship with all 3 of his sons. Only one of them can see that.  He’s the one that is caring for his dad.  He’s the one that can see his own failings.  He’s the one that has great, helpful, well-mannered, polite kids.  He’s the one I’m proud to call my husband.

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The Dog Treats

20110808 Sheer decadence!

20110808 Sheer decadence! (Photo credit: Degilbo on flickr)

I own and run a dog walking and pet sitting business.

On Saturday I had a dog with me when Husband and I went to see F i   L.

No. 3 Son and the oldest of the Brats were there.  They were dropping off a Father’s Day card for the following day.  I sat on the floor (I am the wrong side of 40) while Brat sat comfortably in an armchair.  I was taught it is polite to give up my seat for an adult if there are none available but this has obviously bypassed No. 3 Son’s house so, after getting stiff on the floor, I sat on Brat’s lap to give him the hint he should move.

F i L was very taken with the dog.  He loves it every time I take one to visit despite having a cat and, as this one had the same name as the family dog from 50’ish years ago, he was loved even more.

We were making tea in the kitchen.  Husband had found some ‘misplaced’ ginger bread men in the cupboard (“I’ve been looking for those!”) and F i L started to dish them out, trying to give one to the dog.

“The dog can’t have that” I said

“Oh go on”

“No!  He can’t have sugary food.  It’s bad for him.”

“I’ll find him something else then.”

F i L rustled around in the cupboard and pulled out a packet of chocolate digestive biscuits.

“He can have these!” he said proudly

“No he can’t. Sugar and chocolate are poisonous to dogs.”

“Ah – here we go!  He can have these…”

F i L was so pleased to have found something suitable…………

A whole packet of Werther’s Original Toffees !?

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The Brats

On Monday morning No. 3 Son went to visit F i L with his 2 youngest sons in tow.

This is the son that F i L refers to as ‘Poor [No. 3 Son]’ because his life is (in F i L’s slightly deluded opinion) so hard.  This is the son who was so hard up, F i L kept telling us, recently had to sell his second car (we had to sell ours a year ago) but has managed two holidays so far this year.

Husband received a text during the visit, from No. 3 Son.  F i L was asking No.3 Son why he was going to the doctor that evening.   F i L couldn’t remember.  As husband and I had arranged the appointment (because we’re the only ones that do these things) No. 3 Son didn’t have a clue.  I don’t know what husband’s response was but I hope it was either rude or completely unbelievable e.g. for a hysterectomy.

For a few months F i L has been complaining that one of the fence panels in his garden is damaged and needs to be replaced.  Of course we were asked to do the job.  Over the past 13 years Husband has helped No.3 Son, on at least 3 occasions repair and replace his fences.  No. 3 Son is perfectly able and experienced to replace the panel.  It’s a simple job.  Swap one panel.  We suggested that F i L ask No. 3 Son to do it.

No. 3 Son agreed to do the job, but has been putting it off.  The replacement fence panel won’t fit in his car.  He’s got to look after the kids.  He’s going away.  A list of excuses.  Now he’s back there should be no reason not to do it and F i L has been asking us when it is going to be done, at least 4 times a week, since the beginning.  After receiving No. 3 Son’s text husband asked again if he was was going to replace the fence panel.  The response was

“Stuff that!”

I  guess it’s not going to get done.

When Husband visited F i L on Wednesday evening the conversation came round to No. 3 Son’s visit, in particular his children.

“They’re terrible!” said F i L.

Husband said “I know”.

F:  “Poor [No. 3 Son]!”

H:  “What do you mean ‘Poor No. 3 Son’?  They’re his children!”

F:  “Well, they’re awful!”

H:  “Because he doesn’t discipline them!”

When the brats do something wrong usually something very destructive like throwing heavy objects at the TV screen, they are asked very gently to not do it, usually accompanied by a ‘please’.  It’s never an instruction – always a polite request.  When they inevitably start to cry, because they enjoy destroying property, they are scooped up, cuddled, and told that they are ‘Mummy’s Best Boy!’   What they are learning looks a little like this when you break it down:

  1. Vandalise property
  2. Get attention from parent
  3. Receive praise
Any wonder why they misbehave? (Incidentally I have, very politely, pointed this out to No. 3 Son and wife but they want their children to ‘express themselves’)

F:  “Isn’t his wife a teacher?”

H:  “Yes”

F:  “You’d think they’d behave better then”

H:  “Exactly!”

F:  “Your children are marvellous!”

H:  “Yes because we discipline them.  They know that that they can’t get away with behaving like animals”

F:  “Of course, you have [me].  She doesn’t stand for any nonsense.”

H:  “No, neither of us will.”

F:  “Poor No. 3 Son”

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The Corn Pads

On Monday this week I had a visit from a ‘Social Worker’ for me!  As a carer my needs are also assessed and although we (husband and I) are coping, and we are already doing everything they are suggesting both for us and F i L, I accepted the appointed so that we wouldn’t be removed from the list and lose the chance of help down the line.  I did  have a good chat about how frustrated I am that the other son’s don’t participate more as Alzheimers is a terminal illness, and if F i L had another form of terminal illness I feel sure they would make (slightly) more of an effort.

On Monday night F i L had a GP appointment that Husband and I accompanied him to.  We needed to find out what has happened to the Cardiology referral that will allow him to start on the Alzheimers meds and we have been advised to speak to his GP to get him a prescription for his anxiety.

We walked into the surgery and the were holding an Ante-natal class in reception.  F i L was oblivious to this and when acknowledged by the receptionist, whipped out a packet from his pocket.

[Very loudly] “Now dear.  About these corn pads!  I brought in a paper a few days ago and I want to know where they are!”

“Shhhhh!” Both me and husband

“But I need to know!”

“Not now Dad.”

“Shhhhhh!” I say.  “We’re here for an appointment.”

“But I need these!” F i L says to me

“Shut Up! We’ll deal with that with the doctor.  That’s not important at the moment!”

During the appointment, most of which went over his head, the doctor processed the referral right away (although by the time he sees anyone we will have lost at least 5 months opportunity to slow the progression of his brain decay) and prescribed F i L anti-depressants.  He started to complain about the amount of tablets he has to take and pull faces.  I reminded him that I take 7 tablets each morning and I am half his age.  The doctor was quietly laughing at the conversation.  She could see it was a regular conversation.  We asked for a script for some regular medication that needed to be renewed, including the blessed corn pads, which started off another routine topic.

“Now, about my feet Doctor……..”

I interrupted.

“Did you ask at your club about the Chiropodist?  I reminded you.”

“The hairdresser was there today.”

“Yes, but the hairdresser can’t do your feet.  You need to see a Chiropodist.”

“They come in turn I think”

The Doctor is listening with a broad smile on her face.

“No I didn’t ask about it.  Perhaps the doctor……..”

I interrupt again.

“The doctor can give you pads but she can’t fix your feet.  You need to see a chiropodist.  I’ve mentioned it to you a few times.”

The Doctor is still smiling broadly.  She’s not laughing at us, but is amused at what is obviously a regular discussion, and how we are managing what is effectively an overgrown, arguing child.

We whisk him away.  I go to get the prescription filled and husband drops F i L at home.  We had noticed when we collected him for the appointment that he had cooked some sausages earlier.  They were still pink and raw, but he was set to eat them.  Whilst I was picking up the prescription Husband had told him that he needed to re-cook them which in the end I did for him.  It was getting too complicated for him to understand that they weren’t cooked.  Husband had by this point reached the end of his tether and sat seething.  The only explanation he could give later, when we were out of his dad’s company, was that

“It shouldn’t be this way”

What shouldn’t?

“Everything!”

He’s right.

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