Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Propane, Pain, and Not Cleaning

It's Tuesday, and I'm back at my parents'.  Things are normal for Wonderland. My dad is still overfilling the cat-food bowl. He's still forgetting that you fed him lunch and at 3:30 claiming he's not eaten all day. The sitters let me know that over the weekend my mother discovered her dresser and was amazed at the stuff in it.

Dad and I drove to the next town over and got propane today. I have to admit that my dad floors me. On a drive, he regales you with how stupid and worthless everyone is in half the houses along the way.  I sit there driving in amazement wondering just what attributes he has that place him so far above everyone. Oh, wait, I know - he can do everything perfect and knows everything. That's it.

On the other hand, I think that lately his own dementia is finally softening him somewhat. In the last few weeks, he's exhibited a sense of humor, of which I would have sworn he did not have one ounce. I think his failing ability to find the words for common things is humbling him somewhat. Sometimes when he gets on a rambling kick about inane things, he'll stop and pause, and I think he dimly realizes he's being inane and is taken aback at himself.
So we got propane, and he was excited as a kid for me to cook something in the new cooker I got. It never really sunk in that it's a smoker, not a grill; it needs very little attending, and won't cook anything in 30 minutes. It barely sunk in that I had to defrost the bacon I'm going to cure and the chicken I'm throwing in just because we have it and I can. I think I had to explain it to him 4 times during the day.

I drug Mother out of bed about 1:00 p.m. and got her into the living room.  In the last 4 weeks, she's had increasing pain in her back.  She's getting to the point where walking from her bed to the living room, about 20-25 feet is difficult for her.  Mom is terribly hunched.  Her spine has lost so much bone that nerves all up and down it are compressed. This results in the kind of pain that normal pain medication really can't help.

I wonder if she reaches the point where she needs us to get the wheelchair to get her from her bed to her chair, if that's the point where she needs to simply stay in bed.  If she stays in bed however, she sleeps, and all her other symptoms are worse - disorientation, shaking, and depression. If she doesn't move at all, her bowels will quit working well; likewise, her digestion and all of it.

How do you know when you've reached the point of needing a hospital bed? You can wake someone, get them cleaned, feed them, get them watching TV and somewhat in the world. How much do you lose, though?

Over the weekend, the sitters distracted my dad from his burning mania by devious means - telling him he'd get a $1,000.00 fine and other things.  Finally one of them talked to a local official who told her to burn after 6:00 p.m.  So that wonderful gal sat out with my Dad and burned the pile. Of course, the next day he wanted to do it again. Sigh. She distracted him, and so far he hasn't been on me about it. I could kiss her.

Dad did give one sitter a hard time over her cleaning his den and his bedroom this weekend. She worked through him though, told him she had to do it, and went ahead and got it done. Yay! You go, girl. Keep it up. I have no clue why he's on this kick about her not dusting his den, getting cat hair up, or cleaning his bedroom.   How can a man so demanding of cleanliness turn into someone who argues that nothing in his life is dirty?


Anonymous said...

Re: your mother; bed rest is not a good thing. I know it's hard to get her moving, and the pain is bad, but if she stays in bed she's going to be compromised in so many ways that are worse; bed sores, pneumonia, depression, worse incontinence. As hard as it is, it's better to get her up, even if it's bed to chair and back several times a day.

Re: your dad, and the not wanting to clean; some of it is probably control issues, and part is privacy, and part just irritation that he can't do things anymore. It's weird how the feelings remain after the cognition goes. He knows he used to do *something*, and the anger remains at not being able to do it, even though he doesn't remember what it is he did. If that makes any sense.

I'm glad the sitters are so patient. Treasures, they are.

Jola Gayle said...

Re: bedrest. Yep, I hope we can keep her up and moving as long as possible to ward off those things.

Re: control issues. Thanks for the comment. It gives me another level of understanding.