I haven’t posted much about my dad in the past few weeks… there isn’t much to report. I guess it is really not good, or not bad – it just is.
He is still in the hospital. He has had the piece of skull put back in place – with no additional complications (I guess). He is still on a feeding tube, he is still being watched 24-7, because he still doesn’t like being in the hospital.
He is ANGRY. He gets so frustrated, I am not sure if it is at us, or just in general…. He does not communicate clearly – and according to the Neurosurgeon, that may or may not get better. We won’t really know what the new “baseline” is until a year from now.
He was eating soft foods before the surgery to repair the skull, but it seems we have taken a step back there again and they are back to using the tube.
When my brother and I were sitting in the lobby the day of his last surgery, I could over-hear a pass down with the security guards…. I heard the name Russell and Dad’s room number. Ugh. I asked if there was a problem, and he assured me that sometimes they have to go and settle him down. I felt compelled to apologize on my dad’s behalf, because normally he is a pretty easy going guy.
I am not sure who this new guy is, in a beat up version of Pop’s body. I am relatively confident he doesn’t like me too much, and that is okay. There are flashes of clarity where I still see him, and I will hold on to those.
I have told him that he no longer has an apartment. I told him his next stop is a care facility. I told him that his belongings are in my mom’s garage, waiting for the next step. I’m not sure what he understood, what he remembers – but I put it out there. And yep – I pissed him off good that day. He grew more and more agitated that I didn’t have his cowboy boots with me. And then, to top it off, he was mad that he couldn’t go out and smoke a cigarette with my brother. He didn’t understand that at this point it was already well over a month since he had a smoke, and he didn’t need it – and of course that he is a patient at the hospital, and it wasn’t going to happen…. He proceeded to try to get out of bed and walk out the door. He cursed at the very nice nurse. Gave me a “fuck you, I’ll talk to you however the fuck I want”…. to which I replied with “I love you anyways and I will see you soon.”
The hospital is having a hard time placing him in a care facility – most will take with a feeding tube, but not with the “confusion”, others will take with the “confusion” but not with the feeding tube. He has both. So he remains in their care. And yet… there are still social workers who give me a hard time because I won’t bring him into our home…
I spoke to one of many doctors the day after his last surgery. I asked if the “confusion” was dementia. He said that they don’t like to call it dementia. They refer to it as more of a delirium that comes with hospital stays. I get it. Sometimes people get confused when they have a hospital stay. Pops has been there for over two months (if you count the brief stays the 3 weeks prior to this long one, it is more like 3 months). At what point do you address the real issue and try to help? Can they help? They have to do something different to break this cycle. THEY HAVE TO.
It is so hard. It hurts to see him like this. The things he says and how he acts are shocking, even still. His sister was coming to see him, after years of separation – but he told her to “get the hell out”…. hopefully she understands that it was probably not really him talking, and she comes back – but I can understand if she doesn’t.
We are frustrated and sad that our Pops is going through this, and we are learning to live with it – but I am very thankful that he is still here. Us kids will keep trying. We will keep showing up. We will keep pushing the hospital for answers, and for direction. We will walk away when we need to, but we will always be back. Because that is what you do when you love someone…. Love shows up.