Monday, January 26, 2009

Dad's upcoming birthday

While I was talking to my dad on the weekend, I was wondering how fast his Alzheimer's would progress. He was hit by a car last week while crossing the street. He misjudged how far the car was and thought he had enough time to cross before the car came. He left the dog outside for 6 hours in the snow in December, having forgot that he had let the dog out. Someone brought him back home the week before last, explaining to a neighbour that he'd forgotten where he lived.

This particular phone call he only repeated himself once, which was unusual. However on about 6 occasions during the call he forgot simple words. "The thing with grated carrots and stuff," I reminded him was salad. "Those things I take in the morning and at night," medicine. My brother had been over that weekend explaining to him that he would like to be the Power ofAttorney for him. I'm hopeful he understood what it was, but said what a great thing that my brother wanted to do that for him.

Aging is hard enough, but watching your parent slowly decline is awful. We all try to keep a positive outlook, but at the same time we have to remember that it's his disease when he sometimes says hurtful things, it the disease when he forgets to bath, its the disease when he forgets his keys and can't get in his house, (only to discover that when you show up to let him in, that the keys were in his pocket all along).

On February 3 he will turn 82. He is the only one from his own family left. His parents, step mum and both sisters died many years ago. His wife of 51 years died 4 1/2 years ago, and he now shares his home with Lucy, his faithful dog. My 2 sisters visit him weekly, my brother makes it there when he can, and all that I can do is call him once a week. We talk for about an hour, and often he has very little to tell me about, but I try to fill in the gaps with memories of old times, or stories of my kids at work.

This is the card I made for him.


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