Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dementia Sucks.

So yesterday I took dad to the Parkinson's/neurology clinic for his six month checkup. The doctor asked him what his name was. He just looked blankly ahead. The doctor asked him to point to the ceiling. He just sat there. The doctor asked him if he knew how old he was. He just looked straight ahead. The doctor asked him to clap his hands. He made a couple of fists.

And that was that. The doctor said at this point they are pharmaceutically backing off, as there's basically no point. He advised me that since my father is close to being mute, and when he isn't mute he is essentially talking nonsense, that the next step will be that he forgets to walk. When this happens he becomes bedridden. The doctor advised me when this happens that it's time to call hospice.

Apparently when that stage starts one of a few things happens: 1. pneumonia, as when someone with Alzheimer's can't walk, they can't choke if water goes down the wrong pipe like you can when you are healthy, therefore they essentially drink everything into their lungs. 2. a secondary infection of some sort, bladder being the most common, 3. a fracture, and the complications thereof. He asked me if we had a plan in place. I explained yes, and my father elected a DNR many years ago, and that we would not administer any antibiotics. The plan is relieving the pain so that he can go peacefully.

The irony is his heart is great, liver function is great, if it wasn't for this disease he'd probably live to 100.

Then after being essentially mute for the exam, we get in the car and he said "That guy never tells us anything." LOL

And that's it.

I did good though, I didn't cry. I mean, it's not like a surprise, but no matter how much you try to prepare I don't think it's possible not to feel the devastation of losing someone close to you. In a way, it's worse. I hope I just keel over when I'm old, instead of rot away slowly as your brain is eaten away by plaque. I don't want my family to have to go through a long process of grief as bit by bit your old self fades away.

He was having a good day on Sunday. He told me that he felt trapped in his body. I told him I was sorry. I told him Happy Father's Day and gave him his new shoes, and he was happy.

When I dropped him off last night and kissed him goodbye, he said "Thank you, sweetie." And that is when I got in my car and cried.

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