Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Letter to Dad

Dear Dad,

It's been quite the month for you, hasn't it? A little spill. A bit of shingles. Some weakness and blurry vision. Your diabetes seems under control most of the time, but other things about your body seem to speak that not all is right with your world. And so here you are, sitting in rehab, and I'm hoping to keep you there.

I have to be honest and say that I am not worried about you. You've proven that you are relatively healthy and strong and I truly believe that you will recover, if you give yourself enough time. If you work with the physical therapists. If you don't push yourself to go home before your body is ready.

I also have to be honest and tell you that the reason I don't want you to push yourself to go home is that you can't go home. Okay, well, really--you can go home. You can get there, you can sit at home, you can convalesce there, even though I think it will take you longer to do so. But if you go home, you will be doing Mom an enormous disservice. Because unlike you and your physical ailments, she is suffering from something far more dangerous. She is losing her memory. She lost much of it already. And in the state she is in now, she cannot possibly take care of you in the proper manner.

There, I said the secret out loud. I'm no clinician, but I know Mom well enough to see the changes that have occurred. The signs have been there for ages. She searches far too long for the correct word and usually doesn't come up with it. She substitutes phrases for simple words, such as "the road leading to the garage" instead of "driveway." She repeats herself three times within the span of five minutes. And she can't remember how long it takes to get to different places. Furthermore, people have called her recently and reported that they do not understand what she is saying. And I had a conversation with her last week where she asked me, "Do you know what I mean?" and I had to reply, "No." Because I really didn't. Her language wasn't garbled per se, but she couldn't string together the sentence properly.

I know this is going to be a very difficult time for both of you. You want to be home, probably so you can have your own bed, your own food, and so you can see your wife. But Mom is fighting this issue of hers tooth and nail. She refuses to give in to the mess that's tangling her brain, and I admire her tenacity. But in refusing to give in, she's refusing any possible treatment. And because of that refusal, her decline from this point out could be swift and painful.

So Dad, here's my suggestion. Stay in rehab for a little longer, for Mom's sake, not yours. Sure, you should get stronger during the time you're at the facility, but you're also giving Mom a little break. She can no longer keep house, do cooking, manage laundry, and take care of you. Her physical strength and mental capabilities are waning. She needs you to be as strong as you can be because in my mind, its her time. Her time to have you take care of her.

The tides have changed, Dad. I hope you can see that. And we're all here to support you.



Unknown said...


T said...

This is going to be a rough summer.

T said...

This is going to be a rough summer.

Christina said...

This is going to be a rough summer, T. And thanks for the hugs, Barb. I just had to get it out there. He looks good. Sounds pretty good. I'm truly more worried for her.