Taking my parents to see their GP this morning was an ordeal in itself. I knew it would be far more beneficial if Mum wasn’t there, as the conversation would then be more about her condition and its effect on Dad’s recovery. But whilst she has capacity (to a certain degree), it’s impossible to keep her away from such appointments.
Not a good day for my Dad today, his thoughts are muddled and without any order. Throughout this, I’ve always said how much easier it would be for my Mum, if the damage and disability to my Dad’s body was a physical one. If he was left with a weak leg, for instance, my Mum could then see it, therefore empathise. Sadly, my Dad’s brain damage is not visible; I’ve repeated over and over to my Mum how Dad has had a fire in the brain. How the fire has left damage that needs restoring/re-building. She nods and agrees saying “I know, Soph, I wish you’d stop telling me.” The sad thing is, she doesn’t remember. Every exhausting, repetitive conversation I have with her, is a new one for her, not me. Dementia is cruel, so cruel.
Their GP summed it up so eloquently today. He addressed my Mum and said “The stroke that Derek suffered was horrific, he could have died. He didn’t. We need to now make him medically exempt from life’s pressures for a while.”….. “Medically exempt”, I will be using this in the future in my many repeated conversations with my Mum. He said that Mum should visualise Dad’s brain being covered in plaster, undergoing repair and restoration. This was a great interpretation, in my opinion. A health condition which is not visible, is, without a doubt, open to abuse. People can push that person way beyond their capabilities and coping mechanisms.
My parents’ life has always been a busy one. Even in their retirement. My Dad only gave up his private tuition 3 months ago. I found this hilarious, that at 77, he’d finally decided to retire?!!!! I’m not laughing now.
To look at; my Mum still looks the same, she sounds the same, but she’s not the same. She’s always been the most loving, caring and affectionate Mum. This is no more. She’s defensive, opinionated and hard. I love my Mum so much, but I don’t like this personality change.
My Dad. A little man, in physical presence, but a huge personality with the best sense of humour. Today, he’s weak and very vulnerable. When his eyes glaze over with tears of frustration that he can’t stop this confusion, I have to walk out the room to stop my emotions getting the better of me.
Sat in the surgery this morning, I’m watching the screen about Strokes and what to do. I’m sitting there, thinking “Yep.” Then I’m watching information coming up about Dementia, and again, I’m thinking “Yep!” This 7 week crash course in stroke vs dementia has taught me so much. I hope someone reading this blog is resonating with it. I really do hope that someone is reading it and knowing they’re not alone.
This is definitely a journey of self-discovery for me. I already knew my parents are my heroes. But I’m learning that somethings in life just don’t matter. If you’ve got a voice, use it to the best of your ability to get people to open up about feelings and fears. I’m an absolute believer that we’re given a journey for a reason. I’m learning all the time in this situation. Everyday brings a new challenge. But I’ve had the most amazing parents for a lifetime, this challenge is one I would never deny myself.