My Hubby has always considered me his third and problem child… I have always hoped that he sees this as a term of endearment? I miss that person so much. I feel so weighed down with everything right now. I want to be that stupid, familiar and eccentric ball of energy, instead of this exhausted mess.
Last Wednesday, a Doctor visited Mum and I at my Parents’ house. She gave us the results of Mum’s CT scan and memory test. The diagnosis of Vascular Dementia was no surprise. However, hearing it from a Professional is a different matter. For the last three years, I’ve learnt to accept that my Mum has changed. Obviously, since my Dad’s stroke last July, I’ve had to battle to get tests and a CT scan for her. Sadly, help is not given without formal diagnosis. As I read the post-diagnosis letter on Saturday, I felt relieved that finally a care package would be provided for Mum. The Doctor had put “I fear Sophie will soon be suffering from Carer burnout.” Truth is, I’ve been feeling this burnout for a few months now.
Today, I was called to a meeting with Dad’s Doctor at the hospital. Again, I was under no illusion that Dad will miraculously improve. The Doctor began by asking me how Dad had been during the last year, prior to his stroke. Apart from Dad giving up private tuition last April, the only difference I had seen in him was exhaustion dealing with Mum. As I was sat there this morning, I knew what was coming next. The Doctor had examined Dad’s most recent CT scan, and confirmed that Dad has Vascular Dementia.
Six days between my Parents’ diagnoses. Must admit, this is a bitter pill to swallow right now. Again, being a realist, I had already told myself that Dad is now in the throes of dementia… But there’s nothing like confirmation to bring it home. The Doctor gave me so much time. This was appreciated, as I had so many questions. He told me that both my Parents’ diagnoses will allow care packages to be put in place.
My Dad has deteriorated so significantly during these last six weeks. When I arrived at the hospital this morning, he was fast asleep in a chair. As I sat on the arm of the chair, and stroked his arm, he woke up. He recognises me, but his conversations are so muddled. Today, he was back to being a Headmaster, he was telling me how the kids took ages to arrive in school this morning. Last week, I must have received over ten calls from the hospital asking me if I could speak to Dad. He was convinced I was a very little Soph, (probably about five years old), and he was anxious that I’d gone missing. The Nurses said that once he had heard my voice on the other end, he relaxed quite quickly, knowing I was safe.
Dementia is a destructive, devastating and damaging disease. It is so impactive on the whole family. I wish I had known that Dad would become so poorly, so quickly. I would have seized the day, when he was well, and told him what an amazing impact he had had on my life. Now, all I can do is be there, hold his hand and try and keep him calm when life is just too muddled. Anyone going through a similar experience with a family member, will know just how heartbreaking and overwhelming this is.
My Mum is a lot stronger than Dad, her deterioration is a gradual process. I should be grateful for this at least. However, she refuses to believe her own diagnosis, let alone her Husband’s. Cowardly, I’m leaving it to the Doctor to explain to her about Dad. Sadly, she’ll listen more if it comes from him.
Again, I’ll try and lighten this heavy blog. Life has been all about the trousers for Dad lately. After my meeting with the Doctor this morning, I went into Dad’s room to find him trying to put his grey joggers over his head. My Mum had been determined to not give in to our demands to buy him some jogging bottoms to make life easier. She was adamant that Dad will only be seen in his familiar cords or jeans! Two weeks ago, a Nurse asked me if we could buy him a couple of pairs… Yippee! Annoyingly, a suggestion from staff carries more clout than our words of advice! Mum has now embraced the joggers, and allowed me to buy him four pairs. She has even bought some other trousers that she saw advertised in the newspaper… So my Dad is now the proud owner of a pair of All-weather biker trousers, suitable for a 6 ft man… Perfect for my little Dad, at 5 ft 5, with no immediate plans to hop on a Harley-Davidson!