Slice of Morning- #Sol 16 --Day 17
On Thursday mornings, I should feel grateful for the home care I have for my dad on Monday through Wednesday. On those days, I do not have to worry about my dad getting ready.
Most Thursdays and Fridays all goes smoothly. Sometimes, he forgets how the bathtub knobs work, or he is confused for a bit as to why he needs to get up so early. One morning, he even thought he was heading to the hospital, perhaps to do his rounds?
I should feel grateful on Thursdays and Fridays, but I am too busy getting ready. I will not bore you with the logistics, but I will tell you the work is worth it.
My father looks forward to going to the center. Sometimes when I am on vacation and his center is not on holiday, He will repeatedly ask me if he will still attend the center, and I think, "Oh, yeah." Indeed on those rare Thursdays and Fridays (which I can count), I have moments to myself while my father gets his days at the center.
It is a community center where those with elusive memories unite. They gather in a space filled with dignity and love. In that space, my dad is referred to as Dr. -----Though Alzheimer's has stripped him of his memory of basic facts, it cannot strip him of his hard earned medical degree and his long years of work. In that space, memory is not a badge of honor. It is just not there anymore. Caretakers with sincere hearts and vigilance make sure the participants' cares are met as the latter participate in activities such as chair exercise, music listening, coloring, games...Games? As long as I have known my dad, I have never seen him sit down to play a game.
The logistics of making sure my dad wakes up early enough to take a seated bath (on his own but very lengthy), preparing breakfast, and making sure I lay out every part of his attire for the day on his bed can be not so much tiring but simply time-consuming as I get ready to go to work.
I learned the hard way to put every other non-related piece of clothing away when I lay out my dad's clothing for the day. I once dropped him off at the sitter (from where the bus picks him up to take him to the center) only to realize he had inadvertently put on his sweat pants. Now, you need to understand my father has always been very formal, and here he was wearing sweatpants on a weekday. "Ça ne se fait pas", he would have said in his three-piece suit days, but now as we reach the top of my neighbor's porch after my father carefully goes up each step and my heart sinks at the sight of the wrong pants, he just says, "I am okay." And I drive away thinking, hey why should an older man with a weak bladder have to fuss with a belt and button. So, now he wears sweatpants all the time. As long as he remembers to put on his partial dentures, I am good!
So Thursday and Friday morning activities may be challenging but they ready my father for an active day where he gets to interact with people and know he is not alone.
And when I pick him up in the evening, he asks me if I had a good day. I will ask him the same and he will admit, "I do not remember much of the day, but I know it was busy." Busy was my father's life as he ran to work from his assigned hospital to private clinic six days of week.
One Friday morning he asked me for assurance if he had gone to the center the previous day, and I almost felt why bother with the Thursday and Friday load, but then I remember he may not remember the specifics of Thursday or Friday, but in the days' moments he was not alone, and he was happy. A happy moment even forgotten matters.