Monday, May 18, 2009

Dad and I had another movie fest. We covered ground on six movies: Bourne Ultimatum, The Sixth Day, The Thin Red Line, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Jerry McGuire, and 12 Angry Men.

In between Damon and Schwarzenegger, Dad and I also explored Domino's new pasta bowls. We would both highly recommend them, but would suggest you share one with a family member or friend. They are a gargantuan meal for just one.

I worked around his agitation at The Ranch House's closure by preparing breakfast for him this morning. His pancakes were brown, not golden, and still I could not cook them long enough. Who likes crispy pancakes? Still, my father found my 100% pure Vermont maple syrup a better option than what he has at home. He made me write down what we ate both last night and this morning as a reminder to him. I savored the compliment.

At one point during his stay, I caught my father reading the notes I have stuck on my door, his finger tracing the brief lines. I wanted to ask him what he thought, but was too afraid of his answer. Would he understand? Would he grow upset Would he ask me why I needed them? Would he remember?

One the way home, I had asked that my step-mother meet me half-way. She agreed, but said she needed 10-15 minutes. 45 minutes later, my father was so agitated that I ended up driving him the whole way home myself. The slightest deviation from what he understands will be happening troubles him, disturbs his equilibrium.

Watching him, I am filled with sorrow that such a keen mind is such. We have never had a great relationship. Alcohol and abuse made for a difficult childhood and the silence of his generation made reconciliation equally so. Yet I would not wish his mental decline on anyone.

I wonder what he thinks, how he feels.

I have tried to offer a place of safety for him, a time when who he is and how he is will be accepted completely and without censure, admonishment, or criticism. He cannot help what is happening. He cannot help that he asks a question four, five times, one after another. He cannot help that he does not remember what I do or where I work. He cannot help that his emotions are ever close to the surface, spilling out over the seemingly innocuous.

I ache for him.

His mother. My father. Could I be doubly cursed when it comes to cognitive dysfunction? Should I be more fearful of MS or dementia/Alzheimer's?


ftwayne96 said...

My Dad exhibited the same mental decline in his last five years. It's sad to see. I'm probably doomed to develop Alzheimer's, Sally.

Myrtle said...

I very much want to take the genetic blood test for Alzheimers, to know. My grandmother got it early, but my father was incredibly early. At 70, now, he does not even remember how to feed himself.

ftwayne96 said...

Again, so sad. Dad was about 83 when he started showing unmistakable symptoms of Alzheimer's.

As for me, Mildred, I have no interest in taking a genetic test. Considering that Dad and four of his five siblings developed the disease, it's probably going to get me too. But that's just me, Amanda. If you want to know, go ahead and take the test. It's your brain, Jane. It's your call, Sheila. Or whatever your name is. I can't seem to remember now, Anna Marie.