I do not wish to repeat this weekend. Ever. It has been one long, draining, depressing, stressful event after another.
So much has happened that I can't possibly recount all of the events. All I can say is that admitting my dad to the nursing home on Friday night was both easier and more difficult than I had imagined.
Dad was in a great mood and he was so sweet and happy with everyone. He was walking up to all of the residents telling them what a lovely place they have and how wonderful it is. A woman was sitting in her wheelchair in the hallway holding a baby doll and dad walked right up and oohed and aahed over it like it was a real baby. The lady just beamed at dad. He walked up to another woman who was whimpering in her wheelchair and said, "You'll be okay. You are doing just great! You have a beautiful smile, you know that?" He was his typical loving, caring self, still taking care of those who could not care for themselves, even though he was now one of those people.
As we walked around the halls my mom and I both commented on how my dad seemed to think it was his job to help these people, and it made him so happy to do so. He kept saying how the home was "heaven". And sure, it was in a beautiful area on a hill surrounded by woods, and it was definitely the nicest nursing home I've seen, but I wouldn't call it heaven.
And while this was all a blessing for my mom and I to see we also knew that he would not always be this easy-going. Regardless, this was where dad needed to be. His happy, loving attitude just made it a bit less stressful on my mom and I.
The difficult part was that it was after normal admittance hours and so we really didn't have any help or instructions on anything. No one gave us a tour. We sat around and waited for almost an hour to sign a few papers, and that was about it. Mom and I were at a loss for what to do when we had to leave. I had to flag some nurses down and practically beg them to take my dad and show him around while we left. Because most of the nurses were very busy starting the nighttime routines of baths and medications no one could really help us. A nurse walked with us down the hallway to one of the many television/social areas and introduced him to a few residence there and then walked away. My mom and I helped my dad sit in a recliner, gave him hugs, told him a nurse would be by to show him around in just a bit and that we would be back very soon. He seemed confused, but gave us hugs and smiled. As we walked down the hallway I turned around to wave and he turned around to watch and as he said, "Bye!" it looked like he was starting to cry. I had all I could do to keep my feet walking toward the elevator. I could barely hold in the sob that was stuck inside of my throat for so long, but I had to be strong for my mom.
Mom could not get over how well dad was taking it. We both just kept reassuring each other that this was the right decision for the entire half hour ride home. The minute I got out of the car, and my back was to my mom, I started sobbing. I don't think I stopped crying for a few hours.
That night after being up with Tommy for an hour and a half in the middle of the night because of his stinking cold the phone rang at 4:30 A.M. It was the nursing home. Dad hadn't slept all night and was wandering the halls, walking into people's rooms, and was being so combative that they couldn't manage him anymore. They had tried calling my mom at home, but got no answer so they called us. My husband told them that we know he gets like that and that is why he is at the nursing home in the first place. We were counting on their expertise to decide what to do. They decided he had to go to the psych ward at the hospital to have his medication modified. He definitely needed some sedatives, at the very least.
Thank God for my husband, because after a few hours of being pleasant at the hospital the docs were going to release my dad. To whom we don't know. The nursing home wouldn't take him if he was combative (and they hadn't adjusted his meds yet) and if a nursing home full of special Alzheimer's care nurses couldn't handle my dad how was my mom supposed to? My husband was on the phone for about 6 hours on Saturday trying to get the hospital to put my dad on a Chapter 55 hold (a psych hold by doctors orders). It seemed like no one knew what the hell they were doing because everyone had a reason why they couldn't do that. Finally, my hubby (God bless his brilliant legal mind and his ability to get people to do what he wants) convinced the doctors that dad needed to stay in the hospital but by that point the psych ward didn't have anymore beds. It was one thing after another, I tell you!
The hospital realized they had screwed up and decided to have a nurse or security guard sit with my dad the entire time he was in the hospital to make sure he didn't try to escape or get violent. They adjusted his medication and it seemed to be working much better. Dad was compliant and sweet again.
This morning dad was going to be released back to the nursing home when all of a sudden he became combative and unmanageable again. No one could control him. They decided to FINALLY admit him to the psych ward on a Chapter 55 (like we had been asking for all along) to keep adjusting his medication until they got it right.
To think that my mother tried to take care of my dad like this for so many years, and without any sedatives, is insane. A whole nursing staff couldn't handle him, and this is what mom has been dealing with.
All that had happened verified that dad is in the right place for him. My mom is at peace with her decision and she can't believe what life is like now. She walked out into her backyard and couldn't believe she could just sit and drink her tea. She didn't have to worry about dad having a fit. She didn't have to worry about him escaping. She didn't have to worry about where he was, what he was doing, how she was going to get him to the next doctor appointment, get him to eat, get him to bed, keep him in the house. She was just overwhelmed with peace. She even said, "Experiencing life like this almost makes me want to live longer." That statement struck me so. Life was so difficult for mom for so long that she did not care if she lived or died. That pretty much says it all.
And my dear, sweet husband. I don't know what my family would do without that man. And I don't know what families do when they don't have a brilliant lawyer (and jack-of-all-trades) in the family. I guess they're screwed. Screwed by a system that makes it near impossible to take care of someone who needs help.
So anyway. This post has gotten out of control. I meant for it to be a small update, but I obviously don't know when to stop. So much has happened in just a few days that, believe it or not, this really is the abridged version.
Also, I'm sorry for being absent the last few days. Todd and I have now caught the boys' colds so we are trying to lay low for a while. I promise I will be around to your blogs soon.
Most of all, thank you all for your prayers, kind words, and well wishes. I really see God working in our lives, and this whole situation, and I am so grateful.