It’s been a rough few days… make that weeks.
My father has been struggling with anxiety. Anxiety and dementia go hand-in-hand. The world doesn’t make sense. Memories jumble around. People telescope in and out. Switchbacks define the landscape.
“DON’T GO THROUGH THAT DOOR!” he cries whenever I leave him alone in his room. Waylaying me with his hand on my arm, he looks over his glasses and says in a confidential tone, “There’s nothing out there. Nothing. You can’t go there.”
But I must and I do. His world may be confined to one room. Mine is not.
If I coax him out to the sun porch, I struggle to coax him back in.
He’s leery of entering the dining room. He forgets that he sits at the head of the table and takes my seat.
Which, of course, is fine. Just odd.
“When I was in World War II, I was stationed by the Red Sea. I buried a lot of gold there. We need to go back and get it,” he told me the other day. Except he was in high school during WWII and was never stationed by the Red Sea. He went there on holiday when he was stationed in Ethiopia in the early 60s, but not WWII.
He told someone today that gold was buried in the back yard. Here.
The only gold we have here are little bits of dental gold that the dentist gave me after she removed some of his teeth. It’s gross, probably not worth much, and certainly not buried. That sounds like a good idea though because I don’t know what else to do with it.
I’ve been so tired because I’m up multiple times during the night with him. He can’t sleep. He’s so anxious.
Mary added the part about rainbow sprinkles. Rainbow sprinkles make things better.
Karl added the great mom part. The pat on the back meant a lot.
Sometimes life gives more gut punches than pats on the back.
My father didn’t get to sleep last night until 11 PM — which meant that I didn’t either. He woke me at 5:05 AM.
Through the monitor I heard, “Sally! SALLY!”
I ran downstairs, my heart pounding.
“I’m having terrible chest pain,” he said. I called the ambulance.
The paramedic asked him about the pain.
“10,” my father replied. “Crushing chest pain,” he added.
By the time he got to the Emergency Room, he was fine.
“He has dementia,” I told the ER doctor.
“I got that,” she said, smiling.
“Can I get you something to drink?” she asked my father.
“I like beer,” he said. It was 6:15 AM.
He hasn’t had a beer since he ordered a flight a couple of months ago at his favorite restaurant. He was baffled by the four little beers served on a board. “What do I do with this?” he asked.
“You taste them,” I said.
He gave them to Karl.
We were home from the ER shortly after 7 AM. God bless the ER doctor who didn’t do a full cardiac workup.
Sometimes gold is in rainbow sprinkles and kind words.
Sometimes it’s in the not following protocol and using common sense.
Sometimes it’s buried in the backyard but I’m not going to count on that today.