Today, I’m doing something very different. I don’t normally talk about serious matters of the family until I have permission, but I finally got my mom’s okay to do this post. I have two reasons why I wanted to write this: in case anybody needs information for somebody close to you that has dementia. My second is I really needed to talk about it out loud before I explode!
I wanted to give you some background about my family, or at least my mom’s side of the family. I’m hoping that after I’ve gotten this one out, I can finally share those posts I have been saving since November about the great aunts. I know more information about her side since I’ve been around them more later in life. My papaw (my mom’s dad) is very interesting and I hope to God I don’t sound bias or anything, but he is!
He was pharmacist for 47 years! My grandparents have been married for 50+ years. Every anniversary, they would always celebrate it by going to Red Lobster. Our whole family took them to eat out at Red Lobster for their 50th anniversary in 2011. It was very cute and nice to be out fancy with my family. Everybody ate like kings that day! My papaw has a train room in the house, unfortunately it’s upstairs but it doesn’t stop him from going up there. He’s ordered and made a lot of model trains and tracks. He’s obsessed but in a good way! Whenever we would come over after school, he would be sitting in his desk and painting a side of a train so delicately!
We’ve been noticing a sight change in his behavior. I say “we” but it’s mostly been my mom and nana. He’s been forgetting a lot of different things in the last several months. My nana has had to explain a few things, like where everybody lives and where everything is, especially in the kitchen. More recently, the changes has increased; now he thinks somebody is going to take them back home, when he’s already home. They moved all over Indiana, spending most of their time in central Indiana before moving into the aunt’s house down south. My nana also thinks whenever he takes a bath and eats breakfast in the mornings, he should be going to work but he hasn’t been to work in a long time.
When he first started going a little loopy and I mean that in the bad way. He was mean to basically everyone. He wasn’t napping, drinking coffee/water like he normally does in the middle of the day either. He ultimately went to the hospital. I don’t necessarily know what all happened for him to go there, but I’m pretty sure these were the basic reasons. They did tests on him to see why he was acting the way he was. The main reason was he got mixed up with different medication and took too much. Now everybody watches over him like a hawk. He hasn’t been medically tested for dementia yet, but my mom thinks it’s very mild.
We’re mostly afraid of the bad really days, because we don’t want him to spend the rest of his life in a nursing home. He’s not going to like that. What hurts me the most is that I’ve been trying to comfort everybody and full myself up with as much of his stories of Hawaii, family, hear fun times with his friends Harold and Dick, etc as I can and I’m still scared of the inevitable. I know it’s going to happen, they’re both end up in a nursing home. If one goes, they both go because the house is too big and everybody’s already in agreement on that part. It’s always been known in our family that once they’re out of the house then it’ll be set for safe and that really bothers me, despite the fact that the living room and upstairs creep me out! I’ll explain that story on another day! I’m not ready to see my grandparents go into a nursing home or see somebody else living in their house either. I mean, all the holiday and family gatherings spend there. I’m pretty sure that’ll hurt me a lot.
I want to end this post on a good note, so I’ve decided to include some funny stories that my papaw has done throughout my life and some recent things that has happened while on his good days where he’s slept and drank lots of fluids. My parents only allow me to go over there whenever he’s “normal” and not combative with everybody.
I feel like everytime I talk about my grandparent’s, I’m mostly talking about my nana. It’s not that I try to do that, my papaw and I have a special bond. I only watch sports with him. We share the interest of Butler basketball, cookies, storytelling and running our wheelchairs into walls. I love my papaw and enjoy being around him. When my mom started to hint that he was showing signs of early dementia, I kind of brushed it off. I didn’t think she was serious, even though she is a registered nurse, I still didn’t want to believe her. In my defensive, I don’t think I was the only one in my family that didn’t want to believe her either!
The other day, we really knew there was something different about him when he had to be taken to the hospital I think like, two or three days before Christmas. I wanted to come right out and say why I was asking for prayers for my own family on my social media accounts, but at the time I didn’t know how serious it was. Unfortunately, I suck at gaining information about it. My nana has said she’s been reading up about it. She’s been reading about how to act around him and his behavior towards others. My parents cook their meals, mostly breakfast and supper. They’re getting spoiled on breakfast with my dad (he does make great breakfasts!) and my mom takes me over there around lunchtime on certain days and we eat lunch with them and I feel like he’s been missing that. We used to it that every weekend, but then we stopped.
Every week, we would get a call at our house, he usually leaves a message on our answering machine making sure my dad knew that he hadn’t gotten lottery tickets and that he was going to win the big bucks! However half the time he calls he’s not addressing anybody in general, he’s talking to our dog ChiChi. He’ll literally go “Hi ChiChi, please tell your daddy or mommy that we need lottery tickets today. ” If you got this on your machine, it would warm your heart into a little puddle.
In 2009, he had to go to the hospital because he got a really bad infection in his foot. He is losing feeling in his feet, so if he sticks himself on accident with anything sharp, like in this case a staple that went right throw through his sock and shoe. He got an infection and ultimately lost his big toe on his right foot. After he came home, he did PT to learn how to walk again, but only to use a walker for a couple of years and now he just stays in his wheelchair. I got to see his foot after he had his toe amupteed, it was disgusting! I had front row seat too! It looks so good now! It’s a little weird that he’s missing a toe, but it’s more cool than gross.
He was a pharmacist in the army, we are always hearing stories about him being stationed in Hawaii He is a storyteller, now you all know where I got it from! It doesn’t matter if there’s a lot of people around or the same two people that were hanging out with him the day before, he’ll tell you a story about the funniest things ever!
The other day, my mom was doing errands and my papaw was talking about a time when was working in Hawaii, they had a dog that would scratch at the door. Her name was Amber. Somehow we got on the subject of baseball and like I’ve said before, I don’t watch sports. I don’t know anything about basketball. My sister does, definitely more about baseball than any other sport except maybe cheerleading! She would have loved what we were discussing that day, however he couldn’t remember the pitcher’s name, but apparently he was in Hawaii too or something like that, and he has the perfect play for a Dodgers game once and he was very upset that he couldn’t remember the guy’s name, but what got me was after he left the room he found pictures, one of them was a Buick convertible with him and a friend in the army overlooking mountains and ocean of Hawaii, plus a little doggy named “Amber” in the front!
I’m sorry for making everybody cry while reading this post. You’re used to more positive stuff on here and wham! I publish this one. I needed to speak out about it though. So I hope you didn’t mind it that much! Thank you for reading this post! 🙂