Friday, February 24, 2012

A tough visit today

My plan was to visit my dad this morning, but I wound up not having time, so I had to go late this afternoon and take my daughter. It was a tough visit. He was agitated, quite grumpy, and restless. Communication with him was very difficult. He even got agitated with my daughter, something about her playing with a stuffed animal bothered him. There was one moment, however, when he was pulling on her shoe strings playfully, so I was thankful for that.

I don't think he knew who we were, though, or at least there was no sign of recognition except for one brief moment as we were leaving. At one point he walked into the dining room and sat at one table, then moved to another, and we sat down at the table with him. He kept wanting something from me, and I thought it might be dinner, since it was only about an hour away, but as it turned out, he was wanting the table to be set. He must have known it was getting close to that time, and was upset that it wasn't set yet, and that I wasn't the one setting it. 

Come to find out, through talking to the Sitter--who was the same one that was there last time I visited--my dad's medication has been changed. Something having to do with one of the medications having the opposite effect that it was supposed to have. I can't wait to talk to my step mom to find out more details. He was supposed to go to a doctor appointment yesterday morning, but because he had two incontinent accidents, he wasn't able to make the appointment, and the doctor's office couldn't (or wouldn't?) reschedule for the next day. His feet and ankles are beginning to swell again, so we are concerned, since that can be a sign of reduced kidney function.

The good news is, my dad is walking even better now. He doesn't need a walker anymore, or even a cane. I was amazed at how steady he was on his feet. I mean, before he had any of the falls, and before the kidney failure incident and hospital stay, he was having to use a walker. Before that, he had used a cane for a number of years, even before being diagnosed with Alzheimer's. And now he barely even needs a cane? Pretty amazing. The Sitter does, however, always walk right beside him holding his hand anyway, just in case he has a sudden relapse.

After just under an hour, it was time for us to go. I hugged my dad and told him we had to go and that we would be back later (later meaning a couple of days), and his expression suddenly changed and he reached out one arm slowly to hug me from his dining room chair (he was now sitting at a different table, satisfied that the table was now set and ready for dinner), and then my daughter came and hugged her grandpa. She then walked over to my other side and held my hand, waiting for me to leave, but my dad wouldn't let go and said he wanted to "do that for me," pointing to the chair near him. I told him we had to go and he frowned and asked in a stern voice, "Why!?" I tried to explain, but he didn't really understand, and after going back and forth with him a few times, I finally just had to leave, saying in a kind voice and with a smile, "See you later."

As I walked away, I turned back to look at him and wave again, but he had turned his attention away from me and his expression had become pleasant again. He was looking at the other two residents at his table, and at one of the workers there. It was almost like I had been inside some sort of "circle" when I was in close proximity to him, but as soon as I walked outside of that "circle," I was "gone" as far as he was concerned.

Overall, it was a pretty tough visit. Being the late afternoon hours, I was already expecting his mood to be worse, since those with Alzheimer's experience what's called the "Sundown Syndrome" (<--click to see the link with a definition), but I didn't expect it to be quite that bad. My next visit will be a morning one, to see if there is a big difference; if there is, then I will know today's tough visit was more related to the Syndrome; if not, then I will know that this is an ongoing thing, and that some days will simply be better than others.

No comments:

Post a Comment