... if someone is praying for us, or if own prayers are being answered, or if it's a combination of both.
My dad is doing a little better now. My husband, my daughter, and I went to visit him on Saturday afternoon, and he was much more responsive. My step mom had already told me on the phone that he was doing a little better, so I was looking forward to seeing the improvements. Improvements. Not something you get to see a whole lot of with Alzheimer's disease. Usually, it is only a worsening progression.
As we entered through the doors, a worker told us he was on the couch in the sitting area near the TV. He looked at us as we approached and his expression said it all: he was glad to see us. He was still not back to his old self, but able to communicate again, for which I was oh-so-thankful. His legs were a little bit stronger, too. Still quite wobbly, but he was able to walk with assistance. And walk, did he ever. First, he wanted to get up from the couch and walk over to a chair in that same area, then back to the couch, then back to the chair, then over to the TV, then back to the couch. He was giving my husband and I quite a workout.
And he wasn't done yet. Next it was a walk down the hallway to his room, where he first wanted to sit on the bed, then in his chair there, then back on his bed, then over on his roommate's bed. Then he wanted to walk to the bathroom (despite having a Depends on), so we helped him walk there -- or more like, he went there and we held him up to keep him from falling -- then he stood in front of the toilet, but then turned and wanted to go into the shower and turn it on, which we couldn't let him do, of course. So we guided him with much effort back to the wheelchair and basically made him get in it, since it was time for him to go to dinner anyway (we had tried getting him in the wheelchair prior to that, but he wouldn't have it).
I thought about trying to give him our birthday cards again, but decided otherwise. He was very restless, so I doubt he would have been able to focus on it. Instead, I focused on him and asked how he was doing and feeling, and tried to read his body language and facial expressions very carefully to try and see if he needed something. At one point when he sat still for a few minutes, my attention to him paid off, because I was able to figure out that his back was itching him and he needed someone to scratch it for him. He tried to verbalize it with, "Can you do that?" It was only his body language that helped me figure out what he really needed.
I have recent experience with reading body language and facial expressions, after all. I have a just-turned-five-year-old daughter. :-)