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2014/06/20

Waving 'Hello', Waving 'Good-bye'...


Waving 'Hello', Waving 'Good-bye'...

My dad is back in hospice.

This will be the third time.

His Alzheimer’s has progressed to the point where his brain has stopped sending signals to various parts of his body.  He now spends entire days in a kind of infant-like sleep where we are barely able to keep him awake long enough to eat a little something.

My mom has been his primary care-giver for the past five years, with a lot of help from me and my ex.  In the past year, she finally agreed to contract people to come in and bathe him.  And a year ago, a hospital bed was purchased and placed in the living room.  This bed, his wheelchair, and his assisted lift chair are where he spends the bulk of his current existence.

The nurse in charge has made it clear to my mom that there will soon come a day when my dad will be confined to his bed and eating will no longer be a priority.  The hospice staff is there to make sure he is comfortable and pain-free.

I visit once a day and stay for at least an hour and a half.  Typically, when I arrive and give him a hug, my dad will wake long enough to stare at me blankly before drifting off once more.  Then I make myself a cup of coffee and visit with my mom, checking to see if she needs anything.  I check the house to make sure things are being maintained.  I mow the lawn.  But the purpose of my visits is primarily to break up the monotony of my mom’s day. 

Caregiving is difficult.  In this case, it is relentless and it is exhausting. 

Sometimes, my ex will visit at the same time.  He’s a talker, so he keeps my mom thoroughly entertained.   Frequently, the animated conversations will jar my dad awake.  I’m always on the lookout for these moments.

I will wave and talk to him, doing my best to elicit a smile or some kind of reaction.

Yesterday, during such a moment, it occurred to me that these days…

…I don’t know if I’m waving ‘hello’, or waving ‘good-bye’.

I want him to know I’m there.

Even though it’s hard for me.  Even though it’s emotionally exhausting.  Even though it pains me to see him fade away.

I want to be there.  And I know I need to be there…

…waving ‘hello’…

…and waving ‘good-bye’.


7 comments:

SEAN (The Jeep Guy) said...

I'm sorry to hear this. I think my dad has started down that road but we're still waiting for the neurologist to give us the diagnosis. Regardless, at 80 he is having memory and processing problems. Cancer is easier.

mistress maddie said...

I have been there. My dad was in that exact state and ended up having to be in placed in a home, where thankful he passed after being there less than four weeks. I glad he didn't suffer any longer. Your in my thoughts handsome.

a{GAY}tekeeper{iam} said...

sending positive energy your way

Invisibleman46 said...

God bless you; I was moved reading this. No matter how much you feel you are prepared you always want more time. You are a man of depth and character and in my thoughts.

Stan said...

Hang in there and try to stay strong.
Hugs to you,
Stan

FelchingPisser said...

Stay strong...

I just did this with my Mother two years ago and now my Father. I was not able to be there daily--something that I now regret...

BlkJack said...

I never know what to say to someone when their in this position. Even thouogh I experienced the same thing with my parents the words of comfort did little to ease the pain. Be strong, especially for your mom. Know that, even though we, your blog brothers are not next to you we are there in spirit.
Jack