The More Things Change

This will probably be my last blog for November, I’m just not in a great place right now. While I’d never complain about overtime, I have been filling in a lot at work over the last two weeks and really haven’t had time to sleep, to eat or to deal with a lot of things on my mind lately. I’m trying to catch up on the sleep thing tonight, well, at least as much as I can, before tackling everything else.

Kat didn’t live for more than a day or so after my last blog. He was too weak to stand and go to the bathroom by himself. I know he was aware at the end, but his body gave out and there wasn’t really a choice. I ended up taking him in to the pet E.R. the same night my mom was in a terrible car accident. While she’s fine, we’re down to one car for now (the insurance check will get us another car), and I ended up working another 10 hours or so on top of it. It was probably one of the worst days in my life and I haven’t properly dealt with it, there just hasn’t been time.

With Kat’s death, we’re down to the least amount of animals that we’ve had since the early 1980s. Yes, nearly 30 years. I’m not rushing out to change that. I’m sure that over the years in this house we’ll have strays join us (both Kat and Romeo were strays), but even though the house seems so empty right now, I can’t go through it again. We’ve lost three in three years (Roscoe, Oberon and Kat), and in those three years I’ve been the one to take care of them to the end. Watching animals grow old and die isn’t fun and even though we end up giving them longer lives on average than most people (17-20 years), those last few years are melancholy at best. Age is the great destroyer and while we’re all getting older and grayer it’s tough to deal with right now.

My father is coming home within the next week and a half on top of it all. He was home for Thanksgiving for all of three of four hours before my mom took him back to the hospital. I don’t know how well it went, as I didn’t see much of him. She herded him right back downstairs to his recliner and back into life as he knew it. I don’t think that’s best for him. Right now, at the hospital, he has an active social life. Sure, he’s stuck there, but he interacts with people, he goes on field trips, he does stuff. He’s forced to be active. As soon as he’s back here, he’s going to go back to the sedimentary life of sitting either in front of the computer all day or sitting in his recliner and refusing to engage with the world. I know I’m not one to talk but with dad, any time we’d get him in a day care or senior center program he would last a day or sometimes a day and a half before he’d get upset with it and never go back to it.

Last year we had a nurse come see him four or five times a week. She’d also take him to his appointments when my mom couldn’t go, which relieved the burden on me. They say that they’re looking for someone like that now to help again but you know, mom will have to go to all of his appointments with him from now on, his mind isn’t there. While he seemed in good shape on Thanksgiving, you don’t put any trust in a dementia patient to handle his own conditions. It scares me that we’re going backwards here and it’s hard to be helpless because mom resits any attempt to change things for the better.

Before the dementia took over, dad was on hundreds of pills a day and was self catheterizing himself to go to the bathroom. Any time he felt sick or imagined himself sick (yes, a lot of his conditions weren’t real but he’d convince the doctors they were real), he’d get more and more pills. His states downstairs would vary from day to day and he had the established pattern of getting sick on every holiday so he could be the center of attention.

Now that his mind is what it is, I’m worried. We can’t return to that. He also can’t be left alone for long periods of time. I don’t know if he can be trusted with maintaining the fire (BTW, the wood still hasn’t been delivered, so my fear of hauling wood in December is coming true), or care of the remaining animals. I know that this is going to be so much more work on everyone’s part and frankly, I’m worried about just putting him back down there and going back to the way things were. That can’t happen.

Oh, on top of everything else, I’m down to one soda a day and have given up chocolate bars and chips. While I’m sure I’ll give in on both (it is the holiday season after all), my weight isn’t good. I need to do something to lose the extra poundage so this idea of reducing my caffeine and sugar intake came just days before everything went to hell and let me tell you, not giving in and escaping into food has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I don’t do drugs, I don’t drink, I don’t go anywhere. I have few means of escaping and I guess food was abused for a while. I feel okay with the reductions and changes, but, let me tell you, they couldn’t have come at a worse time. I still haven’t had McDonalds, Burger King, etc., in nearly 14 months so now I’m doing things I probably should have done in my 20’s.

I just wish having a real life was in the cards.

With that, I’m done whining, bed is calling.

Comic returns and more blogs in December.

Jim