Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Daddy's Little Girl

Today I went to visit my daddy in his new home. It is nice. It is a private residence. I met the owner, she was wonderful. It is clean and well staffed. I liked the nurses and the aides. It is homey. The residents are all in different states. One lady doesn't speak, she just holds a dolly and a teddy bear. One man just walks around mumbling. One lady believes it is a hotel and she owns it. She gets very upset when someone is in "her" chair. I kept thinking it is Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, the later years. One little lady loved my hair. She told me she had long hair when she was young. She was very sweet. I did not really see the other residents enough to have an opinion about them. It was a nice visit. I gave Daddy a pedicure, he has the toughest toenails! I have been cutting his toenails for years now. When he had difficulty bending to do it due to back pain. After a foot soak I trimmed his toenails and filed them smooth. He has a few that cut the toe next to them if we don't file them down. Then he asked me to fix his fingernails. Someone had trimmed them, but they were sharp edged. I filed them smooth, too. I laughed and said, "well Daddy you just had your first Mani-Pedi!" He giggled. But not his old giggle. His new one. The one that comes with this new Daddy. I chatted with him and showed him pictures of my animals. I have a new rescue, a chameleon. He was interested in her different colors in the pictures. He asked about the house. It took me a minute to realize he meant his house. He remembered it. I told him it was fine. We checked on it yesterday. He said good cause I will be getting out of here Friday I think. I nodded and blinked away a few tears. I told him of course it will be just fine for him when he needs it. I also told him his truck was there waiting for him, too. He smiled. Then it was time to go. I calmly told him I had to go because I had an appointment. He asked when I would be back. I said soon. My next day off. He walked us all the way to the locked gate. I said goodbye. Inside I was screaming, MY DADDY DOESN'T BELONG HERE!!!!! My Daddy doesn't. This daddy does. He needs the constant supervision. He needs the care as the day wanes and his dementia comes on strong. Sundowners syndrome. It is a cruel disease. He needs people to monitor his medicine and make sure he showers. To make sure he toilets properly. I am thankful there are people who care enough to do this kind of work. I am thankful my brother found a nice place for Daddy. And I cry. I mourn. I mourn my loss. I mourn my son's loss of their Poppa. I will be going back. I am not afraid of the place any longer. I am sure I will get to know the other residents. I will wonder who they were "before". What kind of Momma or Daddy they were before. I will mourn for them, too. I will mourn for their families who are traveling with us on this long, horrible, rough, road. And I will cry some more. I will remember MY DADDY and I will smile. I will tell my sons stories of him. Of camping and fishing. Of making Momma so mad and then making her laugh, forgetting all about being mad at us. I will go on. I will always be Daddy's little girl. I just have to find peace in being this daddy's little girl.

1 comment:

heyteach said...

My heart is breaking for you. My grandma had dementia. She was such an in charge lady that it hurt watching her regress. On her 90th birthday we brought in cake and she asked who it was for. When we told her it was for her she said "Nah, I'll be dead before then"
The two things that helped my mom, as primary care giver, the most were having a sense of humor and finding a support group. For her it was an online group of people in the same situation because she is hard of hearing and she doesn't do well in larger groups.
Find someone, online or through a hospital/nursing home group that is in the same situation as you. Remember even if he doesn't know you on the surface, his heart still does and he still loves you.