Today is dads’ moving day.
Why you ask? Because he needs more care. It really is that simple. From today onwards my role will take a back seat and it’s bitter sweet to say the least.
Someone once told me that there is a list of 5 of the most stressful things in life which are as follows:
- Death of a spouse or child
- Divorce/Marital separation
- Major illness or injury
- Loss of employment
I am fortunate enough to say that 4/5 do not apply to my life at present but holy cow are we going through number 3.
Sometimes in life you do things knowingly and sometimes unknowingly. The first day I met Mr H. The day I signed for my first house. The day I decided to quit uni. The day my mother told me that my Grandmother had terminal cancer. There are many moments that are etched in our minds. I knowingly bought dad back to the UK after many years away but I was fully unknowing about the extent of dads’ issues at the time. I assumed mental illness due to his suicide threats and reclusive behaviour yet little did we know that it was a huge cry from the heavens above.
As I stand here today once again battling to get his pants on whilst he belches above my head I wonder does any child ever want to be in a position of having their head that close to their parents’ genitals. I like to call it willy watch…
Let me warn you dear readers that if you have never seen an older mans’ balls sack and crack then be warned that it’s no pretty party down there… I can’t even think what I could compare it to other than a bowl of mouldy fruit… probably a couple of out of date passion fruit and a shrivelled date…. I endeavour to keep things real for you dear readers …Only the other day a friend told me, whose mother has dementia, that she had to ‘veet’ her mums’ fanny (her words not mine!) so she could take her on holiday. I guess there are advantages of having a man with dementia?
So whilst moving is stressful enough, like everyone else who has done it with or without kids, we know how hard it can be yet moving someone with dementia is a whole new ball game. One game which no one can ever prepare you for and has no rules whatsoever!
Now my employer is amazing. Literally beyond flexible with regards to my care commitments for dad. But the time required from work not to mention your personal life is frankly mind blowing.
Then it brings you to the decisions that you would normally make for your own move.
Dad cannot really make ANY decisions about where things go or what needs packing or unpacking and this is once again your burden and your problem and your worry. He’s packed a travel suitcase to move. I did try not to laugh…
Then you are relying on other people to complete tasks on a very tight time frame because once they are back from the day centre all hell could break loose.
You know that once you move them they won’t remember where anything is in the new place and that you will not be there to help once that door is shut at night.
You have chosen the new bed and mattress. The new carpet and paint. You have orchestrated a team of people from the internet installation (it’s for his tv before you wonder how his google searches for porn and tinder are going) to the bed delivery and assembly, to a blind being chosen and fitted.
Will it be right? Who knows right now but what I do know is that I can sleep at night (catholic guilt) safe in the knowledge that I have done far more than my part in getting dad to where he is today. My patience in dealing with dad normally results in my silence which some may not believe.
I learnt a long time ago to bite my tongue when we had a very very heated conversation a few years ago.
I told him some home truths and he cried like a small child. I retreated when he asked me to not do that to him ever again because he could not fight back; it almost broke me.
The conversations we now have, which are few and far between are where he is normally moaning at/to me that he wants to go back to Portugal and visit a very long list of people who frankly have shown no interest in him over the last few years.
Sadly the way dad has led his life has left him a very lonely man who has made some awful decisions.
He’s been a terrible judge of character over the years which, even before the dementia, resulted in his losing everything he’s ever worked for. Karma is a bitch!
On this note I always like to remember that there is no map for life and that sometimes smaller steps are needed.
Did you know that today in the UK over 50% of adults know someone with dementia. There are currently over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK at present a number which they believe will rise to over 1 million by 2025.
So… back to those steps.
I would say smaller steps with higher shoes and your head held high because you have got this. We have got this.
Let’s move dementia dad today.