I guess I was in a little bit of denial. If the truth be told I guess I was not really prepared for it. In all honesty I think in my heart of hearts I had hoped that this situation would have been averted by his death.
Dad is to be moved by the end of the year, infact it could be as soon as next week according to the email I received today. Not what he or I would want but he is now at risk and being classified as a vulnerable adult means that when he goes missing things are taken very seriously. In short the police are called and a mad search takes place.
In the last few weeks Dad has gone missing more than five times with the latest being today whilst I am on holiday. I was forever grateful when he made it to the local fish and chip shop (the Portuguese one!) who called me so that I could once again orchestrate from afar to arrange taxis and payment, anyway on one of these ‘lost’ numbers he appeared at his old address, once he was found by me, once he was found by the warden at the flats where he lives and once a stranger called me to ask if my dad was missing…how you may wonder did this stranger get my number but inside his wallet he has a piece of paper which states that he has dementia and if found then they should call me, his daughter. You may be thinking how superbly organised this is but this plan only works beautifully when he has his wallet on him. Last on Friday the wallet went walkabout only to make an appearance on Sunday amongst some bed linen! So in short no wallet means no paper with my number and no finding Dad in a hurry and as he is often found sans wallet so the plan is not what it was in the early days when Dad could happily use a bus and go shopping alone.
So two weeks ago we were both met by social services to discuss how we can move things forward. I say forward because Dad is not getting any better. This much I think we are all too aware of.
I had hoped that Dad would simply have a stroke or a heart attack one day and that would simply put him out of his misery. Sadly God has other ideas and plans for Dad and sadly for Dad it involves being moved once again.
I was asked by the case worker how I thought Dad would feel about such a move. I did say that I thought that he would be unimpressed but that equally what were we to do. What was I to do? Where do we go from here because I can see this from both sides. Yes Dad needs secure care now and yes when he goes missing the police will go and search for him but why should the police resources be spent looking for my Dad when there may be more pressing things going on and why should my Dad get such special treatment where he lives because he is taking up too much of their time when they have to go and find him. Let me tell you that when Dad does one of his disappearing numbers he literally vanishes into thin air and the whole place is literally on lock down searching for him. He could almost be mistaken for a magician of late.
So how does Dad feel? How do I feel? I am past the point of tears with Dad. I have been for a while. In fairness I love my Dad but I have mourned him already. Tough or sad but true. We have never had the closest of relationships which were solely of his doing but still he is my Dad and I was there when he needed me. With Dad there is no humour left. There is no joy whatsoever when I see him. There is no conversation any more. There is simply misery, accusation, glaring from him and from me is the guilt if I do not see or speak to him.
So how do I feel I was asked. Rarely does anyone ask me anymore how I am feeling when caring for my dad. They did in the beginning but not anymore. It is actually quite funny because in the early days I was on what I would call the Doctor’s ‘watch list’ for ensuring that I was not depressed or being pushed to breaking point. Thankfully I am of sound mind and strong enough to walk away when I can see that things may become an issue. But how do I feel…. erm not great as I said to the case worker, not great at all about this decision. I was told that as I have a POA for both health and wealth that it would all be OK, but that does not make the decision any easier. I asked if I should start to look for homes and I was told that I was to literally sit back and wait for the call, the call that means that someone else has been put out of their misery and that Dad can be placed somewhere. Harsh I know but let’s remember that in life there are only a few certainties, birth, death and taxes.
So the time has come. Dad is in need right now probably as much as when he was first diagnosed. He has lost his peripheral vision, his ability to read mood or emotion, he has lost his circadian rhythm, the natural 24 hour rhythm we all have which allows us to know what times are suitable for bed, he is unable to care for himself whether physically or emotionally and right now is akin to a small child with regular bouts of crying. All in all it is a dark time in Dad’s dementia world right now. Today I was told that they (the state) have legally declared him not fit to make any decisions whether mentally or financially for his own well being. The day before I went on holiday he left a tap running in his flat with a plug in the sink which then resulted in him not only flooding his flat but the corridor leading up to it and the flat below. Not the best of days.
So Dad. He does not want my opinion but I give it. He does not need my permission for how he chose to live his life and blow everything up in it but again I silently give it. He does belong to me but somehow in a bizarre turn of events he is truly 100% my responsibility. The parent child relationship has truly been swapped over. So he is moving to a secure care home. Time is now not on my side. Dad needs a helping hand more than ever. The next stage could be an interesting one.