Thursday, April 06, 2006

Trouble Squared

We began to realize that Dad was falling apart under the pressure of taking care of Mom.
Mom was pretty darned selfish for most of her life, particularly in her relationship with Dad. Now in this bed ridden state, she was VERY dependant on him. Obviously, she would be. But her insecurities ran so far that she couldn't let him out of her site.
She would ask for something and he would go get it for her but she couldn't handle him being gone.
Dad was so overworked he slept whevever he could. This made Mom feel alone so she would shout at him just to make sure he was awake.
If that didn't work, she threw her teeth at him.
After hitting him square in the head a few times she learned that this was a very effective means of communication. She used it often, and while she could no longer walk, her throwing aim was impressive.

We realized that Dad's mind had also packed it's bags on one particular call.
Diane and I would 3-way call and Dad was usually sharp enough to understand that the call was from his "Two Headed Daughter". We would ask how things were, and he would say that all was quite well.
We knew better.
"How's Mom?"
"Oh she's fine but you know she just won't get out of bed"
(she hasn't for a year)
US: Dad, does Mom have her teeth in?
Dad: Let me check... no she doesn't.
Us: Oh Dad, she has thrown her teeth again. Do you know where they are, did you find them?
Dad: Well yes, I found SOME teeth...
Us: Dad, those are Mom's teeth...
Dad: Well you would think so..
Us: Yes, we would think so...
Dad: She says they're not her's.
Us: Dad she also says she's fifteen and lives in Iowa!

He was trusting her word. I tried to make him see that there was little chance that somebody was sneaking into the house to put dentures under furniture. There was no partnership between the tooth fairy and Easter Bunny; dentures are not being hidden around the house for happy children to find.

The best solution was to tell him that SHE was confused or just being stubborn and that he should keep trying to get her to accept her teeth. He must have found ways because they were usually in her mouth when we would visit.

"How's Mom?" became a dreaded question. You could talk to Dad and he would say that everything was fine and dandy. Then ask about Mom, "Oh she's fine"
US: Really Dad? Are her teeth in?
Dad: Let me check.... She's laying on the floor.
Us: OH NO! Dad what happened?!
Dad: Well I don't know.
Dad had forgotten whatever had happened to make Mom struggle enough to roll out of bed. We didn't want him to try to pick her up and hurt himself, so we would get him to ask a neighbor for help. We could call on neighbors too. Most everyone was very sympathetic to Dad's refusing to put Mom in a facility. Faced with the fear of being put away themselves, the neighbors in this retirement community were far more helpful than younger ones might have been.
We needed friendly neighbors, Mom and Dad lived two hours away. It wasn't like we could jump in the car and go on a denture hunt just like that. We did, however spend most of our free time going down there to ease Dad's burden. Sometimes we would arrive and find Mom laying on the floor, happy as a clam, and waving at us. "Hello girls!" like it was all perfectly normal to be spending the afternoon on the floor. My dog would be so happy to have her at this convenient level so he could love on her with ease. Mom loved Cortez - he wasn't "a licker".

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