I got a panicked call from my Father. That was the day that everything changed. I rushed up to the hospital, not knowing what to expect. He was not making sense.
“Your father is ok, sir,” the police officer assured me on the other end of the phone.
On my end of the phone was an awful silence, the likes of which I have never known.
“Sir, sir? Are you there?”
“Yes, Yes. I’m here. Just give me a few minutes.”
“Yes, I understand. This is a lot to process. Your Father will be waiting in the lobby of the E.R.”
I didn’t have time to respond. I didn’t have time to be angry at the police officers, and staff that attended to my father. All I knew was he was scared and panicked, and I had to reach him quickly. Two of my parents had been to the hospital this week and it was almost more than I could handle. I changed out of my work clothes, and scurried out the door.
The hospital staff was less than friendly when I arrived. They offered no help or support for my ailing father.
“What do you mean? You can’t help him.”
“Sir, we can not keep him here. He will have to go home with you.”
The police officer explained to me that his license was taken away from him and he would no longer be able to drive anymore. The officer and the hospital staff, would not admit him to the hospital or transfer him to a long term care facility. Apparently, they did not see the danger in leaving him alone unattended, for a period of time, while I was at work.
I had just learned, unfortunately that Dementia can be unpredictable, and my Dad’s Dementia had just gotten a heck of a lot worse. It was no longer safe for him to be alone. My Brother, Sister and I worked out a schedule, so someone was able to check on him every couple of hours. At least that was the plan.
“Dad, I’m gonna take you home” I said.
“But Earl, what has happened… why am I here… where is Cindy?”
“Dad, Cindy is here in the hospital. She fell and broke a hip. Right now, we need to get you home safely.”
“I can drive myself. Give me my keys Earl,” my father said, getting slightly agitated.
“Dad, I can’t?”
“Don’t you remember your car was totaled. There was an accident. You fractured your shoulder in the accident. That is why it is in a sling.”
“No I did not,” my Father said trying to pull his arm out of the sling. “Ouch, Dammit! That hurts,” my Father said.
Even with the additional pain, he still didn’t realize that his arm was hurt. I could not keep the sling on his arm at all. Dad would just remove it every time I put it back on.
“Come on Dad. Let’s get you out of here, and get you a bite of food to eat.”
“Ok, he said. I forgot to eat. I haven’t eaten in three days.”
I grabbed my father’s walker, and reminded him to use it, guiding him to the door of the E.R. While he was focused on walking. I silently, cried, behind him. I wish I would have known, what a difference a day makes, in the life of a Dementia patient.