Saturday, May 28, 2016

For Better, For Worse: My Dad and Clara

It's only Saturday night, and I'm already feeling like I need another weekend to recover from the weekend.

We got up early yesterday morning, to make the 1 hour and 15 minute drive to the State Special Olympics games. We got up early this morning, to make the 4 hour trip to Tulsa, to see my Dad.

My Dad has Parkinson's Disease. It is such a sad disease. He is frustrated by his physical limitations, but he has kind of come to grips with it. But now the medicine he takes that provides him the most mobility, is causing him to have terrible confusion and hallucinations.

Not all the time...just some of the time.

And sometimes, you just gotta laugh. Like when he came in from the garage and told Clara that there were two bums roasting hot dogs in the attic.

But other times, my heart just wants to break in half. Like today.

Logan said he wasn't sure he had ever been to their new house...and Morgan was 100% sure she hadn't been. They were both off from school and work, so this was the best time to make a trip. Holly was sad she couldn't go. She was at work, but even if she had been off...she's way too pregnant to travel that far.

After we got to Dad and Clara's house, Logan said he MIGHT have been there before...he just wasn't sure.

But my Dad? He was kind of having a hard time today. He wasn't engaging with us, or with Logan, like I thought he would. He would have moments of lucidity, and moments when we would see his quick wit...but most of the day, he was confused and agitated.

And, he is nothing but skin and bones. :(

When we first got there, I was asking how he was doing. He said that he wasn't doing all that well, but he was quick to say, "I've lived a pretty good life, been very healthy until the last 4 1/2 years. It's unrealistic to think that all my days from here on out will be good days."

I wanted to cry.

Then he said, "every day I wake's like a surprise. I don't know what the day will be like, health-wise. I've just gotta take the days the way they come...and rely on the Lord to see me through."

Even tho we were just there a few hours, we got to see a little of what Clara's days are like. She has to do the majority of the work around the house...and then she has to help a lot with my Dad. And then she also has to deal with his moment of confusion.

Like, last week, when she was outside working in the yard. My Dad knew she was outside working in the yard, but he got confused when he couldn't find her in the house...and then got worried something had happened to he called the police.

As we were leaving today, my Dad stopped me. He whispered, "I am so worried about Clara." I thought he was going to say he was worried because he has to depend on her so much, and he didn't want to be a burden on her. But he said, "she has stopped breathing 4 times recently, and I think she may have had a stroke. I just don't want to be without her."

I reminded him that sometimes his medicine makes him see and hear things that aren't true, and that this was one of those times. I told him that Clara was absolutely fine, and completely healthy. He said, "promise? Do you PROMISE that she's okay?" 

His chin was quivering, and big, ol' tears were rolling down his face.

I seriously about lost it.

Because, the confusion thing? Some of the nonsense things he said earlier in the day? That doesn't really bother me as much. Being with Joshua and his FRIENDS, I am used to hearing some wild and outlandish things. I'm used to being asked the same questions a thousand times in a 2 hour period. I am used to people who don't hear well, who don't process things well, who don't move well, who need lots of help.

But fear?

Seeing fear in my Dad's eyes is something I cannot handle. 

I never want Joshua to feel fear like that, which is why his safety is of utmost importance in the things we allow him to do. He is just so sweet and innocent and trusting...and he is dependent on us for most everything. I never want him to be afraid.

The same goes for my Dad. He always protected us when we were little, and even when we got bigger. He never wanted us to be afraid...and I don't want him to be afraid.

There's some new kind of medicine that is supposed to help with the confusion and hallucinations. It has just recently been approved by the FDA, and my Dad and Clara are anxiously waiting for the doctor to call them with a prescription.

I hope and PRAY it's soon.

As hard as it was for Logan to see my Dad that way, it was good for him to see my Dad that way. Logan is learning all about things like this in his Occupational Therapy studies. But reading something in a book is way different from getting to observe a real, live person living with PD.

We pulled out of the driveway to head home, and Clara and my Dad waved. And then they walked, hand-in-hand to the mailbox...Clara matching her steps to my Dad's slow shuffle.

For better...for worse...

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24

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