What To Do With Dad
By Kimberly Jensen
Last night my dad got up to get a drink of water and fell in the hallway bashing his head through the wall, leaving a Woody-sized hole in the drywall. Woody is my dad's name. "That really hurt," he said to my mom as she struggled to help him to his feet again. She had sleep in her eyes and has not had a good night's sleep for months now. This was just another night episode in which she dreads. Last week he walked into her room in the middle of the night and told her, "Get up. It's time to go to church." She tells him its only Tuesday and he'll have to wait five more days. Last Sunday, he walked up to the church alone with his shirt half-buttoned and his tie askew causing concern for members as they tried to get a hold of my mom who had run her brother to the airport, thinking my dad would be asleep when she got home. Obviously, he didn't stay asleep. Parkinson's showed up on my dad's doorstep when his was 49 years old. First it took my dad's hands, then his nervous system, then his job, then his balance, his smile, his swallow, and today it is taking his brain. Yesterday the doctors confirmed that in addition to Parkinson's, Dementia is settling in. There are moments of lucidity where I can sit and have a two-sided conversation with my dad. There are other times when his look is far-off and I can't get a response from him. Today my mom took me to visit a rest home. My mom is a strong woman who has stood by his side, dried his tears, picked him up off the floor and wiped his face for many many years. But the question still remains as we explore the options that will help both my dad and my mom. What do we do with dad?