Wednesday, April 28, 2010


During my daily visits to see Dad he seems to obsess about certain things that come to his mind and whatever it is, it seems to stay with him. For a long time his question was "Where are we again?" or "But, I'm in Courtyard right?" Over and over he asks these questions to me and everyone else. He still does ask that but not as often as when he first started. So the most recent obsession is shooting. I don't know where it came from but for some reason he has this silly idea that someone is going to shoot him. It's very odd because we never spoke about that but in any case I think it mostly has to do with his fear and anxiety probably from the Dementia. Another recent obsession is that his roommate Henry is going to hurt him and every time Henry speaks he says "It's that son of a B**** that makes me scared. Just the sound of his voice makes me nervous." Mind you, Henry stays very content and keeps to himself for the most part. He will speak to you but doesn't bother much. So back to the shooting - it's pretty funny and now I joke with him about it because he keeps bringing it up. He'll say "So when are they gonna start shooting?" My response before was "Come on Dad, don't worry no one is going to shoot here." But now when he asks, I tell him very seriously that he is in luck because they started shooting at A and now they are at H but then went home for the day. So, since his last name starts with a P he has a while til they get here. Or I will kid with him and say, oh I heard the latest update was that they changed the policy and now they are giving out new "do-it-yourself" ropes! He laughs pretty hard when I respond like that. Another comment he's been repeating is telling me to bring 5 pies tomorrow when I tell him we ran out of the chocolate pie. Tonight when I got there Dad had received a nice gift from Teri that is a photo in a picture frame and a story behind it which I read to him and he was so happy! It was very sweet of Teri and Dad loves that kind of stuff!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A good visit followed by a fall

So just a recent update on Dad. Last night at 3am he oddly tried to get up and go for a walk and fell out of bed. The nurses called me at 6am during the shift change to let me know. It's been reported that he only has a few bruises but they are keeping a close eye on him.

On one hand, I was very scared when I got the call. On the other hand, I'm actually quite impressed that he is actually motivated enough to try and get up at all. He hasn't been up at all out of his bed other than the hair cut he had when I last posted.

One thought is that yesterday was a very good day for Dad. He had a wonderful visit from Linda whom he has been asking about for over a month now almost everyday. Maybe he was so happy about the visit that he had that he thought he could get up like things were back to normal? Just a thought.

A while back Dad started asking about Linda who is an old romantic friend of his way back in 1997. I'm not quite sure how long they were off and on for but I know that she was around for awhile and he cared very deeply for her. She and Dad had even gone to England and was able to research a bit of our family history from Stroud. Apparently we had family members back there that had signed on to be an indentured servant. There was a furniture business that our family had back then. We tried asking Dad yesterday the details of this story and which side of our family was it and he said Pops. If anyone has the full story and details I'd love to hear them. After a few weeks of googling, I finally had found Linda online thankfully. Dad would speak of her but could not remember her last name. So, with diligence I was able to find her email address and connected with her thankfully.

Linda also brought a beautiful American flag that I was able to hang up on the wall for him and some pictures from way back when. Another great gift she brought to me were some old cabbage patch dolls that were mine when I was a child. Dad had given them to her for her grandchildren since we no longer needed them. She was there when dad got rid of all of our stuff when he had to move from the house we had in Oakley to Martinez, CA. I am happy to have these for my own daughter Mikayla.

During Linda's visit dad was very emotional and of course as always cried with almost every sentence he spoke. I think his fond memories are sometimes hurtful to him because he enjoys them but is also reminded that he could not create more like them in his condition.

As usual, he enjoyed a whopper jr. with cheese and two Hershey's chocolate pies. He told me to bring 5 pies today. One thing I've noticed with dad is that not only is he becoming more aware again and remembering things, but he also can talk much better on the phone. He has actually had the nurses call me twice in the last week. Both were early in the morning.

When I speak with the nurses, they tell me that he pushes the caller button every 5 minutes to ask if I am there or if I'm on my way so finally they ask him if he wants to call me. It's very sweet when he calls and unexpected. The conversation ususally goes like this:

Dad: Hi! -pause- Are you on your way Mel?
Me: Oh hi, Dad! (expecting the nurses and surprised to hear dad on the line) No, I'm at work but I'll see you tonight around dinner time.
Dad: -pause- Where do you work again?
Me: Bertram Capital
Dad: -pause- And where am I at again?
Me: Courtyard
Dad: - pause - oh yes, courtyard. - pause - so you'll bring me a burger?
Me: Yes, dad I will.
Dad: ok, see you then.
Me: Ok dad, I love you.
Dad: Love you too.
Me: Bye
Dad: -pause- bye.
Last night I had stopped by again later on because I had made extra copies of his photos from Linda. When I came back, he was talking to Marty so I said hello. He seemed to be talking a lot, it was very nice to see him interactive. All of these small things are such an improvement since his last visit to the hospital. I'm hopeful that with the daily visits, he will continue to improve.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Haircut!

Good news! Last night during my visit with Dad he got out of his bed (with help of course) to get a haircut!! Yep, that’s right a haircut. I was able to leave work early and get there before I usually do. Most everyone is gone by the time I normally get there in the evenings (i.e. the stylist, nutritionist etc). I don’t think he’s had a cut for maybe 6 months! It was getting pretty shaggy. They even cut his eyebrows! I told him, “now we can see your pretty blue eyes”! He smiled ! He was angry with me during his haircut for convincing him to get up but I kept him busy with a chocolate pie while he was in the chair. He ate a Whopper Jr. with cheese and TWO Hershey’s chocolate pies last night! It’s becoming his habit now and looks forward to when I bring him these goodies every night. He still seems very scared of something but doesn’t know what. He asked me maybe 15 times if we were in Courtyard. He now has a sign that is under his TV stating “Mr. Pike, you are in Courtyard Care Center.” I promised him I would return tonight with his goodies and he said he looked forward to it. He was appreciative for my visit and said he couldn’t wait that long for tomorrow. Overall last night he seemed in good spirits and teared up when I left but seemed ok with the fact that I would return.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Cheeseburger?!

The last few days Dad has been a little more cooperative with the nurses. Although he is still refusing to eat or be bathed! He did request a manicure so we'll see if they followed through with that tonight.

So, yesterday Hospice called and said he had a funny request - he wanted a Cheeseburger! Well, for those of us who know Dad we all know he loves Cheeseburgers and all the comfort foods along with many sweets. However, I take this as a sign of him feeling a bit better. Who knows, it could be a result of the meds that he takes finally kicking in. For awhile he wouldn't be consistent on taking the meds so maybe it is now. He still refuses a lot but at least the yelling outbursts have subsided. When I brought the Cheeseburger over last night he ate the WHOLE THING! I was very impressed by him and happy to see he was feeling well enough to want anything. He had not eaten anything all day. The recent requests for music (which I play every night for him) are of Stan Kenton "Intermission Riff", "Send in the Clowns", "Eager Beaver", Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler "Wind Beneath My Wings", Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole, Kenny G and the song "I Am A Child of God". We play these over and over while I rub his feet.
Tonight I will bring a cheeseburger and HERSHEY'S Sundae Pie from Burger King. After all their their motto is "Have it your way!". Whatever Dad wants I try my best to give him. It's not much - just music, good food, and a foot rub. I mean really what more can we ask for? That's what makes him happy!