Tuesday, February 16, 2010

progress report - if you can call it that

We moved my dad to Wesleyan Village on February 1st. It was a cold, clear winter day. In less than two hours, the movers had moved everything Dad wanted to take. And then there we were - Dad and Ben and Bill and me all standing in the room that was now his home. We had lunch there with him, but then it was time for us to be on our way. It felt stranger than I can say to leave my dad there. The three of us went back to the house, and that was strange, too. My dad had embarked on his new life.

That was on a Monday. The phone call and email came on Tuesday evening. "Your dad is having some problems adjusting. He had a run-in with the RN about taking his meds. He walked out of the dining hall without dinner when he got confused. What is the best way to handle this?" I was not at all surprised to hear this. I was surprised and dismayed to be contacted so quickly, however. My reply was quick and, I hope, courteous. Dad was going to have to learn to adjust and get along. Without me. I believe my message was received, as I have not gotten daily status reports since then.

I waited a week and a half before I drove out to visit my dad. I thought that would give him time to settle in a bit and start to develop a routine. Hopefully, to adjust. He is not adjusting. He doesn't like it there. He says the meat is tough, and so he only eats salads. He is constipated, and talked about it endlessly. Dad has lost his inner filter - not that it ever worked that well. As we sat in a bank office waiting for a customer service representative, Dad turned to me and asked, "Ever had an enema?" I was surprised, offended, and pissed off. "Not that I remember, Dad," was the best reply I could manage.

I tried to shake the effects of that visit all weekend long, but couldn't quite do it. I had worked so hard to get him in the best place he could possibly be, and he didn't like it. I should be so lucky to end up someplace like that. When I talked to my brother on Sunday, however, he put things in perspective for me. "Dad was never going to be happy there. He's not happy anywhere. He's not happy." He's not happy. It's true. And I was wrong to think that changing his address would change him.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Give it time. After a while even he may admit that he's happier there than rattling around in his old house. I know you would like to see him smiling and happy, loving life and thanking you. But at least you have given him the means to make himself happy.

With a new place and being part of a community, now he has a chance to be happier. At the very least he is much safer. You have the satisfaction of knowing you got him into a great place. Just don't expect too much too soon. Give it time. Give him time.