We've been doing puzzles on Friday night instead of playing cards. I like the puzzles better. My dad gets really frustrated, throws pieces, gets upset when he can't match them and I'm in the corner putting pieces together like clockwork. (Is that an apt metaphor? You know what I mean.)
I've been noticing a pattern in the odd behaviors of my dad.
- Hoarding napkins when we go to restuarants (could I make that up? no, I couldn't).
- Obsession with how much things cost.
- Always having to be able to see his things (coat, hat, etc) when he's not home.
- Taking lots of free pens and business cards when offered. (I mean, lots. He'll take a dozen if you let him. The people at the Alzheimer's study allow him to take handfuls, but most places don't.)
- Freaking out about seatbelts in the back seat of the car.
- ALways having to know where the cat is. (Is the cat inside? Did you let the cat in? Where's the cat? Where's my baby?)
- Cutting his food until it's puree, throwing away all the "fat" (which includes actual fat, char marks on grilled chicken, the coating & skin on fried chicken, and basically anything that doesn't match in his eyes).
He's trying to control his environment because he can no longer control his own mind.
And what does control cover? Fear.
Basically, he does all these odd things because he's afraid. And that's SO SAD. I don't have words for it.
His other new thing, which comes and goes (I can only hope it goes away permanently, but I doubt it)--is that we're trying to poison him. The medicine is making him worse, and between the pills he takes every day (Namenda and Accricept, however they're spelled) and the study at Yale, he's degenerating, and that's because we're trying to kill him. He's got it in his head that he's got only 2 years to live. (In reality, he's got about 9--at his age, 11 years from diagnosis, and it's been 18 months). Some days he refuses to take the medine. I get so frustrated trying to reason with him "why would I want to kill my own father? Don't you understand that the pills are what's keeping you functioning at all?" Yes, he's failing, but he'd be failing worse without his pills, but I can't PROVE it to him. And proof means nothing. His world is an irrational one, and that means I can't reason with him AT ALL.
And my grandma's going off the deep end. Her blood pressure is through the roof. She isn't eating. She reads the side effects of her medicine and manifests them all immediately. She claims to be dizzy all the time and paces, paces, paces. She wouldn't talk to anyone at Thanksgiving dinner and as soon as we finished eating (she ate less than a child would) she made Will take her home (it snowed and she wouldn't drive). The doctor wants to see her this week. I told my mother to ask him to give her a sugar pill presciption and tell her it's for the dizziness. She won't. I will try to call the doctor but I don't think I have any authority over my grandma's care. We all have the same doctor--me, mom, dad, gramma, and Will. Talk about a general practicioner!! My mom thinks grandma's depression medicine isn't helping her anymore--either she needs to up the dosage (she takes 1/4 of a pill at a time) or change prescriptions.