Monday, May 22, 2006

74: "I lost it and now I'm gonna die"

I went over my parents' house on Friday night to do a puzzle as usual. There was a Red Sox game on so my father just wandered in and out of the dining room--he didn't do any of the puzzle with us. I had gone to Red Lobster the night before and gotten one of their giant pieces of cake and eaten only a couple of bites, so I brought the rest of the cake over to have as our snack. My dad ate his whole section and most of mine--he really liked the chocolate chips in the frosting. He called them something funny--dots maybe? But I knew what he meant.
He got upset because someone on the Red Sox hit a ball into the foul ball post and they called it out. I don't know the rules--maybe if it bounces to one side it's out and if goes to the other it's in? But he didn't agree. To distract him, I reminded him that once we went to a game at Fenway Park and we sat right there at the foul ball post, and he remembered that and went away happy.
He went to Yale last week for a cognitive evaluation and he did really badly. But my mother said he was also upset and stressed and he didn't want to go there, and that brings down his score. She talked to the doctors about his obsessions with locks and receipts and they suggested an anti-anxiety medicine. She is going to take my dad to the regular doctor this week and get a prescription for that.
They had taken a walk earlier and went to Dunkin Donuts. I guess the DD in Stop and Shop charges different prices than the ones on Route 5--the Stop and Shop one is $.17 cheaper for whatever it is my dad gets. He brought a S&S DD receipt with him to try to get the same price and my mother wouldn't let him show it to the cashier and he was angry at her, still angry when I got there.
He wanted to show ME the receipt and that's when the problem started.
He used to carry around a thick bundle of business cards and notes with an elastic around them. I jokingly called it his PDA when I saw it on vacation last year. He's since upgraded his PDA to be 3 slim plastic folders (about the size of a plane ticket) which he carries EVERYWHERE. Apparently he had the SS DD receipt in there.
And he couldn't find the folders.
He went on a rampage.
He was calling my mother a fucking bitch and blaming HER because she wouldn't let him show the receipt at DD and he must have left the folders there and they would throw them out and "everything" was in there and he "had to go and get some more" but he didn't "even know what it was now" (don't ask, I never did figure that one out). And without whatever it was that he needed and couldn't get without the folders, he "was gonna die" because he lost it. It was as bad as when he left his wedding ring at his friend's store.
My mother started off saying calmly that he had the folders when they came home. He denied it. He started flinging open drawers, knocking stuff over, all the while swearing continuously. My mother suggested that he dropped them in the yard while walking the cat. He denied it. He was ready to walk back to DD (several miles away-it's past my house) and ask them if they had it. It escalated until my mother was in the living room yelling back at him and I was in the dining room yelling at them both to SHUT UP and STOP YELLING. It was awful.
And then he found his folders. Guess where?
Yeah, the shirt he was WEARING the whole time.
He did apologize to my mother for yelling at her.
I suggested that he bring everything in the folders over my house and I would make copies of them all so if he did ever lose them, he wouldn't lose the information.
My mom was in the other room with him after that trying to calm him down and reassure him that once we had copies of everything he wouldn't have to worry anymore. She was talking to him like he was five, or a puppy. It was very sad.
Saturday morning they were over at 10:00 and my dad VERY RELUCTANTLY turned over the folders to me. He had multiple copies of everything. Cards with his friend's business info and cell phone, years of expired AAA motor club cards, his social security card (which I didn't copy--my mother snagged it to put away), pieces of colored paper "because I like to look at colors", a colored note which simply said "JANET" in big letters (my mom's best friend's name)--not her phone number or anything else about her. Another colored note that just said "ALZHEIMER'S" (My dad only writes all in capitals, he always has). The receipt from the beach parking pass. And some other random things.
I put everything on the scanner, scanned them front and back, and used Photoshop to arrange them on 1 piece of paper for printing.
My father was very antsy about the whole thing. "Who's seeing this?" "Nobody, dad, just us."
"Why are you taking them out?" "So I can see everything. You can put them back in however you like." Each little folder also lie...about 8 large paper clips holding it shut. OCD anyone? I gave him back his empty folders and his paper clips and his pieces of colored paper and all his precious cards. Then he started going through his wallet and decided to have me copy his license, his credit card, his Medicare card, his insurance card, etc. So I did all that too. Then he went to talk to Lance because it amazes him that "it's the same bird" that lived at his house (Zeebo was born there but my dad doesn't remember him--he was only a couple of months old when I moved here).
I printed out two copies of everything and asked my mom to check the scanner to make sure I didn't leave anything in there. She fiddled around with the cover and said no, nothing was in there. My dad was very happy to get the photocopies, patting me repeatedly on the arm and thanking me and then they left.
A few minutes after my husband got home my cell phone rang and by the time I found it my parents had hung up. I called right back and my mother said my father had left, of all things, his credit card there. I looked on my desk and said no, I had nothing, and she had checked the scanner so where could they be? But he didn't have the credit card and he was flipping out. So a good situation had gone bad. I flipped open the cover of the scanner...and there was his credit card. I said, "I told you to check the scanner and you said you did." "I didn't OPEN it." So they had to come back over IMMEDIATELY to get the damn card.
I told my husband to just shoot me if I get diagnosed with AD. I can't see putting him through this.


Karma said...

I feel the same way about the disease. Really, if I get it like my mom and grandmother, I want to die, not to go through it or to put the people that I love through it. It really freaks me out that there isn't some sort of euthenasia process legalized in place where I could arrange to have this done. Granted, I probably have at least 20 years before I'd even start to develop symptoms, but grrr. I hate this disease.

Susana Canelo said...
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Susana Canelo said...

It's terrible. I'm reading the same behabour my Dad has. He always blames my Mum. If she read this, she'd feel better. She cries everytime he shouts her as many dirty words as he can.
It's so painful... And the worst thing. We live very far from a good health center. We can't have him at home any more. We live in a small village in Argentina. 17 km far from the nearest route.
I stayed all the weekend in hospital with him. But He WAS really with me a few moments.
He asked for a bar,or any other other device and I gave him my arm,my hand. He twisted it explaining what he was repairing. (he was a very skillful man,helping us all the time).
I'm working now, feeling guilty,because I can't be with him...