Sunday, February 05, 2006

Well, thought I'd drop by for an update. A lot's been happening. The biggest thing is that I've managed to get medicaid to approve my stepfather's application and he is now firmly ensconced in a nursing home. We had to admit him to a psych hospital first for a few days because we started to lose control of him, and he began to wander outside the house. And he really started to have hallucinations and delusions big time - he swore we were trying to poison him (he just about stopped eating for 2 weeks and lost about 20 pounds) and he started refusing to get into the car because he swore we were going to kill him and throw him into the ocean. We even had to call the police a few times because he was out of control - the first was when he pulled a 10" knife on us, the second was when he walked down to the local speed zone and was intending to walk into traffic and we had to physically block him from going further until the cops came. He locked us out of the house for awhile, too, the day we tried to take him to an interview at another nursing home. *sigh*

So, it came down to admitting him into a psych hospital because he needed to be watched around the clock and we couldn't do it. But this ironically was the best thing we could do, because the hospital case worker used her contacts to help us place him in a nursing home. Took all of 4 days - something that would've taken me, as a private citizen, months and months to accomplish. As the saying goes, it's not what you know but who you know.

So, I went to visit him for the first time today and wow, what a head trip. His "ward" is a lock down, because he would definitely wander off the grounds, and he has the company of about 30 other oldsters with varying degrees of dementia. It's so sad to watch them all.

There was one woman who walked constantly saying nanananana, nanananana, nanananana. She'd walk up to someone and rub their arm or put her hand around their wrist for a moment, utter a loud nananananana, and then walk away again. She kept doing this over and over.

There was another old lady who kept pushing a sleeping man in a wheeled recliner out of the day room. Probably because he smelled like he'd shit himself. And there was an old black man who was holding a bible and preaching to the corner. One old woman walked up to me, smiled and held out her hand. So, I shook it and she smiled again and walked away. The rest of them pretty much just dosed in their chairs from the meds.

This is my first visit to a nursing home, and what a shocker. The whole time I was there all stepfather did was talk about getting a job as an autobody repairman, and when did his father die? and he was going to give me all his money, and how was my mom doing, and where was she? and about how shiny the floor was, and how smooth the table was. *sigh* I stayed for almost an hour and then left as the attendants were starting to feed everyone a snack as there was suddenly a lot of activity. I thought it was a good time to slip out. Even so, he got up with me thinking I was taking him home. He got a bit upset when I told him he had to stay, but that I'd be back again. The attendant had to calm him down so I could leave. *sigh*

One observation - I didn't see anyone else come to visit in the time I was there. And the attendant said it was nice of me to come. Makes me think these people have been forgotten by their families. How sad. How very sad.

Now, I have a bad past with this man but damn it to hell, I still felt my heart break a little for him. And I cried in the car on the 45 minute drive home. This is so hard. I mean, it's such a huge relief to know he's got someone watching him on the one hand, but on the other it's such a sad thing to see him come to this. It still hasn't hit him that this is his new home. He thinks it's temporary, but there's no way to get him to understand it isn't.

*sigh* So, I'm very sad now, very down, very bothered. Tomorrow I have to touch base with the admin at another, much closer home. Hopefully, this home will be cheerier and more like a home than a hospital, and will have an opening very soon so we can transfer him over. I have to make an appointment to go see this place before we transfer him, though, just to make sure it isn't worse than the place he's in now. That would be truly awful. So I'm asking you all to say a prayer for me, and damn it, send me some funny stuff to cheer me up. I need it. Fast. Oh, and go call your mom, will ya already? Bye for now.


Blogger David said...

I have said a prayer for you and your stepfather.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Cookala said...

thank you, David! I do so appreciate the prayers. These past few months have been really hard. So much upheaval going on and all...and now we might be selling the house, too. *sigh* sometimes life is just so very hard.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Wow! I so feel some of the same things. This week we had to admit my grandmother (9x years old) to a psych ward. Each time I visit seems like I'm saying goodbye to a small part of her.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Cookala said...

Yeah, I can really relate to that. It's so sad to see them all just sitting there all drugged up and waiting to die. I know that sounds awfully morbid, but that's what crossed my mind when I went to visit last Sunday. Then it makes you think about your own mortality. If it helps any, I hope it makes you feel better to know taht there are others who are going through the same thing. Well, the least I can do is send you some "e-support", and thank you for yours.

3:00 PM  

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