Last Friday, my sister and I visited Dad in his Alzheimer’s facility. It’s a cheerful place, considering it’s the last stop for dementia patients, and I admire how kind the staff is to my dad and the others.
But it’s still a catch in the heart to see him there. My dad was a man who was always in motion, rarely still. Wendy and I found him in his room, just staring out the window.
And it is really hard to see the different stages of the other patients. Dad’s room is in a suite and his “roommate” is a man named Eugene. I’ve never seen Eugene other than in bed, tucked into a fetal position.
Other bodies are kind of draped in chairs around the living area. It’s actually kind of…surreal. This facility is in Palo Alto, California. Many of these patients were Stanford educated, highly professional individuals who had full, rich lives. Nobody ever dreamed the end of their life would be like this.
My sister and I took Dad outside to the garden. Wouldn’t you know that Dad keyed right in on the gate to get out? Like a dog with a bone. He kept pointing to it, indicating with his limited vocabulary that we could flee! Escape while we could!
It warmed my heart to see a glimpse of the old Dad…planning a breakout.
The next evening, we went to some friends’ home for a potluck dinner. My assignment was to bring a salad, I thought, so I had stopped at the store early that day to get the ingredients.
However, I was mistaken.
My assignment was dessert.
Those are the kinds of slip-ups that strike terror in one’s heart when a parent has Alzheimer’s. EEEKKK! The first sign.