Sitting in the emergency room I decided to write this new blog. I started one on Saturday but I can't even follow that mindset at this time. I thought it was appropriate to write about aging parents and having to cope with all that entails at mid life. It's 11:30 pm as I write this, so hopefully I will re-read before I post or the typos could be disastrous. Let's see... technically I should say yesterday since it's almost midnight. Lordy I'm tired. Okay here it goes, yesterday afternoon my dad developed acute amnesia. This 70 something super dad of mine, that to this day still travels the country playing softball for a senior league just lapsed into a series of forgetfulness out of the blue. He woke up totally fine then as the day progressed he could not remember taking a television to the repair shop, he didn't remember he shaved, didn't know the date, day or year. He didn't remember talking to me or pretty much anything that happened the last 48-72 hours. As he continues to get tested in the ER he is regaining some of his memory. It got me to thinking. I have entered that stage of life where our parents start a slow decline. Technically at midlife we are all starting a slow decline. But watching the people who raised you… your parents, decline well... it's heart wrenching. Getting old has it's own challenges. Dealing with aging parents, I have no words for what I am feeling but I did find some great strategies by Martha Beck!
They have just told us they are admitting my father to monitor him throughout the night. He seems to be regaining even more of his memory as we move into morning. I have never seen anything like this. They say it could be something called Transient Global Amnesia. All the health stories I have done and I have never heard of this. Not sure this is what my father has, as we have no true diagnosis yet just waiting. Makes me think we need to be careful what we say to our parents when they repeat themselves. Even before it gets as bad as today got. I always try to be patient with my parents because they were so overly patient with me and still are to tell you the truth. As I reported to the doctor my dads events of the day, I was just running through the craziness matter-of-factly in the emergency room. Then I looked over; out of the corner of my eye, and saw a tear roll down my dads face. I stopped and continued my recitation with care and respect of my dads feelings. I was in a panic yes, but so was he and I forgot that. I can't imagine what this healthy, amazingly athletic and independent man must be feeling as we all talk about him like he isn't coherent. Here are 8 things NOT to say to your aging parents.
My brother, mother and I sat in that room contemplating how we needed to share more information during this transition of life. This was reality and we had to face it head on. Earlier in the evening I didn't have my parents doctors information and it was a frantic mess getting numbers and necessary details on our way to the hospital. I believe my dad will snap out of this and that it will all get fixed but we are going to have to make some changes. We discussed having him document how he pays his bills and does his accounting. We plan to start gathering estate information and medical info etc. We need to plan on old age as a family. This is a touchy subject but I would rather hash it out between family than getting the courts involved when it's too late. I have no idea where all my parents documents are, nor do most of us adult children. Forbes lays it out pretty nicely in this article about the 4 Financial Issues you need to discuss with aging parents. I'm going to wind-down this blog, as they are getting ready to roll my dad into a room so he can get an MRI in the morning. But I want to share the positives. We started talking about being more prepared. We had a few laughs with my dad as he slowly started regaining some memory. And this is the honest to God truth. When the third nurse came in and took vitals and hooked my dad up we realized this was to be our main nurse. As he walked out the door my brother, my mom and I all looked at each other and thought wow he's so nice and handled my father perfectly. Then I said, "Shoot I can't remember his name." My brother said, "Me either." My dad looked at all of us and said, "Derrick, his name is Derrick and you all have me in this bed and I seem to be the only one that can REMEMBER!" Say Prayers for my Poppi... Even when he's not doing so well he still has a sense of humor. I am truly blessed!
Keep looking forward so you don't miss what God puts in front of ya!
Matuschka's Midlife... Telling it like it is...