Saturday, July 2, 2016

Downhill All the Way

My father has failed badly in the two months since we were last here visiting. It is sad to see and now I understand why my mother is completely worn out these days.

Just a few weeks ago we took my parents on that massive shopping and errand running spree, driving and walking to several different shopping areas around the city. Dad was very tired afterward for a day, but then bounced back and we made several other tours over subsequent days.

This trip things are different. Yesterday dad insisted he wanted to come to the neighbourhood WalMart to purchase a floor fan and a humidifier. I estimate he and his walker mosied through the extended entranceway and part of the store for the equivalent of just over a city block before he was done in and had to come home immediately. He barely made it back to the front entrance where I picked him up in the car. I don't know how he managed to get from the car back into the seniors' complex without collapsing before reaching his own suite and comfy bed. He couldn't even talk except to croak out his wish that mom and I return to the store for the needed items and go out for lunch so he could sleep uninterrupted. In all my life dad has never before so much as hinted that mom and I should go anywhere without him, let alone tell us to go out for any length of time together.

It seems that since he came to terms with the leukaemia and his own refusal of treatment he is content to sleep his days away and only occasionally express any regret about not being able to be more active. The difference in him in every way is phenomenal since I was last here.

I am grateful this chance opened up for a visit before our scheduled visit this fall. I am not convinced dad will still be with us by then. He could go on this way for some time of course but I know he doesn't want to. My dad is realizing he is ready to die and beginning to accept the inevitable. He is more peaceful about the reality of his situation than I thought possible. Mom is struggling with it to some degree of course but she doesn't want him lingering on in this condition.

So, I have gladly abandoned my daily walking and physio routines for this week in favour of simply sitting for hours at a time visiting and watching tv with my mom and dozing father. Dad has never been at loss for words, to put it nicely, so it is disorienting to spend day after day with this man who is too exhausted to sustain his end of a conversation for more than a few minutes at a time.

My mom is a real trooper, but the loss of activity and conversation is getting to her too. I took her out on her own as much as possible over the last three days and got her signed up for some special events happening during the upcoming Stampede Week that are sponsored by the complex here. Dad is not only allowing her to go without him, he is encouraging her! I never thought I would see that day arrive! She is getting a chance to meet and become friends with some of the other ladies living here and I am grateful for that.

Very glad for this somewhat unexpected chance to be here. In the back of my mind I am saying goodbye to dad and who he has been until quite recently. Like dad, I am also preparing myself for the inevitable and starting to think about what mom is going to need from me in the months ahead.

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