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Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

Posted Mar 26 2010 7:09pm
March 26, 2010

Dad gets to worrying about something and he can't let go of it until we find a way to resolve it to his satisfaction. For the past week or so, he has been worried about a prescription cream he uses. The tube was getting low and he didn't want to run out. I called the pharmacy and ordered more. A couple of days ago, I picked up the cream and brought it home. I put his credit card (which is used for all their prescriptions), the receipt and the cream into his hand as soon as I walked in the door. I made sure he put the card in his wallet before going to the kitchen to put away groceries. Dad called and reported his credit card missing so many times last year that they finally told him if he lost it again, he would have to wait until a specific date to get another one.

So here's the way today has gone so far...
Everybody slept in this morning (Mom and Dad were up A LOT last night and I was up with them) so breakfast wasn't fixed until about 11:30. While Dad was waiting for the pancakes to get to the table, he urged Mom to eat repeatedly. She and I both pointed out that breakfast wasn't ready yet, so she couldn't very well eat. He finally excused himself to go to the bathroom, mumbling that we were ganging up on him.
After 15 or 20 minutes, I went to check on him and found him in his bed asleep. He heard me and immediately struggled to his feet and made his way across the room to the door. He staggered when he went to stop in front of me. I caught him and held him til he was steady. "I think maybe I should lie back down for a while," he said shakily. "I'm a little dizzy."
I helped him back to bed and offered to bring his breakfast in to him. He passed his gnarled hand (the uninjured one) over his face and told me he would really appreciate that.
I went to the dining room and pulled out the bed tray I keep handy for times such as these. I put everything on the tray and picked it up while explaining to Mom that Dad wasn't feeling good so he was going to have breakfast in bed today. She nodded approvingly, "Good. Good idea. He's not himself today."
And as I turned around, Dad announced we were being silly. "I'm fine. Really. Sorry to put you to so much trouble, Sweetheart, but I've changed my mind. As long as I can sit at the table to have my meals, I will know I'm alive. Today, doesn't seem like a good day to die..." He ate his breakfast without incident but I could easily see he wasn't feeling well.

After breakfast, he went to Richard and told him he needed more cream. Richard explained that I had gotten him some a couple of days ago. Dad handed him the almost empty tube and asked if he would please take care of it. Richard of course came to me. And I of course went straight back to Dad. "Dad, I picked that up for you a couple of days ago." I was very cheerful about it, "Remember? I came in and gave you your credit card, the receipt, and the cream."
He instantly replied, "NO, I don't remember anything like that." He took the empty tube from my hand and led me to his bathroom. He showed me where it goes and pointed out emphatically that it would be right there if I had given it to him and it wasn't so obviously I was mistaken. Rather than argue, I took the tube back and announced I would go call it in and pick it up this afternoon.
As I entered the living room on my way to the phone, a thought flashed through my mind. I stopped at his desk and opened the drawer where he keeps his receipts. Rifling through it I couldn't find it so I closed the drawer and went to turn away. When I did, I saw the end of the tube poking out from under a book on the desk.
"Found it!" I yelled, heading for the bedroom.
Dad met me halfway down the hall. "Oh shit, Sweetheart. I am so sorry. Where was it?" I told him and he shook his head. "I'm sorry. I guess I forgot again."

After lunch we went through our routine of him telling me to get done in the kitchen and just let him clean it up. Normally, I would do exactly that, but he can't get near water with his bandaged hand. He is lost without his regular chores. He grumbled for a while but I managed to convince him he just can't load the dish washer. Sulking, he went to sit in his recliner.

Getting ready for dinner tonight, Dad asked if it was time to set the table (we go through this routine daily). I said, "Sure." "How many people are here tonight?" he asked. "Four." I replied.
He wandered into the dining room and promptly came back to the kitchen.
"How many people are eating dinner tonight?"
"Four."
He got forks from the drawer and back to the dining room he went. As soon as he reached the table, he cleared his throat loudly. "How many people tonight?"
With a hidden smile I answered "Four."
Once the forks were in place he returned to my side. "What else do we need?" he asked in a stage whisper. "Knives and napkins," I replied, watching him gather the knives and shuffle to put them in their place.
When he returned to the kitchen he asked, "What's next?"
I told him he could go ahead and put the glasses on the table which he set out to do but as he opened the cabinet to get them down, he turned to me and asked, "How many for dinner tonight?"
I smiled at him and said, "Four." He looked at me with sad eyes and said, "Damn, I knew that. I'm sorry, I guess I forgot again." And off he went.
This continued until I had dinner on the table and we were getting ready to sit down. I realized there were no napkins. I didn't say a word about it, I just went and got them and put them on the table. Then Mom asked Dad if she could borrow his knife (she didn't have one) and so on. It is all part of our nightly routine.
When dinner was over I quickly cleaned the kitchen while Dad insisted he could do it. And I insisted that he would be able to as soon as the bandages come off in a few weeks.
Then I sat down to bandage his hand. The entire time I was unwrapping, cleaning and re-wrapping, he was telling Mom to eat her dinner, take her pills, etc. It has been a day of repetition, a day of confusion. But on the bright side, tomorrow just might be a better day.
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