I’m still alive, I think

Every now and then I fall off blogosphere only to return and point out that it’s been a week or so since my last post. I think this is now officially the longest I’ve neglected this space. Not just this space, but many others’ spaces as well. I haven’t paid much attention to my feed or given many replies and I feel terrible about it. It looks like I’ve missed births, pregnancy announcements, new homes, new adventures, new milestones both baby and otherwise, new goals, injuries, and a few rants that needed a cyber hug. And I missed them all.

Today, I will try and recap what’s been going on, although some of it feels like a blur. Since I last wrote, things have gotten overwhelming with my dad and his situation. But prior to that and even during, other things happened that I haven’t had a second to digest or write about.

First, I had an appointment way back on February 3 with my RE to discuss my endo situation. About a month prior to that, I reached out to her via email in desperation because NOTHING was helping my back/sciatica issues and every period seemed to intensify the pain. I couldn’t take it anymore and practically begged for surgery, which she was against. She encouraged me to make an appointment to discuss other options.

So the appointment went well and we chatted for over an hour. Of course the simplest and best way to ward off endo pain is…stopping ovulation. Since that’s not an option for me, I had to turn it down. As long as I’m ovulating, I still feel there’s a chance for us. We discussed a few other options. One being I go get another HSG just to make sure things are still looking good with my tubes and uterus, and the other would be surgery after all. After hearing me plead my case, she said we could consider a laparoscopy for my peace of mind, and of course to help the pain, although it would only be temporary and could create more pain later with potential scar tissue. Either option could clear the path to trying IUI again, which is a drop in the bucket in terms of cost and we would never do IVF again since it doesn’t improve our odds any more than natural. So there’s that. Of course the first step before making any decision would involve hubby running his quick and easy, although ego-bruising test. Not so sure he’s game anymore.

And with everything going on with my dad, maybe I’m not game anymore either. The unknown genetic piece to his disease still looms over us, although we keep hoping we can blame it on Vietnam/Agent Orange. Since I last wrote, we successfully moved him from jail to the nursing home, in the middle of a blizzard. When we picked him up for jail, we didn’t know what to expect from him. Would he be angry? Would another part of his brain be “activated” from his experience, altering the calm, agreeable person he’s been lately? My sister and I picked him up and as soon as he saw us, he gave us a big smile and a wave which both warmed and broke our hearts. As he got in the car and told us that he was able to work on his crossword puzzles, watch tv and was fed, he actually said it wasn’t too bad. It was then that I told him, “well if you liked jail, you’ll really like where we are going next!” We explained that he’ll have way more freedom and care at the Veterans Home.

Or so we thought.

Once we got there, he seemed pretty keyed up. Not sure if it was anxiety or just the fact that he’d been unable to smoke the last five days being in jail. We were greeted by wonderful staff, a social worker for the unit, nurses and even got to meet the doctor on staff that day. We started to assemble dad’s desk and get his belongings sorted out for him. He must have stepped out for at least a dozen smoke breaks. At one point we encouraged him to do some of his crosswords in the dining hall while we talked to the doctor and nurses about his care. We were thrilled to learn that while he did that, he was fed dinner. It seemed like he was getting a sense of his new surroundings and we instantly started a routine where he would need to ask the nurse’s station for his cigarettes. We thought this would help slow down the rate in which he smoked, and also help him from just lighting up wherever and whenever he wanted. It all seemed good and by the time we were leaving, he was quietly doing his puzzles in his room at his new desk. It was hard to leave but it felt like the right time.

The very next day, I called him to see how he was doing and it really made me feel great to hear that he was liking it there and that he found activities and met other veterans to talk to. It wasn’t until he mentioned that one of the guys said they start serving beer around 1:00 p.m. that I started to raise a red flag. I thought, this can’t be right? A nursing home allowed to sell beer? After discussing with other family and even a few coworkers, I thought this had to be one delusional resident leading another. The next day my sister took a turn calling him and same thing, he brought up the beer. She said he sounded off and something didn’t seem right. She questioned him some more about it and we now believed him. He found beer within the first 24 hours arriving there!

Beer and FTD do not mix. We instantly started making a flurry of calls to the social worker and nurses, only to find out that yes they do have a veteran’s hall, which many of the independent living veterans like to frequent, which is fine as they can probably handle it, but there’s no stopping nursing home residents from making their way over there. They probably figured most of the nursing home guys are wheelchair bound and 85+ with no interest in beer anymore. Unfortunately this is not the case with my 64 year-old father. They put him on a “do not serve” list and said they have police there monitoring things. Well, we didn’t exactly want dad to feel like he was being punished and banned from the area that also has pool tables and activities he enjoys. It was a mess.

A few days later, my sister and I decided to go visit and check this hall out ourselves. We were right. We didn’t want to ban dad from entering that building as he truly enjoyed shooting pool, although we were noticing that he seemed like he was bouncing off the walls and we learned he hadn’t slept in four days. Surely this is not a good thing for anyone, let alone someone with a brain issue! A few days later we got the call that he was moved to the dementia wing – lockdown. We were absolutely crushed. He made it one week before being moved and was now being reduced to a couple hallways, a room he shared with the oldest veteran in the unit, and none of the active things he was able to do a week prior. I don’t think he’s even allowed to light his own damn cigarettes!

Turns out we learned that it might have been too much for him and that his OCD tendencies were getting worse. He would pester the other veterans for beer, smokes or money to buy them. It got to the point that they were ready to cause him physical harm, which made us angry at the unfairness that some veterans get to live on their own and have no clue how terrible FTD is. Dad doesn’t even look like he belongs in a home, which is also part of the problem. He probably poses a slight threat looking like an outsider, even though he’s harmless.

So we’ve come to accept this change in the program for now. There’s a chance he could have some cognitive therapy and maybe the longer he’s there, getting settled in, trying out some zoloft and getting some proper sleep, maybe he can be moved back, but we aren’t holding our breath.

As for other non-dad things, I had another mammogram scare, needing a repeat scan which ended up being fine for now. I just need to go back in six months to be sure. I also had my second spine injection on Valentine’s Day and couldn’t think of a more romantic way to spend it! But so far it’s helping and the doctor thinks it will provide a cumulative affect on the first one a month ago. I’m still doing my physical therapy and yoga and still trying to run. In fact, I even signed up for a half marathon in May! At the time of signing up, I still couldn’t even tie my shoes without pain, but we shall see. So far, so good. And with everything going on, running is my saving grace.

If you made it this far, my goodness, thanks! My posts will likely not be this long going forward and I’ve started a new blog devoted to all the dad stuff so this space doesn’t need to be so heavy.

Thanks again.

2 thoughts on “I’m still alive, I think

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