15 September 2015

Life Happens

So it's been over a month since I have written on my blog. The last 6 weeks or so have been a blur—a one-day-at-a-time period of non-stop phone calls, hospital visits, conversations with doctors, and tremendous support from friends. Sometimes life just happens and it gets in the way of our normalcy. But there's not much you can do other than muddle through as best you can and keep moving forward.

On August 6th, I got a call from the Homestead Police at 4 am that my mother was downtown on a street corner calling for help. When I got there, the police were talking to her. She told them they had gone grocery shopping with my dad and gotten lost—mind you, this was 4 am still. Then they got directions and had to stop and get gas and got lost again. Then apparently my father was not driving the way the mother thought he should go, so she jumped out of the car and started walking in a different direction. At that point she said that my dad "manhandled" her to get back into the car and she ran away through the corn and wheat fields of Homestead. Now, my father has never laid a hand on my mother, but she was frantic and delusional at this time, so who knows what actually happened.

She said he stalked her for about an hour before he grabbed her again, but she got away and ran and ran. Then she eventually got to the middle of the downtown area in my small town where someone heard her calling for help and the police picked her up. We still don't know the exact timeline of everything because she was found at 4 am and said they had been grocery shopping in the afternoon. 

I took her back home and the police came to the house about an hour later. He asked her questions about what dad was wearing, etc. At one point she said he was depressed and the officer asked about any medications. So she went into the bedroom to find the pill bottles. I sent my son in with her to help as she's legally blind. Then I was finally able to speak to the police by myself and asked him to tell her she and/or they are not allowed to live alone any more. I explained the situation and he took over from there. I have been trying for months to get some help from authorities with this growing problem, but at each turn, I was met with reasons why I couldn't receive help with my parents.

However, this police officer was a great help and told my mom that dad's at a time in his life cycle when he needs some assistance. Surprisingly, she totally agreed and said she would be fine living alone in the house. Then he corrected her and said, no, she needed some assistance, too. He told her how hard it was to hear sometimes, but that she couldn't stay living in the house without assistance. She listened, but argued back.

Then the police called my house around 7:30 am to let me know that dad was found. He had parked the car on US-1 and was sleeping under a tree. His license had been revoked (it was previously suspended) and I needed to come pick up the car. When we got there, he was in the back of the police car, looked awful, and in hand cuffs. The police asked if he wanted to go home and he asked if my mom was there and the cop said yes. Then dad said he'd rather die than go back there. So he was immediately Baker Acted. He was in the psych ward for 3 days before being released into my custody.

My father was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimers and my mother has some form of undiagnosed dementia. I am working daily to get all the doctor's appointments, tests, and follow-ups moving each week. I have hired aids to be with them 12+ hours everyday. It's been a long process, but we are moving forward each day. I'm going to keep writing here daily (or as much as I can) in order to help others find the assistance they may need. Aging parents has been a running theme of my blog. My parents moved here just over a year ago to help the kids and me through a long, dragged out divorce from an alcoholic. They thought they were helping us cope. Instead, we are helping them through the obstacles of Alz and dementia. It's all been God's plan in His time.

Spread Your Wings!