Here’s what dementia and (probable) OCD looks like

Uhh, Dad, a couple of stacks are crooked.
Uhh, Dad, a couple of stacks are crooked.

Am I going to clean this up? I mean I can use the counter space.

Answer: No. He finds comfort and/or entertainment in his stacks. As long as the bills get kicked out to where I can actually pay them, I’m good with it.

Associating something with a bad memory

Essential tool, but it brings bad reminders.
Essential tool, but it brings bad reminders.
This is weird.

I was playing doctor yesterday; doing a little wound care for Dad, and I got fully prepped up. Assemble tools. Thorough hand washing. A final touch-up with hand sanitizer.

Everything’s cool, right?

Yeah, until the hand sanitizer part.

Now, I don’t care much for the stuff anyway. There’s question about how effective it really is. It dries the skin. It gives the idea you can get away with a slipshod hand washing. But that’s nitpicking, so I continue using it.

Here’s the thing, though.

When I was taking care of Mom, I ran through that stuff like crazy. Every time I poked my head into the sick room, a few squirts on my hands. Just to make sure. Every time I did something constructive like wound care, changing her, dressing her, transferring her, more hand sanitizer. Made a lot of sense. She had the MRSA a few years, and ran through a series of infections that eventually killed her.

So I hit my hands up before taking care of Dad’s wound. Hand sanitizer has a distinct smell and feel, and I associated those with taking care of Mom in her final days. I associated those with death. A form of post-traumatic stress? Maybe.

Enough to make a guy want to give up the hand sanitizer habit.

Okay, I admit to being a little crazy. But still. There are a lot of issues that come with being a caregiver, and the mind makes associations that’ll probably last a while.

In the interest of good care, though, I’m still using the hand sanitizer even though I really don’t like it.

What say you? Any positive or negative associations that came from caregiving? Please share.

Easy bleeding

From the journal, Aug. 17, 2016:

Dad bonged his arm pretty good on the kitchen cabinet. Looks like it hurts like blue blazes, and he tore the skin big time. Almost a 3-inch rip, and he was bleeding pretty freely. Cleaned it up and stopped the bleeding, but still watching it. Will probably have to go in for stitches, at least.

That’s one of the things I noticed. I guess at that age the skin loses all elasticity and becomes little more than paper. Dad’s gotten a few good dents and dings from falls and stuff, and that’s the usual result. Torn skin. Lots of bleeding. Doesn’t take much for that.

This skin problem came to my attention helping Mom into a wheelchair a couple of years ago. Not even sure what happened and she didn’t even feel it, but she came up bleeding. Again, torn skin. Like paper.

So, reminder to self: Telfa pads. Peroxide. Cotton balls. Tape. Must keep these close at hand; gonna need them a lot.

Trump and the trash man on the same list


Journal entry, August 15, 2016:

Got some amusing mail coming in today. From Donald Trump’s campaign staff, and I pitched it to Dad just to mess with him.

Dad has an almost irrational dislike for The Donald. Okay, I don’t like the guy either for reasons of my own, but Dad’s dislike is special. When I pull up the news and Trump’s face shows up, Dad has the same response:

“Who’s that? Dumbshit again?”

Never fails, and myself being the opinionated snarky type who always needs to make things interesting, you know I’m gonna yank his chain.

He has a few other people on that list of his: The trash man, who Dad calls Fatass. The next-door neighbors (although the one on the other side is probably worse, but she gets a pass because she’s attractive and friendly.) A few others.

See, Dad was never like this before dementia. I mean he wouldn’t like certain people, but not like that. I guess it’s just one of the changes that happens when dementia takes the brain over. The filter goes, along with everything else.

Maybe in a perverse way it’s fun to play with, but it’s still not fun to see.

Socializing, respite, and Nights Of Hope And Joy

Journal entry, July 12, 2016

Thanks to the folks from the Purple City Alliance — here it’s Riverside CA, a bunch of caregivers & care recipients got together for food, music, & fun at a local senior center a few days ago. It’s a monthly get-together called Nights Of Hope And Joy, with a live band and all. Dad had a good time, and he did some socializing, which is always good for him.

See, socializing is good. Gets Dad out among them. This sounds terrible, but this means other people are watching him for a couple of hours and I get a little respite. I’ll take it.

Unabashed pitch here: This one’s at the Janet Goeske Senior Center at Sierra Ave (at Streeter), Riverside CA. Second Tuesday of the month, at 6 pm. Rich Gardner is the front man here. We’ve been doing this about six months, and it’s growing.

Not just fun, but it’s a resource. One of many, and it’s really fun.

Does your town have something like this?