Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Slipping further away?

G went along with me yesterday to visit my dad. The new activity director had three women pulled over in the dining area coloring. My dad was standing when we got there picking up a crayon. I could never ascertain if he was actually coloring with that group or not. When he looked up and G greeted him, there was clear confusion on his face. When he looked toward me, there was the same confused look. G "introduced" himself, and it was clear that the name meant something, but the look was still there. He said "and this is your daughter" to which Dad parroted back "this is your daughter."

We went to another table to sit. I was frantically looking for something to talk about. In a flash I pulled out pictures of Lady Bug and Monkey Boy. I asked if he remembered his great grandchildren, he, of course, indicated he did. I just don't know where he is right now. He has been so successful at covering up all these years he remembers how to do that.

My heart is ripped out of my body every time we go to visit. I told G that's the reason I usually try to go with a crowd. You can see that Dad wants to participate in some kind of conversation, but he struggles to find the words. This must be incredible frustration. If K and the kids are there, he seems to be content with watching them and listening to our conversation. The down side of taking the kids is that the women in there revert back to the time they were mothers or functioning grandmothers. It really scared Lady Bug when they try to tough her. This is going to sound like a very proud grandmother, but the girl is stunning. She has the curls of Shirley Temple, and her face is beautiful. Monkey Boy is 16 months which in itself draws all the women to him, but he too is a very handsome kid. The last time I was afraid one of the women would hurt him without meaning to because she was sure that he was part of her family (who fortunately showed up after a bit - and she didn't recognize them).

I pray every day that this terrible disease will pass me by, or that I get lucky and something will take me either before I am afflicted with it or in the very early stages. I don't want to be in a place like that. I know Dad didn't. I don't want to be in diapers that the aides have to change. I don't want to try to join in a conversation, but can't find the proper words. I don't want to say things that may be the obvious truth that hurt someone's feelings.

I guess we have no choice in our fate. We can try to do things to protect out health. My father is pretty well physically. His knees have no cartilage left and the arthritis is so painful, but how could he have protected his wonderful mind?

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