Tuesday 2 February 2021

One More Thing

Life is often filled with many unexpected twists and turns.

I always find the moment we start to feel comfortable life suddenly jumps in and says “No, let’s have some fun."

2 weeks ago, I received a call saying that my dad was found collapsed on the floor at home. He was on the way to a local hospital after having a suspected stroke.

With the current restrictions in place, he had to go by himself.

The last time I spoke about dad on here he had been diagnosed with throat cancer.

The prognosis wasn’t great but we did everything in our power to keep him going.

He took every medication, had every chemotherapy treatment and followed every diet or programme that the hospital gave him.

Somehow, and I genuinely mean somehow, dad’s prognosis changed.

In the end the cancer just stopped.

The cancer wasn’t getting worse and it had stopped growing. It didn’t go, he still had cancer in his throat. It just became benign.

We should've all been loudly cheering but other cracks started appearing.

When I lived with dad he had started acting strange.

Dad has always been a little strange but he started forgetting simple things and became emotional or worried at random moments.

For example, he would wake me up at 2am, panicking because he thought I needed to practice the piano before my piano lessons turned up. By the time I convinced him the time and reason why not he would switch back and be fine.

I would spend all my time with him and it was obvious something was happening. A lot of people brushed it off as grief. I knew it was something else; I thought it was onset dementia.

Not long after I moved out. I knew for dad to show symptoms and a real need for concern he would need to be independent. In addition, my health could no longer cope living at dads as it’s very inaccessible.

However, the moment I went my brother and sister in law moved in. I will discuss them in a different post.

We then had the cancer. Everyone, apart from me, thought dads strange behaviour was grief, old age (in his 70s) and the strain of going through cancer, again.

But his strange behaviour continued.

I kept pushing dementia and him getting tested. I was ignored.

That was until last year. Last year my brother and his partner moved out. My dad was by himself and those cracks became canyons.

They realised how badly dad needed that help.

Following my recommendation they contacted the doctors, after initial testing and a later scan he was diagnosed with Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

His dementia was in a middle stage. They couldn’t pinpoint what was dementia and what was alzheimer’s but his memory, care and physical activities were deteriorating quickly.

He’s never been a great speaker but his conversations slowed down. His short term and recent memory was non existent.

He could, for example, recognise that Hannah was my partner but he doesn’t know her name, her children’s names and can’t identify which one is Will, James or one of Hannah’s.

He became more “lost”.

He knew me. Knew my brother and SIL and recognised people he would see regularly even if he doesn’t know their names.

The Dementia and the Alzheimer’s creates a level of degeneration. Not just in his mental ability but physical too.

His walking has become a shuffle, his hands are always shaking and physical strength is fading. All of this has resulted in several accidents and injuries.

It just seemed that every time we managed to get on top of one thing that one more thing has happened.

When I told my family about this they weren’t really surprised. In the last 10 to 15 years dad has had 3 heart attacks, had a stent fitted, 2 knee surgeries, 1 knee replacement, high blood pressure, gone deaf in both ears, been diagnosed with prostate cancer, throat and ear cancer and now dementia AND alzheimer's.

I’ve said it before but when mum passed away it was a slight joke that we had all been planning the wrong funeral all of these years.

That then comes to this recent stroke.

Dad had a stroke in the cerebellum.

He’s currently stuck on the Stroke ward, alert but struggling.

He’s lost physical strength and ability on the right side of his body. He can stand but he doesn’t have control of his limbs as well as he should. In addition to this he also can’t swallow independently without choking and his speech is very difficult to understand.

I’m not sure how much he knows, how comfortable he is on the ward or if he’s okay other than the odd update from the staff when I’ve called there isn't much you can do.

It’s a lot to take in. It’s a lot going on. It’s the start of a longer journey to get him the help he needs.

I feel like I've reached that point in my life where I'm either juggling something for the children or something for my dad. Adulthood is always "fun".

It is both for dad and I, one more thing.


PinkOddy said...

As I said before I am really sorry. This is one of the hardest things my family have had to face. Sending much love to you all.

Kim Carberry said...

Oh no! I am so sorry. Sending love and hugs. Thinking of you, your dad and your family x

JOhn Adams said...

Sorry to hear about your dad Martyn. Here's hoping he recovers from the stroke. Dementia isn't easy either. I hope your dad and you all get the support you need for dealing with this. Thoughts and prayers are with you.