Sparkles of Clarity – Glimpses of Sanity
Two days ago I visited my father in the extended care facility. He has Parkinson’s dementia and needs twenty-four-seven care. The dementia unit at the facility gives him excellent care, but it is still depressing to visit.
First, there is the guilt of putting him in the “nursing home” when he made it clear (before his dementia became severe) that he wanted to be taken care of at home. Then there is the reality and sadness of his condition, sitting in a unit where everyone is napping or staring off into space. The residents are there, but the mind is empty. Such a sad disease.
But the most frustrating part is the inability to communicate. If he is awake, which is only half of the time, he can’t carry on a coherent conversation. Most of the time my boring voice puts him to sleep. And when he does stay awake, he doesn’t have anything to say.
Two days ago was different. Dad was awake. He was happy to see me. He clung to my hand and wouldn’t let go. He told me repeatedly that he loved me and how happy he was to see me. He even made a few brief forays into philosophy, mentioning the difficulty of finding Biblical truth in an evil world. He hadn’t been that “with it” for a year.
I realize that Parkinson’s dementia, in particular, has it’s on and off periods. But this was so out of character for Dad, that it brought moisture to my dry eyes. And it reminded me of the final connection with my mother while she was still alive.
The icing on the cake came when one day later I talked to my sister. She visits Dad almost every evening. Yet Dad doesn’t remember for five minutes that either of us has visited. She had visited Dad the evening after I had been there (in the morning). When she greeted him, he asked, “Where’s Steve?”
What special memories do you have of time spent with a parent or parents?