After Father's visit from the GP yesterday, I wanted to go and see him this evening. I cooked a quick tea and headed to Heacham with binoculars and camera – I was hoping to persuade Father to join me (in his wheelchair) to walk along Fenway Road to look for yesterday's Pied Flycatcher, but he refused. He didn't look very good when I first arrived – he was badly positioned in the chair and had obviously wriggled forward on his air cushion and looked fatigued. Mind you, everyone is looking fatigued in this heat wave! I helped him to re-position further back in the chair – it took me three attempts. He looked a whole lot better when he was sitting upright. Unusually his speech seemed clearer this evening and I could understand most of what he was saying. He seemed worried and relieved as soon as I saw him, as he got into his head that I had had a car accident and had obviously been really concerned about me, which made me feel quite sad. He looked confused and relieved all at the same time, when I explained that I had not had a car accident.
I tried all my persuasive powers to encourage him to come outside, but he dug his heels in and said it would be cold and to be fair, it was cooler this evening. We sat and chatted for a good while about recent birds and recent goings on with Mother's neighbours (long story) that I was sorting and told him not to worry and that thank goodness I had inherited my alertness to other people's hidden agendas from him, to which he responded with a little smile. 'Don't worry' I said.... 'I don't miss a trick'. I then rang Mother so he could chat to her on the phone – again his speech was quite good and Mother seemed to understand what he was saying and he her, which was nice.
Father still hasn't settled and it seems like he is giving up, but I reminded him about his 90th birthday on 2nd November and that I had booked the day off work to celebrate his big day. He seems frightened at night times and says he doesn't like 'being put in a room and left'. So I had to explain that the room is his bedroom and went on to explain, that the place he lives in, is just a big house and that all the bedrooms are upstairs and how many people live here and why they are here, just like him etc etc. I have this conversation nearly every time I visit, but its very important to remind people with any level of dementia of 'time and place' as its called professionally – they forget where they are, why they have been moved etc. I makes it even more difficult when someone like my Father can't see – so for him, he doesn't know who staff are and who other residents are. He's not familiar with all the different rooms in the house and can only rely on people's voices.
It's heartbreaking to know that apart from visiting him, I can't improve his situation. He also got tearful a couple of times and said he wanted to go home and again I had to explain why he can't return home. He also asked how he got here and I had the delicate job of explaining that because of Social Services inadequate service of not providing two people and a wheelchair taxi, that it was the Manager Nigel and myself that had brought him here – I reminded him of how sick he had been on the journey, but he couldn't remember this at all.
I tried to get him to drink, but the reason he declined initially was because he said 'I will want to go to the toilet if I drink too much'. I encouraged him to have a drink just before I left. Drove back to King's Lynn and did the supermarket run – it was pouring with rain when I came out of the shop. North East winds and showers tomorrow – could bring a mega or two, you never know!