Today my father went to a nursing home. Intellectually I know he has to go there but emotionally the decision was so hard. I had spent several days with them last week and they were barely getting by. My father no longer can watch TV, take a shower alone, take pills without constant reminding that you put it in your mouth and then you swallow it. He cannot follow even the most simple directions. He also gets angry, hits things and uses very foul language. He wandered down the street and a neighbor brought him home. He doesn't know his address or phone number. The one thing he can remember is that he wants a cigarette but he cannot light it himself. He pours chocolate milk on his sandwich. He urinated in a trash can. He thinks his cat is a dog.
He was hospitalized the day after I left with a fever and lethargy and they think he had cholecystitis. They treated him with antibiotics and today with the encouragement of the hospital staff they found a nursing home bed for him. My mother called me in tears crying. She felt guilty putting him in a nursing home but there really was no other choice. I have been thinking a lot about God lately, why does he allow such suffering? I prayed that he would give peace to my father and mother. I am not sure this is the outcome I wanted but perhaps a nursing home bed opening up at the facility my mother wanted him at on the day he needed to go is the work of God. Or maybe it is just coincidence.
I have to admit I feel relieved. I called my parents everyday and I would say that most days in the months since my mother had her heart attack she has cried at some point on the call. She had no patience with my father and I really felt bad for him. She took everything he said personally and could not seem to see that it was the dementia, not my father talking. I told my friend that it was so sad to see my fathers body walking around and feeling as if your father was already gone.
So tonight, I will sleep, my mother will sleep and I hope my father will sleep. I hope he knows we love him and would keep him home if it was safe for him but it is not and the time has come that this is the option that is left.