Dad is a funny guy. He lost his marbles almost eight years ago, ended up more or less homeless, showed up at my doorstep with a suitcase that contained but a pair of shorts, his wallet, and his "papers". Since then, I have taken over. I found him a good place to live, have dressed him, furnished his home, and now take him for doctor's appointments and haircuts. I often worry about how he is doing. He tends to sleep some 22 hours a day. Whenever we ask him how is he, he says you know same shit different day. Ok. So imagine my surprise when one day, when I went to the office to re-sign his lease, a yearly chore, I saw pictures of him on the desk. He was singing in a choir! Dancing with some woman! Winning at bingo! Wow!! Then as years went on, his apartment was getting populated with nice little throw pillows; we once came in and found a pair of nylons draped over the TV!; there is a nice ladies jacket hanging in his closet; he has a new pair of reading glasses (ladies glasses). So I ask him who does this belong to dad? And I always get the same, very sincere reply, "I don't know". I have pretty much accepted my dad's dementia. It's the vascular kind so its not so bad (sort of). We joke with him, he is always happy to see me, and clearly he has less of a sleepy life than I know or think!
It has always been important to me that he maintain some autonomy. That means that I leave him money in his account (minimal) and he gets to keep his banking card. I know his dementia is progressing because he has stopped going to the corner store all together. He used to go, would buy macaroni, Crisco Oil, (he has no means of cooking) cause he was doing a grocery run to go to the country. I often go to his place and find little grocery lists. When I ask him what that is, he replies like I'm an idiot, haven't I seen his grocery lists for the cottage before, I should know he is getting ready to open the cottage up for the season, whats wrong with me. Well Dad, what's wrong with me is I remember we lost the cottage and you don't. Talk about Groundhog Day. Anyhow, all that to tell you that he got to keep his wallet.
Well now he lost his wallet. A whole host of things need to be taken care of now - in order to secure his pension from Germany - can't do that without photo ID. Bloody hell... that would have been the Medicare Card that was in the wallet. Or his Citizenship card... that was in his wallet too. It's such a damn fine line - autonomy/security, dignity/powerlessness. You don't know when you have crossed the line until you do - and then it's too late.
Where is the gratitude? I don't know. I'm glad I have saved up his money, because if we lose the German pension for a while, he won't hurt any. I am glad there are ways to fix these things. Tomorrow I will go and really scour his apartment, perhaps my blog tomorrow will be about my gratitude for finding it!
I love my dad. That I can tell you I'm grateful for.