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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Yesterday and Today

Yesterday, I had five minutes of absolute terror and there was nothing I could do about it. I'd just stepped off the subway in Park Slope, on my way to my therapist, when jonbaker called. His father was missing. Dad is 89 years old, in reasonable physical health, except that he's very deaf. He also has no short-term memory anymore. It's not dementia. It's a result of untreated congestive heart failure (Dad never complains, you see) which left some brain damage and a series of mini-strokes. Both are under control, but the damage has been done.

Yesterday, Dad decided the day was Tuesday, not Wednesday and so he had a class at their synagogue. Mom was out, so he just left. Without a coat (it was very cold in New York City) or his belt pouch. He made it to the shul, where they all immediately recognized him, and someone walked him back home. Dad assured them he had a key to the apartment. Even so, someone called the apartment to check on him.

He didn't answer.


Mom refuses to turn her cellphone on when she's not using it, so she was unreachable. So they called jonbaker. He called me. Neither of us are sure why. And then he called the real estate office who manages the co-op, so he could get the number to reach the doormen, who could check on Dad. Scared the guy at that office, too. Doormen said Mom had just walked in.

Jonathan called the apartment. Mom answered. Dad was there, safe and sound - he hadn't heard the phone. Jonathan called me back, of course. The whole thing took five minutes, but it felt like far longer. And, of course it became a focus of the session.

They're going to have to figure something out so Mom can have the active life she needs without worrying. I think she should enlist the doormen to help out. Also, she should keep her cellphone on, darn it. An attendant would be a last resort before a rehab because, unfortunately, attendants tend to make kosher homes not kosher anymore (while I do my very best, the kashrut where I work is questionable at best.)

In other news, they gave me an extra responsibility today. While I'm glad to be trusted, three hours isn't enough anymore - I have to keep Mendy stocked up, and now I have to keep things prepared for Mischa in a way that gives him a choice, as well as just cooking dinner. Also, please to not be giving me extra stuff to do TODAY at 11:30 on Thursday when I don't even know where to put Mischa's food or have containers for it that look different than Mendy's because Mischa just needs his food pureéd. He doesn't need it measured or prepared in special ways. And on Friday I have a third house, they want me to make an extra salad AND keep the boys stocked and...

I still love my job, but surprise extra responsibilities are HARD for me. Change in routine is traumatic enough for me.


Becky tells me there are GPS tracking and monitoring systems for folks who may wander. Not sure what they would cost. There is also adult day care.

These are things we do need to discuss with Mom.

Wow. What a stressful day.

I'm praying that it all comes right.

Thank you. It will, I'm sure. At least jobwise, if not Dadwise.

Oh wow--that must have been scary. And it was COLD! I'm so glad he's okay.

We are very grateful, as you can imagine.

Dad's always been sort of macho about cold.

No, he always bundled up appropriately. I think his sensory nerves just don't work very well any more. He doesn't notice when food is rotten, and compliments it anyway (he's unfailingly polite). He doesn't notice cold any more. He doesn't notice pain, until it's really bad, or maybe they would have found the CHF sooner. Like, didn't he notice the edema in his legs?

And yes, the loss of short-term memory, whatever the proximate cause, is dementia. It's just not Alzheimers. I believe, and his cardiologist agrees it's plausible, that the Drs at the emergency room saw "old man, CHF" and prescribed BP meds by reflex, as well as warfarin to dissolve the clots that had built up in his heart & lungs. But Dad has, if anything, always had good to LOW BP, so the BP meds lowered it dangerously, and he didn't get enough blood to his brain for a few days.

Meanwhile, Mom is paranoid about Alzheimers, so the Dr has him on Aricept. Which has a side effect of making you sleep a lot. He was already sleeping a lot, and now it's worse. Practically every time he sits down, without something immediate to do, like eat, or play recorder, or something, he falls asleep.

He can carry on a conversation, if you can get through the wall of unhearing, his opinions and general (and professional musical) knowledge are all there, he's still the same person, but specific things like "do you know where the music from the LSS Chorale might be" are not there.

how frightening for everyone! I'm awfully glad things turned out fine, and hope folks can sort out some way to reduce the chances of a similar occurance in the future

I hope so, too. I never want this to happen for real.

I'm so glad your family is ok!

Also, it sounds like it might be time to talk to work about how they need to give you more notice when they are going to ask you to do things, because, AGH. I always hated those kinds of conversations at workplaces. :(

I'm so not good about this. I am hinting that I want more hours, though.


Be matter-of-fact about it: "Okay, I'll start implementing that next week. My hours will need to be increased."

Best wishes for your father-in-law.

We're dealing with the proper feeding of our individuals. If Michelle believed it had to be implemented right away, I had to do it.

BTW, our diabetic boy is gaining weight, as we want him to. He looks a lot happier, too.

Glad to hear that he's OK after all that fear and worry. Hope tomorrow is much less stressful.

God willing. (It helps that I actually cooked Shabbos dinner.)

Oy that was stressful.

I'm sure you've thought of this but why not explain to your MIL that it's not just a question of her using the phone but of her being reachable. Also explain to her that it doesn't cost anything to have the phone ON.

They called you because you're known to be the reliable one, a blessing and a curse. Good to hear he was found.