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Sunday, 06 May 2012 21:14

My Dad...

My Dad was moved into a care home - or 'nursing home' as some might call it, or the even less accurate and more depressing 'old folk's home' - this week.  While it is true that my Dad is living among many people with similar physical abilities and disabilities, they are almost all about 40 years older than he is.  That would be pretty 'damn' depressing (as one nurse of his has commented to me).

Today we came prepared to entertain both my Dad and our toddler - I had collected a number of small 'crafty' type things as well as paper and glue, and Clara and I set to work on her first art project to hang in Dad's room.  It turned out quite nicely, and I was impressed at her level of interest.  Of course, we filled one sheet of paper and got halfway through a second before she had had enough, but it was certainly nice to sit and do 'busy work' while my Dad watched instead of trying to carry on a one-sided conversation.

Then I brought out my guitar.  I could see when it came through the door that my Dad's eyes were continually darting to it.  I was afraid to play for him.  When I was younger - and he was well - he would always cry when I played for him.  He was that kind of Dad - SOOO proud :)  And very emotional. 

I had practiced at home while trying to let the image of my Dad's face cross my mind and it never took more than a few seconds for my eyes to well up with tears and my voice to catch in my throat.  I thought playing in front of him would be impossible. 

There were other people in the room, though, and I used my nervousness to distract me from the fact that I was playing for my Dad.  I could even look him in the eye while I played, and when Clara started getting fussy because this large wooden object was on HER mommy's knee, this actually provided a welcome distraction for me to continue playing - unemotionally.

I only got through one song, and it was time for Clara to go home to bed.  I may not be that successful the next time, but I will try again. 

I hope this doesn't come across as arrogant, but I know that playing and singing for my Dad, on the guitar that he spent four years designing and building especially for me, is the greatest thing I could do for him right now.

.............................................................................................................................................................................................................

I feel completely unprepared for advocating for my Dad in this situation.  I know almost nothing about how homes such as these are run, and extremely little about the type of care he should be receiving and what to expect - or even demand - from his many nurses.  In many ways the Canadian health care system can be considered great - because much of it is free - but at the same time in our area the workers are in high demand and paid the same regardless of their work ethic. So, there is no guarantee you will have nurses or doctors who take their jobs as seriously as they should, and if you don't know any better, there is a chance you - or your loved one - could be taken advantage of.

I was given a long list today by a family member of things I should be demanding of my Dad's care workers.  I wrote everything down, because I knew I wouldn't remember half of it. 

I'm nervous about asserting myself to the nurses.  Partially, I think I'm afraid I won't be brave enough to demand the level of care that my Dad needs - and he will suffer because of it. 

I know that many people have gone here before me, and it helps to talk to these people about their experiences.  It gives me strength.  I need strength right now.

Read 1838 times Last modified on Tuesday, 25 June 2013 22:24

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