June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Pop is dying as we speak. My husband is with him. My brother in law has dropped his family off back in Lauderdale and is driving back to sleep in the hospital at his bedside.

And I didn't see this coming.

The psychotic episode of yesterday, we thought completely passed, picked back up today. When we arrived at 1:30, fully expecting to see him in his normal state, talking about physical therapy kicking his butt, we found a man in a confused state again, and heard from staff that he'd had a psychotic rage in the morning, kicking his food out of the nurse's hands.

When it was just Pop and me in the room, I realized then he was hallucinating again. I told him we were listening and we believed him.

"You can come out now", he said.

"Pop, who?"

He got stonefaced suddenly, as if he realized he said something he should not have said.

I continued, "Pop, you have to tell me who you see and what you see, so I can tell you if it's real or not. Who is it Pop?"

"He's under the bed. He's talking to me. He keeps talking to me. He needs to come out."

I bent down, and I put my hands to his face and his chest and said softly, "Pop, I promise you, there is no one there. Something is not right, the medications, something, but it is just us now. I promise."

He looked into space again, stonefaced, as if by not making eye contact, I wouldn't be there.

"My pants are on inside out," he said as he fingered the side seam of his pants.

I looked at his pants. They were on fine.

"Pop... your pants are fine."

Looking at me, '"Can't you feel the seam? I need to take them off so they can put them on right."

I put my hands on his face gently, I stroked his hair and said quietly, "Pop, your pants are fine. Look, here's the button and the zipper. Look at the side buckle. If they were on inside out, you'd not see any of this..."

He looked at his pants, I put his shirt back down, and he stared straight ahead again, stonefaced, as if willing me away, willing the person under the bed to come out, willing his pants to be right.

He continued staring ahead, speaking to the wall, 'I know it's happening, Bou. I know these things aren't right, but I can't make them stop." He looked up at me and said, "They have to fix me. I know my brain is OK, there is nothing wrong with my brain, but I can't make it stop."

And that was the moment I realized... he knew he was losing his mind, he was completely cognizant and unable to stop it.

It made me sick.

We had him transported back to the hospital. My husband took the kids home to get Ringo started on the yardwork, and I went back to the hospital to wait for Pop to be admitted.

I got in to find him in an odd state, staring at the ceiling, empty eyed, slack jawed. He looked like a stroke victim, more so than normal. Parkinson's patients lose all facial expression over time, and their jaws hang open in a relaxed state, frequently giving them a stroke victim look, but this was worse.

There was a vacancy in his stare now, no thinking, just blank.

I walked over and took his hand. He snapped back into focus and looked at me. And that's when the nastiness started to pour out. All of it, pouring forth, anger catalogued for the last 10 years, things I couldn't even go into... all aimed at me.

My husband suddenly appeared and told me to go on to our dinner plans. His brother, all the grandchildren, all of us were to go to dinner. I looked at Pop, turned to my husband and said, "Right. OK. Good luck with this. He's in one of his angry states. If you put your hand on his chest and tell him to lower his voice, he will."

I left. My husband joined us for dinner an hour later. My husband and his brother went back to the hospital while my sister in law and I took the kids for ice cream, knowing the wait to see their Pop would be a long one, and trying to fill the time with something other than pacing a waiting room.

Pop was in nuclear testing.

When he came out... he was totally catatonic and has been in that state ever since.

There is no blinking. No movement. He is rigid. A half closed stare into a space we do not see. We think he hears, but there is no response.

We took the kids in to say goodnight, it might be the last, and they are a mess. My children ache with the hurt of losing someone they love, who has been there their entire lives, good or bad, he is theirs.

And so the waiting game goes on. Nobody knows what is causing it. Nobody knows how to fix it.

The brain is a tough organ. My kids need a 2nd chance. He needs to pull through so my kids can tell them again that they love him, knowing he can hear them and respond.

He may be ready to go... but my kids aren't ready to let him.

We shall see.

I did not see our day ending like this. One minute there is a man under the bed, the next he's ranting at me, the next he's catatonic?

Mr. T needs a 2nd chance more than anything... and God has always been good to him. Let us hope...

Posted by Boudicca at June 20, 2010 10:28 PM

Bou: Have they checked for an infection? My grandmother went the same way and it turned out they identified a UTI was the root cause causing her psychosis.

Praying for you all and if this is the end may it be quick and the Lord be merciful. He deserves better. xxxxxx

Posted by: Shaz at June 20, 2010 10:44 PM

They have. His blood cell counts are good. No infection. He's exhibiting signs of renal problems again. Nobody can figure it out..., but they do think it is drug related.

Posted by: Bou at June 20, 2010 10:56 PM

Sending hugs and prayers to everyone but especially to the kids.

Posted by: Sticks at June 20, 2010 11:45 PM

Hang in there, hon. I'm saying a prayer for all of you and sending you hugs. Call anytime if you need anything. I'm emailing you my cell.

Posted by: caltechgirl at June 21, 2010 12:39 AM

Thoughts and prayers coming your way.

Posted by: Mike D. at June 21, 2010 01:02 AM

Bou: I hope you may get some sleep tonight! You are in my prayers.

Posted by: PeggyU at June 21, 2010 02:54 AM

Bou - you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by: Kris, in New England at June 21, 2010 05:45 AM

CTG- I'm going to call because there are some things I want to understand. You being the neuroscientist are going to have a grasp on some things I'm just not... getting.

I have an update I need to put out.

Posted by: Bou at June 21, 2010 06:29 AM

I'm here if you need rides for your kids or yourself.

Posted by: vwbug at June 21, 2010 07:16 AM