How Did We Get Here?
“Here” is not a place that stands alone. “Here” is a place and it is also a state of mind. “Here” is circumstances. For example, Dad was living in am Alzheimer’s Care Center. That would be his physical “here.”
Dad’s emotional and mental “here” is complex.
Dad has dementia.
How Did We Get Here?
In 2005 Dad started to show symptoms of fear. He told my wife and me initially that there was a larger conspiracy in his community to take his land to further the construction of a pipeline or of a landfill.
He would tell us of unknown people coming onto his property and into his home spreading contaminants. Unknown grasses would sprout from the substance. When confronted with the absence of evidence he would get angry.
A satellite network installer came to his home to set up a connection. While in the attic of Dad’s house the installer noticed old telephone lines. He told Dad about the lines. Dad is genial and quick to share a good word or conversation. They talked about how in the “old days” the old house was probably a part of a telephone party line.
Dad constructed a complex mosaic of perpetrators in the community who used the telephone lines and satellite connection to eavesdrop on his conversations. He believed this network of neighbors would plot times to enter into his home to steal food, pens, books or any number of things. The conspiracy in Dad’s mind grew to include large corporations and the U. S. Government.
Much of Dad’s fears were centered on unseen external forces at his home. Dad was not at risk of serious harm. The degree of risk was no more or less a risk for Dad than it was for any other octogenarian. That is until that fateful day in September 2014.
Dad’s beliefs and conspiracies grew more dramatic over time. They became elaborate to a point Dad believed his neighbors had entered his home and implanted a device in his abdomen. He believed they had remote access to make the device grow and shrink. Dad was convinced that the neighbors were being benevolent when they released the pressure from the device. That’s how Dad explained away the complications of an ongoing hernia condition.
Add to that is that Dad had untreated medical problems. He has a history of pooling blood in his body that eventually will pass in stool. It’s a medical condition known as diverticulitis. He had the most recent episode in September. He was anxious about not having regular bowel movements. He was convinced the conspirators were manipulating the device that Dad believes was inserted. The neighbors, in Dad’s view, were keeping him from a normal life.
His body eventually flushed the blood and Dad’s previous anemic condition was exacerbated. It was clear that emergency medical treatment and hospitalization was necessary.
It was during this time Dad lost his ability to reason or make decisions. He couldn’t understand directions being given to him. It was made evident Dad was unable to think clearly. He could no longer make a decision for himself.
We learned Dad had other serious medical conditions that required attention. He has an aortic stenosis; a narrowing of the aorta. He was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), chronic high blood pressure and stress fractures in his lower back. Medications treat the symptoms and Dad’s medical condition has plateaued.
From 2005 when the symptoms of dementia began to appear to that day in September 2014 Dad could manage. He cannot manage his daily life now. Dad needs us and we want to help. God has a plan.