It’s no great revelation to say that for every confusing human behavior, every cognitive choice, whether it appear rational or irrational, for every action, there lies some reasoning that may not be easily understandable to others.
While I will never know the depths of poverty experienced by my father’s family in Nebraska, and then rural Oregon in the 1920s, and 1930s, I have been given enough clues to piece together at least some of the struggles my father (now age 82) has around money and food.
This February blog about my dad was in my draft box… Maybe because I’m still in the process of understanding my father, maybe because there just is not much humor to be found when I write about him lately.
This is what this week with my dad looked like:
Bob King Diaries; O8.o9.2o16
Or, “How to scare the wits out of your daughter.”
Routine visit to Bob‘s PCP, and scheduled ear lavage.
All goes well, at first, but then Bob passes out cold.
If daughter hadn’t been right there, he would have fallen off the exam table and cracked his head.
…. Deep, deep, breaths.
Took the morning off to monitor, now heading back the “Real Nursing Job.” (The job with weekends off and benefits.)
Bob is fine… but perhaps questioning the wisdom of moving out of his independent apartment within the safe walls of Brookdale Assisted Living.
Loss, Sadness, Depression and Anhedonia.
It is also no great mystery that Bob’s losses over the last year or so have been simply, Too Much, Too Great. He’s lost his brother and his sister in law. He has ended his twelve year relationship with Nadia, his Russian love and travel companion.
And while he takes an anti-depressant medication, the sadness just appears to grow heavier with each passing day.
Anhedonia: plainly put, it is the loss of interest in enjoyable or rewarding activities that a person previously found pleasure in. In Bob’s case, food (and the very activity of eating) has been losing its allure for many years. And slowly, other activities have been joining the list. Watching movies. Arguing politics (yay!). Reading (Boo!). Walking. And bowling. Even bowling.
Photo: Bob’s bowling trophies in the window of our California home. They were part of the huge sweep of previously cherished items that never made the move to Portland.
Funny side note, phone call from Bob about 3 years ago:
“I got rid of a bunch more stuff this week.”
“Oh, yeah, like what, Dad?”
“Well, that Gigantic Family Bible, for one thing.”
“What? You threw out Grandma and Grandpa King’s Bible?!”
“No, of course not. I recycled the paper in it.”
Bob King Diaries; 08.11.2o16
Apparently severely dehydrated.
Refused to go in for physical and neuro assessment. Flat out refused.
It turns out that on this hot day (“it was only 88º ~ it didn’t seem warm at all”), he drank one cup off coffee in the morning, and one cup of water in the evening. Sum total of today’s fluids.
“And it was terrible coffee, because I’m out of my Saccharine tabs.”
When asked initially after passing out what he had eaten for lunch, Bob could not remember. An hour later, after arguing and refusing to go to Urgent Care, suddenly he remembered:
“I had peanut butter and jelly for lunch. And I’m almost out of peanut butter!!”
So, Bob has now passed out twice this week. Both times, scaring the wee wits out of his daughter.
Both times, completely unaware of his change in LOC, and then unconcerned when informed of these changes afterwards.
He did agree to not go down the basement stairs in his home tonight or tomorrow.
He said he would keep a log of fluid intake.
He hugged his daughter, thanked her for her concern. Shut the turquoise front door, and that was that.