Round Two

At my parent’s house last night (Tuesday), Mom and I prepared for Operation Nursing Facility, round two. Once Dad was asleep, we barricaded ourselves in my mom’s study. Armed with Shapies, we wrote Dad’s name on countless pairs of pants, underwear, shirts and sweaters. Then Mom wedged the towering stack of clothes into duffel bags and stashed them in the trunk of the car.

It felt a lot like we were sending a kid to camp — labeling clothes, packing toothpaste, checking the orientation packet — except that Dad was unaware of the relocation plans.

And when we’d drop him, there’d be no explanation, no goodbyes. The staff would busy him with activities while we hastily unpacked his bags and then slipped away. By the time he’d discovered the little room with family photos and his bed spread conspicuously on display, we’d be long gone.

As we folded and packed the clothes, Mom and I speculated about Dad’s reaction — how angry he’d be and whether he’d act out. Whether meds would quell his mood. The director of the facility had said that they rarely bounce residents from the program, except in a few extreme cases. Like when one guy busted through the wooden stockade fence around the building’s perimeter in an attempt to leave. We doubted that Dad would behave this way. Still, we hoped that his temper wouldn’t get the best of him.

Despite my dread, the move Wednesday morning went smoothly. A nurse whisked Dad away so quickly, he had no time to wonder where he was going or what we were doing. Mom and I filled his closet and dresser drawers, made his bed and left. An element of guilt lurked in my mind — duping Dad and leaving with no words of reassurance or a promise to return. But after the fiasco last week, this approach seemed best.

So far, all quiet on the front lines. I’m crossing my fingers that Dad settles in and that we’ll be able to see him in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, no more blogs about dementia and parents lost. Back to frigid weather, mud, manure and all the other joys of winter.