I had a long visit with my father yesterday. Dad suffers from Parkinsonism. It is similar to Parkinsons. He had been living in Toronto and moved here and has been living at a long-term care facility, we are lucky that this is also where daughter #1 works.
The staff is fabulous and love dad to bits, many have “pet” names for him and care for him and treat him with the utmost respect and dignity.
I have not been the best daughter to him over the last few months, life has been busy with work and the kids…the winter we had did not always make it easy for travelling either, these are excuses at best, I was being selfish, I find it difficult visiting Dad sometimes, seeing the deterioration and the disease take over his body and mind is heartbreaking for me. When Dad first moved here he was walking, talking etc. Over the last couple of years this has all changed, he now has a motorized wheelchair, which he loves, however has been adjusted to “rabbit” speed for safety, Dad is a bit of a daredevil 😀
Dads speech almost non-existent and it can be difficult to communicate, he has an iPad that he can type things out on and has had various other devices to help in communicating but his motor skills are failing and it is a very slow process, we all, including Dad find other ways to “chat”. I’ve started visiting again and regret missing the last few months. Yesterday we had a great visit, I was there for around 4 hours, brought him some flowers, fixed up his internet, caught up on his Facebook page and watched funny videos…. He composed an email to my mum which in his own words took “45 minutes to write” approximately 4 lines. I talked about the spring we are having, the birds, the kids, mum while he patiently listened and I had also been trying to convince him I had the brain of a Mensa…but he wasn’t falling for it.
Dads determination is amazing, he insists on doing as much as he can. Dad on occasion slides down in his chair and there is a piece of heavy-duty material that you can pull from the back of his chair to get him sitting upright again but he is bound and determined to do it himself, it takes so much effort but he does it, huffing and puffing, his face turning red, the simplest of things like pulling your self up are such an effort for him and it would be so easy for him to give up and just let someone do it but ooohhhhh noooo, he’s got to do it himself! It’s painful for him to do things that we take for granted, his hands are rigid and cramped and his body hurts and won’t cooperate with his brain.
One of the things I admire the most about my Dad is his sense of humor, determination and the ability to always look on the bright side.
No matter how he’s feeling he always finds a smile and something positive in the day and waves and smiles at people in the hall. This has got to be one of the best qualities I see in my father. I have seen others that are just miserable that have their ability to walk and talk and have “control” over their lives, but not Dad, he’s always got a smile or a kind look for someone.
My mother is cut from the same determined “cloth”. Both Mum and Dad are in their 70’s now and Mum has been an avid camper,canoeist, kayaker, hiker always taking classes, learning new things and meeting new people. She had a knee replacement a couple of weeks ago and is staying with my sister for the next few weeks, Mum is supposed to use her walker to get around but insists on walking to the bathroom unassisted!! This drives my sister crazy, among other things….*laughing*
Mum continues with her physio despite the pain in her knee, as she has big plans to go on a 3 week trip to P.E.I which consists of lots of walking and camping at the end of June! If it were me it would take me twice as long to recoup.
Seems funny to be proud of our parents when it is usually and hopefully them that are proud of their us. But I am proud of both my parents for all they have taught us and continue to teach us, for their determination and spirit. I’m also grateful that they have given us the mad crazy skills we all possess the coping skills, kindness and compassion we need to get through life and to pass on these qualities on to our children, who are already pretty “kick ass” kids sorry mum Their grandchildren range in age from 4 – 26, the older ones have proven over and over again that they are cut from this “cloth” and I hope the two youngest will follow in their cousins footsteps. 😀
I hope that they are just as proud of all of us as we are of them. I know they are proud of me, that’s always been a given, but my brother and sister ehhh maybe not so much . 😀 😀
≈Laugh loudly, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly≈