Dad crisis

So, Thursday I hadn’t been in long, and the phone went – an unusual occurrence in itself and general doesn’t mean anything good–the way telegrams didn’t bring good news in wartime.

It’s the ambulance service who had been called out because Dad was wandering about in the middle of the road with a parcel under his arm. I can sort of see the way his mind works, he’d found the parcel (probably hidden away, I’ve been waiting for it for a month) and knew I hadn’t been gone long so thought he could probably catch me up at the end of the road, but by the time he’d done that he was too confused and in his state now can’t really communicate properly either).

A couple of neighbours came in and assured – as i did – that dad wasn’t really acting unnusually and the ambulance men didn’t haul him off (although it might have been better if he had, see later).

I called round Friday morning as usual and Dad was unusually chipper, his colour was very high and I could tell something was wrong when he made tea (something he’s been doing after all all his life, and something I encourage him still to do because it’s stimulation) which was black with slices of banana in it. And no, that’s not how I like it. When I queried him on it, he said “we always have it like that!” and when I said we didn’t he said “yes we do, go and ask any of the girls!” and when i said there were no girls, he got all huffy and stomped off.

Then the neighbours arrived and started cataloguing the night before. THEN it turns out, and why the fuck they never told me this before, this has been going on for ages, possibly years on and off. He was out again several times after the ambulence had gone, wandering up and down, and then again at one o clock in the morning, banging so hard on a neighbours door that he woke them up. They described to me a litany of instances where he’d woken them up, or had been knocking and then didn’t know why or who they were or anything. Sigh. Unreal that they’d not tell me – and I see these two men regularly.

So I call the Adult Services emergency number (and here’s where it all gets farcical) and the whole thing takes on a Kafka-like spiral of emergency turning into a non-emergency. The Adult Services were very nice, asked lots of questions were very sympathetic but then after about half an hour on the phone to them, the girl passed me over to some bloke who ultimately told me I’d have to go through Dad’s GP. i MEAN what was the point of THEM?

So, I rang the GP, that is to say I spoke to the receptionist (it was lunchtime by now) and she said the doctor would call me back “at some point”. Luckily it was only about an hour later and he – as usual – acted as if he was bored out of his skull, and said patronising things like “I suppose I’d better come out and look at him, although this call wasn’t logged as a visit.” (as if that’s anything to do with me) well don’t do me any favours, doctor.

THE POINT I WAS TRYING TO MAKE to everyone is not that I WANT to put my father away, it’s just that he’s now at a point, after managing himself pretty well for six years, where he’s not only incapable of looking after himself when I’m not here – unable to make a cup of tea for example – but he’s a danger to himself and to others if he’s wandering the streets, sometimes in his pyjamas and slippers.

Sigh. Anyway, he arrives quite promptly, in about 20 mins, and checks Dad’s pulse and heart and urine (apparently a UTI can cause confusion, that explains my life for the last ten years) and everything’s fine, surprise surprise. So then the doctor sighs (this really pisses me off) and says that he’ll “try to set the wheels in motion but he doesn’t know what can really be done on a Friday afternoon” as if that’s Dad’s fault or mine for being – yanno – inconveneint.

note to self: when i go gaga, make sure it’s on a Tuesday morning. Early.

He says he’ll ring “sometime this afternoon.” He didn’t.

Instead we get the Social Services. Oh joy. These are the people who will take dad into care and if I’m not very careful will take his house away from him to pay for it.

I have to explain everything AGAIN – and I know the story is losing a lot of its drama the more times I tell it. WHY ARE THESE DEPARTMENTS NOT ALL LINKED? Why – when I’ve given my details and phone numbers to the Adult Services – or to the GP – does it not all appear on a central database? I mean, my contact details weren’t even at the GP’s according to the receptionist and that’s rubbish because they’d contacted me a good few times before. The Social Services person says that she’ll pass it on to the relevant department – god knows which by this time – Kafka really has taken over – and they’ll ring me. I tell them I’m going to dash home and feed the cats and to ring me on the mobile.

The mobile rings as I’m half way home and I pull over and answer it. Social Services again and they ask me what it is i really NEED. I have to explain the situation for a fourth? fifth? time? now and they say I could get a night sitter perhaps or (unreal) sensors on the doors which would go off if he leaves the house after a set time and contact me or the police.

Yes. you heard that right. Do I want a contraption on the house which will ring ME at 1 oclock in the morning to let me know that Dad is wandering, so I can get dressed, get the dog, get in the car, drive 20 miles in the dark and find that by the time i’ve got there (at least 45 mins later) he’s gone back to bed? I told them a night sitter is a possibility, but I think that he’d react badly to finding someone he doesn’t know sitting in the house with the light on. What a terrible job, and not one I’d like to do.

She says she’d better come out and assess him.

I say – great I’ll turn around, when can you come?

She says “Oh, I can’t come today. It’s 3.30 and we close at 4.30.”


The above was removed for bad language in my head.

So, she’s coming on Monday at 11, and till then I’m here and staying the weekend. The night was indicative of what people have been saying. He woke up about 1pm and was obviously desperate for the loo and came barging into my room with his pj bottoms at half mast, clearly confused as to what room was the bathroom. He then wandered around the house for another half an hour before going back to bed. I had confiscated his keys and told them they were lost so at least he couldn’t get out.

So, that’s the story at the moment. Not very nice and not very optimistic. I will try and arrange for the house to be let because frankly, it’s the only thing I have to inherit and I can see unemployment and homelessness/rented accommodation in my future. When I lose the Carer’s Allowance, and that could be next week, I’m going to have to sign on the dole and that’s not enough to live on and pay the mortgage.

What I should have done, and mum and I talked about it enough times, was to get the house signed over to me before mum died. If you gift the house to someone AT LEAST seven years before it’s needed for retirement care, then they can’t touch it. But it’s far too late now, and I’m stupid that I knew this in advance and didn’t do it.

Amusingly though was Sasha’s reaction to OMG the central heating is off overnight! – I don’t have central heating at all at home and so I had a little portable radiator which I keep on trickle overnight (mainly to prevent condensation) but when the heating went off at Dad’s she got cold and at about 2am she clambered into the bed with me, under the covers and dead to the world, poor thing! She won’t get that luxury when I get her home!

© Copyright 2013 Erastes, All rights Reserved. Written For: Erastes
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dad crisis

  1. Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry you’re going through all that. It’s bad enough when you have such worries and then the people who are supposed to be able to help as that’s their job, end up causing more grief. I really do hope it all works out. *hugs*

  2. BlackTulip says:

    When I think about this episode in retrospect, this is simply terrifying, your father wandering for years without you knowing it …. incredible ! anything could have happened … and then so little help or understanding from people whose only purpose is to find the right solution for your father and yourself. I’m very sorry and I sincerely hope something satisfying is found for both of you the soonest possible. :D

Comments are closed.