My mom died on February 15th, 2017 after a long battle with Alzheimers Disease, which culminated in a stroke that took mom from us 2 weeks later. Although it was still difficult, we were more mentally and emotionally prepared for mom’s death as we knew it was eminent due to her weight loss, loss of appetite, constant dehydration and other symptoms and effects of Alzhemer’s Disease. Mom was memorialized and interred at Victoria Greenlawn Cemetary.
After mom died, Sharon (my wife) and I had to deal with the effects of dad’s frontal lobe dementia. From November 2017 until February of 2018 we lived this routine of helping dad get from A to B, cooking, doing laundry, making sure his bed (and he) was clean. We had PSWs in twice a day for the duration. We were required to intervene and help with everything from personal care to trying to preventing him from “roaming” (at the request of Windsor Police service), as he was caught a few times shoplifting from local stores.
Frontal lobe dementia was the scariest thing I have ever witnessed happen to a person in my life. Dad went from a loving, caring, gentle soul to one who verbally abused us often and at one point wielded a knife at Sharon. We knew however, that it was this disease and not dad causing the outbursts and problems. It got so bad that I couldn’t leave our residence for more than an hour at a time to keep my business alive, relying on headshots clients for income, as headshots client sessions are typically of a shorter duration than a model portfolio or boudoir session. I started getting this voice telling me I shouldn’t leave the house in case something should happen with dad. He was always forgetting things that he had done earlier in the day or the day before. Yet his long term memory was more intact. It wasn’t until dad got sick and started vomiting all over the place that we realized there was something else going on. I think he was actually getting sick behind closed bathroom doors and not telling us, in order to avoid the emergency room. Dad never liked doctors or hospital. I even remember one time where he checked himself out of the hospital after a car accident that had him in casts on both arms. The shocking part was that dad proceeded to remove the casts himself, much sooner than he was told to. Luckily he healed fine.
Anyways, beginning in November 2017, dad was repeatedly hospitalized due to vomiting and well.. he just looked horrible. Dad spent 6 weeks in the hospital waiting for a stent to be placed in his duodenum. I was told the very first time we went to the emergency he needed to be stented. He was released twice during this period, only to be carted right back the emergency room when he began vomiting again.
I still have a hard time coming to grips with the fact that dad sat for 5 weeks in the hospital vomiting, ripping iv tubes and pic-lines out because he didn’t understand what was going on with him. I know now that it wouldn’t have prevented him from succumbing to this horrible thing that left him unable to pass waste to his bowels. We were given a diagnosis of “atypical results” from a biopsy of the mass in his duodenum about 2 weeks before he passed. This meant that it could be or might not be cancer.
A couple of weeks later, during an examination, doctors found that dad’s blockage had grown through the stent that was placed in the duodenum. As they were exploring options to re-stent him to reopen, it was found that a couple of “spots” on his kidney had metastasized and the count went from “2” to “so many we can’t count them.” At this point, we were called in the next day to meet with the care team and discuss plans for dad going forward. We all came to a decision of hospice for dad.
We were called at 9:30 the next morning with the nurse telling me that dad was, “taking his final breaths. You better get down here.” Sharon, my brother Robert and I jumped into my van and went to the hospiatal. Dad passed 20 minutes later almost a year later than mom, on February 9, 2018. It took a much harder toll on us than mom’s passing.
I still wonder why that stent was not placed in his stomach during the period of that first emergency visit back in November. Due to his extended stay in hospital, he lost his ability to walk because he was restrained to prevent him from pulling out ivs and pic-lines. He was all of a sudden in adult diapers when other than this blockage, he was a totally healthy man before the initial vomiting started.
It is coming up on 6 months since dad passed and I still break down in tears late at night in solitary. I never thought dad would go so soon after mom. Dad was 12 years younger than she.
Mom, Dad.. I love you and miss you so much!
I will try and post more often again. Thank-you to my clients, friends and all those whom I have worked with up to now. I promise the best is yet to come!