Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 7, 2014

Hey everyone, 

Today was a day for my dad! For those that don't know, my dad has a rare brain disease called Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy (CAA) as a result he has Fronto Temporal dementia. He lives about 2 minutes from my house in a nursing home that is so wonderful that mum, my sister & I always know he is safe and being well taken care of! 

Today my kindness was for my dad! Dad has had a few volunteers come and spend time with him over the years. He has been in care for almost 7 years now! Occasionally the volunteers read the paper to him, chat to him or spend time so he didn't get bored. One such young woman was his volunteer for 4 years, he bought "real" coffee for him, read to him, talked about his favorite topics endlessly and spent one morning a week with him to just get to know what a good guy my father is! She was there every week for 4 years until she had to give up coming in every week because she was moving interstate for work & study! However every time she has returned home for Christmas & new year she always pops in for a chat with dad and to see how he is doing! Today was one of those days...
So my kindness was to organise with this amazing lady for a time for her to come in and see dad! I surprised dad with her visit! I also prepared her for some changes in dads condition...

Around the middle of last year my father had a terrible stroke that had him completely loose the use of his right side, his dominant side! He has lost the ability to feed himself, stand or sit unassisted and needs to be strapped into a wheelchair. It now takes two people to move dad in and out of his chair, if he is well enough to get out of his bed at all. He cannot do anything for himself anymore and is restricted to a vitamised diet and thickened drinks to prevent chocking! He is slowly getting some use in his right hand back, although the arm itself is like a sack of potatoes and according to dad about as useful! Thankfully he is able to talk clearly (for a while it was limited to irritated grunts & gibberish) and he is regaining some of his   Cheeky nature again too. My father is a stubborn man and a survivor! It takes a lot more than a simple stroke to kill him (as he has proved to us again and again)! 

These changes were quite different to the mobile, cheeky and independent man my father had been (even still in the nursing home) until just before his stroke! I did my best to answer any questions about his change in condition and help her understand what life is like for us now! 

She is such a wonderful lady! We (mum, V & I) are all so grateful for her visits because she has been so supportive of us & especially of dad! She has endless patience and a gentle spirit that seems to calm dad in his agitated state! Thank you so much TD for making the effort! It is so appreciated! 

Today was also the first day since dads stroke that I was able to get him to listen to music! My father was a mad violinist (& loved his clarinet & sax too), he was a keen musician and a lover of all forms and styles of music! So him being without music is like a fish being without water... However since his stroke loud noises were too much for his mind to cope with, so his music listening habits stopped until today! I coaxed him to listen to a CD I bought for him in Ireland, whilst I was there, and consisted of a good collection of Irish folk songs and bar songs! he enjoyed it! as I sang along to the songs, he tapped his good hand along to the beat, which was a start by no means! 

It was a good day for dad, for his volunteer friend to catch up with him and for his love for music rekindled! :) 

I have a terrible headache so will climb back into bed (I've been there almost since I left dads), but I'll know dad was happy today! And although that isn't a cure or an end to his terrible suffering (for he still suffers greatly with his diseases), he was happy with family, friends and music and right now that's all that matters! 

I hope you are all well today! 

Luv Daena 

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