Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dreams and Imagination

Most people don't know that I moved in with my Dad when my mother died.  This has been over ten years ago and it's seems like yesterday.  My dad has been on disability since '95, he has asbestosis.  Over the years his lungs have slowly deteriorated and he is now on oxygen 24/7.  We always expected his lung disease to be the medical issue that would be the most problematic.  We were wrong.

Dad has had heart related issues since 2004.  That year they discovered that his right carotid artery was completely blocked and began keeping a close eye on the left one.  In 2005, he had a triple bypass, an aortic aneurysm bypass graft and surgical hernia repair.  I believe it was late 2006 he had an impacted bowel that they ended up doing surgery to remove.  Somewhere in the next couple of years the surgical hernia that was repaired had to be repaired, again.  Otherwise, he did pretty good for a while there, then in 2008 he had a couple of small strokes.

Due to the strokes, Dad lost his peripheral vision, was having memory problems and began having vision and tactile hallucinations.  This was scary, but they were small compared to what was to come.  Late 2010, the left carotid artery began closing up and he had surgery to remove the blockage.  During presurgery testing it was discovered that both his right and left femoral arteries were 95% blocked.  So he had the left leg done and then the right.  All three of these surgeries were within a 120 day period.

The doctors are always slightly surprised when they find things wrong with Dad.  He doesn't have the usual symptoms, no pain, no complaints.  They always tell us that with his lung issues that surgery is difficult; but, then they are amazed at how well he does during and after surgery.  My Dad is a fighter.

I'm writing all this down, because my Dad's memory is getting worse.  He is having waking dreams or hallucinations or whatever you want to call them.  We have found him wandering around the yard, at night, in his PJ's with a flashlight, looking for his National Guard unit so he can fall in for roll call.  I've had to help him kill the snakes that were trapped in his ceiling fan, that only he could see.  We saw his doctor and now we are seeking the assistance of specialists.

The doctors say that they do not see any issues with his medication, that it is not dementia or Alzheimer's.  We spent five hours at the specialist's office yesterday for neurological testing.  I am trying to be patient, and sooth Dad's impatience, while they figure out what's wrong.  I'm worried and I'm scared, but more importantly so is he.