Saturday, August 13, 2011

I've Been Promoted or Perhaps, Demoted

Life has been a bit more stressful lately and so I haven't updated my blog for a while. As some of you may recall, my friend, The Bear, lives in a retirement home on the assisted care unit. Three and a half years ago when The Bear was in hospital and extremely ill, I agreed to become his Power of Attorney for finances and for health care. When it was time for him to leave the hospital he was not able to live on his own, so I relocated him to the retirement home where he is now. He adjusted to his new home and did well in spite of his gradual memory loss and his chronic illnesses. But then, about three months ago his memory loss began to accelerate and his physical problems increased too.

He needs more nursing care now, the kind of care that is provided in a Nursing Home, and he is not able/competent to decide where he would get the best care. I was sure of this, but it has been difficult to get the powers that be to agree with me. However, on Thursday when his ability to make decisions was reassessed by a nurse who had never met him before; he was finally declared not competent. Up until Thursday - if by some weird fluke a nursing home bed had become available (He was on the waiting list but not as a priority.) - he could have refused to go. I agree that a person who is competent and fully aware of the consequences of their decision should have the right to refuse care, but The Bear is not "all there" any more.

I suppose it's rude to say he's not "all there." Maybe his memories and his logic are in there somewhere, but he can't access them anymore. His condition does sometimes give rise to unintentional humour though. When I saw him on Thursday he asked me which organization I belonged to. When I said - none - he became agitated and insisted that I must be one of those "You know - Ladies of the afternoon."

I was perplexed. At first I thought he referred to "Ladies of the Evening". I've never been one and now I'm too old to join their society. After a few more questions, I was able to determine that he thought I was a Catholic religious lady - a nun in civvies.

So, depending on how you view it, I've either been promoted to sanctity or demoted to just another religious lady.

I've been informed that the wait-time for a Nursing Home bed for The Bear could be less than six months, or it could be more than a year. In the meantime, I'll keep visiting him on a regular basis. I have no idea who he might think I am next week.


Anonymous said...

I don't envy you, Diane. It is a tough road you're on.

Dementia, in itself, is not funny, but often if we can't laugh at some of the situations it creates, we just might find a corner somewhere to blubber.

Stay strong.


Susan said...

He might not be "all there" now, but he was certainly "all there" when he asked you to become his Power of Attorney. Where others may shirk the responsibility, you are an excellent advocate for him, and a faithful visitor. Kudos!

Lori Hahnel said...

The Bear continues to be a very lucky man, having you to look after him. I hope a bed becomes available for him soon.

Bea said...

Diane, your friend The Bear is very fortunate to have you and I agree with Susan that he made a good choice when he asked you to be responsible for him.

"Lady of the Afternoon" - tee hee

Anonymous said...

Diane you're an inspiration, it's only going to get harder but it's so wonderful that you're there for The Bear. Keep us up to date. *big bear hugs*

Angela Addams said...

Diane, what a generous soul you are to care for someone like this. It's tough to watch someone who you knew one way change and become a different person. I wish you all the strength you will need to continue with your honourable path.

Falcata Times said...

You demonstrate the positive aspects of mankind with your friendship and generosity. TB is lucky to have you in his corner.

Just don't let the fight get you down, you know the goal, you've got it set in your sights and knowing you it is something that you can achieve. Just remember that you have a whole host of friends to talk to if you need it.