My dad has Parkinson’s. He has had it for at least ten years now, but he has recently taken a turn for the worse. He is a very stubborn man, set in his ways. He refused to see a doctor. He constantly blamed outside factors for his symptoms. He let himself deteriorate so badly that he could not stand, let alone walk. My mom had to call an ambulance after finding him weak, dehydrated, and laying on the floor for hours.
It’s painful to see my dad in a hospital bed. He’s wearing a diaper. He cannot get up to use the bathroom. He can’t put on his own clothes. His mind is so befuddled that he doesn’t order his own meals at the hospital. He went days without brushing his teeth because he didn’t think to ask the hospital staff for a toothbrush or ask us to bring him one from home.
I’m learning to be a parent to my parent. It’s weird and sad and stressful. I should have been more proactive in taking care of my dad, but it was really hard to step into that role. I didn’t want to upset him.
I should have taken that risk. Maybe he wouldn’t be in such a terrible state.
I can’t change my mistakes, but I am learning from them. I’m advocating for my dad, helping him navigate his V.A. benefits, and trying to keep his spirits up.
Have any of you been through this? What advice do you have?