A Broken Promise

Have you ever made someone a promise? A promise you swear you won't break?

I did.

But now I have broken my promise.

I feel terrible, I know I have actually done the right thing in my head, but my heart ...well my heart is a little bit broken.

I promised my Dad that I would not put him into a home. He wanted to stay in the home he had lived in for the last 60 years.

But, my Dad's general health has deteriorated since my Mum died in 2012, nothing specific, he has been just less interested in life. 

He has become increasingly frail, developed a hump on his back, lost mobility and had incontinence issues. He started having falls, so I got him a carer.

Initially, the carer was just intermittent throughout the day, but as time went on his condition worsened so 24 hour care was required. So that's what I got him.

I complained that he hated growing old and got frustrated with his forgetfulness and loss of physicality. 

Other family members talked about putting him into a home, I refused, I explained my promise. He was genuinely concerned that he would end up in a home and he had seen what it had done to his sister and he really didn't want to go. I stuck by my guns, for 3 and 1/2 years.

Then he was hospitalised with Gastro-Enteritis.

He was sent home too soon and sent back to hospital, at which point the carer said he needed more specific care, including nursing care and she couldn't cope.

The hospital diagnosed him with Vascular Dementia.

He wasn't safe at home anymore, even with all the additional assistance I had added with the help from the occupational health people.

I made the arrangements and he has been in a care home since October. It's the best home I could find in the area and the people are lovely there. 

Since arriving he has lost all mobility and now spends all day in a chair watching telly. He doesn't want to eat with the other residents or go anywhere.

So he sits in his chair alone the majority of every day. 

I try to visit Dad once a week (He is about a 130 miles round trip, away from where I live with my family), he knows who I am, who my kids and husband are, but his imagination runs on over drive, and he is losing his words. 

He thinks he is at home. Which is a relief. 

But, I can't stop thinking what sort of life is this for a person, a person who worked in an office for 30+ years, wrote plays, poems and a book.

For a person who was so bright, and creative and a great parent, this is no life.

How I remember Dad, Big, smart, creative and capable.


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