There can’t be many milestones in life other than getting married, having a baby and putting your dad into an old folk’s home.
I have now done all three.
The first two were easier than the last one.
For those who follow me on facebook and twitter you will already be aware of my dad’s slow slide into dementia.
Dad has lived alone for seven years since my step mum succumbed to cancer.
I have heard him having a stroke whilst we were chatting on the phone when I was in
and managed to get him swift care. Since then the sly sneaking horrible bastard
that is dementia has been crawling around his brain looking for wee spaces to
hide in and reveal itself whilst he was at his most vulnerable.
Nothing is more soul wrenching than watching your dad feel terrified that he is a factory and nobody will help him get out.
We tried being with him everyday in his own home and the social care from Glasgow NHS and
council has been utterly brilliant the NHS mental health people are fabulous.
Dad’s care worker Mark even counselled me when I sat in floods of tears outside
my venue at Edinburgh Fringe. Dad had a bad day and called me hysterical. Mark
called me and reassured me I was doing the best I can.
Dad was escaping his house and upsetting the neighbours with his constant vulnerability. My dad has great neighbours and they have all grown up together so it was hard for them to see the wee proud private man look confused outside their door.
I got emergency respite in a care home 66 steps from my front door. I can see him 5 times a day or more if I please. He looks peaceful and feels secure and now when he gets a dementia ‘attack’ the staff and I are usually there to reassure him.
Tonight I went to see him before I went onstage. He was lying on his bed listening to his radio; he smiled when I came into his room. I slipped my shoes off dropped off my jacket and climbed up beside him and he shuffled over. He hugged me and we listened to Dr Hook and Eagles songs. I nearly feel asleep!
“Janey you need to get to work” he said.
He seems ok. I feel ok. I still have my daddy.