I left my father who has dementia (moderate) for 1.5 hours (while he slept) to do important pre-Thanksgiving errands that I couldn't do with him. I had taken him on my morning errands for 2 hours but he was tired so I took him home to take a nap. I wrote on the white board that I would be back at 5:00 pm. Even though he has Sundowners, he still knows how to look at a clock...and read the board.
However, when I came home he was gone. I had taken his car so he wouldn't drive it. I was frantic. I looked for about an hour, leaving 5 messages on the other caregiver's phone...just in case he took my father with him. SInce he is on vacation and would have left a note I doubted my father was with him but all I was asking him to do was to let me know one way or the other if he was with him or not. He never answered my calls.
Just when I was about to call the police, I look up and see my father with his two sticks walking in the dark down the street towards the house. His walking his very sketchy mind you, so he shouldn't be walking in the dark...especially by himself.
Of course I was upset when I saw him. Who wouldn't be? Especially because the night before he had a really bad evening and lost all understanding of what he was watching on TV (he rarely watches it anyway), nor could he complete a single thought. He was really scared and agitated over this. I calmed him down, and didn't cry in front of him but did so later.
So you can imagine why, upon discovering he was gone, that the worst thoughts would have come into my head when I couldn't find him. He told me he just wanted to walk over to the pizza place to eat something. (He is ALWAYS eating...every two hours 24/7) I asked him why he didn't leave a note. And clearly he also forgot that we were going out to dinner. With him now, everything is immediate. Dementia patients are very selfish, I have learned and that is certainly true of my father. If I don't do what he wants right THEN he gets upset. No point telling him we're going in 10 minutes or 30 minutes or anything else. He will just forget. So I am constantly at his beck and call.
Anyway, my brother-in law, aging hippie that he is, proceeds to tell me in his superior "nothing in this life bothers me" voice that I shouldn't have got upset with my father. That I had "shamed him" by getting upset and how could I do that? REALLY????
I told him, "Look his mind is mush. I have to make sure he doesn't risk his life again, freak out myself, the neighbors and have the police out looking for him. What if they think we are abusing him? What will happen to him then? And maybe his mind can't remember but his emotions will...he tends to remember anything associated with emotions." He then continued to lecture me. This is a guy who lives in a continual state of Hindu nirvana ...I call him "Mr Oblivious." His wife (my stepsister) acts calm but is a boiling pot of seething rage. She once pulled a knife on me. She is angry and frustrated because she has to handle "real life" while Mr. Seventh State of Bliss talks about the next world as though he has already checked out.
Anyway, in order not to say or do anything I would regret, I told simply told him. "You are saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and I can't talk to you anymore." Then i hung up.
And I am supposed to take my father to their house for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Not going to happen. Someone else will have to take him. I am staying put and and away from this crazy dysfunctional family that makes me wish I was born an only child.
And there you have it. A full-on vent. Thanks for listening,