Another story about my dad, which I write with a mixture of dread, exhaustion, and amusement.
After his latest hospital stay, we moved Dad to a new facility where he has an aide and some assistance with bathing, cleaning, etc. The new place allows no smoking in the apartment, but residents smoke in the courtyard just outside his window. Whenever we have him over, we let him smoke outside or we go in his courtyard and let him smoke there, but he tries everything he can think of to get us to leave a pack with him. He promises he won't smoke in his apartment, but he's been lying to me about his smoking habit for 30 years and I trust him on this about as much as I believe him when he says he's going to quit. It's cold outside and there's just nothing like a nice smoke in your favorite chair in front of the TV. Plus, his dementia is at the point where even if he weren't a manipulative addict, he would forget that he's not allowed to smoke in his apartment.
So yesterday we picked him up and after a nice lunch at my house, he started the routine of pressuring my fiance, Ff, to get him a pack every few minutes. We drive back to his place and on the way we go into a convenience store to get him some beverages, and I have to frantically whisper to the poor lady that he can't have smokes, please. I feel so bad to put other people in this position, but if he gets a pack he'll smoke in his apartment and then he'll get kicked out.
So we get back to his residence and he actually goes up to the front desk guy and asks him where he can get some cigarettes. At this point Ff and I are laughing to let off tension, because the situation is so ridiculous and its so stressful to have to say no every two minutes. It is especially hard for Ff, because he is someone who loves to say yes so Dad knows he can manipulate him.
So we found the Activities guy who is really great and who knows our problem. We gave him a pack of my dad's smokes and he told my dad that whenever he needed one, he should just find him.
We left knowing that my dad was going to be harassing everyone he came across to ask where he could get a smoke, but at least maybe it would get him out of his apartment and he'd meet some people. Maybe the Activities guy would become his new best friend.
Around 9:30 that evening, Ff and I are lying in bed watching a movie and Ff's cell phone rings, it's Dad saying "If you could just pick me up a couple of packs and bring them over today...." Ff doesn't tell him I'm right there, so we try not to laugh as Dad goes on to say "Don't listen to Kirsten, she's making things up about how things are here--this is where I live, I can do whatever I want here!" So you see how he tries to manipulate.
It's so tough because his time with Ff is one of the few things my dad really enjoys, mostly because of the smokes, but I feel like I need to always supervise their time together because Ff has a tough time saying no when Dad tries to get smokes to bring back to his apartment. Ff actually begs me to supervise so he's not put in that position; of course my dad thinks that it's just me being controlling and insisting on always accompanying them.
He is also drinking about a half gallon of scotch every week, and I tried to limit that last week and then decided to give up on that one as I only have so much in me.
This is making me want to avoid Dad altogether which is sad because there are moments when he is very sweet. The constant saying no just gets so exhausting. It has crossed my mind to just let him do whatever he wants, and then he’ll smoke in his apartment and the fire alarm will go off, he’ll be sternly reprimanded and then at least we’ll have that to refer to. Anyone else found a way to deal with this behavior?