For us, it was Christmas Eve. Thank goodness I had baked the day before and finished all the messy work. December 24th started out with my father still walking around the house after not sleeping all night. His feet were bothering him so much and he couldn’t sleep. Through all the meds, the heating pad, the elevated bed, it just wasn’t happening. This wasn’t a loss of sleep due to mania, it was worry. He just kept saying something isn’t right.
I took him into the hospital to have him seen about. He’s been put on yet another medication and now we’re off to see another specialist. This time, it seems we need to pay more attention to his diabetes. His feet are really bothering him. By the time we got home, it was noon and he seemed chipper. By chipper I mean, he didn’t stay in his room and he said a few words. He stopped complaining about his feet.
He told me he was willing to go to our family Christmas party. So, off we all went. Once there he became freezing cold. Within 30 minutes he was asking to go home. I know there’s an issue with his circulation, but I also know he found a way out. He was playing that up and he got his way. My husband drove him back the 30 minutes it takes to get home, just as we were all about to eat.
I am not going to lie about it, it made me frustrated that he couldn’t just stay there and eat. He couldn’t be comfortable or sociable. My son opted to go home and be in the house with him. Seth, my son, would rather not be in social settings himself. I guess that worked in his favor. Seth told me later that dad stood in front of the microwave and acted like he’d never seen one before. So Seth pushed the buttons and heated his pizza. It’s confusing to a 15 year old that a 68 year old man would need help with a task so small, but he’s starting to understand this illness better.
That being said, I’ve got a long road ahead of me in regards to understanding. I shouldn’t have begged him to go with us. I begged out of selfishness. I didn’t want to feel the guilt of leaving my father home alone on Christmas Eve. I didn’t want to enjoy the wonderful food, conversations and warmth of family without him. I wasn’t seeing the clearer picture. He didn’t care. He didn’t feel the way I did. It’s another day. Another doomed day.
I did manage to get a family photo of my husband and our children before we all got split apart. It turned out to be a good night, but in the back of my mind I felt like I had abandoned my father and was being a bad person. I try to talk about him with laughter. Explain to people all the crazy things he’s done. It helps a little to see the humor in it all, but this sadness he’s in… This unavailability of emotion is tolling. I like the manic father better. I will admit it.
It’s Christmas morning now for us. I’ve been up since 5:00 a.m. again. Everyone is still sleeping. I’m enjoying my alone time with my coffee. Today we stay in the house and we go nowhere. Today there will be gifts to open, food to eat and perhaps a nap. A new year is coming our way and all I can do is hope for an even deeper sense of empathy. An even deeper sense of knowing I’m doing the right thing.