Dad’s mental health seems to be cyclical. Sometimes, when there are things happening to distract him from his melancholia, he seems okay, but most of the time he is sad and can’t get beyond the fact that mum’s gone.
His loneliness triggers odd behaviour where small things become crises and this makes it hard to know how to assess dad. For example, last week he phoned with various problems such as bowel routines and skin health that appeared much bigger in his mind than they did to me. I’ve had discussions with dad about this but things don’t seem to change…
By Saturday evening dad had got himself in a real state and phoned me, my brother and 999. Steve went over to dad’s house and when the paramedic arrived and assessed dad could find nothing medically wrong, but dad insisted there was and ended up being taken to A&E. He was examined by a doctor and had some tests done but nothing physically wrong, other than age related problems, could be found and he was discharged home on Sunday morning.
On Monday dad saw his GP and was readmitted to A&E. The receiving doctor called me to say that they could find nothing wrong other than a slight shadow on one lung and just to be safe they would scan dad to ensure it wasn’t anything sinister. He had the scan on Tuesday evening and nothing was found other than a slight chest infection. (But if you spoke to dad over this period if has had prognosis of different cancers and other related problems….) and so dad will be discharged once some other tests are completed and his home care resumed.
I saw dad today with my brother and it seems that he might finally be recognising that he can’t continue with the current regime. Even though he has cleaners and daily home care the home environment just doesn’t offer him the ability to fully give over responsibility for his well being to someone else.
So now begins the process of looking for care that will achieve this. Discussing the options with dad has thrown up two ideas: care homes with a military connection and or local to him and me. Thus the search begins and a new stage in his long life beckons.