Saturday, September 2, 2006

Visitors

How nice to have our adult kids visit this weekend. Caitlin and Jean-Luc come all the way from Ottawa. Jean-Luc helped with the cooking, which is a relief. Caitlin and I go into Gravenhurst, while Jean-Luc takes care of our supper. J-L also helps me by putting in a shelf in our bathroom. He is such a good man. I am so glad he is Caitlin’s husband. It is fun showing them how we had renovated the house. I have missed them.
The drive into town never ceases to amaze me with its beauty. Three deer are crossing the road ahead of us. They delicately tiptoe across the road, one at a time, checking both ways for threats – just the way I taught Caitlin to watch as she crossed the street. There are lessons in nature. Visitors must sign in to Leisureworld. There is a register for volunteers, outside professional staff and for visitors. Residents are no longer able to check both ways for danger. In fact, some must be watched carefully as their cognitive functioning is impaired. The staff must do it for them.
There is a keypad with a code for entry and exiting from the facility. This protects those who are at risk for flight. It lets staff know, in case of emergency, who is in the building. Caitlin and I went to the desk and I signed our names, the time of our visit, as well as the resident and the floor on which we are visiting. We put on our badges and went upstairs, using the anti-bacterial agent on our hands.
Dad knows Caitlin – he clearly shows recognition and is happy to see her. We get him organized, drop off our coats, and follow our regular dinner routine, wheeling Dad into the Muskoka Room. Caitlin helps me feed him, taking the spoon from me while I leave the room to get the rest of his meal. She helps by holding the cup to his mouth. Dad’s hands shake so much some days that he cannot hold the cup without spilling. Sometimes he can hold it; other times I keep my hand under the cup, or under his hand, as a safeguard. I have to be careful not to interfere too much. This diminishes his self-esteem and makes him angry if I show him that I do not think he can do something that he is capable of on this day.
Dad cannot hear Caitlin, she has a very soft voice, but he knows she is trying to take care of him. He has been angry with me and this is a blessed relief to have support and a young, fresh and familiar face. We are both discussing his gradual decline on the way home. Not as shocking as for some, since she saw him at his worst in May. Home we went for a delicious meal and some family time. To everything there is a season and I am now the matriarch.

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