Monday, February 29, 2016

Disconnected Thoughts

Someone asked me why I blog. It's a fair question because the process can be time consuming, but there was an underlying accusation in their question. Really, what they wanted to know was, "why do you think anyone would possibly care to read about you or your life or your random disconnected thoughts about what is going on in the world?" This is what I derived from the whole conversation; it was never stated in those words.

I was being accused of narcissism in the kindest way possible; maybe only egomania, a show off at the very least. I have to confess to being a bit of a show off. I like attention. There are places where I get quite a bit of attention. I teach at church. This is where I have my most fun with people. I also participate heavily in a class that I attend as a student and I'm sure the teacher wishes I would just shut up, but I cannot resist going for a laugh while making a valid underlying point. I have also been known to bury personal digs in my veiled attempts at conversation in order to engender discussion.

I will grant you that this bothers people when they figure out what I am doing, but it does work in terms of producing an open discussion about things that people would otherwise remain silent about. And that brings me to this.

I blog because it's my way of thinking out loud, of organizing my thoughts on a subject, even of giving people another way to look at things. The common memes about the issues of the day are seldom correct and tend to be overly simplistic. There is usually more under the surface of things that needs to be looked at. We have to turn over the rocks in the yard and look at what lies beneath if we are going to attempt to understand what's really going on in our yards. Avoiding unpleasantness is not my life goal. People need to see the mess and deal with it - whatever the mess is. If writing or saying shocking things will do that, then I am up for it.

I confess to being tired of the PollyAnnas in church, at work and elsewhere that are always saying, "God is in control" or "they will figure out a way to make it work". This is a way of passing responsibility for whatever it is to someone else. God gave us brains for a reason. At work we even get paid to use them to a greater or lesser extent. Why don't we?

I am not saying that there is no ego involved in putting my thoughts on the internet for others to read. I do think I have valid things to say that others would do well to understand. Perhaps that is too much for me. Maybe it's not my place. I have never been very good at keeping my mouth shut.

So, the bottom line is this. If you don't like what I say, what I write or who I am, that's OK. Don't listen to me or read what I write or complain about it want to talk. Know this though. You will not shut me up.
 Now for other things. Saturday night was an adventure in parent rearing. It was about 10:15 PM. I had just finished prep for Sunday's lesson. I came upstairs from my lair and was thinking about sleep when Dad grabbed the dog's leash, hooked him up and headed to the garage. Following close behind, I asked him, as he was putting the dog in the Highlander, what he was doing. He said he was going to take the dog for a ride. Really? 10:15 PM? A ride? He also had two containers of Blu Emu and his flashlight. 'Always be prepared' I guess.

Alzheimer's is a strange disease. When I told him that he needed to come into the house and get some sleep because we had to go to church the next day, his answer was that he would be back before morning. I did eventually get him and the dog back in the house. It took some cajoling, but I got it done. I fully expect to come home from work one night to discover that he and the dog have gone on an adventure. My life is so interesting.

People that have never been in my situation tend to be critical of my approach. They think that I am in control of this man and I should do a better job of caring for him. To this I would say Dad still has a mind and a will, albeit diminished. It is difficult to force him to do anything that he is set against doing. Even so, my thought has always been to allow him the maximum amount of independence and to let him do things as he is able. I firmly believe that a sense of usefulness does much to fight the brain atrophy he is experiencing. I think he has lived longer because of it. I also know that Alzheimer's 100% fatal and there will come a point of diminishing returns with this regimen. I believe now that we may be there. I now have to find the time to get him evaluated and start looking for places where he can live out the rest of his life.

Church members and family members will think this is terrible or irresponsible. I have another opinion. If this were my mate or life companion, it would be different. As it is, this is my aging father. He needs care that I cannot give him. I am gone a lot. I have a full time job. And as selfish as it sounds, I would like to have a life outside of work and Dad.

Some have said, "get elderly day care". This is an option, but not a good one. I still need to sleep. If he decides it's a good night to take the dog for a ride or a walk and wanders off, I will not be getting much of that.

"so get in home, round the clock care."

No. This won't work either. When he gets it in his head to do whatever, it's going to get to the point that it will take more than one person to stop him. He is old, but he is still strong and capable of wielding objects to strike people. Having been hit with his flash light, I understand this. Alzheimer's is a crazy disease that makes people crazy.

I really do not want to deal with this, but I am going to have to.

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