It's Hard, Watching Him Wither Away...
My dad used to be this vibrant energetic loving person and now he's this zombie that barely gets around, never smiles and seems to have no short term memory. I really don't know how to handle this. He has no concept of personal hygiene or consideration for anyone else's needs, only his own. He's very difficult to get along with or even be around. He's very angry. He felt that since he spent his life exercising and being active that he wouldn't experience anything physically debilitating.
I don't know how to make his experience less uncomfortable. I guess I need to do more research and seek out some sort of support group. I haven't done this yet. My mom expects me to have all the answers. She does about everything else so why would this be any different. I feel helpless. I just can't know it all. There's too much info out there that's forever changing.
He takes lots of medications for all kinds of conditions besides MSA. We live in the medication age, where supposedly some sort of synthetic chemical is the cure or answer for any type of unpleasantness your experiencing. I don't agree with this philosophy, though I'm not aware of anything else that will help with the symptoms he experiences.
I feel bad that his behavior irritates me. I know I should be more sympathetic and not get so annoyed... I just don't have those skills. I do have compassion, it's just not unlimited.
It's very awkward to tell your dad that his smell is so irritating that you just can't stand next to him. I usually tell him it's time to do laundry because "his clothes" smell badly. I try to give him at least a little dignity. I can't even go into his room. I always have to hold my nose or I'll begin gagging. I just wouldn't make a very good nurse. I'm sorry. I just can't help it. My reaction is totally involuntary. I have very strong senses and apparently he doesn't. I'm not sure if this is part of MSA or just part of his aging. I don't know. It's very difficult to deal with.
I miss his intellectual discussions. Now he dwells on things that happened 30 years ago. Telling me the same old stories I've heard hundreds of times before. I ask him questions about those events, maybe he'd remember something else, no this doesn't help, he just repeats the same thing over and over. Like he doesn't even realize he's doing it. Is his short term memory so bad he doesn't even remember he just told us this story 5 minutes ago?
People used to call him to chat and learn from his wisdom. Now he's lucky if he gets a call every once in a while from our relatives. No one can understand him. I can barely understand him and I'm sitting right next to him, I can only imagine how difficult it is to have a conversation on the phone. I've tried to teach him to use email, then he can type his views and they can be easily understood. Unfortunately he doesn't have the manual dexterity to use the mouse very well or even type, so I end up doing it for him. I'm his personal secretary, whose supposed to be readily available whenever he decides to surf the net or write an email or do anything for that matter. I'm not allowed to have my own life. I'm just supposed to hold his hand and sit next to him all day helping him do everything. I just don't have that kind of patience.
I feel like such a terrible daughter. I should repay him in someway in all he's given me. So I try to do what I can and hold in my annoyance with his irritating behaviors. Though I really don't enjoy being with him anymore. It's a chore. I dread when I have to go help him. It's another all day toleration. I'm so bad. I should just suck it up and endure it. I wish I had the money to hire a nurse or personal assistant to do these things for him, so my time with him could possibly be more positive and enjoyable.
I guess that's part of life. Caring for aging parents and not having the skills to do it well. I mean not everyone can be good at everything. They will have to accept the best I can give them, even if it's not very good at all.