Sunday, August 1, 2010


I have found a rather odd way to connect with my dad over the last month or so, I have started trimming his fingernails. And man, they do grow fast. At first he was really apprehensive about me doing it but has become OK with the idea. Today I trimmed his fingernails and toenails. It's really good for me and I think for him because when I am concentrating on it, it is something tangible I can do for him. It also distracts him and seems to calm him down. So instead of a manicure, I'm gonna call it a "Man-Cure."

His dementia is getting worse by my estimation though Dr. Sivak says these things ebb and flow and progress slowly over time. I get that but he's beginning to check out on us a little more. Ironically, his "worsening" has made it easier for me to visit him because he has forgotten, for the most part, that he was angry at me (for moving him out of his home). I have had 4 or 5 consecutive visits without him getting ugly or aggressive. It is such a huge relief. My 3 year old daughter and I visited today. We also visited last Sunday. Dad still knows me and her and we are thankful for that. He cannot read anymore and there are many words and things I mention that confuse him and I am having an increasingly hard time understanding what he is trying to say. Today I mentioned I had driven one of his classic cars, his 57' Chevy. He had no clue what it was, at all. The week before I showed him a picture of the Chevy, that he could connect with that but not the uttered words. When it comes to an emotional connection, that is still 100% there. He laughs and smiles and has a superb time with my daughter.

I have finished reading Dr. Sivak's book. It was wonderful, I plan to write a full review sometime soon. Thanks be to God. JP

1 comment:

Joseph J. Sivak MD said...

Hey John,

Thanks for the post. It is one of the best. It speaks to so many rarely spoken emotions and feelings. Alzheimer's is such a world turned upside down, the child becomes the parent and the parent the child. Whatever way you look at it we still want our parents, I know I do even after thirty years as much as ever.
In the process it slowly keeps sleeping away, and those little moments, those windows, those connections are our only clarity and our compass.
Those connections are so real, only they become less and less physical and concrete and more spiritual.
You are one hell of a good son, Ad makes us question that sometimes, it challenges our value of the parent-child bond, many days we loose our way but the bond always brings us back.

Talking about the book with the Lake Superior wind....... a calm day