Thursday, October 20, 2005

I briefly toyed with the idea of dangling a narrative hook here; just a little literary license to create the impression of writing skill. But I won’t.

My father died Saturday.

It’s Thursday now. A week ago, my mom called and told me that my dad had been taken to the hospital for unknown reasons. We had just gotten him placed at a locked facility for dementia patients, and his health had been steadily declining since the VA hospital (a whole other rant) loaded him up with Haldol and other drugs. In August, he walked into the VA as a slightly agitated dementia patient, but as ambulatory and as coherent as the average 85-year old (he was 63 at the time). After a few whacks of Olanzapine and Haldol, he became virtually catatonic, barely able to feed himself or walk.

If you get nothing else from reading any of this crap I spew here, listen to this. Don’t trust the VA with the health of anyone you care about. They churn people through the system, load them up with antipsychotics to make them palatable to nursing homes, and throw them out. One of the main side effects to Haldol is severe muscle stiffness, and by the time we got my dad to the nursing home, he was a physical wreck, barely able to walk or stand. When we saw him on his 64th birthday, he was unable to speak, walk, or even sit up in a chair. Of course, he developed pneumonia since he couldn’t walk enough to clear his lungs, and he eventually stopped eating.

So, the father I saw in the emergency room last week bore no resemblance to the father that played catch with me, taught me poker and bridge, and played with my children. He was a shell, barely breathing, with no idea I was even in the room. By the time he actually died on Saturday, it was almost a blessing. The dementia had been taking his mind and his memories, but he was still ALIVE. He recognized and loved his grandkids and could walk around and feed himself. He couldn’t finish a coherent sentence nor could he keep his temper when he got confused, but he was still ALIVE. The VA and their drug pushers managed to kill whatever time I thought I had left.

I’m angry. And sad.

No talk about lawsuits. I think he’s already been cremated. I made the arrangements for his urn and niche at the cemetery on Monday. My sister is making the arrangements for the memorial service on Saturday. My birthday was on Monday. Happy fucking birthday to me.

Kinda makes poker seem insignificant…


At 12:02 PM, Blogger Ignatious said...


insignificant indeed.

my deepest condolences. i'm really sorry for the loss of your dad.

At 12:30 PM, Blogger Chris Halverson said...

You have my sympathies.

At 12:33 PM, Blogger AlCantHang said...

Sorry to hear about this. Our sincere condolences.

At 12:35 PM, Blogger ScurvyDog said...

That's terrible. Many condolences.

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Bazkar said...

My condolences to you and your family......insignificant is first...always.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Donkeypuncher said...

Sorry for your loss Todd

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Mr Subliminal said...

My condolences.

At 9:13 PM, Blogger shag773 said...

Sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts.


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