Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turn On Your TV

The over day I received a call from my dad. He was audibly upset. He told me to turn on my TV. "Quick," he said, "*(&%$ (the ex-wife) has put a list of my things from the condominium on television. Why would she do that?"

It took me a second to realize that Dad was looking at his computer screen, which does sit right next to a television, and was confusing the two screens. Evidently he had opened up a document that we had created months ago and was looking at that. It wasn't easy to convince him that the document was on his computer and only visible to him.

From Dad's voice I could tell that he was agitated. So, I worked to keep my voice calm and measured. I explained, several times, that he must have clicked on something to open that particular document so that it was showing on his computer. Dad sought reassurance that the information was not visible to everyone watching their TV. Finally he chuckled at his misunderstanding, and went on to ask me about some other topics.

I like that about my dad. I like that he sometimes can laugh at his own foibles.... but I'm not always convinced that he really does recognize his misunderstanding. I'm thinking that perhaps he has learned, when he is confused, just to chuckle and shrug it all off.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Static Guard

Dad gets caught up on things, like dog hair that is caught on your hem by static electricity. He will call to ask for help with something. Yesterday it was luggage tags. He wanted to print out some tags for a trip he is taking in six weeks. In my way of thinking he certainly doesn't need those tags at this time and he probably has other things that need to be done, but his mind has gotten stuck on this task.

It happens frequently. I used to try to redirect Dad to a more pertinent or timely task or activity. That would work for a bit, but, like pulling that dog hair away from your hem and letting it go,  his mind will often jump back to the task he was originally stuck on.

So now I am trying a new tactic. Ta-daa.... Static Guard! Not really, but it seems that if I help Dad deal with the issue he is stuck on then he can let it rest. In this case, I helped format and print out the luggage tags, remotely. We talked about where to put them so Dad would find them when the time was right, and I jot a note to help me remember (hey, this is a good mental exercise for my aging brain... maybe there is something in this for me, too!) Later, when the time is right and if it is necessary, I can held Dad reconnect.

For me and my dad, redirecting his mind or actions didn't always work. I'll have to see if reconnecting is a better solution. I do know that Dad seems to feel a bit better about having taken care of a particular situation that is obviously weighing on his mind, and that, in my opinion, is good.

This isn't all that different than my waking up in the middle of the night and beginning to think of a number of things I must get done. I used to have long, sleepless nights fretting about this and that. I have learned that if I get up and take care of the task, or at least write down the things that are weighing on my mind, I feel better about my situation, can let it rest and I'll fall back to sleep.

How about you? Do you or someone you know get 'stuck' on things? What do you do to move forward?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Need a Map?

Dad called this evening. He was looking for his camera. I often remember where things are stored in his apartment, but this time I wasn't sure. I suggested that he look on the shelves in the laundry room. I added, look on the 'white shelves' in the laundry room. Dad responded, "Shelves?" I could tell he was a bit confused. I added a bit more detail, reminding him of the two white bookcases on the wall opposite the washer and dryer. He responded, with a question in his voice, "Washer and dryer?". Then he made a comment that he was now standing in the bedroom. The bedroom is on the opposite end of his apartment from the laundry room. He went on to say he didn't see the bookshelves. I suggested that Dad walk down to the office, he said, "You mean the den?" As he walked that way he recalled that there are bookcases in the laundry, off of the den/office. And he also said he was a bit "befuddled". 

This has happened on a few occasions. I'm not quite sure whether Dad is forgetting the names of the rooms he is in, forgetting where certain pieces of furniture are located or is confusing this apartment layout with his previous apartment. However, there is another way to look at this...

Looking at this from Dad's point of view:

In this instance Dad might have been misdirected by my saying 'white shelves'. He did question that and it appears he headed to the bedroom, perhaps not registering that I had said, "laundry room".  In the closet in his bedroom he does have a white storage cabinet with shelves, and there are some white wire shelves. Either of these places could have been a logical place for his camera. When I said, "washer and dryer" Dad was clearly confused. In his mind he was heading to the place with the white shelves (his closet) and he knows there isn't a washing machine or dryer in there. It all became clear when he finally realized or registered that I was suggesting the laundry area off of the den.

I think we have all had instances where we have been told one thing, but register it a bit differently. Have you?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How Many Ways Can You Say "Hello"?!

Dad calls me. A lot! I think he calls frequently so he won't forget what it is he wants to tell me, or ask me. (Although tonight he called, and when I called him back he couldn't remember why he had called!) Since his girlfriend moved in the number of calls have diminished. Some days.  She told me that she will often try to put him off from calling, at least for a while.

Yesterday I was gone for about two hours. I had four messages on the answering machine from Dad. They were all virtually the same: "Hey, this is Dad. I'm getting an error message on my computer that I don't understand. Give me a call when you get home."

Each call was made to my home phone. He didn't think to call my cell.

Another day, while at home,  I had four calls within minutes of each other. Two on the home phone, one on my cell phone and one on my husband's cell phone. We talked each time. I'm not even sure if he realized that he called me on different phones.

I find it very interesting that some days Dad seems to only use one of my phone numbers, and other days he uses all numbers. Maybe it's because he is using an autodial feature and isn't paying attention to which number he selects. Who knows. It's still nice to be able to connect so easily!