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Me pootin’.

February 12, 2014

daddy-augustaA few weeks ago my family visited Timber in Augusta to celebrate a late Christmas, as Timber’s intense work schedule prevented holiday travel. Because my parents and I already had exchanged gifts, presents addressed to Timber scattered the living room floor. And even though Christmas had occurred weeks prior, Santa figurines, wintry garlands, and red ribbons remained arranged across Timber’s apartment.

“Robert, do you know what we’re celebrating?” Mother asked.

“Timber’s Berfday?” he asked.

“No, we’re doing a late Christmas,” Mother explained. “Timber’s Birthday is in September.”

“Oh,” he shrugged.

I understand Daddy’s befuddlement since a pile of presents surrounded Timber’s feet. Clearly his sense of time is totally warped, and decorative visual cues make no difference.

Later that evening we watched TV while lounging on the sofa. Suddenly the cushions shook and the room rumbled as though a train were rushing across nearby tracks.

“What was THAT?” I asked with alarm.

“Me pootin’,” Daddy said.

“Robert! Eww!” Mother screamed.

One afternoon we took the dogs for a walk at the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area. Because Daddy’s pace has become so slow, I dawdled along the path with him and his Scottish Terrier Winston, while Timber, Mother, and her West Highland Terrier Obi power walked ahead.

“Obi and Winston studied at Boston University,” Daddy randomly muttered.

“What?” I asked.

“The terrier is the Boston University mascot,” Daddy clarified. “That’s where Obi and Winston got their degrees.”

Daddy’s retention of historic facts paired with his inability to recall important current details is both frustrating and sad. Last week I had knee surgery to repair two meniscal tears, and will wear a brace and walk on crutches for six weeks. Mother stayed with us for a few nights and left Daddy with the dogs in Calhoun; instead of inquiring about my pain levels and recovery, Daddy fretted over when Mother would return.

“When’re you comin’ home?” he asked every time Mother called to check in.

Fortunately I have adjusted to Daddy’s apathy and pretend that an Alzheimer’s zombie has overtaken his body. Daddy’s behavior still dismays Mother on a regular basis, though, which I began to better understand during her Atlanta sojourn. Mother requested that several people check on Daddy throughout the day, that her brothers take him to dinner every night, and that her supportive friend Bobby drive Daddy to back-to-back appointments one afternoon. Mother left a note for Daddy reminding him of his teeth cleaning, but when the dental office called to confirm, Daddy claimed he had to cancel because of a conflicting appointment — confusedly referencing Mother’s note. When Mother found out Daddy missed his teeth cleaning, she cried out of aggravation.

“It would have been so nice to have that taken care of!” she stomped.

When Mother returned to Calhoun, she found bone-dry dog water bowls and the odor of doo doo carelessly swiped off linoleum with a paper towel. I’ve expressed my concern over Daddy’s ability to watch the dogs for years, and I hope Mother finally recognizes that boarding them during travel now is her only safe option.

Soon after Mother’s arrival home, she conked out on the couch. She always sleeps with Obi on the sofa or in my childhood bed in order to avoid Daddy’s snoring and nightly wandering.

Yesterday Mother woke up in my bed with Daddy creepily hovering over her. “Shirley Temple died,” he announced and shuffled off.

Most nights during one of his snack runs, Daddy wakes Mother up and asks, “When are you comin’ to bed with me?”

“In a minute,” she answers. She always stays put, though. Daddy never will know.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Timber permalink
    March 9, 2014 11:09 am

    Daddy’s profound apathy has certainly been something to which it’s been hard to adjust. I can’t believe you convinced him to smile for that picture!

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