Monday, October 13, 2008

Pumpkins And A Visit With Dad

It was a beautiful autumn weekend. The only problem was that it felt like summer with temperatures in the high 80's. As I sit here on Sunday evening around 6:00 PM, it is still 86 degrees! I am ready for a frost anytime! In spite of the heat it was a good weekend. I woke up on Saturday morning after a full nights sleep and enjoyed a quiet morning. Eventually my wife, son, and I drove to southern Indiana to the land of pumpkin fields. Chloe and her parents met us there. After a $25 lunch that actually cost about $50 we hopped on one of the farm wagons and rode out to one of the pumpkin fields. There were hundreds, maybe thousands, of bright orange pumpkins laying all over the fields. For you city folk, pumpkins grow on the ground, not in trees. Wow! Imagine a pumpkin tree! I'm not sure I would want to sit under a pumpkin tree! Chloe was in her glory exploring all the different pumpkins and wandering around in the field. I enjoyed it, too, although I think I got some sunburn on my bald head. After picking out a pumpkin and a few gourds, we headed back. Our last stop was down to the lake to feed the fish, ducks, and swans. Chloe and I sat as close to the water as we could without falling in.

I went to visit my Dad on Sunday. He has Alzheimer's but is still sharp enough to know I didn't visit him last week. I received the greeting that all grown children occasionally get from their parents, "Well, Hello Stranger"! I apologized for being away and then proceeded to help the nurse get him out of the bed. That is quite an ordeal and he hates its. Eventually we found our way to the dining room. I was wheeling him to the room where we ate the last time I was there and he corrected me. He was now in a larger dining area. I sat down with him and waited for his lunch to be served. He them proceeded to tell me that the man across from us was in the wrong seat and, sure enough, he got moved. After lunch, we went out for a short walk. I don't think he trusted my ability to push a wheel chair and asked that we head back to the front area of the home so we could simply sit in the sun. After a while we headed back in and faced the ordeal of getting back in the bed. Just getting up for meals is exhausting to him. I must admit that spending two hours with Dad is exhausting for me as well. I certainly admire those individuals who make a career out of being a caregiver. Of course, visiting the nursing home is a life lesson on many levels. Everything is in slow motion so everything requires patience. Seeing all of the elderly folks in their advanced age and dependent states is definitely a reminder of one's mortality. I often wonder how my Dad and the others deal with it everyday. If I ever get to the same condition as my Dad, it will be a great cross for me to bear to be so helpless and dependent on others. I am fiercely independent as I am sure many of the residents were in their younger and healthier days.

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