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Well, this was an interesting Thanksgiving for us. Two of our adult "kids" couldn't come because they live hours away and have to work today, so that left us hosting only our youngest daughter sans our grandson. It was a new normal for us in that way, but also our daughter saw what it's like to not see her Dad "on"...he had several bad reactions to his meds, which has never happened in front of her. When growing up, *I* did all of the cooking for our family, but about six years ago, he wanted to do most of it. At least, until yesterday...|
Yesterday, he put the turkey in the oven, spread out recipes for apple pie, corn casserole, and potatoes...He started to sway and stick out his tongue...said he needed to lie down...which he did...at that point, she stepped in and started making the corn, while I set the table and peeled potatoes. She also made the cranberries from his recipe...he had fallen asleep on the couch...So, although we had the "usual" food, it wasn't all his responsibility....and it went well. He insisted on slicing the turkey, so I hand washed some of the dishes, so when we finished our meal, all we had to do was load the dishwasher...
After she left later in the evening, our daughter called to talk about the day...she said, "Mom, it was no big deal, but how long has Dad been like this? I've never seen him look so tired, shaky, and have NEVER seen him swaying so badly....ever...Are YOU doing ok taking on more work all alone? Do I need to tell everyone? (meaning our other two adult children) I said, "No, but, you probably should talk to them a bit before everyone comes at Christmas...they are going to have to not rely on him any longer. If he has good days, that's great, but the days could very well be like earlier."
It was a real eye opener for her. He has always been the strong one, but I think the reality is finally being recognized.
Earlier in the week, Carl also sat with Nigel (now 8) and talked for quite some time about Parkinson's (first time he has NAMED it), about pain, medicines, and, lastly...about dying. Nigel told him, "Grandpa, just keep trying. You can do things if you try. But, if it gets too hard, I will help you...so will Mommy and Grandma." My sweetheart.
Of course, I was in tears, by then, but didn't interfere. We have told him since he was little that Grandpa had to take medicine to stop shaking, but this all came about because Carl was really having trouble multitasking while playing with his AI racetrack.
It is hard to watch Carl decline, but he fights so hard to be normal that even I see him as my hero and not changing. But, yesterday was different. We are not giving up and will remain positive, but there IS a new normal...our new reality. Damn Parkinson's.