So… Today My Dad Wants to Send Me to Jail

Melinda Crow

I’m thinking that nurses without experience with all levels of dementia shouldn’t be sent on home visits to dementia patients

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Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

I’ve never been investigated by a state protective agency, although when my daughter suffered a second broken bone as a toddler, I secretly made a plan to take her and run off to Mexico if CPS showed up at the front door.

This time, there’s nowhere to run, even if I thought it was necessary.

He fell again

I understand that he looked pretty banged up — dark purple shadows beneath his eye and a weird circular abrasion on his cheekbone where his drinking straw came close to poking his eye out, and I warned the nurse before she went inside. I never imagined that she would be calling Adult Protective Services.

Just two weeks before, following her first visit with my dad, she had called to let me know that she had reported to her supervisor that he complained to her about the fact that I didn’t let him control his finances and that I took his truck away from him. The supervisor’s response had been to tell her that his financial welfare was not her job. She was there to make sure he was safe and as healthy as possible.

I should have known that she was bent on reporting something when even as she told me what the supervisor schooled her on, she began to school me.

“Maybe you could get him a prepaid debit card,” she cooed. “That way he’d feel like he had some control.”

I thanked her for the suggestion.

What I should have done was call her supervisor

We’ve had close to a dozen RNs, LVNs, aides, and PTs during the last five years. All of them helpful in one way or another, but few of them clear on the extent of my dad’s dementia. Memory issues are pretty easy to spot. Difficulty processing words even easier. Delusions? These are almost impossible if you aren’t intimately familiar with the reality of a person’s life.

Delusions and hallucinations are a hallmark of Lewy body dementia like my dad has. I was just beginning to get a grasp on his delusions last year when the hallucinations began, but it wasn’t until he admitted that he was seeing little people standing beside his bed while he read that I felt a doctor could help. Everything else — the yellow-eyed wolves in the backyard and the possum that scratches his outside walls at precisely 10:10 every night — he still believes were real.

He also firmly believes that I am the crazy one, keeping him from his life

Which brings us to the investigation that I am facing. With the black eye, the new nurse apparently had what she wanted. I have no idea what she reported. I have no idea if she called her supervisor first. All I know is that a caseworker from APS attempted to call my dad’s phone last week and left a voicemail.

He doesn’t know how to access his voicemail. He has dementia.

His daily caregiver (an angel if ever there was one) who is provided by yet another state agency, managed to answer the second call from the caseworker but was not given any information. She gave the caseworker her name and phone number.

When she told my dad who the calls were from he turned guilty four-year-old on her — no eye contact, stammering, fidgeting.

“What did you do?” she asked him. “Did you do something to get your daughter in trouble?”

I’m not afraid that I’ll actually end up in jail

Does it hurt that he has slipped that far into his delusions that he sees my attempts to keep him safe and comfortable in his own home as robbing him of his life? Sure.

But the saddest part of all is that the caseworker may very well determine that because of his repeated falls, he may not be safe at home any longer.

The end result will be his imprisonment, not mine. I’ve done everything I can to keep him out of one, especially in the midst of a pandemic.

“She deserves it!” He shouted at his angel caregiver. “They took my car away. I want my life back!”

I want mine back too, Daddy.

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Available as an accomplice to your capers. Let's break out of our chains together. Writing about #travel, #business, #writing, #publishing, and #life.

Waco, TX
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