My Dad’s A Goldfish – The OT visits

While the Goldfish had his post-breakfast post-shower nap I’d planned to try to get some writing done. Instead I had to wash his bedroom floor and the bathroom floor, both of which were swimming – and change his bedding.
By then, it was time to wake him for lunch. He had worked up quite an appetite during his ‘busy’ morning and ate a chicken sandwich, yoghurt and was still eating grapes and orange segments when the Occupational Therapist (OT) arrived. I’d made the appointment because the Goldfish was finding it increasingly difficult to lower himself onto the loo seat – and get back up again. There’s a grab rail already in place but it is no longer enough and I was hoping something could be done to raise the height of the toilet seat.
Of course, nothing can be provided until an assessment has been done. I have to say we have been very lucky in that whenever we have asked for help, we’ve received it pretty quickly – well, apart from finding someone to sleep over some nights.
The Goldfish is always happy to have visitors and, although he couldn’t really follow what she was saying he chuckled away at appropriate moments. He was slightly confused when she asked him to walk to the bathroom and sit on the loo, insisting that he didn’t “need to go.”
The OT had obviously decided to do a pretty full assessment so, apart from the toilet seat problem, she had the Goldfish sit and stand at the kitchen table, walk to the bedroom and show her how he got into bed. She was most impressed when he demonstrated how he sits on the edge and swings his legs up. She said: “You’ve got great strength in your core muscles. Not many people your age – even younger – could swing their legs onto the bed like that. Wonderful core muscle strength.” This amused him greatly, so he did it a couple more times.
We are now to have a contraption thing – I believe it does have a proper name – which fits over the toilet seat, making it higher. This should make it easier for the Goldfish to sit down and stand up, though it will take a bit of time to get used to it.
In the evening the Goldfish was awake though a bit ‘out of it’. He fiddles with things, though never with things he is supposed to fiddle with. I bought a fidget thing designed for people with dementia to bend and twist and fiddle with but he ignores it. In fact on one occasion I noticed he had stuffed it under his jumper; I think to hide it. Tonight he fiddled with an emery board – not trying to file his nails but to peel it apart. He also had a happy time applying hand cream to his hairbrush.

My Dad’s A Goldfish – Wakeful nights, sleepy days

It’s got that every time I collect the Goldfish from the day centre the Man in Charge says; “He’s been very sleepy today. Very sleepy.”

We know this. I feel like replying: “The Goldfish spends so much time awake at night he has to catch up on his sleep during the day.” That sentence might include a few swear words, as well. But, of course, I don’t say anything of the kind. People like the Man are there to help the Goldfish and others like him so we are polite even when irritation makes us want to spit. We understand The Goldfish nodding off all the time upsets the routine of the day centre where people are expected to participate in playing games, guessing who’s who on the picture cards, eating lunch. I’m worried we are going to be told not to bring the Goldfish any more.

The Man also takes the Goldfish out one afternoon a week for a couple of hours. They have several places to visit including a riding stable where the Goldfish can get up close to horses. Often they go to a favourite café where the Goldfish enjoys a cafetiere of coffee and some cake. This usually ensures he stays awake for the rest of the outing.

It was no wonder he needed to sleep after the trauma of this morning. It actually started off pretty well after a good night’s sleep – for the Goldfish, if not for me. I find it really difficult to sleep as I’m constantly listening out for him getting out of bed. He got up without protest, enjoyed his breakfast and went off for his shower with his favourite care person. She had just dressed him when he said he needed to move his bowels.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to get him undressed in time. She called me to bring clean clothes and I went into the bathroom to find an enormous turd – well, more cowpat than turd, really – on the floor. His underpants were full and his trousers. The bathmat was covered in it, as were his feet. The Goldfish seemed remarkably calm and consented readily enough to have another shower.

I gave Favourite Care Person a lift to her next job as she was running pretty late by the time we had the Goldfish ready to go out. I dropped him at Day Centre and came home to clean up the mess and put on the washing machine. Carpet fitters came to put new carpet in what is once again my bedroom – the bedroom Wee-sis and I shared as children. It looks a lot better and tomorrow the chest of drawers, bedside table and sofa bed – in case we ever do get someone to do sleepovers – will arrive.

When I collected the Goldfish I was told he had been “very sleepy”. He had woken up long enough to eat his lunch then zonked out again. Why did I feel the need to apologise?

The day ended well. After his meal at night the Goldfish announced a bowel movement was imminent and made it to the loo on time. He forgot to wipe but other than that all went well – felt we should have been awarded a gold star for excellence. He stayed awake and bright and chatty until bed time. As soon as he was settled, I set the door alarms, got into my pjs, poured a glass of wine and filled a small dish with my favourite garlic-stuffed green olives. Bliss.