My Dad’s a Goldfish – Going home

The DH drops the Goldfish off after he’s been at day care. He doesn’t say much as I welcome him in and help him to settle in his armchair. I ask if he would like the television on and he says yes. I head back to the kitchen where I was cooking our evening meal and chat to him through the open door as I stir things.

He appears in the kitchen and looks into the pot. “That looks very nice, dear, but don’t bother making any for me. I’ll have to be getting off home.”

Maybe I should have played along (don’t argue, don’t confront the person with his/her delusion) but the words were out before I could stop myself. “But you live here. You’re at home.”

“If you say so, dear,” says the Goldfish as he heads for the door. By the time I catch up with him, he’s half way up the drive. Astonishing how fast he can move when he wants. I try to persuade him to come inside using a variety of reasons from it being too cold to be out to the tea nearly being ready. However, he is insistent he is going home.

By this time we’re at the gate and he turns right and pauses beside the car. I wonder for a brief moment if he thinks he is going to drive home but he tries to open the passenger door so it seems he expects to be driven.

“I’ll just run back to the house for the car key,” I say, hoping he doesn’t decide to start walking to wherever he thinks home is by the time I get back. I turn off the cooker, grab handbag, keys and jacket for the Goldfish and rush back. He is still waiting. I persuade him to put his jacket on and we get in the car. I set off – not knowing where I am supposed to be going.

I drive, chatting about the weather and maybe going out somewhere the next day round the roundabout. The Goldfish isn’t very responsive. When I reach the edge of town, I drive round the roundabout a couple of times, saying, “We’re nearly home now. This is us on the road back. Soon be there.”

“Oh, are we nearly there?” he asks.

I turn back into our road, telling him where we are. No response. I drive past the house. “Are you going to turn at the school?” he asks. I sigh with relief that he recognises where we are. He’s back. I park up, help him out the car and we make our way – very, very slowly – back into the house.

“Do you want to sit at the table and keep me company while I get our tea ready,” I ask. He sits at his place and drinks some juice while I resurrect our meal. He tucks in with obvious enjoyment and when he’s cleared his plate says yes to a helping of apple crumble and custard. “But, I’ll have to be going soon. It’s about time I went home.”

My Dad’s A Goldfish – the contraption thing

What I thought we were getting

What I thought we were getting

I’m not sure of the usefulness of the contraption to make sitting down and getting up from the toilet easier for the Goldfish. It wasn’t what I expected. I thought it was going to be a loo-shaped seat type thing to sit on top of the toilet. Instead, although it does fit over the loo, it’s a large, clumsy bit of engineering with arm rests – and it doesn’t half complicate matters.

If the Goldfish only needs to pee, it’s almost impossible to get him to stand close enough to actually get the stream into the toilet bowl. This means we have to remove the contraption before he gets into position – and before we can do that, we have rather a lot manoeuvring to do. It’s not a big bathroom.
When the Goldfish decides he needs to spend a penny we process from the living room towards the bathroom. He takes the lead, pushing his walker while I follow behind. Once we reach the bathroom I have to remove the walker without making the Goldfish lose his balance. Sometimes, he doesn’t want to let go. I persuade him to hang on to the handrail beside the loo, while pushing the walker out of the way behind us. At the same time I have to remove the contraption from over the toilet so he can get up close. The only place to put it is in the shower area. This juggling is a bit awkward and timing is of the essence. If the Goldfish is in a good mood it’s do-able but if he decides he does not require the presence of his daughter while he answers a call of nature then it all becomes more problematic – and never ends well.


This is actually a more refined model than the one we gotnds well.

If all goes to plan, when he has finished, the reverse procedure is no less complicated as I have to have the walker in place for the Goldfish to grab when I’ve manoeuvred him around to face the exit.

If it’s going to be a sit-down performance then we leave the contraption in place and once I’ve removed the walker, there’s the added complication of persuading him to turn round – which necessitates a risky bit of change of hands on the rail. Once that’s been accomplished and he can lower himself onto the seat fairly easily – once I’ve pulled down his trousers and underpants – I then retreat and leave him in peace and privacy until the job is done. However, I do have to listen very carefully and have learned to interpret the various sounds from the behind the bathroom door – so I can get in there to wipe. The Goldfish is good at pulling himself upright again – those core muscles which so impressed the OT.

A major problem which sometimes happens is when he is sitting down to move his bowels and decides he needs to pee at the same time. I’d never thought about such an occurrence before and questioned the DH as to how often this occurs when he is sitting on the loo – he gave me a pained look and declined to answer. Those of a delicate nature should look away now. There’s absolutely no way the Goldfish can direct the stream of urine into the toilet bowl. Perhaps once upon a time he could but his brain can no longer process the how-to so he just goes for it.
We invested in a plastic urine bottle but timing and correct positioning is vital – and we get it wrong more often than we succeed in getting it right. Frequent changes of socks and shoes are required and mopping of the floor. Sometimes the Goldfish laughs at the disaster; sometimes he doesn’t.

Once we are all sorted, zipped up and the Goldfish has a good grip of the walker (or has decided it would be more fun to sit on the seat and be pushed back to the living room) dignity has been restored all round.
“Ready for a cup of coffee?” I ask
“Or a wee dram?”
His eyes light up. “Even nicer.”