Monday, 19 December 2011

Operation Buffet.

This week, my father took a holiday to Spain. A well deserved holiday at that. As a full time carer for my grandfather, who suffers from dementia, my Dad works longer and more demanding hours than he did during his employment as a police officer. I know that first hand because I took over my grandfather's care last week whilst Dad had some respite.

Me, my eighty-seven year old grandfather and my Dad, earlier this year.

The situation is bad but there's nothing that can be done. Dementia is like the thief that is never caught. It sneaks in unannounced, takes your possessions and leaves before anything can be done to stop it. Of course the possessions are still gone and the thief comes back for more but you miss it every time and can't do anything to stop it getting back in. I don't think that I fully appreciated the gravity of my grandfather's condition until I stepped into my dad's shoes.

I'd arrive at 8am to give him his morning medication and make his breakfast. He's on around ten tablets in a morning, if not more, and is adamant (despite taking them for the past ten years) that he has never taken morning medication and doesn't need to. Of course this isn't the case. So after a debate and a little stern talking, morning tablets are down and I left him with his cereal, toast and tea in order to go to my full-time work experience as a teacher. (It's worth bearing in my mind here that I've arrived at the house to a broken television - because he ripped our labels off telling him not to press certain buttons and did it anyway - and him having unplugged the fridge and spoiling 2 full litres of milk along with other bits of food).

I then returned at 12pm to the same debate. 'I don't need my dinner time tablets, I never have medication at dinner time'. He does. He always has. He just doesn't remember. And so the argy bargy continues, I made his lunch, gave him his tablets, made sure that his coal fire was stoked, cleaned the kitchen (he tries to but seems to leave more mess than was there originally) and prepared his evening meal. The evening meal (complete with 'Eat me at 5pm' label) and evening tablets (complete with glass of water and note forcing him to take them) are left on the dining room table. There's only so much you can do and I can now understand fully why my Dad, who is the most patient man in the world, gets frustrated and loses his temper a little. There's nothing more annoying than finding a fridge of ruined food at 8am two days running, like I did, or finding the Cellotape you stuck over something to stop him touching it ripped off and the item in question turned off.

So, as my Dad arrived home from his time away on Saturday night, I thought I'd let his respite last a little bit longer and throw him a surprise buffet. It wasn't much but it meant all the more now that I know the job he has to go back to. It costs nothing to be kind. Well, it did, it cost a tenner at Iceland... but that's not the point you should be taking from this whole post. :)

Chocolate orange cheesecake with homemade 'welcome home' skewers.

Gary made this. It is 'Vid' (my Dad's nickname) spelled out in chocolate fingers.

Prawn wontons, vegetable spring rolls and mini chicken kievs.
Prawn toast and mini beef Wellingtons.

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