Sunday, July 22, 2012

And The Beat Goes On...

When Jo's mom passed away in February, we felt sorrow, of course - even when you know it's coming, it is still a sad event. But there is also a feeling of relief - and as I understand, it's normal to feel this way. Your loved one is no longer hurting, or suffering. You no longer have to worry if she or he is OK. You don't get that feeling in the pit of your stomach when they don't answer the phone when you call them. And you don't bolt out of bed when the phone goes off at 2 in the morning. And you get your life back.

For a while.

One of the things I was afraid would happen has..... I had a feeling that we were going to only begin to be able to take a breath, and let the healing begin only to have everything ramp up again with my dad. We barely get through one crisis before we get hit with another.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my Aunt Esther (his sister, who he appointed Durable Power of Attorney) tried moving him in with her a few weeks ago. She quickly realized it was going to be far more than she could handle. She's not much younger than he is (he's 93). My dad's dementia is getting worse almost by the day. After several days of his not knowing where he is, or even who she is, she made the wise decision to place him in a nearby nursing home. In the past he's made no secret of the fact he wants nothing to do with a nursing home, but she somehow convinced him to go last Friday. During a fairly lucid few hours, it seemed to make sense to him, and he agreed to go. And there is actually a family member who works there. Her daughter-in-law is a nurse there.

Apparently my dad is what they call a "sundowner." Meaning he is more lucid and reasonable early in the day, then it goes downhill towards afternoon and evening. When I got home from work Friday, Jo told me that the nursing home had called about 8:00PM; my dad wanted to talk to me. But I'm on evening shift at present. By the time I got home it was far too late to call. And I pretty much knew what the conversation would be: a demand to come and get him.

They called again this afternoon (Sunday) - Jo was on the phone with a friend, but my Xfinity voicemail answered and they left a message - my dad wanted to talk with me. I actually dreaded calling (I knew what it would be about), but I did. As expected, as soon as he got on the phone, he started in: "I need you to come up here and get me out of here!!" Although he had no idea where "here" was. I told him I was planning on coming up to see him soon, but I couldn't tonight. "We'll see you in the morning then?" And he kept on and on, getting more demanding all the time. I was planning on going to see him Thursday morning. He wanted to know what day today was. When I told him, he exclaimed "And you can't get here 'till Thursday??!! You're not much help!!" I said "Dad, I'm sorry, but I can't sign you out of there.." He just got mad, and said he was going to call my aunt, which he did.

I called and spoke with my Aunt shortly afterwards, and she told me he was just as belligerent with her - something he usually doesn't do. He'll be grumpy and demanding as hell with me, and turn around and be as sweet as sugar with her - until today.

My aunt said it might be a better idea to wait a bit longer before going to visit him, in the hope that he will eventually accept that he will be there from now on. So I probably won't go Thursday.

It breaks my heart to see him going this way, but both Grandma Shelley, and his other sister, Aunt Lois went the same way..  I love my dad, and I miss the man he used to be. And I'll miss him when he's gone. But I almost wish the Lord would just call him home some night while he's sleeping and end the suffering.... For him, and for us all.

Until then, it's going to be a long and rocky road.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Playing with speech recognition

I am sitting here At 1:00 AM Like an idiot, talking to my computer with this little desktop microphone.  I'm experimenting with the speech recognition feature in Windows 7.  I thought this might speed up commenting that I do in my friends' galleries on Renderosity.

I am not entirely sure that this is any faster than typing even though I am a two fingered typist.  For instance, it took me four tries to get the part about being a two fingered typist right.  There are certain words that I cannot say or the software misinterprets what I am saying.  For instance if I say the word 'correct,' the software tries to correct the word that I just typed.  And it just took six tries too 'type' the previous sentence.

I still have to go back and correct several errors in spelling and grammar such as the word 'too' in the last sentence.  I do not think that speech recognition is going to be of much use as the technology stands now.

I may try Dragon Naturally Speaking at some point.  Hopefully, it is a little better at recognizing speech than this feature built into Windows.  Going back to repeatedly correct errors just takes far too much time.  And that is what I am trying to get away from.

I am typing from this point....

It took me about 5 minutes to get through the paragraph above where I mentioned Dragon Naturally Speaking. The computer simply could not recognize words like 'what,' 'that,' 'is,' 'be,' 'type,' and so on. I'm not sure if Dragon's speech algorithms are any more efficient than the recognition built into Windows. The "Home" package has a MSRP of $99.99, and Office Max has it for $89.99, but I don't want to spend 90 - 100 bucks for it and not be able to take it back if it doesn't work. I need a tool to simplify my life, not add to my stress! I have plenty of that, already.....

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Last Week on Nights..

Tonight begins my last week on night shift for a while. To say I'm glad is a bit like saying water is wet.

I'll be going on mid-shift (2:30PM - 10:30PM) after that - which isn't much better, but at least I'll be able to sleep when it's dark!

I spoke with my Aunt yesterday; my dad has been staying with her in Oak Grove since Thursday. As it stands now, she's planning on moving him in to her place permanently. I hope it works out well - for both of them. She says he's very mellow and pleasant when he's around her; he's not grumpy and disagreeable at all like he is around me. I'm not sure why this is - I'm certainly no psychologist - but I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that I'm his son. In his subconscious he may still be looking at me as a kid. It's hard to tell with the way he is mentally, now. So sad. But at least he'll have constant company, which is what he craves. And it's not that far for me to go and visit. So maybe things are working out for the best.

I'm hoping things will calm down a bit, now.