- Posted March 14, 2011 by
Brooklyn, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
What I Know: Alzheimer's disease
Advice From My Dad
Advice From My Dad
By Michael Cohen
For the blogs: Wish I Didn't Know.com &
As I write this, my father is in a locked down section of a hospital. The police were called when he became violent with my mother and they brought him there. He is suffering from Alzheimer’s and is in the middle stages of this insidious disease. At 80 years old he wants to get divorced from my Mom, (which is a glimmer of sanity actually) take half of their extremely humble assets and move to Israel where he was brought up. He is paranoid that everyone is conspiring against him and that my mother is trying to take his money. He is starting to make Charlie Sheen look rational. There is no psych ward in the hospital he is in and they are waiting for one to open up at another. I was going to go today to visit him and was informed that in this unit, no visitors are allowed.
I have to admit that I was a little relieved because I just don’t know if I can face this or face him in the state he is in. He is coherent and responsive but he is just not all there.
I am naïve and tried to reason with him. I said: “Dad, you have Alzheimer’s. You need to take your medication and anti-depressants and stop with all this moving to Israel stuff. Stop being angry and just enjoy the rest of your life. You don’t have the money and you can’t do it on your own.” He got angry and said “nonsense, you are brainwashed by your mother”. Better than Scientologists I thought, but I didn’t respond. I gave up, realizing that there is no reasoning with someone in his state of mind.
A very close friend of mine lost his mother several years ago to Alzheimer’s. When she passed, he did not seem that broken up to me and being the jerk that I am, I asked him about this. He said: “to me, my mom has been gone for over a year or so.” And now I am beginning to understand, because my mourning has just begun and he is still alive.
My dad was a workingman. First he was an ironworker for many years, then he drove a taxi and for a time he worked both jobs. When we go back to the old neighborhood, we can still see traces of the work he did around the house we lived in. The iron fence he built, and remnants of the steel basketball court he made for us in our backyard that made my brother and me popular with the neighborhood kids. He also took us cool places like Palisades Amusement Park, The Statue of Liberty and the neighborhood beaches. He took us slot car racing, to zoos and a myriad of parks. In many ways I feel that my parents were pretty ill equipped to raise me and I basically raised myself. I never really got any good advice from my dad. His best attempt was the constant mantra “don’t forget to change oil in your car”. I also suffered from depression my whole life and he was always telling me “how I just need to keep busy.”
I realize now that how ridiculous that always sounded, there is something to that because when my wife moved out in August taking my daughter with her I sunk into depths I didn’t think were possible and I got out of it by just being so distracted and busy with this blog!! The accolades and LOLs I have been receiving have been pure medicine, and have yielded better results than a hundred bottles of Prozac. Yeah, busy is good!
My sister is his favorite kid and to him she is still a kid even though she is blank years old. I would tell you her age but she would kill me! He was always so doting with her with a love that I could now appreciate having a daughter of my own. I love my 4 year old “buddy” more than anything in the world and I am glad for the time she is still spending with Nono (grandpa) when we go to see him. I hope those times are not over and great advice isn’t everything – love is! Anyway I am just going to tell her to Google everything. After this incident it is really sinking in that I am losing my dad. I feel that my mourning has begun. All the resentment over stupid things is falling by the wayside and al I can think about are the good times.
I miss you dad and I’m gonna miss you much more. Thanks for the advice. I am changing oil in my car every 2,000 miles. Ok, I lied: every 3,000 miles! I love you Dad.
The painting above was done by me in tribute of my dad's Spanish ancestry.