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Sunday, May 18, 2014

An Outing With Dad

Today Willie and I decided that we were going to take Dad to a park we found that had a perfect path for his electric chair. The path was wide and went all the way around a little lake. Today was a perfect day for it, too. The first obstacle, convincing Dad that he wanted to go. I decided to take the assertive approach and just tell Dad we were going. I got his chair out, and had him get in it when he came out of the bathroom. Success!

"It looks like it might rain," he said. He uses this excuse when he doesn't really want to go out with his electric chair. He will go on and on about wanting to take "the big boy" (that's what he calls his electric chair) out, but then when I say ok, he'll say that it looks like it is going to rain. 

I wasn't going for it this time. It wasn't going to rain, it was a beautiful day. There were clouds in the sky, but the big puffy happy clouds. Bob Ross clouds. The beautiful spring day clouds, not rain clouds. 

I told Dad, "It's not going to rain, you told me so." He reads me the weather from the newspaper every day. Every once in a while, because he gets his newspaper in the mail, he will get three papers in one day. On those days, I hear the weather report three times. 

We got Dad out to the car. Got him in, and brought his chair around to the lift on the back of the car. I was so happy that Dad didn't try to worm his way out of going. We put the key in the lift to lower it, and nothing happened. "You've GOT to be kidding me!" I said out loud. Willie and I messed with it and messed with it. We checked the line to the lift. We followed the line and found it was connected to the car battery. Willie took the fuse out and put it back in. We go back to the lift, and it started going down. "YES!" We both said. 

We put the chair on to the lift. Turn the key the other way to lift the chair up. Nothing..... "Really!!" I grumbled. Willie messed with the fuse again. Nothing..... We messed with the key again, nothing. I was ready to kick the damn thing, then suddenly, it was working again. We get the chair secured, finally after about twenty minutes. We get in the car and head out on our way. 

We get to the park. After a few more are you kidding me's, and really's, we get Dad's chair back on the ground and him in it. After all of the fussing with the stupid lift, Dad now needed to use the bathroom. The only bathroom was a non flush latrine. It was interesting getting him in and out of there, but we did it with no wet pants, so I counted that as a win. 

We started down the parking lot to the path. Dad started worrying that he couldn't fit on the path with his chair. I think the dementia is starting to affect his eyesight and perspective. 

Once we got him on the path the next obstacle was a bridge. This park has five or six very old bridges that have been brought in from other areas, rebuilt and preserved on this path around the lake. Dad started to panic a little about going over the first bridge. I don't think he would have gone over, but Willie and I talked to him the whole way. The bridges aren't very long. Once he was on the other side Dad calmed down some. Once he got into the groove of steering his chair, the rest of the walk went very well. He worried a bit going over the second bridge, but after that he went over the rest like a pro. 

 Along the path we came upon several families of geese. The baby goslings were cute as could be. The parents made sure to warn us to stay back, but seemed very used to humans. None of them came chasing after us, or became aggressive in any way.
Willie and Dad talked quite a bit along the way. Dad reminisced about a state park up by Algona. He has been talking more and more about Algona. I know at some point that will be mostly all that he will remember. For now though, he still remembers who most of the people in his life are. Even if he doesn't remember what he just said a few minutes ago. 

We got all the way around the lake and back to the car. Dad enjoyed being out of the house, and outside. He might have even enjoyed taking another lap, but he was thirsty. Next time we will bring ice water along with us. 

After fighting with the lift again, we got his chair loaded up and headed back home. A successful outing if I do say so myself. Next time, maybe we will try bringing Bazinga. I know Dad would enjoy that. 

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