Chapter 23


The calming medications helped a little with Al’s issues of being frustrated with the tremors. The Parkinson’s medications didn’t help at all. Each visit I took Al back to the doctor, different PD medications would be tried, but none worked.

The doctor kept him on them though. I really wasn’t happy with that. I have this thing about medications. If they don’t work, get rid of them. We dealt with each day and I watched as his tremors progressed. Nothing else seemed to be happening in this illness.

Al continued to go to the adult day program and I tried to live as if nothing had changed. He went to this one outing where the clients all went to a discount mall. Afterwards they stopped to eat and when the bus driver brought him home he stayed long enough to let me know that Al had seemed pretty tired and had actually fallen asleep on the way home.

If you knew Al like I do you would know this wasn’t something he would ever do. Al was such a social butterfly. He would fight sleepy eyes in order not to miss talking to one person.

I told the driver thank-you for the information and when I went inside to ask Al if he had a good time he was already in bed with lights out. I wished him a good night’s sleep and didn’t mention what the driver had said.

The next morning seemed pretty normal. Al ate his breakfast but instead of watching the TV like he usually did on Saturday mornings he wanted to lay down and nap. I thought this is odd. Al never misses the Three Stooges.

After he got up he seemed back to normal. I asked him, ” Do you want to go to the flea market?” and he said yes. So we hopped in the car and drove the couple of miles. Al seemed happy. He smiled and talked to ever vendor. He found a couple of coca cola bottles and that seemed to make his day.

We didn’t have anymore issues for some time, but then things changed again. Al was having chest pains. I made another appointment at the heart doctor. After checking Al he decided Al needed to be hospitalized to check for blockages.

Al wasn’t crazy about this. He always commented, ” More needles?” He was getting used to being admitted I think. The test showed Al had more blood clots in his heart valves but the doctor said they were not big enough to remove. So along with this information and now knowing that he has Angina of the heart I was getting concerned for his health.

PD, heart issues, what was next? Al was a little more quiet when we arrived back home. He seemed a little more tired and slower in movement. When the following Monday arrived he wanted to go back to his Day Program so I took him.

When I picked him up a staff member asked me to come in so we could talk. Al stayed in the rec room and I went into the office. The director said, ” We all love Al here at Day Program. He is such a nice guy; but we have rules. Everyone that attends here must know his medications and what they do for them. All must know their address and telephone number. We are not a babysitter service. We are here to over see.”

I had tried many times to get Al to repeat his address and phone number but he never got it. I couldn’t understand why the Day Program felt it was important for the clients to know what medications he took and what they were for.

The Director explained, ” The clients that come here are,

Schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia (/ˌskɪtsɵˈfrɛniə/ or /ˌskɪtsɵˈfrniə/) is a mental disorder often characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to recognize what is real. Common symptoms include false beliefs, auditory hallucinations, confused or unclear thinking, inactivity, and reduced social engagement and emotional expression. Diagnosis is based on observed behavior and the person’s reported experiences.

Clients with this diagnosis need to be aware of what they take and why so they can live a more productive life. Al does not have this diagnosis and we all voted for him to join us here since he is so nice. But now, he seems tired and he is starting to repeat himself. So we don’t have time to keep a better eye on him, so we must ask you to not bring him back anymore.”

I was devastated but I knew Al would be much more than that. Standing up to leave the director shook my hand and gave me his apologies and said, “We sure will miss him.”

I went in and found Al and said it was time to go home. I didn’t mention the conversation all the way home. He went to his room and turned on the TV and I went about starting supper.

During supper we were both quiet. Al didn’t talk much unless I started the conversation when it was just us. He never could mentally separate me from our dad. Al and dad didn’t get along at all. With dad not accepting Al for being someone other than the common word normal, there was much friction between the two all of Al’s life.

Dad was short-tempered with Al. He wanted him to be quick to move and answer like most people. There were barely conversations between the two that were ever looked at as social.

Al looked at dad as the boss. When I started caring for my brother, I had to guide and teach him many times and Al looked at me as the boss. He could never separate the two people.

This was Al and my biggest issues in our living together. It hurt me so bad that Al couldn’t see how much I loved him and wanted him to have fun and to be happy. Many, many times I would end up almost screaming at Al after a trying conversation that I was not dad, but me, Terry, his sister.

I would ask him, ” Do I look like dad?” He would begin to cry and say no. I would get frustrated and walk away. None of this changed until many months later.

 

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