Sunday, December 10, 2006

the nightmare again

Last night I had the nightmare again. Same basic plot, same struggle. First, some background: I just returned home from spending nearly a week with my elderly parents. I helped Dad celebrate his birthday. He is not far from 90. It was important that I spend that time with my parents. My mother's dementia is worsening but she still recognizes people and she can still think fairly clearly on many topics. Her memory is heavily affected. My father takes care of my mother in their own home. He continues to verbally abuse her. He understands that she has memory problems, but he still bawls her out for forgetting things. It was painful for me to listen. Several times I reminded Dad that Mom couldn't remember things because, well, she couldn't remember things. He said he understood, but continued to bawl her out. We did make some progress. I took my parents to a bank where they signed and had notarized forms for power of attorney and living wills. I've been trying to get them to do this for several years.

OK, in my nightmare last night I struggled with whether or not to call 911 to get help for my mother as Dad was abusing her. It might seem to some that there is such a simple answer but there isn't. If I call 911 and the authorities get involved they could remove Mom from their home. Dad could easily feel so shamed that he would commit suicide. Mom doesn't want to leave Dad. She and Dad both want to continue staying in their own home as long as they can (even though those who observe them recognize that they are not getting as good care as they need, but Dad is very stubborn about accepting such care).

Apparently I tried to speak out, calling for help or something, in my dream. I asked my wife about it this morning and she said she I had made some kinds of disturbed sounds.