Thursday, March 14, 2013
I crossed the bridge to pay Dad a visit today and got there not long after they had finished lunch. I know Dad is usually a little drowsy after lunch and seems to like to spend a few hours snoozing in his lounge chair. Due to my schedule, I'm usually there in the afternoon, and since he's sleeping, I generally sit there with him quietly and just enjoy his company, without feeling the need to wake him up or engage him.
The last few times I've visited have been really different, however, in that he's been much more engaged and alert. He has (sort of) tried to talk to me in response to my talking to him, his face has been more mobile, and it even seems as if he might recognize me a little. The last time I visited happened to coincide with a visit from his doctor for a quick check-up. His doctor is an older, diminutive gentleman with a HUGE personality; he's very kind and funny, he just really fills up a room. So all together in Dad's small room, we had the doctor, talking and checking on Dad; Greg, the owner, talking to the doctor; and another young man, Greg's son, who looks after Dad. So the room was quite busy and loud, but Dad seemed to love it, looking at everyone and sort of smiling at the talk and laughter.
The young caregiver, who I could see was very affectionate with Dad was leaning over the chair and put his face really close to Dad's face to see in his eyes, one of the problems the doctor was checking on. As I watched, Dad did something that enchanted me; his eyes focused in on the young man, opened wide, and his face moved into a close approximation of the one-eyebrow-up-one-down-sardonic-but-laughing-look, he used to do all the time! I hadn't seen him do it for a long time, but it was a joking face he used to make with me or Del. I commented on it, surprised, and the caregiver said that they had discovered he would do it when they looked closely into his face; as a way of teasing them! (Dad had always had a finely-honed, but largely secret, sense of humor that not many people saw; with the onset of the disease, he became a terrible tease!)
It was just really nice seeing him so engaged, doing the facial mugging he used to do when he was a little more lucid. It was like having him back just a little. When I walked into his room today, I could tell right away it was going to be a different sort of day. He was much more withdrawn, a little cranky even, and clearly wanted to take his nap without being messed with! I was more than happy to let him do his thing while I kept him company, but I have to admit I missed that little spark I had seen only a few weeks ago. I have no idea how many more of these sparks I'll see, if any, which makes me sad. I'm trying to treasure each time, not sure if it'll be the last. It's a hard thing to live with, but it's all at the whim of Lewy Body Dementia.