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Its Thursday and Ive spent most of the day with my Dad. He is in a nursing home now, although we try not to mention the word in front of him. He scowls sometimes when we do. Life is pretty simple for my Daddy “O” as I’ve started call him. Its pretty sad I think, as I sit and watch him, that he has become a quiet still person. He was such a strong red headed man. Full of muscle and he used to scare me to bits. Now he just sits. Not really talking much. I’m not sure that he thinks a lot either to tell you the truth. He just sits. He enjoys his own company and the routine of the place that he now knows as home. Its a shame when I look back on the year.

He was in the independant living area of the Nursing Home. Which ment he could have a bit of freedom. He used to sit at the door and welcome people in and tell them where to go. He really loved to sit and wait – say hello and have a friendly chat to anyone that came in through the door. Everyone loved him, and it was pretty handy to have him there, because after a time the doors become locked and didn’t open automatically and My Dad could let people in by pressing the button on the frame on the side of the door. It’s a shame we didn’t teach him how to get back in, as he did escape once, and the nursing home luckily forgave him.

He was wandering around the streets of Kelmscott in his pyjamas and a nurse from the hospital saw him and picked him up. She drove him back to the nursing home and they tucked him into bed. It was the middle of the night – well 4am in the morning. We received the call at 7am that they had found him. Then life returned to normal for him. Its a shame we didn’t teach him how to get back into the Nursing home once he’d managed to get out of the front entrance door – like I said.

It came to be that, some 6 months later, he did escape again and of course he didn’t know how to get back in – so he wandered away and an ambulance driver found him. Kindly, the driver bought him back and then the decision was made that he needed to go into what I lovingly call “lock down” he is coded in now. He can’t get out unless someone comes to take him out. I try to take him out once a fortnight as I feel I would go mad in there. He really doesn’t know though, if I’ve been to visit the day before or the week before, so I’ve stopped feeling quite so guilty if I don’t make it on time. I do have to take him food. I don’t know what he does with it all. I take some bread, butter, cheese, pickles and chocolate. I think he is feeding the whole lot of the residents there, truely I do – if I ate as much bread and chocolate and biscuits as he does I’d be the size of a house. Considering he just sits.

I had to take him to the skin specialist a few weeks ago and it was a looong day. It took 6 hours from picking him up to returning him back to the Nursing Home. It was only in Fremantle but thats the way the specialist works and so we had to just wait. He’s pretty good at waiting. Better than I expected. I was completely dreading the day. I’m not so patient when it comes to my Dad. I get so mad and then its pointless because he doesn’t understand why Im angry. The funny thing was he kept forgetting why we were there. “Why am I here?” he’d say. I’d say “To have your ear looked at Dad.” To which he kept replying “Whats wrong with my ear?” Then I’d have to explain to him about his ear. “Oh yes that’s right – well why are all these other people here?” he’d say as he looked around the waiting room. He did bring a smile to everyones face so it kind of made the day go pleasantly by. Then he’d pipe up and ask the receptionist if we were going to be there till closing time – at which everyone in the room chuckled.

It was a nice feeling to get this skinny, tired worn out old man home to his bed. Old he is – he walks very stooped and doesn’t really understand the world and where he is. A blessing really.

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