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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Down Home: Dad gets a good report card from his new 'school'

  • Even though Dad is more than ready to leave by the time I pick him up at adult daycare, it seems to be getting better each time he goes, although it's hard to tell if his description of the day's events are real or imaginary.
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  • Even though Dad is more than ready to leave by the time I pick him up at adult daycare, it seems to be getting better each time he goes, although it's hard to tell if his description of the day's events are real or imaginary.
    Since he's claimed to have seen Hitler in a soup line just last week, yet still has the capability of knowing just enough about the present day to get by, you have to pick and choose what to believe.
    Going to adult daycare is the first step toward moving into the rest home permanently and although I know it's in his best interest to live there, I'm apprehensive for that day to come. Waiting for a new addition to be built, we are both getting used to this new chapter in our lives.
    On the days he attends daycare, I'm relieved that he's in a safe place, yet anxious that he's doing OK. I fight the urge to call numerous times throughout the day to see what he's doing or if he's upset. I wish they passed out daily reports, like I received when the kids were in preschool. What did he eat, what did he do and if he's been good.
    Most times on the way home he tells me stories about fights he's been in with imaginary people with outlaw names like Jesse James or adventures that take him to faraway lands. He's accused the staff of stealing everything from his wallet (in his back pocket) to the airplane he used to own years ago. Even if I show up just as he's finishing dinner, he'll claim to have not been fed all day.
    I decided to have a "parent-teacher" conference with the nice lady who owns the home to give her some insight into Dad's world. I didn't tell her anything she didn't already know, as it didn't take them long to size him up. She reassured me that he wasn't saying or doing anything they hadn't seen before and he was doing just fine.
    Just as I was beginning to think he'd never try to make friends or quit sulking, he gave me a glimmer of hope. I arrived just as dinner was over and Dad was helping to clear off the table, while holding a conversation with a female resident. Their conversation didn't make a lot of sense to me, but they were enjoying themselves, until I interrupted.
    He looked at me as if I didn't belong there and wanted to know what I was doing. When I told him I was there to take him home he asked if his new friend could come along too.
    As I tried to explain to him and his friend that she couldn't come with us, they looked at me as if I had just ruined a very important play date. This time on the way home, the stories didn't revolve around fighting or stealing.
    Page 2 of 2 - He was quiet most of the way home and then he proudly announced with a smirky grin, "I was really good today."
    He deserved a gold star, but I gave him a hug instead.
    Sandy Turner lives in the Kansas City area and writes this column for GateHouse Media.

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