The phone rings…it is nearly 6:37 a.m. on a Thursday morning. I should be at work but clearly I am not. I had a tough night with an earache and emotions over yet another coworkers passing. To say I tossed and turned would be a mild understatement. I have a migraine. The stress has started to overwhelm me. The last thing I needed was a phone call just as I started to unwind.
My Pops has dementia. Non-specific, which means medical professionals have no idea why he is losing his memory, he just is slowly. He does not have Alzheimer’s. Memory loss is memory loss. It sucks. I don’t care what dress it’s wearing. I dread January. My Pops knows his birthday is in the month of January somewhere. The questions start as soon as I put up the new calendars.
In his mind he needs answers. Answers to what are the real problem. Everyday several times a day my phone rings. “Hello. It’s me, Dad. How old am I? Is my birthday this day? Call me. I think you are mad at me.” click. Sadly he doesn’t remember that less than ten minutes ago we talked. I calmed his fears, told him I loved him and answered his questions once again. Ok, so maybe I change the answers once in awhile. Does that make me an asshole? It doesn’t matter he won’t remember what I say anyway, just my tone.
After he calls for the fifteenth time in a morning, I am getting aggravated. I can feel the tension mounting. I know that I am on the verge of busting a vein while trying not to yell. I try to remember that once I was young and had a lot of questions. It is not easy. I catch my breath. I answer the phone, again.
“Yes, Dad It is your birthday. I love you.”