My papa has always been someone who likes to do things and get out and have a good day. He always used to joke that if he had a good night at work the night before, meaning when he got a generous amount of tips, we’d know it by how the next morning or afternoon went. Some days he’d take a whole crew of friends or coworkers to the golf course. Other days, he’d take my brother and I to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk or just a few miles away to what used to be Palo Alto Bowl.
Even after the onset of his illnesses and bouts with different things, he would still always ask, “What time should we set the tee time for?” or “Let’s go hit the driving range, missy.” Or even, “Want me to make you something to eat or should we go out?”
But, this seems to have changed. And, honestly, it confuses me.
These days, I almost have to force him to do something, anything. This sometimes includes eating a snack with me. “Papa, let’s go play golf,” I say to him as I have about two hours before I have to go back to work.
Now, granted, it’s probably not fair to him for me to be on a time-constraint. But, I do have to work. And, regardless, I know at what time in the day he will become tired and take a nap. So, this is a fair amount of time to do something.
“No, I don’t think so. I’m too tired,” he says. Or, “My back hurts and I’m just not that into it today.”
Later in the day, I’ll give him some cheese and crackers, or some chicken pieces as a snack to control his diabetes. I’ll put on a TV show we both like and put the food between us, nudging it toward him.
“I don’t want it missy. I’m full,” he said, though I know he can’t possibly be full after eating several hours ago just a small lunch.
I’m not sure why this is--why does he not want to converse as much or interact as much? I wonder if maybe I should cut down on work or if I should not be pursuing another degree. I wonder if that is selfish of me. Between my mom, my aunt, even my brother and myself, it seems as though we support him a lot. So, I just don’t understand this new change.
It is often encouraged for both patients and family members/caregivers to join a support group. There are support groups offered nearby in Mountain View, San Jose, or even telephone support groups. For support in your area, check out your local groups available.