My dad and I have always had a strange relationship. Pretty much from the day I was born he was a work-a-holic with his law career. After my parent divorced the time I spent with him was either on a golf course or watching old scary movies. I grew up knowing legends like Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff. The one thing about my dad that the rest of my family was different from. Was the fact that he always supported every endeavor and always told me I can do anything. It wasn’t till years later I knew why.
My Parents and me in 1996
In November 2015 I got a call late one night from Gainesville Police Department, stating my dad was being taken by EMS to the local VA hospital. My dad who had been living with a girlfriend has apparently had multiple strokes and had a septic infection. The VA Social work had received several calls from neighbors stating they were concerned. My dad had for several weeks been left on a couch with no one to care for him but his girlfriend. Upon entering his apartment the social worker and his supervisor witnessed that my dad was paralyzed and at the point of death while being left in his own fecal matter and no clothing what so ever on him. At this point they called EMS and Police Department to do a baker act since my father was so out of it he didn’t want to comply. All I have to say is again Thank You to to individuals who made the call and got him the help he needed. He was at that point at the brink of death. Being over 2 hours away from my dad was hard enough to travel all the time, I never imagined this would happened.
The next morning the VA doctors started calling me, I had no idea my dad had named me his Health Care Surrogate even worse I had no clue that in January he was diagnosed with Dementia. I was stunned that no one from the VA had ever told me since I was always there working with the doctors and social workers behind the scenes.
My father spent several month inpatient at the VA hospital, I learned so much during that time. The biggest hurtle was to deal with Social Security. My father had what is called a “Designated Payee” and that person was his girlfriend who he had been living with. I immediately rectified that issue which took 2 months. During that time I had to gain access to his account to get statements to see where his money had been going. I found out that in the course of a year and a half his money had been spent by his girlfriend on alcohol and stuff she had purchased for herself. I was horrified. At that point I called Florida Department of Children and Families to report elderly abuse. I was not the only one the social workers who found him had done the same. The worst part about that was by time they got to the case she has fled the state.
Now in 2017 my dad is at an amazing place I feel comfortable leaving him at and he is only 30 minutes away. I spent months trying to find the right place for him, when I found out my old boss was opening a senior center I jumped. I knew that the staff and the administrators were defiantly the right fit for him. Dayspring Senior Living has provided my father the ability to rehabilitate and almost be himself before everything happened.
My dad and oldest Easter 2017.