The physicians had no diagnosis. Dad had awakened, incoherent, that morning, unable to speak or respond to any questions Mom asked him. An ambulance was called, he was admitted to a local hospital, and the tests began. It wasn't his heart, it wasn't a stroke; these and more were ruled out. While we have no definitive answers, my husband and I suspect it was dehydration.
Since moving the folks to our city, we can see that Dad is in the early stages of some sort of dementia. The messages in his brain get confused and he forgets that he's thirsty and doesn't get enough to drink. It's not uncommon to ask if he'd like something to drink or have something to eat and he'll say, “No.” However, if you sit down moments later with a drink or snack, he'll ask if he could have something as well. We will now have to be intentional about just putting a glass of water or juice in front of him whenever we visit. If it appears before him, he'll drink it. It's that simple.
If only all issues of caregiving were so simple.
Dad was released the same day, and last night we all went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. He was fine and fully engaged. We had a lovely time together. Mike is going to take him to a baseball game this weekend to celebrate his birthday and Dad is looking forward to it. For now, things are normal. In the span of a week we've gone from hospitalization to birthdays and baseball games.
Life gives me whiplash.