Daily routine at night
It is 1A.M.
Our 94 years old father,
Dementia affected, bed-ridden due to acute knee arthritis,, with catheter installed due to urine blockage,
Suddenly wakes up,”Anybody there!”
The younger brother responds.
Father, “I have to go to my house, my mother is waiting for me there!”
Brother, “This is your house, daddy.”
Father, “No, no! I can’t stay here. Is there a ‘Rickshaw’ – a man-driven three wheeler used in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh – available?
* My father is originally from a village in ‘Pakistan’ – created in 1947 out of erstwhile India – and moved to truncated-India in 1947 after partition and now in U.S. with his younger son, my brother in L.A., where my younger sister stays as well.
Brother, “You are in your house. See photographs of your late mother, and two elder brothers, on the facing wall.”
Father, “No, no! I want to go to my house, in my village. My friends Karamat, and Abdul Karim, are waiting.”
* All efforts to divert his thoughts fail. He is told: It is dark now, we can go in the morning. He isn’t convinced.
Father starts shouting, “Oh, I am dying. Save me from these people. I have to go to my village.”
* My brother shouts back, pretending to be angry,” You can’t go now.”
Father, “I think, I have to ease my bowels. Hurry, bring the bed-pan.”
* He may be having gas in stomach, but he is unable to discriminate. A bed-pan is brought, and a futile exercise is conducted to calm him down.
Brother, “Would you take a banana?” or
“Why don’t you see songs and dance sequences of old Indian movies of 1950s?” or
“Would you like to read religious scriptures?”
* It works out, sometime.
But if my brother leaves to sleep in a hurry, he may get a call within 5 minutes,” Anybody there?”
At times, my brother just sits for half an hour, to ensure he is fast asleep.
* Thus, my brother is ‘on call’, and often get 2-3 calls every night.
It demands a high degree of natural love for an old father in his second childhood.
It sets a benchmark for human civilization to emulate.
It sets apart human civilization at a higher pedestal, over the animal instincts, in other species in the World.
* We all do our duty towards our family members – young or old.
To look after a dementia affected old parent is a different experience altogether.
There is no logical interaction – no meaningful convincing, as a new discussion itself is not recorded in the mind.
Surprisingly old memories survive even after 5-6 decades.
* A dementia affected person, with faith in the caretaker, is easily helped. It demands genuine humane approach.
Anybody who has a genuine humane approach in life, a grateful heart full of compassion towards old parents, is no longer a ‘youngster’, even if he is biologically younger, he is an elderly person, who has understood the purpose of life, as God envisaged.