My 55-Year-Old Father in the Geriatric Ward

Her father is a different man now, but Jilly Boyd is still standing behind him.

I’ve been meaning to write this for a couple of days now, but I didn’t want it to sound awfully depressing. But then I realized that in a way, it’s not.

After putting it off for a few days, I went to see my dad at the clinic he’s staying at. I’ve not mentioned it, but he’s been admitted to the psychiatric clinic, on the geriatric ward. At first, I found it hard to cope. A 55-year-old man, in the second prime of his life, admitted to the geriatric ward.

But on Monday, I bit the bullet and came along with mum. It was the same clinic that she stayed at when she had her depression. Weird to be there again, although much of our early days in this town had revolved around this clinic. It hadn’t changed, apart from a few new pieces of art at reception.

When we got to the ward and met up with dad, he seemed rather confused that I was there. It was like it wasn’t registering. He took us to the room he shared with two other men, and mum sorted out his washing. I was pretty amused to see that he had built up a sort of pantry in his closet. There were even some pots of strawberry jam in there.

We took him to the cafeteria, where I ordered a piece of cake. Mostly as a distraction from the memories this place held. As I said, it hadn’t changed one bit. I still remember which table I sat on when I visited mum.

I had heard there was a famous chef admitted to the clinic, so my focus was on the door of the cafeteria, to see if I could catch him. Unfortunately, he never came in. Sad. I wanted to be his friend.

Listening to dad recounting the story of his music therapy class (apparently he’s extremely good at whistling) for the fourth time, I found it hard to remember when it was different.

But still, it was a positive experience. I vowed for myself to support dad, whatever he went through. Although I’m glad I’ll soon be taking some distance from it all.

He’s still the same. Just this big, adorable and wonderful man that had a bad hand dealt when it came to genetics. I love him to bits. And I hope mum and I can still stand behind him, as one big Team Boyd.

I’m going to try and attend a lecture on Alzheimers with mum. I want to learn more and find out what to expect from this.

Originally appeared at Lady Laid Bare.

—Photo elmindreda/Flickr

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