My dad likes to go for a walk around town. With the winter here he hasn't done it too much lately but this morning decided that he wanted to go for a little stroll.
We've always let him have this bit of independence mainly because we know the two or three routes he takes - to the shops, to the cricket club, along the prom - places he still knows how to get back from.
We always knew too that sometime he would either get lost or confused about where he was and we decided that we'd tackle that time when it came. Today that happened.
He went out for a walk as the weather wasn't too bad. Half an hour later he returned with a very nice policewoman in tow. It seems that my father had decided to take a walk along the busy A55. For those of you who don't know that's the dual carriageway that runs along the North Wales Coast. For those of you who don't know what a D-C is, it's like a motorway but with two lanes. He was found strolling happily along the hard shoulder without a care in the world. We don't live far from the road but I had never thought he would take a walk on there (stupid me).
And I should have thought about this more clearly before, because I knew that something like this was going to happen. I tried to explain to my dad, who didn't understand, couldn't figure out what a dual-carriageway was, so I took him for a drive on it but then he didn't remember doing it. Kept saying: I wouldn't do that.
Anyway, the question is, now that it's happened, what do I do? I can't take his key off him and lock him in, I can't physically stop him going out on his own. I'll have to watch him like a hawk.
To be honest, I think I've just answered my own question. We're kind of moving away from the keep-an-eye-on-him phase to the constant monitoring phase, distracting him with something else phase, the look-here's-a-cuddly-bunny phase.
It's strange (well, not really strange) that certain ingrained behaviours over the last few of years seem to have disappeared in a couple of weeks: he used to wind up the grandfather clock about three or four times a day, now he doesn't even know what the key is for (oh, I've never done that); he used to have problems with his right eye after having glaucoma drops, now that's suddenly stopped; he used to have trouble clearing his throat and now that seems to be miraculously cured (with the odd relapse); his chest pains when he goes out in the cold have completely disappeared; he doesn't understand Star Wars anymore (who really does?) and only wants to watch films with John Wayne in them.
Anyway, I've had my rant, not sure what it was all about but any hints and advice from peeps who've been through the "wandering down the motorway" bit would be gratefully accepted.
Happy Christmas to you all.
P.S. For some strange reason the car decided it needed a breakdown too. I'm sure it's got something to do with the pressures of Christmas. Anyway, thanks to the nice man from the AA, tis all better now....