Help me play with dad!
January 29, 2010 9:46 AM   Subscribe

Entertaining a post surgery father?

My dad has had a major surgery and his recovery is going well physically but he is in la-la land due to all the medications. He is normally a highly intelligent person who has interests in many idle hobbies such as reading, computer golf and NY Times cross word puzzles. Unfortunately, he's not making a lot of sense right now.

My brother and I are flying down to help out with the first week home and I'm wondering if any of you have tips on things we can do to entertain him.

Pertinent information - he may have limited mobility and he's not totally aware of his surroundings or reality at the moment. This will hopefully improve when he is out of the hospital.

So, how would you entertain such a person with a sibling to help?
posted by kiwi-epitome to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total)
 
Is he having an enjoyable time in la la land, or is he disorientated, fearful, anxious, etc? Does he recognize people; will he be able to recognize you?

When I myself visited la la land, I didn't need to be entertained because I wasn't able to focus on much.
posted by sallybrown at 9:52 AM on January 29, 2010


Portable DVD player and a bunch of classics.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:02 AM on January 29, 2010


Having just been in a similar situation, on the recovery side, there's not that much you can do. I was so stoned and weary that even watching TV seemed to take too much energy. My partner was mainly just there to fetch things, feed me, and keep my meds straight. I slept a lot. The fetching was important... it seemed like I always needed another pillow or blanket, a drink, a tissue, chapstick, etc.

So be prepared if he doesn't want to be entertained, at least for the first few days.
posted by kimdog at 10:13 AM on January 29, 2010


Would he enjoy just listening to you and your brother converse with each other? Talk about old family vacations, funny stories, etc.? Maybe with occasional questions to Dad so he can participate in the stories if he feels up to it.
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:16 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


he is in la-la land due to all the medications

...he's not totally aware of his surroundings or reality at the moment

These sound a bit extreme to me. Even if this was really major surgery, that sounds a little weird to not know what is going on. It's one thing to be a little doped up on pain meds or be feeling the effects of the anesthesia, but to not be aware of what is going on around you sounds like it is something more than that. You may want to talk to his doctors about his mental state, and he should not be going home while is in that state.

At first, I would worry about waiting on him and making him comfortable. Then, ask this question again when you can actually communicate with him.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 10:16 AM on January 29, 2010


yeah, having people around who are talking and willing to stop and talk to me if i'm up to it is something i enjoyed during my post-surgical la la land visits.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:18 AM on January 29, 2010


It is quite common to be disoriented and not fully aware of one's surroundings after certain major surgeries. Modern medical methodology suggests that adequate and preemptive pain medication aids healing. If you are to be in charge of your father's recovery, ask the doctor what level of medication is optimal and how to adjust it. Do not be alarmed by a certain amount of disorientation for a few days after returning home.

Also ask about visiting nurse services. A visiting nurse can advise you as to your father's level of consciousness and his recovery. S/he has seen many patients in post-recovery mode and can assess whether his recovery is typical. Do not be afraid to ask "too many" questions.

While he is out of touch, his entertainment needs will be highly reduced. As he spends more time in a lucid state, he will be able to guide you. Do not be alarmed if he shows little interest in the things he previously had great interest in, as he is going through a number of physical and mental challenges as he recovers.
posted by Old Geezer at 10:49 AM on January 29, 2010


"Is he having an enjoyable time in la la land, or is he disorientated, fearful, anxious, etc? Does he recognize people; will he be able to recognize you?"

Well, he calls us often and he is making jokes and a lot of references to things we've done. He also is concerned about things like making sure we use proper rules when boating. He's pretty chatty.

Thanks for the answers. We'll be sure to be flexible!
posted by kiwi-epitome at 11:06 AM on January 29, 2010


I found some things that needed to be done around the house, and then asked lots of questions as I was doing the projects. This allowed him to be engaged, e.g. direct the operations, while resting and not straining himself. At first it was a not pleasant, but I learned asking questions and made him feel involved while having the feeling of some control.

Part of it may be your dad's personality - in my case he is an ex-executive and being able to direct or control things is important. Learning to slow down was not a quick lesson for him...

best,
thomas
posted by fluffycreature at 11:39 AM on January 29, 2010


Humor. I would go with a Mel Brooks marathon. (it doesnt help I can't get the song "The Inquisition" out of my head). :)
posted by stormpooper at 12:35 PM on January 29, 2010


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