A new year, a new routine - I took a break from work and drove up to the nursing home. Found my father sitting on a chair in an unoccupied room, pulling obsessively at the lining of a small trash can he'd placed on the floor between his legs. He looked up and seemed to recognize me, at least as someone significant. He launched into something resembling a conversation. The facial expressions were familiar, but apart from one moment, when he offered me coffee (there isn't any on the unit), he produced only word-like sounds in sentence-length cadences. After about 15 minutes he said something (I think) to the effect that there was some object or other I was supposed to get from the outside. I took that as a cue and told him I was going to go get it and I'd be back. I left.
They tell me he's somewhat better adjusted to the lithium, though they weren't sure whether he'd had the full dose today. P is on vacation for a few weeks so at the moment I don't have reliable sources. But on the evidence he seemed calm, and no more compromised than you'd expect from the disease itself - which is pretty massively compromised, of course, but you learn to read the difference between the drug effects and the fundamental damage.
Last night around 7 I had a call from a member of the unit staff, reporting (again) that he'd fallen, this time after colliding with another resident. Thats' the second fall since he got to the nursing home. Confirmed now that the phone calls are part of the reporting requirement, so I'm learning to take them in stride. Once I heard there were no injuries, I relaxed completely and went on with my evening.
Routines don't last any length of time in this business but for the moment, we seem to have established a good steady pace. After all the upheaval last fall, I'm fine with that. And it's good to know that if (when) things break loose again, the professionals will be there to deal with it.
For now the verdict on 2010 is, so far, so good.