You don’t need to come. I’ve got a wife, damn it!

In the past year, my dad has gone through two neurological batteries, and neither time was there any conclusive diagnosis as to his memory issues. There were signs of an aging brain, which is normal in a 79-year-old, but nothing more specific.

We find out there’s a licensed clinical psychologist at their retirement community. My brother sets up an appointment and my dad went to a neuropsychological evaluation. The administering psychologist calls to get some background and asked that I attend the meeting when the results of the exam are reviewed.

I discussed the results review date with my parents one week out, and every time I saw them, confirmed it was on the calendar. Each time they were aware of the appointment but did not know the doctor asked me to attend. My dad knew he did poorly on the initial test. I only knew about that because my mom had called when he failed to show up when parking the car after the testing (she forgot he was taking the car to get a repair).

Three times in the days prior to the appointment where exam results would be reviewed, my dad called to tell me not to come. I have attended many appointments with my dad, so I was a little surprised. On one call, he yelled, “You don’t need to come. I’ve got a wife, damn it!”

I calmly asked my dad why he went to see the psychologist in the first place and he didn’t know. I calmly went over some things that were happening and why he saw him. I reminded him that the doctor had specifically called and asked me to be there. It’s hard to have your parents yell at you. You immediately either revert back to your child self, or your adult self takes over and I’m not one to typically fold when spoken to harshly.

There is a Proverb that goes “A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words cause quarrels.” I responded to my dad with warmth and in a conversational tone which made a huge difference in the outcome of our conversation. “Oh, okay, see you tomorrow.” Practice makes perfect and the past few years have taught me well. Prepared.

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