It’s never a good thing when the police knock on your door at nine-thirty at night. That’s what happened tonight. We were in the midst of folding and putting away laundry when a knock came on the door. There’s a certain kind of knock that police have. Actually, it’s more like a pound than a knock. As soon as I heard it, I knew it was police, and that’s a sad thing. I shouldn’t be able to distinguish between a regular knock and a police knock, but I can.
Andy answered the door. I heard one of the officers ask if a Roger Faulkner was here, and I stepped out of the bedroom and peeked around the corner. Andy had just told them he didn’t live here, but he was my father. I added that he lives in Lake City now. That’s when the night got interesting.
Seems my father left the facility in Lake City last night. He was walking–with a walker–back to “his home” in Jacksonville. Of course, when Lake City police found him, he wasn’t exactly walking. No, he was bathing in a retention pond. Rather than take him back to the place where he should have been staying, the address for which I have no doubt he didn’t know, the police drove him to the county line where they had arranged for police in the next jurisdiction to take him East to the next jurisdiction. And on and on they went, radioing ahead for rides. I can only imagine the stories Dad was telling everyone as he rode from place to place. When he thinks he’s in a sociable setting, he doesn’t stop talking. Somewhere in the midst of all those transfers between police cars, though, they lost Dad.
These Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office officers were on the ball enough to at least ask me if dad had any mental issues going on. I gave them the whole story. Early stages of alcohol-induced dementia, the mass growing on his right parietal lobe, the scar on his right frontal lobe, the hydrocephaly, all of which impair his judgment, and diabetes for which he needs medication. I told them about the last five weeks. The hospital stay. The doctors declaring him competent enough to make decisions for himself and discharging him. His stay in respite care. His abbreviated stay in the boarding house and the circumstances of his transfer to Lake City. I told them about his habit of hanging with homeless people and bringing them home when he lived in the apartments near me and how the practice got him evicted a few weeks ago.
One of the officers was especially empathetic as he had to gain guardianship over his own father not long ago. I told him how I was working with Elder Source here in Jacksonville and Elder Choice over in Lake City to try to get dad into a secure facility. I also told them I met with an attorney this week regarding guardianship, and they both commented on how they thought I was doing everything I needed to do to secure Dad’s safety.
At that point, they had me call Shenay, the lady who owns and runs the facility from which Dad left to see if she had reported Dad missing. She said she called the police and was told that since Dad was not declared incompetent by a judge, she could not hold him against his will, so she let him go. They also told her, according to her, that since he was “competent,” and decided to leave on his own, he could not be reported as missing.
Now, why Shenay did not call me last night to let me know that Dad had left her facility, I have no idea. She’d already been paid for this month’s room and board. Perhaps she didn’t think I needed to know anything until it came time to pay for next month? I don’t know. I do know that she’s on my dad’s bank account and that Dad has removed me as his Social Security payee and that his money will be going directly into that account. Shenay can remove all of that money, and Dad will have no recourse for getting that money back.
The JSO officers went above and beyond tonight when they took it upon themselves to contact Lake City police and report Dad as missing and put out a BOLO on him. They filled them in on Dad’s health issues. They reported Dad as missing from this end. And since Dad’s legal address is on West 33rd Street here in Jacksonville, if he does make it to the city line, that’s where they’ll have to take him. Not here, even though this is probably where he was headed.
Oh, Dad. What a mess you’ve made for yourself.
Monday, I’m going to have to call Elder Choice and Elder Care and let them know what’s going on. I’m going to have to call Aging True to let them know what’s going on and see if his nurse and any of the therapists will be willing to swear out statements regarding Dad’s mental state. I’m going to have to contact the apartment complex where he lived here in Jax to warn them that he might try to come around there as there is a lady in the office he considers his “girlfriend,” and she needs to be warned that he’d probably try to sweet talk her into letting him stay with her.
In the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to wait to hear something from the Lake City police. I guess I should turn on my phone.