A ‘Tiny’ Tale Of Caregiving Troubles
One-time weather anchor Tiny Tadani was counting sheep in the middle of a meadow, enjoying a good night’s rest on his living room couch, when he heard the sound of a flowing stream. To his surprise, he awoke to what he calls, “The Great Flood of 2013.”
Weathercasters get easily excited over natural disasters, but unfortunately for the retired weatherman, this one struck too close to home as a personal disaster unfolded right before his very eyes. It was as if the flood gates to a dam has just been opened and streamed through his two-bedroom apartment. The trouble began when Tiny’s father Tadashi Tadani, who suffers from dementia, had soiled his pants and washed them in his bathroom sink, leaving the faucet running for about four hours straight.
Tiny recalls, “I put one foot on the floor and I heard ‘slosh’ so I ran to dad’s sink and discovered what was triggering a flash flood advisory for my neighbors below.”
He frantically grabbed all the towels he could cup under his armpits and started to wipe off his floors and soaked carpet. The invisible water had left an obvious trail of destruction, while dad calmly watched television, unaware of the chaos that surrounded him at 3 o’clock in the morning.
Tiny shouted for his son Taylor to grab more towels and to start squeezing water into several buckets. It was now 5 a.m. Tiny and Taylor had been working feverishly on hands and knees for two hours, patting and wringing out towels, to the point that Tiny’s hands started to shrivel, bleed and blister. Even with the stress, at no point did he once want to wring his father’s neck because he knew Dad suffers from a very serious illness and was innocent.
The elder Tadani did not comprehend the havoc he had just created.
Exhausted and in frustration, Tiny went directly to social media hoping for immediate physical help or some sort of sympathy. Desperation mixed with humor was evident in Tiny’s 9-1-1 Facebook post that morning, and the selfie he took is a photograph that is worth a thousand cries.
“My brother came right away, and that’s when I realized that enough was enough! I needed to get our dad out of the house. I was going through a list of our friends and relatives in my head, and knew that none of them would want to take on this crazy caregiving nightmare that I lived,” says Tiny.
In a span of five years, the father and grandfather that Tiny and Taylor were fond of hanging out with morphed into a stranger who turned paranoid, accusatory and vicious with his cane. The acceleration of his disease had progressively taken a turn for the worse. So much so, that Taylor had to lock his bedroom door at nights for his safety and well-being.
“My dad accused Taylor of stealing his wallet, belt, shoe horn and more. My son got tired of being painted a thief, so he ended up punching a few holes in his bedroom walls. While I was working or emceeing a function, Taylor would cry, apologizing, to tell me he had to leave the house because he could not handle Grandpa’s abuse any longer. I would freak out, fearing what would happen next with dad home alone.”
Taylor’s wall holes served as grim reminders that dementia has horrifying effects on both the afflicted and their loved ones.
“He was getting dangerous to us and annoying to his creditors. He had memorized his past debts that we had already paid off and would call his creditors attempting to pay the same bills.”
For three years, Tiny desperately tried to place his father in a foster home. “But the problem was that Dad’s healthcare provider kept giving me false information, saying his retirement and Social Security of $2,100 per month exceeded Medicaid’s income requirements by $100, so he didn’t qualify. I had no recourse. My friend recommended I attend a Medicaid seminar at Ala Moana Hotel. I called 593-8885 and went to the seminar conducted by Okura and Associates just for the hell of it,” explains Tiny.
“Within the first five minutes, I learned that it is not about how much a retiree makes but rather how many assets he or she possesses that determines Medicaid qualification.”
The elder Tadani had zero assets. The law firm saw desperation in the young caregiver’s eyes and immediately referred him to Azil, a case management company. Azil felt empathy for Tiny when they witnessed how grumpy and difficult Tadashi was, and found him a care home that day.
“It was the best $500 investment I made. I ran home to pack my dad’s belongings so fast, and told him, ‘Dad, we got a place for you. Let’s go!’ My heart was shredded to pieces when he told me in a little boy’s voice, ‘I don’t want to go!’ My eyes welled up with tears, so I ran out the door and began to sob.”
He adds, “His attitude changed when two pretty female caregivers welcomed him to his new home. I gave them my father’s monthly checks and supplemented their services with a few hundred dollars, only to be disappointed that Dad’s poor behavior had me placing him in two other private care homes.”
Tiny’s dream to place his father in a ’round-the-clock nursing home became a reality last week when the 83-year-old was accepted into a Kaneohe facility — in the same town where he raised his five children.
Tiny Tadani’s nightmare has a happy ending after he threw in the towel on caregiving for his dear ol’ dad for good. With each passing sunrise and sunset, the Tadani family now enjoys quality moments as the patriarch of their home lives in a good place, with son Tiny only a stone’s throw away.