Ever since dad came over to our house for lunch last Sunday, I’ve been very concerned about his gait and equilibrium. So many factors come into play with this issue. Is he overmedicated? Is the UTI that caused the recent sepsis returning? Is his fractured foot not healing properly? He’s also on a blood thinner, which means a fall could prove fatal. And if not fatal, could mean months in a rehab facility. The other thought I had was he’s been at home for three months recovering whereas normally he’d be busy with his volunteer work at the church. So, he has severely lacked extensive mobility in recent months.
So, off to the Dr. we went yesterday. I guess there’s a reason I’m not a doctor. Actually, there are many! First of all, I can’t stand the sight of blood or yucky bodily fluids! They’d have to pick me up off the floor. Haha. I wouldn’t be of much use. That said, my “honorary” nursing skills were put to the test yesterday at the doctor’s office. Apparently, when my dad showed the Dr. what he thought was a mole on his back, the usually stoic Dr. was duly impressed by the infected cyst. *Ewww*
I stood beside dad on the one side of the examination table while the Dr. was on the other during this procedure. The Dr. excitedly motioned for me to take a look at the area when I explained that I might wind up on the floor if I did. A few minutes later, I thought I was hearing things when the Dr. asked me to put on a pair of gloves and apply pressure to the area until the nurse came in to dress the wound. (He graciously covered the area so I didn’t have to see anything. ) Excuse me? They don’t pay me around here. Is this the new norm? Fewer staff. Trained professionals have even less time to spend with the patient. *Sigh* I really didn’t mind (too much) helping out, but I must admit, I was taken aback. The nurse finally made it into the room about ten to fifteen minutes later, much to my dad’s joy. His left arm had fallen asleep as they had him turned almost on his stomach in an awkward position. Poor fella. The examination table is fairly narrow and my dad’s a big guy. He’s over six feet tall and a healthy weight. I don’t know how the Dr. got him over on his side, but I was of little to no help with my injured elbow. The Dr. said the infection could be a cause of his weakness, but that physical therapy would be helpful to regain strength in his legs. He said dad’s at the “use it or lose it” stage with walking. As one ages, it’s incredible how quickly muscle tone can be lost when no demand is placed on it. Well, that’s all dad had to hear and he is totally on board with the physical therapy!
The question is, is there life outside of physical therapy?? We’re all still doing physical therapy from our car accident three days a week. Next week, we’ll be re-evaluated and go from there. I guess on our “off” days, I’ll take dad to his therapy. The chiropractor showed me some neck stretches to do to help ease the intense trapezoid muscle knots I have, particularly after driving so much. Those will definitely be needed. And this is the time I wish I had a twin.
Dad has so many needs. He needs to see the podiatrist, urologist, now the physical therapist and the lab for routine blood work every 1-2 weeks lately. My three siblings all live many miles away and this caregiver is feeling a little stretched. Okay, a lot. I’ve been down this path before with him. This is when I remind myself to take things one day at a time. Don’t get too far ahead of myself thinking about all that needs attending to. One day. One step. God’s grace will be there to meet me every inch of the journey. He’s never failed me yet. Nor will He ever. It’s not in His character, nor in His realm. Ever faithful is He.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
The other take-away from all of this is … Always, always, ever always … Drink lots of water!
What? What does H2O have to do with this topic? Well, you see, my dad’s primary source of fluids prior to his hospitalization was Pepsi. To him, water was something you drink to take medicine with and that’s it. I honestly don’t know how his system has endured all of the neglect. Oh, and he drank iced tea too. Both of which contain caffeine, which are diuretics. Not good. This is the cause of his urinary tract infection that resulted in sepsis, which is fatal in many cases. This is when bacteria gets into the blood stream and your body is in shock and nearly begins to shut down. Fortunately, the hospital has a very aggressive approach to responding to sepsis and he was able to recover.
He fractured his foot because he was so weak from the sepsis. And now, here we are with his walking issues because of poor hydration. It’s a life lesson. Always drink lots of water!! Learn from another’s mistake, please. Our bodies are not as invincible as we tend to believe, and particularly as we age. They’re far less forgiving. Good nutrition and hydration habits when you’re young will greatly help you in every stage of your life. Afterall, our bodies consist of more than sixty percent water!
I think I’m going to get a tall glass of water …