Tag Archives: aging parent

Cause and Effect

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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 …

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When Dad Sang

So, I picked dad up this overcast, spring morning to visit the urologist.  Fortunately, this was just an in/out thing and then we were on our way.  He seemed stronger today compared to last week, which was very encouraging.  Last week it seemed that he was regressing when he’d come so far since his hospitalization last month.  I was glad to see him rebounding today, despite depending on the walker for stability.  He was definitely stronger getting in and out of the car.  What a blessing to see!

My son came along and, as always, was a great help unfolding the walker for his grandpa and opening doors, etc.  We all enjoyed a nice breakfast at Bob Evans and had a fantastic waitress.  Afterwards, my son helped pump gas on the way to take my dad home.  It’s so nice that he’s old enough to help out with that now.  I wore the elbow ace bandage today as a support for my sprained elbow that is still recovering.  (Soaking in the epsom salt has made all the difference in the world, thankfully!)

We set the trash out for my dad just in time before the trash truck rounded the corner this morning.  So, he appreciated getting that taken care of.  I know he’ll be glad when he is back to his normal self.

On the way back to his house, I decided to play the David Phelps’ album on my iPod again.  (It seems to be a favorite at the moment!)  I knew my dad would appreciate hearing How Great Thou Art as it is his all-time favorite hymn.  (He has selected this hymn to be sung at his funeral.) Traffic was fairly heavy, but my spirits were lightened when I heard dad sing along to this hymn!  My dad doesn’t usually sing, folks.  He’s a pretty serious fella when he’s not cracking a joke.  Does that make any sense?  Haha! … Ah, dad has been through so much over the past six weeks beginning with fracturing his right foot followed by contracting a serious case of sepsis the next day!  When he was in the hospital, even basic functions were nearly impossible.  His recovery over the last few weeks has been miraculous, and to hear him singing praises to our heavenly Father today… well, it melted my heart!  It surely made God smile.

Here, his body is weak and his mind gets confused at times, but his spirit remains connected to his Lord and Savior!  What a testimony of God’s grace!

The album continued playing and after dad got out of the SUV at his house, he said how much he enjoyed listening to the music.  I was glad to hear that.  Normally I don’t play the radio or listen to my iPod when he’s in the car because he’s usually talking so much.  He must’ve been a little tired today as he didn’t talk much on the way home.

Today was the last batch of doctor appointments for several weeks, thankfully!  We’ve seen so many specialists over the last month and we both can stand a reprieve.

So very thankful for the mercy and grace God extends to my dad and to me also as I strive to be God’s hands extended.  Most days I rely heavily on God’s strength and He never fails me.  I always consider the fact that one day I, too, will need assistance with things and can only hope and pray that my children will be patient and loving with me as well.  I learned very early on just how fragile life really is.  I was a mere 23 when I watched my mother’s life ebb away as her body was wracked with cancer.  So, I’ve lived my entire adult life with the understanding that we are not as invincible as we tend to believe when we’re young.  Tomorrow is not promised.  We must make today count!  Witnessing my dad’s recent health struggles and near death experience with sepsis has prompted me to prepare myself for his eventual passing, but I don’t know that one can ever be truly prepared to lose a parent, no matter the age.  We never willingly let go.  Death is so foreign, so intangible.  It separates us from the ones we love.

I know that when the day arrives that he crosses into Glory, it will be the best day of his life.  No more pain, no more struggles.  Heaven will be far more perfect and full of pure bliss than we could ever consider or imagine with our finite minds!  Until then … I am doing my best to honor and respect my dad and help him navigate his golden years with grace and dignity.

Today, my reward was when dad sang…

 

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Life is Fragile

Yesterday was my dad’s fourth Dr. appointment post-hospitalization.  It was an all day event as usual.  I drove the 45 minute trek listening to praise music on my iPod and praying while fighting the normal, congested traffic that is our area’s trademark.  Before I had the opportunity to suggest that my dad take the walker, he mentioned that he thought it was a good idea.  I definitely agreed.  He’s still in an ankle brace from his recent fractured foot and his equilibrium is not what she used to be.

Our first stop was the lab so he could get his routine blood work done since he’s on a blood thinner.  He has to have it checked every 3-4 weeks, sometimes more often depending on the previous results.  If he’s put on antibiotics (like now), we have to check it more often as it interferes with the Coumadin.  He’s been on it for almost two years and my life has become increasingly busy.  We were in and out of the lab in no time flat, which was a blessing.

We enjoyed a nice brunch at our favorite French cafe afterwards.  We both really enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and great service there.  I suggested that he get a hair cut as it’s been a while and he was unsure about climbing the three steps that lead into the barber shop.  I assured him that I’d go with him and help him, so he agreed.  As he held onto the railing, I turned the walker sideways (like the physical therapist showed me) so he could use it as a railing of sorts to navigate each step.  So, he climbed one step, and I put the walker on the next step up.  This sounds like an easy process, except for the fact that each step was challenging.  Normally, when I take him to get a hair cut, I wait in the car, so this was the first time I went inside.  They are fast and always do a superb job.  I know he wanted to look nice for next week when my sisters visit.  (He usually fights me on hair cuts…unless it’s his idea…)

We still had time to kill before his cardiologist appointment, so I ran into Walmart for a few things he needed while he waited in the car.  God gave us a beautiful, sunny day and he was happy to sit in the car with the windows partially down and enjoy the breeze.  After we got gas, we headed for his follow up appointment with the cardiologist.  They did an EKG and everything looks fine, so that was good news!  His blood pressure is good too.  All in all, a great report…next appointment in six months!  (I can’t even think about six months from now, but it’s on the calendar…)

I was on a mission to get him out of that ankle brace contraption as I knew it was too tight for him, which made walking painful.  His feet and legs swell, which is why he’s on a diuretic.  Apparently, this brace was the largest that the orthopedic office had in stock.  I popped into the medical supply store on the way home and they only had small and medium ankle braces, which didn’t help at all.  Then I needed to get a half gallon of milk for him, so I popped into Target.  They had one that I thought would work, so I got that, as well as an ace bandage type ankle brace for when it heals further.  I figured between the two, one should work.

When we got back to his house, I took that contraption off (which is great for athletes, but not for 77 year old men whose feet and legs swell!!) and changed his socks.  He’s in the fifth week of healing post-fractured foot and he’s improving all the time, but it’s still tender.  So, I was trying hard not to further inflict pain as I got his foot into the new ankle brace.  I barely got the criss cross velcro straps to adhere to the other side, but it worked!  I had him do a little walking so I could make sure it’d stay in place and it did!  Yay for success!  When I removed the old contraption, I saw the reason why I know the Lord was nudging me to get him into a different brace.  His leg surrounding where the brace had been was incredibly swollen and it was not good for his circulation, I know.  He said the new brace was so much better and he wasn’t in pain like before.  So, that’s what we were shooting for!  Good deal.  He did have to take some Tylenol when he got home from all the exertion of the day.  I’m sure he slept good last night!

My dad definitely seemed weaker yesterday and I was surprised at how much he was relying on the walker, considering how much he detests the thing usually.  He did mention that he didn’t want to fall into me like last time and I do appreciate that.  I don’t want him to fall into me either!  He’s still battling the urinary tract infection and has one more day to finish that round up.  We’ll go to the urologist early next week and they’ll reassess.

Aging is really stinky sometimes, isn’t it?!  Somehow God gives both dad and I the grace and strength to face each new health challenge.  I know he’s ready to return to his volunteer work at the church and misses the interaction with the church and school staff very much.  Due to his hospitalization and subsequent recovery, he’s been away from the church for five weeks now, which is a long time for him!  Volunteering is what keeps him going and his mind active, so it’s a good thing.  His primary care doctor warned him not to return too soon, which he agreed with.  If he continues progessing as well as he currently is, perhaps he’ll return to the church in another month or so.  He has to regain full mobility and be able to navigate the eighteen concrete steps that lead to his area at the church.

One blessing I noted yesterday was the fact that, although his body was a little weak, his mind was very sharp.  It was one of his good days, which is always a blessing!  God is so faithful.

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Flashbacks of Caring for my Grandmother

My maternal grandmother was born before the turn of the century on a hundred acre farm.  She was the oldest with six boys following her, and, finally, another baby girl.  She loved to recall this: “I’m not bragging, but I did as hard work as those boys did.  I put my arms around many a barrels of potatoes and we’d roll them up onto the truck.”  🙂  She was a sweetheart.

She came to live with us a few years after my grandfather died.  I don’t have very many memories of her when she was still mobile, however from age 11 until I was 23, I would assist in caring for her as an invalid.  She had hip replacement surgery in 1981 and never regained strength enough to walk.  We did everything for her.  Our mom was a registered nurse by trade, and my younger sister and I were her little assistants, who really did too much at such an early age.

She read her Bible every day and I am convinced she thrived as long as she did because she drew strength from the Scriptures.  For many years, she enjoyed exchanging letters with her sister until she got to where she repeated herself many times over and couldn’t formulate a comprehensive letter.  As time wore on, her dementia worsened.  She didn’t recognize our mother, her daughter.  She would say, “I know you’re someone in the family, but I can’t place who you are.”  I know that deeply saddened our mother.  Usually, she knew who my sister and I were because we were always close by.  We would fix her hair and even polished her nails on occasion.  We loved her dearly.

We were never told, “Listen, we need to love grandmother and respect and care for her, okay, girls?”  We were shown by mere example.  We had such a loving and nurturing mother who displayed day in and day out what love looks like.  She showed us how to care for our grandmother and the value of family.  She demonstrated the deep love and regard she held for her mother by her care and compassion.  We could do no less.

My grandmother would tell us she saw a horse on the rooftop of the house across the street or a little boy playing the piano at her bedside.  How she got these visions in her head, I will never know.  The aging mind can be a scary place.  I can recall her reading little preschool books to my oldest and at some point, he drifted into another room mid-story.  She’d continue reading the story and enjoying looking at the bright pictures until the book was completed, just as a preschooler might.  That saddened me.  Although it illustrates how in many respects the elderly become as babies once again.  I wish I knew why.

(It’s so important for the mind to remain engaged in life.  Once mobility challenges arrive, it seems the mind is susceptible to rapid decay.)

Despite all the countless hours and days spent caring for my grandmother during those years, she will forever hold a special place in my heart.  She was tough, tenacious, but, most of all, she was a godly woman after God’s own heart.  She grew up in the Methodist church and attended the same little, country church her entire life until she moved in with us.  Her ancestor’s names are inscribed on a few stained glass windows.  It was where she worshipped with her parents and seven siblings as a young child, and, in due course, with her late husband and children.  It was a special place to her.  And, now, it is where we laid her earthly body to rest twenty-one years ago.  She was ninety-eight.

My grandmother saw a lot of changes in her lifetime, for sure.  She was fond of saying, “Times bring changes, honey.”  Haha.  The house my mother grew up in had no indoor plumbing until she was sixteen.  There was no central A/C or heating.  They had fireplaces and, I suppose, kerosene heaters.  My grandmother saw the advent of the automobile and aircraft, vast advances in modern medicine; not to mention, the computer revolution.  I am only two generations removed from the cusp of innovation my grandmother witnessed during her lifetime.  Pretty interesting to ponder.

Change.  They say, “The only constant in life is change.”  The irony of it all.  Yes, change is all around us.  Now, my role as daughter is often “Caregiver” or “Advisor” to my father, who is fond of calling me his business manager or letting everyone know that I hold all of his medical records.  🙂  Yes, times do bring changes, honey.

 

 

 

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What a Day!

Where to begin?  Today was my dad’s initial appointment with a specialist as a follow up to his recent hospitalization.  I usually go in the patient room with him, but since it was the urologist, I let him go alone.  I told him I’d come in the back once the Dr. is finished and wants to talk with me.  The nurse called me back sooner than I anticipated and I should have known something was amiss.  Apparently my dad couldn’t tell the Dr. exactly what his symptoms were, and, in his view, everything was fine!  When in reality, nothing could be further from the truth!

I honestly was flabbergasted at my dad’s response to the doctor’s questions.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  I did speak up a couple times to correct my dad as he should be able to decipher reality from make believe in his mind.  It was preposterous.  I actually entertained the brief thought that my father was experiencing early stages of Alzheimer’s disease!  Nah, it’s just either a.) his pride getting in the way, thus claiming he’s just fine or  b.) fear – if he says he’s fine, they can’t find anything wrong with him.  I think he was reflecting on his father’s terminal illness of colon cancer, but he mixed it up somehow and thought of prostate cancer.

To every detailed question the urologist asked, he answered as though he was experiencing 100% health.  It was an “I could’ve had a V-8″/smacks forehead with gusto moment!  (Remember that commercial?)  Meanwhile, on the way to the appointment, he adamantly reminded me that he needs more Depends.  *Smacks forehead again over the irony!* … I think I need to get away!  Calgon … (Is that another reference to a long ago commercial??  Comedic relief can be very therapeutic in situations like these…)

It turns out his prostate is slightly enlarged and was prescribed some medicine to help with that and another symptom.  Once the lab results come in, they’ll call me if anything is wrong.  So, at least some progress was made, despite my dad’s lack of cooperation.  Follow-up in six weeks…

Granted, the urologist’s bedside manner left something to be desired, but I have found that some specialties tend to breed “eccentric” individuals.  (Take for instance, podiatrists…You have to be a little “different” to want to handle often times very neglected metatarsals and phalanges!)  However, I have a great deal of confidence in this doctor’s approach and experience in general.

On a lighter note, my dad’s life was forever changed today!  The Dr. informed him that he should not drink coffee, tea or sodas.  Pepsi is his thing, so this change will be very interesting!  He had an unopened 36 ct. case of Pepsi sitting at home, so he gave that to us.  Basically, those drinks will only aggravate his condition.  So, we stocked up on Gatorade and juice at Wally World on the way home.  He has a lot of bottled water already, so hopefully he will actually drink it.  Previously in his mind, water was something you drink with medications and that’s it.  😉  So, you see how challenging this is going to be.

One Dr. appointment down, three more to go over the next few weeks!  The next one is a test he cannot fail!  It’s a follow-up trip to the orthopedic Dr. and they will do another x-ray of his fractured foot.  The prescribed care is not contingent upon anything he says, so he should be safe.  Plus, he likes the orthopedic Dr.  He jokes around with him and has a great bedside manner.  (As you may have guessed, this is a huge category for prospective doctors – “likeablility”.)  The orthopedic Dr. is nearly seven feet tall and built like a linebacker.  But, I digress … Foot wise, dad was able to walk from the SUV into his house today without the assistance of his walker.  I was surprised he did that, but he’s nearly back to normal!  Praise the Lord for that!  Once we got back to his house, I changed his socks for him and adjusted his orthopedic boot.  My son and I stripped his linens and brought home a bunch of laundry to be washed.  He’s my big helper!

Aging is a part of life and as I become more and more involved in my father’s care, I am determined to:

  1. Exercise more!
  2. Continue eating healthy.
  3. Keep my mind active always.
  4. Maintain a positive attitude because no one wants to deal with a sour puss.
  5. Love.  Love extravagantly because none of us ever know the extent of our days.

Today was definitely one of the more challenging days with dad.  For reasons beyond me, he didn’t want to let on that he was in anything less than tip-top condition.  Somehow, we made it through and I am grateful once again for the strength and grace that God grants me as I deal with my dad and his health issues.  I’m leaning heavily on Him and continually praying, knowing that nothing escapes God’s watchful eye and He is holding us in the palm of His strong and mighty hand.

Incidentally, I had such a powerful time of prayer this rainy morning during the 40 minute commute to my dad’s house in rush hour traffic.  I just knew it was going to be a blessed and victorious day!  And, perhaps it was in many regards.  Perhaps we were spared from something we may not know of until we reach heaven.  Maybe today was a great day after all, despite the extent of the challenges.  Just maybe God’s strength is best on display at my weakest.  Conceivably, when I am at the end of my rope, that’s when God’s power in my life is most evident.

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” ~ II Corinthians 12:9

 

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Tomorrow’s The Big Day!

After recuperating at our house for nearly two weeks, my dad is officially ready to return to his home tomorrow!!  This is such a miracle, folks!  He was literally at death’s door with sepsis (a raging infection of bacteria in the blood that many die from) a couple weeks ago.  And to complicate matters he is recovering from a fractured foot.  Overall, he is doing very well, though!  I know he’s excited to be returning to a familiar environment where he can watch whatever he wants on t.v. and not be bossed around by well meaning daughters and granddaughters.  🙂  The downside to being home again is he won’t have anyone at his beck and call.  Literally, just about every waking moment is spent performing some task he’s dreamed up.  (Such as:  He thought I should call my sister to see if she received a package.  He wanted to place yet another Amazon order today.  He wants his boot off.  He wants his boot back on.  He wants his feet propped up.  No, his heel is hurting so he now wants his feet down.  There’s a bag of trash in the bathroom for you.  There’s some soiled clothes in there too.  Move this walker over…)  The list goes on infinitely.  We have all been very patient, however, our patience is running just a wee bit thin.  Let’s just say, I think we’ll all be happy for Thursday, April 3rd!!

I set out his clothes earlier this morning and made him oatmeal before his final visit with the visiting nurse.  She was pleasant and wound up staying almost an hour.  She must have a very flexible schedule to endure listening to my father’s many stories.  I let them talk while I continued doing housework in the other room.  After she left, he felt compelled to rehash the entire visit despite the fact that I assured him I heard everything from the other room.  In between monologues, he napped quite a bit.  But, then again, he seems to do that every day.  I guess he has to rest up for the next story!  Yesterday in the car, my 14 yr. old son marveled at his range of knowledge and said, “Boy, Grandpa, you’re like an encyclopedia!”  Haha!  🙂

A friend of my dad’s brought over an entire smorgasbord this evening for dinner!  The buffet consisted of: steamed shrimp, salmon, BBQ chicken, buffalo wings, rice, green beans, and corn on the cob.  It was all delicious!!  He’s an excellent cook!  My favorite was the shrimp dipped in cocktail sauce.

I was determined to get a lot done around the house despite the other demands of the day!  I cleaned the bathroom, dusted & polished the wood furniture, vacuumed, loaded the dishwasher, washed & folded two loads of laundry, rounded up all the library books due, scheduled our spring HVAC service, called the wheelchair rental co. to schedule pick up, helped my son with school work, worked on my quilt and went on an evening walk with hubby!  Whew!  And this doesn’t consider all I did for my dad today.  I don’t know where the energy came from, but I’m glad I had it!  I think I was determined more than anything.  I guess it goes to show that with a made up mind, you can accomplish most anything!  I didn’t even take my vitamins and supplements today!  They usually give me a lot of energy, especially the Royal Jelly and fish oil.  It was a productive day indeed!  Tomorrow will be even more so!

After I take my daughter to work, we’ll load up and take my dad home.  My husband is going to drive over there as well to assist us in getting him settled in between work meetings.  I’m glad he is able to come too.  My dad will be home for a few days and then the doctor appointments begin!  I’ll get him some fresh groceries in a couple days.  Managing two households can be very challenging!  But, I have learned to take it one day at a time because when I try to overthink things too much or get out too far in front of myself, that’s when worry and anxiety can easily creep in.  Trust.  That’s the key.

“What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!”  by Joseph Scriven

If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my dad’s most recent health crisis, it is that my job is to do my very best and commit to God the rest.  I’m a mother of three and tend to be very nuturing, but I cannot make a grown man adopt healthy choices if he doesn’t want to, nor can I ensure nothing bad happens.  I can’t take on caring for his very life as my personal burden.  I can only do my best.  I must leave the rest to God.  Otherwise, I would drive myself crazy.  He is an adult and a very opinionated one at that.  My role is to provide the best care and guidance possible.

I am so thankful that the hotline to heaven is open 24 hours a day.  You’ll never get a busy signal (the younger generation may not know what that even is!) or an answering machine.  Always a live connection to our Great High Priest, who daily makes intercession for us himself.  That is such a comforting thought!  What a true privilege prayer really is.  Such a powerful force.

As my dad transitions to his house and being alone again, would you consider praying for him?  I’d be ever grateful.  Thank you, friends.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Dad’s Returning Home Soon!

After I dropped my daughter off at work this afternoon, we proceeded to my dad’s house to see how he’d do maneuvering there.  He did very well!  He made it up his stairs using the railing on either side just fine.  Fortunately his house is small and he can get around easily.  I asked him what, if anything, he felt would be his greatest challenge when he returned home.  Are you ready for his reply? … Apparently, we need to contact his cable provider to order a new remote as his on/off button no longer works.  Yes, t.v. is a big part of his life!  Somehow when he enters the room he’ll just have to remember to turn the t.v. on manually before he sits down.   It’s the least of his concerns in reality.  But that’s where his mind is.

During his stay at our house, I usually take his orthopedic boot off to give his foot and leg a break from time to time.  But when he’s back home, he won’t have that option.  He’ll just have to keep the boot on since he likely wouldn’t be able to strap it on tight enough.  He’s two weeks into the healing process for his fractured foot and really seems to be doing well overall.  The orthopedic Dr. initially said the recovery may take up to 6-8 weeks, but I think that’s a fairly standard response.  Perhaps he’ll feel better before that time.

This morning I put in a call to my dad’s primary care physician to see what he thought about ending the home health nurse visits.  I see no point in continuing, especially considering the cardiologist office called this morning to say he can wait three weeks ’til the next lab visit.  So, it’s not as if we need the visiting nurse to do lab work and the only other service she provided was very basic.  Besides, Monday will begin a whole series of Dr. visits for him.  Aside from his fractured foot, he’s really back to his previous condition.  So, that’s a real answer to much prayer!!  It was a godsend intially to have the visiting nurse come out, especially since it meant not having to take him to the lab with his mobility challenges.

His primary care Dr. returned my call this afternoon and agreed with me and said he’d back up my decision.  He’s very down to earth and knows my dad well.  He’ll see him in two weeks.  So, I’m relieved to end the home visits, especially since he’ll be returning home soon and doesn’t need to worry about answering the door.  The next service I need to look into is hiring a maid service to come in at least once a month.  He will protest, I know… He doesn’t see any need for someone to come in and clean.  He is organized but he doesn’t really clean…

The visiting nurse will come for the final time tomorrow.  The physical therapist called this evening and asked if we wanted her to come out one more time or process the discharge over the phone.  I chose the latter.  Our family is very fatigued from all of the hubub of the last two weeks and are ready to return to some sense of normalcy.  We are expecting a friend of my dad’s tomorrow to drop off a casserole.  Prayerfully, that is the last of the revolving door saga for a while.  Don’t get me wrong, we love company!  But, under normal circumstances and at a more peaceful time, please.

So, it looks like my dad will be ready to return home the day after tomorrow.  I gave him the choice of tomorrow or the following day, so that’s what he chose.  I think he’s about as excited as we are.  I don’t mean that in a negative way, but we just need a little “down time”.  Pretty much every waking moment is spent helping him with some task or listening to him talk.  (Have I mentioned how much he loves to talk?!?!)  As a wife and mother, I am also a sounding board for my husband and two teens, so my ears are a little droopy at times!  There’s a lot that has gone undone while we’ve been caring for my dad, so it’ll be good to get some things done.

Dad enjoys ordering this and that on Amazon and I’m his link to online shopping as he doesn’t own a computer.  So, last night we ordered a supportive pair of New Balance black shoes.  I’m ready to toss his current pair, although he thinks they’re fine.  I could see how he could easily turn his ankle with the shoes he’s wearing, so I’m glad he conceded.  We also ordered several other things he wanted, as well as a coffee maker for my sister.

All in all, it was a magnificent day…one that gave us both great hope!

During the thick of things with my dad’s recent health crisis, sometimes it has felt like it would last forever.  To be sure, we’ve had many long days, but through it all, God has been the strength of my heart, my Sustainer!  He is my Hope when my hope was dim.  He is Mercy and Healing when the battle raged.  He is Grace when my soul was weary.  He is my Strength when my humanity was exhausted.  He is my Everything.  I can’t imagine life without Jesus.  He is the fortress, the shelter I run to in the midst of the storm.  He is my Refuge, my Redeemer, my Rock.

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Filed under Caregiver