Changing The Guard: Caretaking Your Parents

Dad Fell Again

10 o’clock at night.  I was upstairs at the back of the house with the door closed almost asleep.  Dad, 160 pounds, was downstairs in the front of the house when I heard a big thud.  Rushing down, I found Dad on the floor.  It didn’t take us a long time to get him in the bed.  We actually had a couple of laughs, well gaffaws, while doing it.

But tonight when Rose was supposed to come over, he didn’t want to go out.  He doesn’t trust his legs. He has also had some of his spells, but I hated that now he was wanting to keep himself at home.

I joked about how I didn’t want him sitting around all the time.  It was an opportunity to disspell his concern that I didn’t want him out.  But he seemed so depressed and wasn’t at all interested when Queen and I were talking about how he could exercise his legs.

But later I saw him doing some leg lifts and then he asked how much a stationary bike would cost.  God bless him.

August 20, 2009 Posted by | Joys and Frustrations | , , | Leave a comment

Are You An Optimist or a Pessimist?

When I was a kid I read an essay that said that pessimists are the lucky people.  The theory was that most things are disappointing which gave away the author.  He went on to say that optimists are continually disappointed.  If the plane lands a half an hour late, the optimist is disappointed.  If it lands safely, the pessimist is delighted.  Since it is late much more often than it doesn’t land, the pessimist is set up for a lot of happy times.

However, I tend towards optimism.  That is not to say that I don’t have the normal amount of anxiety and fear, or days of just wondering how I am going to do it: but I am an optimist.

I have feared that we wouldn’t get the right help for Dad, but I really knew that we would.  I worry about money, but know we will find it.

Optimism has worked for me.  Yesterday, I had a great day planned.  My appointments were lined up perfectly, five of them and I would be able to be home early.  Yea!  Then after #3 I couldn’t get my car out of park.  This had happened a few times, but I messed with it and I went.  Not this time.  I had to call a tow truck, glad that I had renewed by AAA.  He got it started so that I could drive to my mechanic, it took an hour and $40.  So what’s to be optimistic about?  Well, it didn’t happen when I was in the middle of no where.  The two missed appointments could be resceduled. The truck came quick and while I was waiting to fix it, I went to Third Place for lunch and met someoneI hadn’t seen in months.

There!  I was right.  Now, I could have looked at this from a pessimisitc perpectic.  Would I have been better off?

What do you think?  Is it possible to become more optimisstic, assuming you want that.

Me?  I think that it helps me with the task at hand.  Even if I’m wrong.

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Blessings, Joys and Frustrations, Take Care of Yourself | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cutting Dad’s Meat

Its been a really long time since I cut anyone’s meat.  cutting meatI couldn’t have imagined doing it for my Dad, ever.  I would have thought that it was demeaning.  But he doesn’t seem too proud about it.  His hands aren’t steady enough to hold a knife and fork and he needs it cut, its just that simple.

And its a very tender thing to do, pun not intended.  It doesn’t take much time, I don’t know how well I do it, but its something simple that I can do for him.  Just nice moments.

July 18, 2009 Posted by | Joys and Frustrations | Leave a comment

When Dad Gets Depressed

Dad was really depressed yesterday.  One of the things that helps me get through this is that Dad seems to want to be alive and there are things that he looks forward to, from his date nights with Rose, to ‘I hope I live long enough to see if this Obama stuff works’, even though he doesn’t think it will.

But when he is so depressed it makes it harder to hold on.

He had had a bad night, not much sleep.  That his meds are making a lot of drool is embarrassing to him, and I have to admit, unpleasant for me.  His new assistant  thinks its the meds.  I have no doubt about it.

“I am going to tell the nurse that I am going off all my meds, except for 3, the heart, blood pressure and ..”  I don’t remember what else.But he didn’t say it with strength, but anger and depression.

I am actually with him on this.  I am suspicious of too many meds.  The doc says he must have each and every one.  In which case Dad is saying, ‘I won’t live this way’.  I am not going to fight him on it.  I am staying out of it. Its his choice.

He was better by evening.  Queen had given him one of the baths that he loves so.  Rose came over and talked about her problems with her girlfriend.  Dad loves to help her with he love life.

But, damn its hard when Dad is depressed.  Its harder to keep my spirits up and that scares me.

June 30, 2009 Posted by | Joys and Frustrations, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Dad Learns New Skills at 92.

Dad is frustrated that he isn’t learning his new Hoveround instantly.  Never mind that the guy who delivered it, a young, perfectly sighted man with no shaking hands, took two full days to master it.  Dad is frustrated.

Me?  I am proud of him.  In three days, but with a hour or so of practice, he can get it through narrow doorways, from his living room to his bedroom.  He says that walker is faster.  “Dad, this isn’t about speed”  And I smile.  He does laugh at it though and is begging to feel better.

We got him this, because the nurse doesn’t want him walking or standing when he is alone in the house.  We are supposed to even get urinals for him to use from the chair, but I will be surprised if that happens.

There was work for me to do, though.  The tech who delivered it left heavy, metal foot rests laying in the middle of the floor.  Bad enough at all, but since the macular degeneration has Dad nearly blind and his balance is off, well, its worse.

I put them to the side and called to complain.  I was told that he would call us back.  Two days later I called back, not as nice as the first time.  I was transferred around, got really mad at the 3 person and called back.  The fourth lady was worth it, she put in a complaint, gave some suggestions that would make it easier for him and set it up for someone to come back.  Dad would have given up long before I did.  Me?  I just got angrier and angrier…

Until the fourth lady, who helped us.  I felt taken care of and I need that sometimes.

June 28, 2009 Posted by | Joys and Frustrations | , , , , | Leave a comment

There Is No Place for Me to Be Angry

I came home early today, my neck was killing me. I got an Icy Hot Patch, but it still hurt.

I came home to find Dad’s new ’sitter’ with him, she announced that she wouldn’t be back next week, but had two other women who were interested. It was ok, she was nice, but I really had someone else anyway, but I still have to tell her that.

I called the other one, good discussion, but Dad got mad (such a rarity) because I was talking without him. It was his decision. I had been advocating for that. I just wanted to get it done and forgot the sensitivity.

He said he didn’t want anyone. The nurse tells me, accusingly I think, that he should have more hours than we are hiring for. I get cross right back at him.

I know that a big part of my problem is feeling like the clearing house for everyone else’s concerns and feelings.

I have to always be cheerful in front of Dad because he is so sensitive about being a burden. Any break would just convince him that it is too much for me; that he is worthless.

I have to be strong in front of the nurse who comes weekly, she cares about Dad, not me.

I can get angry with my brother, but he just turns it into his being a victim and maybe he is. I don’t know.

There is no place for me to be angry and all I know is that this is my life for the foreseeable future.

So I am starting this blog as a place for me to be totally honest and to help others who are in similar situations.

I want a community where we can let it all go. Where we can help each other, laugh, give tips. Bitch. Be happy.

I hope you will join me.

June 24, 2009 Posted by | Joys and Frustrations | Leave a comment