I can hardly believe that so much time has passed since my last post. I know I abandoned you all with no explanation. It wasn't as if I forgot about all you Geezers out there-- my brain has just been on overload.
When I am overwhelmed the creativity portion of my brain gets pushed aside so that I can use whatever fading gray matter I have left to it's best advantage and I find it difficult to write anything that I think would be interesting to the world.
So here is the short version of what happened. And then, if you indulge me some meandering thoughts maybe I can sort through how I am feeling with all this stuff.
If I get the dates wrong, no biggie. The only reason I even try to think back that far for details is to give an idea of how much happened all at once.
On May 23rd my father fell in the bathroom and couldn't get up. After trying to crawl to his bed for an hour he called my sister who, in turn, called 911 when she saw how weak he was. He was admitted to the hospital with a general exhaustion kinda thing. My dad has suffered with numerous medical issues for many years including a heart attack and necrotic kidney disease. While he was in the hospital we had to care for our mom who was also in poor health for many years. They both have congestive heart failure-- mom worse than dad. And they both had COPD again with my mom worse than my dad. Mom couldn't be left alone. Dad came home from the hospital on I think Monday the 26th. On about Monday the 2nd my mom woke up struggling to breathe much worse than usual and again my sister called 911. Mom was put on a ventilator when she got to the hospital and admitted to intensive care--- which happens to be where my sister works. Meanwhile dad was still recovering but not doing very well and on the following Thursday or so he called my sister (I was always at work when this stuff happened) who discovered that his heart rate and blood pressure were dangerously low. And we had the 911 hat trick. 3 times in less than 3 weeks. Dad was admitted with a potassium level that was in the neighborhood of when people had cardiac arrest. So we had both parents in the hospital. Mom never did really recover. They had her sedated heavily to deal with the ventilator and when they lightened the medications she was frightened and agitated and we are not sure if she recognized us. While they were both in there they 'celebrated' their 54th wedding anniversary which was heartbreaking as we brought dad down to her room in a wheelchair and he spoke to her and cried. That was the 12th. Every few days the doctor would try to bring her off the ventilator which she did not tolerate well and we faced the decision to have a tracheotomy performed and have her placed in a nursing home 100 miles away (nothing in our area) or to take her off the ventilator and see what would happen. This was according to her prior wishes. It should make it easier to move forward with the disconnection of the ventilator but not so much. From Monday to Wednesday she held her own and we started to wonder if maybe she was going to rally but on Wednesday she started to fail and after several hours her heart rate slowed and her oxygen level dropped as she peacefully slipped away. We were with her, my sister and I, as she passed. I have never been through anything like that before. Even now I can't put into words how that felt. It felt right to be there. But it was haunting too. If you know me at all you know that medical stuff freaks me out pretty badly. And because both our parents were on isolation we had to be gloved and gowned when we visited which just made me more claustrophobic and over heated. A few times I just about passed out. The nursing staff was terrific and especially supportive as I am sure they always are but even more so as it was one of their own in distress. After she passed we went up to our fathers room and told him that she was at peace.
So back to our father who was recovering somewhat. He had to start having insulin injections for his diabetes. He fell and hit his head. He was altered mentally. Which is understandable but hard to handle. On Friday the 27th at almost 10:00pm they released him. This was a shocker! So we did the best we could do take care of him while we arranged for a 24 hour caregiver. This was confusing and difficult.
So that is the shortest possible version of my month. It doesn't cover learning how to accept our mothers death and planning her service. It doesn't cover accepting and learning to help our dad who is not the person he was a month ago. It doesn't touch on the confusion we feel trying to figure out how to help our dad adjust or how to keep him from driving since he doesn't seem to realize how out of it he is. It doesn't reveal to me how you treat this man with dignity and respect and yet keep him safe and well. Or how to squeeze in all the stuff going on.
Oh and we decided in the midst of this to sell our house and go our separate ways kinda sorta. But that is a tale for a different day.