Things are settling down here again, at least for a little while. It feels good to be sitting at home relaxing, even if it is a Friday night.
My dad was discharged from the transitional care center last Saturday. The transition home wasn’t exactly smooth. We didn’t even make twenty-four hours before he fell again. The phone ringing at 5:30 am on a Sunday morning caused instant panic. Mark and I took off running and were at my parents’ house within a few minutes. Dad wasn’t seriously hurt, but Mom never could have gotten him up, and I’m not sure I could have managed it alone either. It took both Mark and me to lift him up and help him back to bed. (He wouldn’t let Mom call the paramedics.) Turns out he already wasn’t managing his own medications properly and his blood sugar was dangerously low. He had a minor bump on his head.
Growth opportunity! I’ve since learned how to use a lancet to draw blood from a diabetic’s finger and get a glucose reading. I hung out for several hours making sure both of my parents were okay. This whole thing has taken a major toll on both of them.
Since Sunday, my parents have had home health aides come in for three hours each morning and again for three hours each evening. Mom’s health is quickly declining and she’s ready to move to assisted living. She needs it. Her doctor told her she should not being playing caregiver to my dad any more. Her health isn’t up for it any longer. We found a beautiful assisted living facility, brand new, within their budget,close to all of us kids, and with immediate openings. It seems perfect in every way.
Dad doesn’t want to go. Not at all. There was a family meeting meant to try to get him comfortable with the idea. It got ugly before he reluctantly agreed that he will go, but is hell-bent on making all of us feel awful and guilty for moving forward with this plan. He doesn’t buy that Mom can’t keep taking care of him, and he keeps telling us he doesn’t need help. Yet one of us receives a request almost daily to come help with any number of basic things. I just have to keep reminding myself it’s the right thing. Especially since Dad thinks he’ll be done needing home health care within a couple of weeks, in spite of the fact that two doctors told him and us that it’s no longer safe for him to live at home the way he used to. In spite of the fact that he can’t seem to regain much strength and suffers periodic bouts of dizziness. In spite of the fact that his vision has diminished even beyond what it was before.
Mom can barely manage leaving the house for any length of time. Things like a doctor appointment or stopping at the pharmacy wear her out. She skipped her “sisters” lunch last week because she was too weak and tired to go. She can’t manage grocery shopping, basic errands, cleaning, etc. Dad has rarely done those things and is especially incapable now. Yet he thinks they can manage at home just fine. And he refuses to change his way of thinking, even though just a day after telling us how wrong we are all about his ability to be independent, I was delivering yet another meal to my parents.
I don’t mean to sound selfish. I would do all of this again, and I will continue to do whatever is necessary. But I’m tired of worrying and tired of putting my own life on the back burner all of the time. My house is a wreck. It feels like I’m behind on everything. I’ve skipped social engagements, stopped working out with any regularity and can’t seem to get enough sleep, ever. My PTO balance has dwindled and I’m fighting with the insurance company to approve my application for FMLA. (Luckily, it’s just a precaution for now.) My application was initially declined because they didn’t like the way the doctor described the type of care my dad needs which necessitates me potentially needing to utilize FMLA. Technicalities over words. All for me to take time off work without pay. I don’t have the time or energy to go chasing around a busy doctor again just so he can add three words to a form and initial the change. I’m going to wing it. I’ll start another claim and get my dad’s primary physician to sign if my PTO runs out before my balance renews on January first.
I seem to have developed a well-versed potty mouth, which flies into action every time I’m frustrated and angry. Which is all too often. Not that I’m looking for pity. Things are actually so much better than they were even four weeks ago. And the fact that my dad’s acting like an obstinate brat is actually some consolation. In some ways, he’s becoming his old self again.
On the plus side, the bond between two siblings and me is stronger than ever before. Sadly, our relationships with the youngest have been damaged, probably beyond repair. When you’re two months worth of exhausted and begging for him to step in and lend a hand just once in a while, it doesn’t help to be told that his life is important, and it makes more sense for you to spend every waking moment worrying and taking care of things, “because I need my job. You probably don’t have a house or car payment anymore, so this is all easier for you.”
Last straw. Have a nice life, little brother.
Regardless, we’re moving forward to get my parents into this assisted living facility. I prayed that things would just fall into place to get my parents into a safe place, and the doors opened wide for us. All we have to do is let the management know we want in. And it’s not supposed to be that easy. But it is. I’m taking that as a sign. We have to get a few things in order first and then we can get serious about moving them (for the second time this year) and selling the townhouse they just bought last July.
And until it’s time to start going gangbusters again, I’m going to enjoy hanging around my own house for a change.