A few years ago, my father went into the hospital and came out bedridden. Since then, my mother has been his primary care giver. She gets some assistance from a home care service, and my wife and I get over there a couple of times a week.
Looking back, she started getting tired a month or so ago. Two weeks ago, I took her to her doctor, who said she seemed mostly okay, but needed some changes to her medication.
Thursday, she called my wife and asked her to stop by and make dinner because she was too tired. She’s never done that before. Friday, she didn’t call, but I stopped in to see how she was doing, and she didn’t seem to be able to get out of bed because her legs were too sore.
Yesterday morning, we sent her to the hospital, where they diagnosed her with congestive heart failure. They’re dripping three different medications into her, and she’s on 100% oxygen.
I knew the day would come when my mother couldn’t take care of my dad any more, but somehow it managed to sneak up on me. I suspect my mother helped a bit by hiding her problems. She doesn’t want me to worry.
(I’ve got a medical power of attorney, so I’ll be able to get all the answers from her doctor.)
I’m staying overnight with my dad to take care of him. My wife will come by tomorrow to spell me for a while, then I’ll take over for another night. And then…
I’ve asked a friend to wipe the Windows 7 beta off my second computer and install a stable operating system and some development software on it so I can do productive work from here. I’ll pick up a cable internet box on Monday. And then…
I don’t know. Move in with dad? And mom when she gets back? Put dad in respite care? Put them both in a home? Sell our condo into this soft market and try to buy a house large enough for all four of us?
I’m filled with doubt and fear of the unknown. I’m angry at myself for not being ready. For not seeing it coming. For not having a better plan.
(Although I must admit, I’m one libertarian who is, at least for today, greatful for the highly-socialized healthcare available to seniors.)
Right now, I just woke up after a few hours sleep at dad’s house. He’s been sleepy and peaceful. It’s actually nice and quiet.
That’s deceptive, of course. In the morning, he’ll have demands. There will be meals, and changes of bedlinen, and medication, and laundry, and shopping, and housekeeping and God knows what else…I don’t know the daily routine of the household.
As the saying goes, blogging will be light…or at least a bit different.