So many wonderful friends have been calling, texting, and messaging concern asking: How is Your Father Doing?
It makes me think of the theme for the new Cinderella live action movie – outstanding by the way – rush to see!
Anyway, the Cinderella theme is “have courage and be kind.”
That’s how I try to be with my dad and his current challenges. He is recovering, slowly, but it is a tedious process, requiring lots of help, and lots of care. Courage and kindness required by all.
Before his last surgery and then bad fall, caring for an 88 year old who thinks he is totally fine and who lives in my home has been quite a process. An exhausting, worrisome process for sure, for both my husband and me.
He has several medical conditions but is mostly mentally sharp. Still he can’t do any kind of self-care. He neglects it, which is common in the elderly. So even on the best days, it has been a lot of work and a lot of adjustment.
I don’t like tooting my own horn, (who am I kidding, I do it all the time!) but my husband and I deserve a medal, or even sainthood (except we are not Catholic) for the past week following Dad’s surgery. Especially my husband, because he is not his dad, he’s mine.
It would have made sense, had the doctors and I thought about it properly and in advance, for my dad to be released from the hospital and into a rehabilitation center, which is what they do for elderly people who need quality nursing care and recovery time.
My dad, who insists he is strong and alert, would have gone too, had the doctors recommended that.
Instead, after day surgery, he was released home. I hired a caretaker for the daytime hours, but it is not enough, was not enough.
Dad was so weakened by the surgery, that he took a bad tumble the day after surgery. His resulting injuries are worse than the surgical procedure he had — stitches in two places, severe bruising and black and blue marks, and hemotomas in several places (blood build up inside skin that hasn’t broken open.)
I should have upped the caretakers at that point, but I didn’t know of anyone else, and so it was just me and my husband trying to do the caretaking.
I would probably laugh if I was a reader or listener and I heard some of the stories I could tell about this attempt at caretaking, involving bathrooms and urination, and accidents, and it would even sound like I have an infant around instead of an 88 year old man.
Yet I am not laughing. Dad fell yet again, and I had to have “the talk” with him a couple of times already. I told him when it wasn’t safe for him to stay in my home, he would have to go to a nursing home. He loves the care at Seven Acres where my mom is, so he bravely agreed.
The time though has not arrived in his mind, though my husband and I are thinking it may be sooner than he thinks, because he really needs a lot of care. We will play it by ear with the daytime caretaker but the evenings and overnights have been exhausting. Hopefully, as he heals, it will become less of a nightmare to do his caretaking, and we will get back to our new normal. Of course, we are trying to also resume our busy lives, with all of the busy programming, events and activities that we had scheduled in advance.
It’s a tightrope balancing act right now, and so if you ask me how my dad is doing, the answer is that he is doing as well as can be expected. Then ask me how I am doing, because I am exhausted. Yet, I remember – have courage to do this very big job and above all, show kindness.