If you have been following me for any length of time, you know that my parents are 81 years old, both have had strokes, and Dad has two artificial knees and one artificial hip. He also has a deformed pancreas that has not allowed him to consumed more than 20 grams of fat a day lest his pancreas ducts shut down and he ends up in intensive care near death. He has also had a heart attack and other forms of heart conditions.
Last month, Dad had been struggling to recover from a nuclear stress test on his heart. He was finally admitted to the hospital with congestive heart failure. Three days later, he was released from the hospital, forty pounds lighter and admonished to consumed no salt and very little fluids. I was not surprised when a couple of weeks later, he passed out in their kitchen, falling so hard that he knocked himself out, bleeding all over the floor, even breaking a floor tile. Guess what: he was dehydrated. Imagine that.
My brother lives near by and he has been a champion in driving the thirty miles to come to my parents’ rescue when they call. Still, he needed help as he has his own family and could not spend the nights with Mom and Dad as he was still falling up to three times a day. So they called me to see if I could fly out for a couple of weeks to stay with Mom and Dad to see if Dad was going to get better or would need further medical care. I flew to Florida.
We have been trying to talk our parents into going into some sort of assisted living for quite some time and this was our opportunity to assess the situation and determine if we need to press the issue with them.
My parents are VERY independent and VERY stubborn. This was not going to be an easy task and I was not looking forward to it. I didn’t know if I was going to be picking Dad up off the floor three times a day. I didn’t know how to tell if that was all I needed to do or if I needed to call for medical attention, for even how to assess this need. I got on the phone with a friend in the medical field and he was very helpful. I felt better with that aspect of the responsibility, any way.
I then spend the week preparing the farm for my absence. I worked to streamline or diminish some of my responsibilities at home to make life easier for my husband and granddaughter. Tom was not happy about this trip and I needed to do my part to help him out.
The day of the flight ended up being 23 1/2 hours long. I got up at 5:00 that morning to finish preparations, running hard all day to service egg customers, the last of the laundry and pack. My flight was to leave at 7:20 that evening. Before we got to the airport, the flight was posted as delayed. It was delayed several times after that and my flight finally left just after 10:00 that night. By the time I landed and my brother drove me 2 1/2 hours the rest of the way, it was 4:30 in the morning. I was kind of proud of myself for holding out as well as I did.
My brother was wonderful and helped me out for a day or two, ever playing the diplomat. By the time he had left me to my devices, my parents were much more comfortable with my being there and considerably more cooperative. I was very grateful for that.
I have watched more television (on high volume) for five days now. My ears ring constantly and I maintain a mild headache. Taking my parents to the store, which they insist on doing every day, is certainly a challenge. Mom’s stroke has her right side greatly diminished so she pushes a grocery cart, wandering aimlessly, griping that she can’t find what she needs…ever. Dad, usually refuses to use his walker and wanders off constantly. I am left trying to determine which parent is at the highest risk of falling and following them. Mom gets mad when I don’t follow Dad because she doesn’t want to have to go looking for him and Dad gets mad when I follow him because he can “take care of himself just fine.” I am exhausted each day when we get back home.
The truly good news is that Dad is improving and has not fallen even once these past five days. His cognitive ability has even improved so that I no longer am constantly monitoring whether he’s going to burn the house down when he insists on cooking his own eggs. I have even been able to get some work done.
On my Grandma’s Homestead channel, I posted the video “Facing Some Hard Facts.” It can be seen here.
I packed my microphone and took a few minutes last night to record a podcast on This Grandma’s Life Podcast. It can be seen here.
It felt good to get some work done.
Tom has a nice garden going this year and he put up seven pints of tomatoes and seven pints of salsa on Saturday without my help at all. Nice!
I’ll be in Florida for at least another week so maybe I can continue being productive with content.
I did manage to sneak to the beach this morning just after sunrise to get a nice walk in. It was beautiful and a walk that I desperately needed. I plan to return as many mornings as possible.
I pray that your parents that are still living are healthy and happy and that things are going well in your life in general. See you next week!