Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thank you. And an update.

First of all, thank you for bearing with me, for holding me up, for offering insight, for reading and listening and hoping and helping.

If I thought infertility was a roller coaster...well, let me just say that having a parent with poor health is..The Texas Cyclone.

The neurologist confirmed my suspicions--my Dad had just fallen victim to a bad reaction to a new medication added two weeks ago. Fairly easy fix was to increase his anti-seizure medication and then discontinue the offending med. That med had been given for depression and honestly I think just being home will do more for his depression than anything else. As it is, he's already on another anti-depressant.

So I woke up with hope in my heart again...Dad was going to be better...we'd get him back home....

Until my phone rang this morning. His two caregivers quit. Freaked out when they saw him have a seizure, and just quit.

Leaving my mom with no choice but to readmit him to the nursing home. And now he'll have a roommate because his bed was already filled.

It just keeps getting worse.

My sister thinks he needs to be at the nursing home for good. We disagree. She thinks it's too hard on my Mom to try to have him at home. I think we need to give it a fair shake. After all, he only got six precious hours back at home before the shit hit the fan two nights ago. My mom is worn out from going back and forth to the nursing home, so everyone's simple solution to that is: don't go so much.

Excuse me? They've been married 42 years. You just don't turn that off, even when everything changes.

And maybe I'm being selfish here: but the thought of my Dad languishing in a nursing home all by himself for hours on end every day makes me sick to my stomach. Sick to my stomach.

The thing is: there are no easy solutions. I feel as though I am choosing between my two parents. My sister is there today--she arrived yesterday afternoon. I just got off the phone with my mom who told me my sister is leaving at noon today...not even twenty-four hours later. WTF? Oh right--apparently because her husband only has so many days off a year to take with his family my sister doesn't want to miss any more of those. She told that to my mom, who sobbed that to me. (Gawd I hope my sister doesn't read this blog).

Yeah, I know I don't have kids so I can't fully comprehend this. But you know what? Her husband is a freaking workaholic and he chooses to live that way. So if he only gets so much time with his family, well, that's his choice ultimately. And life isn't always convenient, so I'm sorry that you miss a few days of vacation with your family.

Needless to say, if my sister is leaving at noon, I'm heading out as soon as I get off of work.

Did Mr. LC and I have plans? Of course we did. Do I need some time to recover from all the other crap in my life? Of course I do.

But as I said, life doesn't wait on stuff like that.

I'm exhaling and trying to think rationally. In a perfect world (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha) this nursing home readmission will be temporary. He will continue to improve as the medication works its way out of his system. We will find new caregivers that are not afraid of a potential seizure, even though I don't think that is going to be a lingering issue.

And my Dad can be home. With his dog. In his own living room. Watching his own TV. Trying to reclaim some part of a life that has been decimated by stroke. My mom can be home with him, doing her own thing, not driving back and forth back and forth all day long. She will not be back in that place.

When we left the nursing home this past Christmas, Mr. LC looked at me and said "Whew, we won't be going back there anymore."

My other option? Quit my job and move home and take care of my Dad. I am a nurse after all. I did dream that I was carrying him around in an infant carrier.

Will someone please wake me up?


  1. I understand your feelings, even with the shakey relationships I've had with my parents I would HATE to think of them in a nursing home sad and alone BUT I'm not sure I would be able to take care of them either...

    I think what your sister said to your mom was thoughless. I just wish people would think about the affect their words/actions have on other people before saying/doing things. It would make life so much more pleasant.

    And again, I'm sorry all of this is going on while you are having a personal tragedy as well. It isn't fair.

  2. You are an AMAZING daughter and your dad is so blessed to have you! Hoping you can jump off the Texas Cyclone and hop on a nice and relaxing kiddie ride very soon!

  3. If you can make it work financially, quitting your job and taking care of your dad could really be a wonderful answer for him. However, I took care of my mom (who was completely handicapped) and it was so very hard and it was ONLY me - and she was terminal, so I knew on some level that there was an end to it. I miss her deeply and terribly but I have to admit that I would have gone clinically insane if I'd had to take care of her for years on end. Our system is so damned broken for the very sick and elderly.

  4. UGH! When it rains at your house it really pours. I'm glad to hear that your dad's seizure was due to the meds and not something more serious. Hopefully weaning him off of it will solve that problem.

    I think you are right that your dad will do better at home. I'm sure his will to live will be stronger and knowing that your mom is not as stressed will also probably be of comfort to him. I don't have any advice for you on your sister, but I do know from experience that some people (my sister included) will not step up to the plate if there is someone else who will do it for them. And in the end, they have to live with their decisions.

    I'll continue to keep your family in my thoughts and prayers. Take care.

  5. Texas Cylone, Tsunami... Good god woman, you are really being put through the wringer.

    You really are amazing. Not everyone would have so much to give to their families after everything else you've been through this year.

    Please know you're in my thoughts and prayers

  6. I am so glad your mom and dad have you! It is very similar in my family. I am the caring, giving one and my sister...well, she is just to busy to put the time into things that need to be addressed. The icing on the cake being that she has to work next Wednesday morning (because she is so important and no one else can do her job...yeah, ok, whatever, right, mmm hmmm) so she won't be able be with us until late afternoon or early evening. Nice. Real nice. And when any issues come up with my mom and dad, well she has to go to work every day...insinuating of course that because I am self-employed that I have nothing better to do than pick up her slack.

    I get it Ashley, I really do. You are an amazing daughter!!!

  7. Horrible fucking nasty news - I am so sorry - and you really, really need a break. Your dad needs a break. Your mom needs a break. I am so sorry that it is so hard right now - I also echo what has been said - you are amazing and it is inspiring to hear about people who continue to fight the fight.

  8. I'm so sorry that I missed your posting for a few days. I was just getting caught up and my heart just sank reading the last few posts... about your dad, about the comments here that I know hurt you as they would have me. This blog is for you to pour out your heart, uncensored...that's the therapy, right? We all have thoughts that can be harsh for someone on the outside to hear, but that's just it, your thoughts come from inside your heart and soul and no matter how they sound, they are real and apart of you. And, your therapy is to write them here. Gosh, if someone recorded my sessions with my therapist, they'd surely have an earful. Please keep writing and keep healing. I'm so, so heartbroken about your dad. Tonight, when the clock turns to midnight and we start a new year, I wish you and Mr. LC a 2010 that is peaceful, healing... and if I could make one wish for you both in the new year, you know what it would be.

  9. Wow. It's going to get better. It's going to get better. I just keep saying that for you. And praying for it to be true.

    Your love for your dad and your family is inspiring. And I know you know this, but remember the "self care". You can't give what you don't have, so take a break and rest and eat too much and curl up under your blanket. I pray you will have that chance, and have it more often - soon.

    Your poor dad and mom! No matter what, you are each lucky to have each other. May 2010 be different, in all the best ways, for you and Mr. LC.

  10. I totally can relate. when my mom was slowly passing away from cancer I would take a week off each month and fly home to take care of her. the other 3 weeks we had one of my sisters helping out or a hired health care worker. I did that for a year and it was very difficult. we also went through this with my dad and stepdad. HORRIBLE. I'm so sad that you are going through something similar. always a f*cking struggle right?

    as I write this I also feel like things will turn around for you and mr. lc. it's a new year. a new decade. good things are headed your way.

    (((big hug))) :)

  11. I am 100% sure you will be able to find at-home healthcare for your dad. Aren't we in the middle of record unemployment? I would think you'd have your pick of qualified people. Could you take a short leave from work to oversee a new person and make sure they seem like a good fit with your parents?

    I know you'll do anything for your Dad, but please remember to take care of yourself. If you are exhausted with caretaking and emotionally wrecked with everything else, you may not be able to appreciate the time you have left with him. I really hope you can find a solution that allows you all to have some respite from this stress.

    I hope 2010 brings you some much-needed good news!

  12. My dear, I'm so sorry you are going through so much right now. It seems the punches just keep on coming...and you seem to be able to fight right back even though you are exhausted and hurting and wanting to just crawl in a hole and hide.

    I do have hope that you will be able to get your dad home again and that you will find care for him. You are an incredible daughter and I hope only good things for you and your family in 2010.

  13. Not that what I ever have to say is profound, but just wanted you to know that I have been reading back on your last 10 posts and commenting along the way... Sorry I've been on hiatus...again.

  14. If it were my husband, I would want him at home too. The thing I hate about our modern medicine is that it is still a lot of guessing. It sucks that your dad had to have the bad side effect. Sound like IVF? Guessing all the way, even if it's educated guessing. I can't believe what wimps your caretakers were. I hope you find some good new ones. I know your dad will do better at home.

    As far as quiting your job and taking care of your dad full-time, I think now is not the right time for you to do that. At some point, you do have to take care of yourself. Being a fulltime caretaker is really hard. Maybe in six months you could do something like that if it's really what you want to do. It's a personal choice, so ignore me if this is not helpful. I know how much I'm hurting, and I can't imagine having to take care of my dad on top of this.

  15. I obviously know next to nothing about your dad's situation. BUT. I agree with you 110% about your dad being at home if at all possible. I'm sure you know that statistic about life longevity when people go into homes... I wish you the utmost strength in dealing with this.

    P.S. Your sister sounds a little selfish to me. Not saying she's a bad person or ANYTHING so harsh - just that, like you said, life can get pretty fvcking inconvenient. And it's how we act THEN, in the hard times, that defines our character.