Thank you for joining me in the misadventures of my parents, the Whitmore‘s (smile).
Sometimes I feel like the biggest Debbie Downer in the world but I must tell you that my life is a never ending soap opera. Not always bad but certainly not always good. I just never thought that caring for my parents would be so consuming. Please let me add, I am happy to do it…proud to do it, in fact. My parents were amazing to us growing up, and it does feel good to be able to return the favor. It’s the juggling, I think, that challenges me. My marriage, my children, grandchild, my career. It can all be a juggling act.
So this week’s saga – my dad had yet another fall. Yes, fall number six. And this time it was much more serious than the other times. He ended up with a blood clot! It landed him in the hospital for seven days. Enter the juggling act…We now need someone to stay at the hospital with dad but we also need someone at the house with mom because of her Dementia. My ever so supportive siblings were of minimal assistance.
As usual, my brother just threw money at the issue, which wasn’t entirely bad because this was a very costly scenario to pull off. Two separate caregivers in two separate locations. While I am a super fan of in-home caregivers, having them in two places for extended amount of hours really hit our pockets hard. My sister, Kitty, well let’s just say that she’s doing all she is capable of doing. She actually has been the bone of contention in everything. Per her usual, she manages to minimize the needs of my parents. Making them feel justified in their minimization of this whole scenario. Allow me to explain. My father seemed to feel that he didn’t need anyone to stay with him in the hospital. This is only partly true. During the day all is well, but at night the hospital has a skeleton crew. On night number one, my father got up to go to the restroom and managed to fall out of bed and lie on the floor for over an hour waiting for someone to come in and help. He was headed to the restroom…alone.
Preventable! My sister jumps into the mix again volunteering to do the nights. Problem here is, she is not only flighty but a tad unreliable. During her shift, she was meandering around the hospital fraternizing with staff and at one point even “ran home to shower”. This left my dad alone for several hours at a time throughout the night. Luckily there were no more catastrophes but just the mere fact that the potential was there upset me. Of course, I intervened.
Now, back at the house with my mom, we had caregivers around the clock. It worked out that her two permanent caregiver from the agency were able to cover the dayshifts and we were able to secure two additional caregivers through FSL for the nights. This worked out beautifully! Not only did the agency coordinate the schedule between all four ladies to cover the seven day stent, but they kept a communication log at the house so that we were able to track things like mom‘s meds and meals.
There was one small hiccup that added a bit of comedy. My mom saw the book that contained the notes and she was livid! She felt that it was a gross violation of her privacy violation of her privacy for the caregivers to write about her. When I called the agency, defeated and acquiescing to have it removed, I was presented with a super cool idea. We simply coordinated a designated area, out of her sight to store the notes. The caregivers and we, as family, could still keep track of things. All in all, the seven days worked out fine and it turned out that having the agency in place is a continued blessing. The juggling must continue but with help, I am surviving.
Until next time,