Friday, September 18, 2015

It's My Turn to Help Take Care of You Both

When my husband accepted a job in Michigan in December of 2001, I knew moving away would not be easy for my parents. I've always been very close to them.  It's really, really hard to put into words what it is like to be 600 miles away from my parents, given that my mom is so ill and in a skilled nursing facility. Around last Christmas, the doctors were telling us she had just a few months and to prepare for hospice care.
Well, my mom has defied the odds.  Last night, when I was talking to her on the phone though, she was very confused. It truly breaks my heart, because she is a very smart woman.  Given that she has end-stage congestive heart failure, not enough oxygen is going to her brain. I feel like every time I hang up the phone after chatting with her, I've lost another piece of  the "old" mom. This whole experience of putting my mother into a skilled nursing facility has been difficult for everyone involved, but definitely the hardest for my father. My mom had always cooked the meals and taken care of the house. My dad has a wonderful caregiver who is AMAZING and comes in four hours a day, five days a week. My father also wears an emergency alert system around his neck and recently got a keypad installed for his garage. Since he does not want to move out of his house, we have put safeguards in place for him. I keep in constant contact with the staff where my mom lives and I call my dad every night. Earlier this week, my father was thanking me profusely for helping him set up a doctor's appointment for my mom where she needed to be transported in a specialized van. I told him, "you and mom took care of me growing up, now it's my turn to help take care of you both."


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