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Wishes [Aug. 14th, 2016|09:45 pm]
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I wish this month was easier. My Dad is often (though not always) miserable and resistant to being helped. He needs constant attention, and is afraid to be left alone.

I wish it was a little cooler, too. I appreciate a hot summer, but there's currently an excessive heat warning in New Jersey. It's miserable outside.

I wish I had more of a long-term, big picture, plan for everything.
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Yesterday everything went wrong. [Jul. 28th, 2016|10:41 am]
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Crazy day yesterday.

A nurse came to evaluate Dad for home health care, and became so sick the agency had to send someone to drive her to the emergency room. At one point, she was vomiting uncontrollably until she blacked out with her head on our dining room table. A few moments later, she lifted her head, looked me in the eye and said, "I feel like I'm dying."

There was a big mix-up with Dad's medication, and I ended up walking to & from a place about 2 miles from home in 95F heat to get his medication, only to be told it wasn't there. Got sunburned.

Dad hated what I cooked him for dinner, and he's still dangerously thin, so I cracked up and we got into a yelling argument.

Then, Dad was restless and moaning "Help me" all night last night. All. Night. Ugh.
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Endless Summer (not in a good way) [Jul. 24th, 2016|09:02 am]
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Ugh. I met one of my stepmother's friends and she chirped out, "Now, you're back! No more Canada!" That was when I realized that my stepmother might think I'm going to spend the rest of my life living with her and my Dad to take care of him. Yikes!

One of the women who works at my Dad's rehab told me, "You're so lucky you don't have to work" and I sure am fortunate to be able to take a few months off work, but it's a trade off. I'm sacrificing some of my own plans (or at least keeping them on ice). I wish there was some kind of crystal ball that would let me anticipate what kind of care my Dad will need in the future.
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Final week of rehab [Jul. 20th, 2016|10:52 pm]
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Overheard at the rehab:
Woman #1: Did you know they put me here?
Woman #2: Yes. That's why I came here.

I am so tired of that place!
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July news [Jul. 17th, 2016|09:45 pm]
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Dad is still in rehab, but will come home July 26th. He's still not walking well, and I'll need to stick around until he settles into a routine. Our big task in the coming week is to practice getting him in and out of the car, so we know we can do it when he comes home. I'm pretty much at the rehab from 8am to 8pm (the only allowed visiting hours), and he really needs to have someone around pushing him to stay awake and do things.

Most of the people in this place don't have any visitors, and it breaks my heart. The place is short-staffed, to save money for the mother corporation, and the nurses and nurse assistants just can't spend enough time with every patient. 3 times in the last seven days, I've heard about someone falling out of bed and being found hours later. Ugh! There are some lovely people there, but I'll be glad to be rid of the place.
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This place [Jul. 6th, 2016|08:28 pm]
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A 25-year-old man was murdered about a block away from my dad's house this week. According to a neighbour we know, the house had been trouble for many years, and the police are usually called there at least once a week. She says, "The neighbourhood is changing! But, we're not going anywhere."

I don't know if I could live in New Jersey permanently. There's just not that much to do here. I do realize that part of the problem is that I'm spending almost all my time at Dad's convalescence home, but it's not a friendly place. I'm remembering all the times I got scolded for saying hello to people on the street as a kid, because that's just not done here. People don't make eye contact or say hello to each other.
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'Bye June [Jun. 30th, 2016|09:42 pm]
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Good-bye to you, June. Dad has been slowly gaining strength at the rehab, but this week wasn't good. He's sleeping all the time, but not steadily, because he keeps gagging in his sleep. The doctor at the rehab said it sounded like sleep apnea, so they agreed to try giving him a CPAP mask. When I told Dad, he declared he would refuse to wear it. He's really cranky and exhausted.

I'm worried sick. The doctor is also eliminating one of dad's pills that is known to cause respiratory depression and insomnia, so maybe that will help.

I have to be more patient with the recovery process, but the days are so repetitious and draining. I feel like Sisyphus rolling a boulder up the hill over and over again.
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Slo-o-owly recovering [Jun. 19th, 2016|09:58 pm]
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Dad is slowly getting stronger, but it's still a trial to get him to eat. When he gets tired, he gets cranky and says, "Why bother? I'm dying. I won't be here tomorrow." He isn't dying, but he feels lousy, so he's not listening to anyone who says his condition is stable.

Today, he got really cranky over breakfast, and said, "Why are you making me eat this crap? Do you think I'm an asshole? Do you think I'm stupid?" I looked him in the eye and said, "Sometimes, I do." Then, he cracked up laughing and let me feed him some bites without any more complaints. That was our Father's Day. He is getting his sense of humour back, but he's still very touchy. He's still so weak, I can't relax, but I think he is improving.

Incidentally, my mother informed me that my Grandma Harkins used to call the house and say she was dying whenever she felt sick. Her advice was, "Don't worry, he's just turning into his mother."
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Recovery! [Jun. 14th, 2016|08:31 pm]
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Dad was a little tiny bit better today, and it looks like his health with keep improving. He sat up in a wheelchair for a few hours, moved his limbs at the rehab gym, and ate a little solid food.

The big excitement of the day was when the man across the hall opened the side door of the rehab and took off running down the street. There was no alarm on the door! A nurse happened to see him, and took off after him screaming bloody murder. He was fast! My dad's roommate said, "Wow, do you think he'll get on that bus that's coming?" (it was going to NYC, but I suspect he didn't have bus fare). 8 nurses and administrators went out to try to get him to return, and he agreed to walk back to the grounds, but did not want to return to his room. I saw his daughter arrive shortly afterward, and I think she took him home (or somewhere else). I hope they're OK tonight.
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Trudging onward [Jun. 13th, 2016|10:09 pm]
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My Dad is eating again, though not enough calories to gain any weight, and today the nurse & physiotherapist got him out of bed and into a wheelchair, so we could push him around. He was standing for a few seconds! I was excited, while he was terrified of falling down. He's still incredibly weak and easily discouraged, but he is improving.

Today, we had a big meeting about his care plan. If we want him to come home (and we do), then they estimate it will be about four weeks in rehab before he can properly walk again. It's going to be a long, slow recovery, and I have to be here for it. Well, I want to be here for it. One of the best things we accomplished was naming me his health care proxy, letting my stepmother off the hook.

I wish I had known how long I'd be here when I came down- I was in Montreal preparing to travel to Quebec City when I got the call that he was going into hospital. So, I came from Montreal with no chance to grab stuff from home. Ah, well.
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