Covering All Bases


Covering All Bases

castle-1184638_640I went back go to my parents' apartment on Thursday to change my dad's ostomy bag. His rash is healing nicely and this bag lasted five days. I think we finally, finally, finally figured out how to protect my dad's skin and seal the bag so it doesn't leak. With his new bag in place, my dad said to my mom, "It will be such a relief if I know I can keep a bag on for five days."

After I changed the bag, I sat for a few minutes to visit. My dad said to my mom, "So you are sure you want to move?" "Yes," she said.

"You want to give up the safety and security we have here?" he asked "You want to make four people (me and my siblings) unhappy?"

"Yes," she said. "No one is concerned about my happiness. I've been unhappy for months and no one cares."

I didn't say anything and left a few moments later after giving each a kiss good-bye. I thought it best not to engage with my mom about the move issue. I did, however, mutter a not-very-nice statement under my breath as I walked out their door.

When I got home, I began to wonder if perhaps my mom's irritability (and nastiness) is about something else. Could she have a urinary tract infection? Started another internal bleed? Her appearance startled me on Wednesday and I said to each sibling, "She doesn't look well. I think she's lost weight."

I just want to make sure that I understand what's going on with my mom. Is she reacting to her fear about where she is in her life? Or, is she reacting to an underlying medical situation which also caused Tuesday's fall?

I called the nurse practitioner, Dana, the next morning at about 7:30 a.m. As fate would have it, she already had an appointment to see my dad at 9:30 a.m. I met Dana at my parents' apartment; my dad was alone as my mom had gone to the community's gathering room to participate in a worship service and receive communion. We shared about my mom with Dana and my dad asked for her medical opinion about a move to a condo. Unfortunately, Dana hedged and said she could see both sides -- our concern for their safety and their desire for more independence. (Just as an aside: They lose their independence in a condo which has been one of my points to my parents.)

When my mom finally returned, Dana took my mom's blood pressure (it was low -- only 100/70) and did take a urine sample. The sample was negative so she doesn't have a UTI. However, she has lost three pounds in the past week or so. She lost 15 pounds in December, gained back five but recently lost three.

Does my mom feel the end which is why she's so urgent about a move? Does she feel her life is a failure if she can't manage to die in her own home? (She insists the apartment is not home and that she needs her own home.)

So now I know she doesn't have an urinary tract infection. It seems she has a bad case of fear.