Supplies for Living


Supplies for Living

I have been relentless in following news about the coronavirus because of worries about my parents and what to do if they become infected. My 88-year-old dad lost his bladder and kidney to cancer in 2015. My mom lost one-third of her stomach to an internal bleed in 2015 and has been slowly, steadily declining since. My mom is frailer than my dad although my dad’s kidney disease also puts him at risk.

About 10 days ago, I called my brother to give him a heads-up: “We need to ask Mom and Dad if they want to go to the hospital if they are infected and then make a plan to care for them in their apartment.” He responded, “Absolutely."

My first conversation with my parents about the coronavirus was a week ago. I asked about their supplies in house for my dad’s ostomy care and their meds. My mom assured me they had enough. She also requested we put the conversation on hold as she was worrying about my sister, due to have surgery in a few days.

My sister’s surgery went well and she’s now home resting comfortably. She will recover fully for which we are immensely grateful. I brought my parents to visit her in the hospital and, yes, that visit had me internally freaking out.

On Saturday, I decided to get supplies to keep on hand in case my parents need care for the coronavirus in their home. I started by ordering essential oils for comfort. I like to take action and diffusing essential oils makes me feel like I’m doing something to help. I’ll have a diffuser at my parents home and these oils:

  • citrus bliss

  • eucalyptus

  • tea tree oil

  • chamomile

I also bought oils for cleaning:

  • cinnamon: can clean surfaces or air

  • rosemary: is a nontoxic way to clean surfaces or air

Before ordering these oils, I researched and followed the suggestions in Ten Essential Oils for the Flu. Again, these oils will become aromatherapy for a comforting environment. I am not using the oils for curative purposes nor am recommending them for any reasons other than effusing a comforting aroma. I also have a kit of oils to use for massaging hands and feet which I’ll keep at their apartment. My siblings and niece also can massage my parents’ hands and feet which will give them a powerful, loving task.

After ordering oils, I headed to Target and bought:

  • incontinence supplies. My mom is not incontinent but the coronavirus keep her bed-bound.

  • disposable wipes

  • disposable underpads for the bed

  • garbage bags (this suggestion came from @bethsuereth during last week’s Family Emergency Planning meeting)

I already have gloves on hand and my parents have a box of gloves in their apartment.

Today, I’ll head to Target again to buy food that may be easier to eat when they don’t feel well:

  • pudding

  • apple sauce

  • soup

  • chocolate (see below)

Yesterday, my parents, my niece and I gathered at a local restaurant for our weekly brunch date. After we ordered our food, I began the conversation about their wishes. During the conversation, I learned:

  • my parents do not want to be hospitalized. “I’m ready to go,” my mom said. “Use the treatment and help at the hospital for someone younger."

  • my dad wants gin and my mom wants chocolate. “It’s all about comfort measures when we care for you at home,” I said. They then shared what they want to enjoy. Although my mom was appalled that my dad wants to drink gin martinis, she was quite happy to place an order with me for the specific chocolate she wants.

  • my niece will help. I volunteered my niece, who lives near us, to help. She readily agreed that she would be as available as we need.

My parents have been refusing hospitalizations for the past few years so their decision to stay home did not surprise me. Their acceptance of their mortality provided me much comfort. At one point during the conversion, I said, “I’ve brought supplies to provide comfort care at home. But as you know, I’m not a doctor or a nurse, so I can’t guarantee the outcome we all want."

They laughed and said that comfort care to the best of my ability would be great. My dad, in particular, looked quite happy with the plan.

Last year, I learned their wishes for the memorial services and cremation. Yesterday, I received their wishes for the end-of-life care. With the plans in motion, I feel so much better. I’ll bring supplies to their apartment this week. I know these supplies will be used, whether their end comes because of coronavirus or the regular flu or because it’s just time. I started thinking of these supplies as the end-of-life pack.

Yesterday, after lunch, I had a much different view of the pack of supplies. It’s the supplies for living. We have a plan so now we can go about making the most of each day. The worries have been put to rest.

What supplies do keep on hand? What conversation about coronavirus have you had with your caree? Please share in our comments section, below.


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Great information here, Denise. Thank you for showing us a productive path ahead.