Mom's in Rehab, Dad's at Poker, I'm Pooped

Denise
animal-653446_640I'm not sure if I'm loosing steam or caregiving is just gaining on me. This week, though, seemed to almost be too much for me.

On Monday morning, while the podiatrist took care of my dad's toes at home, my mom had a seizure in the hospital. A neurologist and cardiologist ran tests on my mom on Tuesday and Wednesday; her brain and heart activities were fine. They think the seizure as a combination of several factors including fatigue and dehydration. So the good news was no further treatment was needed. Unfortunately, the seizure delayed my mom's discharge to a nursing home for rehab until last night. And, because a hospital discharge never goes smoothly, she didn't arrive at the nursing home until almost 7 p.m. That's a long day of waiting for my mom, who lost her ability to wait about five weeks ago. She wanted out.

On Monday night, my dad woke me to let me know his bag had leaked so we mustered through another midnight bag change. His frustration grows each time we face one of these middle-of-the-night changes. His frustration about his life, about the difference to his life and about the impact on his life was the greatest it's best since his surgery in March. I'm in task mode in the middle of the night so am not much comfort. I don't disagree or argue, though, with how he feels. He vents, I put on the new bag.

My dad's visiting nurse came on Wednesday; we discussed how to treat the rash that breaks out around my dad's stoma. The rash blisters, the blisters drain, the bag loosens, the leak happens. I called the ostomy supply company to request samples of other bags, just in case he's allergic to his bag.

My dad had his post-hospitalization follow-up with his primary care doctor yesterday. My dad wasn't feeling well yesterday morning (dizzy and nauseous) but felt better in the afternoon at the doctor's. He also needs to be cleared for a outpatient surgical procedure next week to remove the skin cancer on his head and neck. His procedure happens Thursday morning. I've scheduled his visiting nurse to come Thursday afternoon to make sure he's doing okay. We also have a nurse practitioner coming to the house on Friday to discuss using a service which offers regular house calls from doctors or nurse practitioners. It's perfect timing to learn about the service; the nurse practitioner can check my dad to make sure he's doing okay after his procedure.

This morning, my sister and I went with my dad for a follow-up with my dad's cancer surgeon and received good news--my dad's scans are clear so no cancer. We also discussed the rash around the stoma and came to the conclusion that my dad needs to shower every week with the bag off. We think perhaps the rash happens after his bag leaks--it's almost like a diaper rash. Even though he thoroughly cleans the area before I put on his new bag, I think a shower will give the area a much deeper clean.

After this morning's appointment, we stopped to see how my mom did during her first night at the nursing home. About two minutes after we arrived, my mom started crying. "I'm tired of being everywhere but home," she said. Oh, she cried. My sister, closest to my mom in her bed, comforted her with hugs and kisses. My dad and I offered our understanding at how difficult this situation must be for her. After composing herself, my mom began to complain about Sibling, who has gone AWOL since my mom's transfer out of the university hospital. The complaints led to another round of tears.

We all commiserated. My dad turned 84 on Monday but Sibling didn't call or send a card. Sibling was to help my mom with her discharge yesterday because I had a seminar to give downtown. She didn't show so I took care of it. We're all about to lose our cool with Sibling, who leaves for a vacation tomorrow.

My mom, my sister and I encouraged my dad to play poker this afternoon with his buddies. One of his buddies picked him up just a few minutes ago so hopefully he's already winning. A break from worrying about my mom, fretting about his bag and dreading what's next for both of them will be good for him.

My mom was scheduled for physical therapy this afternoon and then a haircut in the facility's salon. We're all hoping that both the therapy session and the time in the salon will lift my mom's spirits. My sister went to the grocery store for my dad and I and then returned to the nursing to visit with my mom. Honestly, if I had to go to the nursing home this afternoon, I think I would have cried. I'm fried.

So, while my dad plays poker and my mom works out with the physical therapist, I'm taking a nap. I'm pooped!

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