Still Breathing


Still Breathing

puzzle-673250_640I feel like a stranger since I haven't been regularly posting but I really miss you all! School started today and I've been back at work for two weeks now, back from summer break. Elly, my grandmother is doing well in her Senior Apartment (no assistance). My sister and I are still the primary caregivers making sure she has treats, pedicure, paper towels, checkbook to pay bills and any sort of "must haves." I still go at least once a week, usually Fridays for dinner with her and other residents in the dining hall. I have befriended so many wonderful folks and the managers usually slip me a free meal ticket now and then when I purchase them. We are hiring someone to come in every morning  to make sure Elly takes her pills (just once a day).

We finally got Elly's house sold in July allowing her to be able to afford her senior living apartment. My sister and I have observed that the facility is like we have heard a cruise ship is like (we've never been on one). Everyone is happy, there are lots of activities throughout the day, movie and Bingo/Mexican Train in the evenings. There are school choirs that come (like a port of call) during the year as well as special adult music groups that are scheduled throughout the month, including an Elvis impersonator! The residents really look out for each other and have included my sister and I in their greetings.

I am the keeper of the checkbook, making sure Elly signs her checks for the bills that come. This was a long time in coming. She can no longer add or subtract her totals in the checkbook. I also report to Elly's son who lives out of state so that he is in the loop on her physical, mental and financial state. I am grateful for my sister who cuts Elly's toenails and washes her clothes. We all have our part so we've settled into a routine. Elly is very grateful and tells me so every time I leave her. I never heard those kind words during the five years we lived with her in her home.

Now, my sisters and I are involved in caregiving for my Dad. My dad lives with his wife (not legally married) in her home. He has had prostate cancer for the past three years. We didn't know until about two to three weeks ago that he had been diagnosed with Late State cancer three years ago!!!! My dad had some broken vertebrae in his back that the doctor "glued" together two different times in the past 2 months. We suspected something was going on since he only fell once and was in lots of pain. His wife has difficulty dealing with Dad's caregiving needs and medical terms, so her daughter and my sisters have gotten together. My NurseySister finally went to a Dr. appointment with my Dad where she heard that he needed an MRI for abdominal tumors. This was news to us!!! After speaking with the oncologist, we learned that the cancer has spread to the Lymph system and there are tumors on the kidney, in the abdomen and on the aorta (abdominal or carotid??).  The grant for Dad's medication ($1.200 monthly) ran out so they found another grant and new meds which made Dad very sick, no taste, no appetite, diarrhea or constipation depending on the day/hour as well as very weak. We counseled Dad to consider stopping meds due to the spread of the cancer and the quality of life he might want. So Dad stopped the medication and has many more good days and energy! The Oncologist admitted to my Dad, his wife and my sister that my dad met all the criteria for Hospice so they went home to consider the referral to Hospice. This Thursday, another appointment with the oncologist will reveal the MRI results and Dad will ask for Hospice. We will work with his wife who evidently doesn't want him to die in her house, so one of us sisters will plan to bring him home with us for that final time of his life. His wife is a mess emotionally, physically and struggles make good decisions. It's very stressful to be around but the 4 of us sisters keep in touch by text to report on what we see and what we might do to help. This really helps wife's daughter who is ready to "throw in the towel" with her mom. My BabySister and I have dealt with Hospice several times and we know how this works. We are very hopeful that the support my dad's wife needs will be in place soon. Last week we had a family dinner with my Dad's sisters who came from out of town along with some cousins of his. It was a great time of sharing stories with positive and upbeat attitude. Everyone knows where we are headed and have the same faith in God the Father. None of us are walking this alone, it's just hard to deal with parts of the "living it out till the end." I will spend time at my dad's house now, along with my sisters, making sure housework and meals are done. We have no idea how long this road will be but plan to make it as easy as possible for my Dad.

Meanwhile, I still work my six-hour days, love our "new" house and am relieved to not be taking care of Elly's house and yard!!! We are waiting for cooler weather to start on our landscaping which I am hoping will be soon. We haven't had much time to get to know our neighbors very well but we have names and smiles when we see each other. I feel like I am on a Merry-Go-Round Carousel with my Dad and Elly riding the ponies, going up and down, up and down. One of these days, they will reach for the Gold Ring and be whisked away, riding to heaven!

If I am able to find the funds to go to Chicago in December for the Caregiving Conference I want to go! I mentioned it to AwesomeHubby and may be able to get some help from my Caregivers Resource Center. I have vacation time available and would love to have that encouragement with other Caregivers! We'll see how that works out.

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It's wonderful to read an update from you, EG! And, I'm so glad you've been able to pop in our chats. I hope it feels good to know you always can land here when you need support and caregiving comradery.\r\n\r\nI'm so sorry about your dad. You have such a comforting presence, which I'm sure means the world to your dad right now. \r\n\r\nI'm so glad EG has settled in and is finally comfortable sharing her gratitude for all you do. \r\n\r\nKeep us posted as you can. :)


EGD, I'm so glad to hear that Elly has settled into her new digs so nicely. It sounds like about as perfect a set-up for her as could be desired. So sorry to hear about your dad, but impressed by how quickly you and your sisters sprang into action and devised a plan for his care. Keeping you in my thoughts.


Dang! You really have been busy!!\r\nYour Dad is, I think, very blessed to have you. And your sister. Considering how his wife seems to feel about it all, maybe it's a good thing that they aren't legally married. Seems to me that would make things much more difficult for you and your family.\r\n(((Hugs))) and prayers for you all.