Tagging the Team


Tagging the Team

team-472488_640I'm out of town until Thursday, giving presentations for two days at a company based south of Indianapolis. I left yesterday morning. My oldest sibling left for vacation with her husband yesterday. My oldest sibling and I live closest to the hospital where my mom is; I'm five minutes away; she's 10.

In our absence, my brother and his wife spent yesterday afternoon with my mom; my younger sister stopped by yesterday evening after work. My other brother visits in the evening after he leaves work. My nieces also visit as they can.

So far, our tag team works. We're keeping in touch with text messages--sharing updates about my mom's current status as well as our schedules. We've had some dysfunctional moments (read: lashing out) but I've simply ignored the lashing.

I changed my dad's ostomy bag on Monday night. Yesterday morning, he was concerned that the bag had shifted so I changed it again before I left. I struggled with having enough patience; his anxiety really took control over his common sense. His bag was fine but I knew I would only add to his anxiety by trying to convince him of that. I myself was anxious to get on the road as I had presentations to give later in the afternoon and a long drive ahead of me. He apologized for being "a bother" and I did my best to assure him that he would be fine until my return on Thursday. I did not explode but I did break out into a sweat--I suppose that's my body's way of saying, "Maybe you think you look composed on the outside but we're exploding on your inside!!"

My siblings want my dad to change his bag without help from myself or my mom. He does all the prep except for a few steps (applying a powder and a spray around the stoma and then applying the bag). I've added "Help Dad change his own bag" to the top of my To Do list. He will feel much more comfortable when I'm gone if he can change the bag on his own. He's had so many changes in the past five months--a major surgery, strokes and another surgery, and now a hospitalized and very ill wife--that I've been letting him determine what he can and cannot do. I suppose it's time for a gentle push.

My dad visits my mom daily but loses steam after about two hours. He's great about respecting his limit, letting us know when he's tired and then leaving. He eats lunch out before visiting so that he can make a simple meal in the evening when his energy is low. (I do offer to make him dinner but he refuses--he likes to putz around the kitchen.)

My mom had a difficult day on Sunday--she began coughing up a lot of phlegm which required what felt like constant suctioning. She felt better on Monday as the coughing eased and she had a very short walk with the physical therapist. My mom did call me yesterday (from her iPhone) as I was about to start my presentation; she left me a message that the surgeon removed the drainage tube from her nose. I spoke with her last night and she sounded frail and vulnerable but relieved to no longer have a tube taped to her nose. (Can you imagine? So awful.)

My brother sent a text later last night that she's running a slight fever. The ups and downs will continue so we steel ourselves with support and faith and realistic optimism.

Thank you all again so much for your messages of concern and comfort. I can't tell you how much I appreciate them.

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Love and support sent from The Buckeye State.


Denise,\r\n You have been in my thoughts & prayer all week.\r\nWe were on vacation & I'm just getting caught up! It sounds like you have a awesome team in place!\r\nMore late.\r\nMaria


Denise, I'm so glad I was finally able to spend some time on the site now and catch up with everyone, including you. I can only imagine how hard it is to feel you have to \"push\" your Dad to something he really may not want to do. Been there, done that. It can be done and you may be surprised how well he does adjust but you sound a lot like me, you have a lot of respect for your parents and that makes a difference. You're blessed to still have them both, and they're blessed to have you too!


I am glad your family is stepping in to help while you are working. You and your parents are truly blessed.


Thank you for the update. I've been wondering how both of your parents are faring. I honestly don't know how caregivers managed in the pre-texting days! :)

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