Friday, January 18, 2013

What Next??

During the night last night my mother woke up with terrible pains in her chest that were radiating down both arms.  She assumed it was her acid reflux acting up and tried not to worry about it, but by this morning it was even worse.  So, she arranged a doctor's appointment and our dear friend Bob, as usual, stepped in to care for her.  He drove her to the doctor, waited for her, then drove her to the hospital emergency on doctor's orders where he sat and waited for close to 6 hours for her to undergo various tests and hear the results.  He made himself and his friend late for their opera date tonight while he sat with my mother.  As an only child who cannot for many reasons be there for mom and dad right now geographically I don't know what we would all do without him or how to properly thank him for what he is doing in taking my place right now for my parents.

My mom discovered she is correct.  It is acid reflux and with all the stress she has had to deal with in the past 8 weeks it is no wonder she is having issues with her own health.  When she was first diagnosed years ago she was having the same intense symptoms she is having now, so back to her old diet and meds regime to deal with it until it calms down once again.

I am as worried about mom as I am about dad.  But, as they both told me this week there is no point in going there right now.  Dad gets in a blind panic when we are driving on the winter highways and often makes himself ill worrying about it.  Mom can't handle the extra stress of having anyone else around right now.  It is sad when parents can't relax with their own children but it is a natural progression in old age to be more stressed than excited at the prospect of a visit of more than a few hours in length.  I am once again very grateful for the years of elder care I did so that I can understand better why that is.  When my husband (and the car) are free to take me back to the city to see them, hopefully in another week or 2, we will go and do what we can to run errands for them both and hie away home again before it becomes too much for them to handle.

As for me, balancing long distance care for my parents on top of daily care for my husband when he is having so many CFS symptoms right now, plus 2 years of dealing with my son's problems, is almost more than I can handle myself.  I am so exhausted mentally and emotionally all I want to do is crawl into bed and stay there for a few months.  I don't like feeling helpless as I am programmed to problem solve. I can't solve any of the current family health issues. I can only listen and sympathize, empathize where possible, and be done with it. That is what is wearing me out.  Being in the middle of a series of painful dental procedures isn't helping me get to the city right away either.  It is frustrating all the way around. 

I am very grateful for the wonderful conversation I had with my dad yesterday on the phone.  Since I only call once a week, it guarantees the nursing staff will take the desk phone down to dad's room for 5 minutes and we can have a great little chat.  Dad is improving.  He is being slowly weaned off the morphine and his back spasms have simmered down after 2 months of rest.  Today he was able to use his walker to walk the few steps to the bathroom and back to his bed unaided.  He can wheelchair himself down to the dining room for 2 meals a day and take himself in the chair down to the lounge to use the phone and call my mom.

It is a relief to see some improvements in dad's situation.  Now if mom can start to relax a bit it will help her a lot.  There have been some issues to deal with as far as incorrect billing for her newspaper and some other billing problems, a flooded bathroom due to broken pipes in another tenant's apt. at her complex.......things my dad has always dealt with.  But she has managed to deal with them all on her own and very effectively at that.  The stress though has not been good.

The situation with my family members right now reminds me of an old joke:  when a pastor was asked what his favourite portion of Scripture was he replied that it was the phrase, "And it came to pass.......".  It seemed like an odd choice for a pastor so the questioner asked him why that was his favourite portion.  His response was:  "It came to pass, it didn't come to stay!!"

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