Friday, February 19, 2016

O Dad, Poor Dad, YOU'VE Got the "Flu" So We're ALL Feelin' Bad!

Dad just called.  His thin, wispy little voice instantly alerted me to the fact that all is not well for him right now.  Sure enough, about 36 hours ago he got walloped with some kind of intestinal and stomach distress, a severe case that has made him deathly ill this entire time.  Mom so far is just fine, but they have been put into isolation in their suite until 48 hours passes from his final journey to the bathroom, whenever that may be. Mom said that when he hasn't been in the washroom he has been asleep. She is trying to pour water into him but he isn't making much of an effort to prevent dehydration.  I know what it is like not feeling like ingesting anything, knowing you will only lose it again relatively soon from one end or the other of your body. Sigh....

Dad is 89 and Mom and I should be feeling very sorry for him and feeling very supportive, but dad himself makes it so difficult to feel that way.  No one can feel sorrier for him than he can himself.  He has always been the centre of his own world but as he has aged he has become completely fixated on his own state of affairs and expects the rest of us to do likewise.  Today I heard the exhaustion and discouragement in my mom's voice as she has had it up to her ears with this attitude of his.  I suspect the hydromorph he has had to take daily for the past 3 years is not helping him emotionally either, on top of his all ready over the top self-fixation.  I wish Mom could just feel less guilty that she alone cannot provide all the attention he seeks at times like this.

I THINK what he was after when he called was my insistence that he phone for an ambulance immediately so that he could be rushed to hospital for medical attention.  I asked him and Mom a lot of questions about what his symptoms have been doing over the past 36 hours and it appears he is actually on the mend at the moment.  If he can wait one more night he will probably discover he sleeps better tonight with far less frequent trips to the bathroom and, other than feeling weak for a few days, be just fine.  On the other hand, at his age is it actually possible to be too careful? I didn't completely discourage him from going to the hospital either.

All I could tell him was that if he was afraid to be in their suite then he should call the ambulance and go to the hospital....as long as he realizes that even coming in an ambulance will not get him the immediate attention he gets when he goes in with heart related problems.  That got his attention.  He is craving the pampering and sympathy of the kind he has received in the heart wards of all the city hospitals where he lives.  Mom on her own, despite her best attempts that leave her almost ill from the strain of it, cannot possibly give him the amount of attention he craves from the world at large when he is ill.  He doesn't understand what emergency rooms are like in this day and age and that an elderly man with the 'flu' who could prevent dehydration by staying home and forcing himself to drink fluids is no longer a priority for the overworked and understaffed medical emergency departments.

I genuinely hope he is going to be all right and that if he needs to go to the hospital that he gets there and gets help, but my mom is no dummy. If she thought he needed an ambulance she would be the first person on the phone to 9-1-1.  I have seen her in action many a time doing just that.  I am probably even more worried about her than I am about him.  The man has milked her sympathies dry over the decades and she is truly struggling this time to put up with his self-absorption.  I understand her frustration when Dad acts as if no one on the earth has ever had such a terrible case of whatever he has wrong with him at any given time.  With Mom and I he has "cried wolf" a few too many times.  

So, I hope I am not making too light of what is wrong with him, but there is little I can do from 9 hours away. There would be little I could do right now even if I lived in the same city due to my parents being quarantined for the next 3 days at least. If Mom comes down with this they will be isolated even longer.  I am so grateful for the facility's quarantine policy.  It prevents a lot of spreading of viruses and bacteria among the residents. My parents' meals are being delivered from the kitchen until this illness passes....not only the dinner meals they pay for, but also breakfasts and lunches that are not included in the cost of living there. There has been a steady stream of chicken broth and electrolyte drinks from the kitchen and I am incredibly grateful for that. The director has called several times to check on them both since Dad got hit with this.  It is a genuinely good place for them to be living.

Well, all I can do is pray and hope for the best for them both.  It may not sound like it, but I am truly sorry Dad is/has been so ill for the past couple of days.  I only hope he is able to beat this thing with no relapses.  My fear is that if he goes to the hospital he will be exposed to even worse illnesses and relapse either from catching cold, or from the strain of waiting in emergency for hours and hours.  That is all Mom will need as well to also come down with something like this.  I just pray Dad will not wear Mom right down with his emotional needs this weekend.  I hope he can be satisfied with whatever she can do for him and be less emotionally needy.

O, it is hell getting old! I feel badly for them both.

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