1.15.2013

Rehab Reflections

I thought I would have popped in to Blogwarts before now....it's been over a week since my last post...but, as you may have heard - people make their plans, and God laughs. 

My 89-year old dad has been in the hospital and now in rehab since Dec. 26.  It appears he's had a medications upset, but also his Parkinson's seems to be progressing.  We've had a few scary days where the tremors were unmanageable without muscle relaxers.  PT and OT have not been as productive as we had hoped.  His emotions are all over the map.

Dad in November

We just go day to day, and it reminds me that we only have day-to-day anyway.   We are no more promised the next year than we are the next minute.  I've been sitting in the rehab cafeteria a lot lately while Mom and Dad visit, and in between reading Time magazine and sipping hazelnut tea I've reflected on things like this:

1.  Thank God for nurses and CNAs.  They have back-breaking work every day, and most of them are patient and kind.

2.  The nurses and CNAs that are crabby just need a hug and a word of appreciation.  They are so tired.

3.  How do I console my wonderful Dad when he is inconsolable?  It's so odd to be the strong one, and yet, have no answers.

4.  Watching world news in the cafeteria doesn't mean anything when a loved one is struggling.  Seems like world events should just stop for a while.

5.  Why are there never any healthy snacks in vending machines?

6.  I don't understand why the body hangs around after it's worn down, why the breath of life is so determined when the flesh seems ready to just be done.  Only God knows this.

7.   My dad has stopped shaving; he's letting his beard grow because he claims it's the only thing he can control anymore.  This makes me sad and smile at the same time.

8.  Strawberry milkshakes are a favorite pick-me-up for Dad.  He probably shouldn't have them, as they are not on the cardiac diet, but none of us care.  A milkshake-free life is not going to turn anything around at this point.

9.  When Dad is propped up in bed in his hospital gown and his fuzzy no-slip socks, he looks like a little kid, and I love to kiss him on the top of his head.

10.  Parkinson's is a puzzling and frustrating disease.  Treatment is hit or miss, trial and error, and a lot of "we just don't know."   Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox have come to mind a lot this week. 

11.  I don't understand why, after a day at the rehab hospital, I feel the need to get my PJ's on and watch hours of TV.   Or bake cookies.

12.  I'm so grateful my out-of-state siblings come visit our parents when they can.  I'm grateful my daughter teaches at a school across the street from Dad's rehab.  She visits him on her lunch break.

13.  People always say life is short.  When loved ones are struggling though, it seems life is long.  Only God can explain this too.


18 comments:

Dana said...

Thinking of you, mare—and praying for your dad. ♥

Mari said...

I'm so sorry you are all dealing with this. Parkinsons is a tough disease and it can be so unpredictable. Praying for all of you.

Marianne said...

I'm so sorry you and your family are struggling through this. It sounds like your dad still has his sense of humor intact. Like father, like daughter. I'll be saying some extra prayers for him tonight.

Retired Knitter said...

Oh my. This post brought back many memories for me from 2011 with my mom - illnesses, hospital care, rehab, etc. etc. etc. I know exactly what you mean by ALL of these points.

Getting old and struggling through medical conditions that only complicate the already complicated process of getting older is a real bummer. In some ways those of us who witness this up close and personal are the lucky ones. It gives us perspective. It reminds us that our turn is coming to live and struggle through aging and illness and to enjoy what we have right this minute.

Brenda said...

Oh Mare, this has to be so hard. Glad your humor still shines through.
I struggle with the inevitable facts of knowing my husband and I are heading this direction in the near future with his mom who is 84 and struggles with COPD.

Kenya G. Johnson said...

Awww, this post made me sad. :-( It just makes you reflect and encourages us to enjoy every minute because you don't know when things are going to turn around. Christopher and I just called to wish my dad a Happy Birthday, He is 62 and Christopher said, "Wow Granddaddy is getting old, but he's still a lot of fun." Daddy and I are 20 years apart. Immediately my mind jumps to 20 years wondering what daddy will be like and the fact that Christopher will classify me as really old and he will be a young 28.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I love it that your Dad is letting his beard grow. He hasn't lost his sense of humor it seems. It is so hard to see our loved ones suffer and I do know where you are coming from as I helped care for both my parents when they were ill. They've both died now and it's been a few years ago, so the memories have faded, but yes the days are long when it happens.

Michael Ann said...

Such poignant reflections, Mare. Thank you for sharing them with us. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Renae at simple sequins said...

Dear Mare,

Oh so sweet and bittersweet moments, huh? You are so kind to your father, I can tell. I pray you are buoyed up when you need it and can relax when you need it. Witnessing a struggling loved one is so hard. Write to me via email if you need a shoulder to cry on, okay?

(big hugs)
Renae

Jaime said...

My thoughts are with you. Illness does make life seem very long. I'm not sure why. I really like the photo of your dad - he seems like a cool guy. I can definitely picture him drinking milkshakes. When my dad was sick, I remember him having a craving for Tang. It wasn't easy to find:) Hang in there.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Yes life seems short but in fact it is for most of us bloody long and for some it is too long.......people like my nan come to mind, she is alive but Alzheimers has robbed her of so much and there are days when I feel like she would rather not be still here as she has no life she is only just breathing

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

My heart goes out to you. There's nothing any of us can say to make things better for you, but you did an excellent job of describing the surreal slow-motion reality of what you're going through right now. It's tough.

Jen Forbes said...

Do hope things continue to progress in a positive way for your Dad. I can sympathize with your situation as daughter/caretaker and all that entails. Prayers and hugs all around.

Danielle L Zecher said...

I hope your dad's condition improves soon. I'm glad you guys let him have the strawberry milkshakes. It doesn't make sense to me to deny an 89 year old such a simple pleasure because it isn't "good" for them.

Cindy Dwyer said...

What a beautiful post, Mare. Many of us can relate. Sending thoughts and prayers your way.

Dawn M. Hamsher said...

Mare, I'm so glad you shared all your thoughts with us about your dad and what you are all going through.

Lifting up a prayer for your dad (and you).

Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

It is so hard to watch loved ones suffer, especially when you have no way of relieving it. You are right, none of us are guaranteed anything, and we should never, never take our precious minutes for granted.

You and your family are in my prayers.

That corgi :) said...

I'm so sorry for what is going on with your dad; it is hard to see our parents age and realize each day we have with them is a gift because we don't know if we'll have another one. And I can imagine it has to be hard for our parents to see themselves on the receiving end where they were the strong ones and the doers. Its like the prayer Bible study I'm doing; we need to trust in God's will and his ways even though sometimes the ways make no sense to us. Of course that's not much comfort when going through tough times like this, but know that God is walking alongside you in this season of your family's life.

betty