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.