I don’t want to whine but…

This week is starting to invite whole new definitions of the term “suck.”

Wednesday: Mom gets rushed to emergency room when she blacks out momentarily in her room at the assisted living facility. It’s ultimately diagnosed as a low heart rate, probably brought on by her Alzheimer’s medication and a blood pressure drug. Ultimately, she’s in for four nights.

Thursday through Saturday: Mom is fairly low-maintenance. Things are surprisingly peaceful. I even spend most of Saturday being geeky in the basement.

Sunday: Mom still in hospital. Dad has a nasty fall outside his favorite breakfast spot. The ambulance comes and patches him up (“we can see clean through to you skull’) but he opts against going to the emergency room. I happen to call him about an hour afterward, hear about what happened, and decide that I probably need to drive over to Greensboro and see what’s going on. By the time I get there he agrees that maybe he should go to the emergency room. Turns out he has a small skull fracture in the area of his cheek bone (not as serious as it sounds) and bleeding behind one of his eyes. He’s admitted, too.

Monday: Mom is released. Dad remains in the hospital being considerably higher maintenance than Mom. I miss much work at a time I can ill afford to, sitting with him while he complains. A lot. Using the  same words over and over again.

Tuesday: More complaints, but at least I got a little work done. I’m starting to worry that Dad will need a sitter for a few days after he’s released and that he will likely be very difficult about the prospect. His head injuries are no longer the big concern; now, it’s his heart rate and the fact that his leg is really sore from the fall and walking is difficult.

Wednesday: Dad is not released but no one tells me until 4PM. I get in six hours at work. And then they call from Mom’s assisted living. Apparently she has had a really bad night, going a bit berserk, threatening to blow up the place, accusing them of killing babies, bothering other residents, etc. They say they can no longer handle her and she needs to go to the emergency room. I say “fine” as everyone in the emergency room now knows me so I get preferential treatment as a loyal repeat customer. Mom’s issues are apparently related to the medications she switched to after last week…or a urinary tract infection. The assisted living facility will not allow her back in until she’s been examined to their satisfaction so she’s admitted to the hospital for the night.

Coming tomorrow: I probably get to bail both of them out of their respective hospitals and figure out what to do with them since the healthcare system has no real clue. And I miss another day or two from work, even though I really need to get ready for the rather important presentation I have to make in Ohio next week (but that I’m increasingly scared I won’t be able to make). I now feel completely and totally held hostage by all my parents’ assorted health issues and am wondering if this is all I (or my parents) have to look forward to in life over the next few years. The prospect does not make me happy.

Comments

I don’t want to whine but… — 5 Comments

  1. I know what you’re going through.

    This is the part they don’t tell you about being an only child: When elderly parents need medical care and can’t advocate for themselves, the responsibility falls on that only child. When it happens to two parents at once…oy vay. It’s a full-time job in and of itself, and it’s a shame more employers don’t understand that.

    Here’s hoping that your dad makes a full recovery, and your mom is comfortable and stable on whatever combination of medications finally smooths things out (when it comes to Alzheimer’s, the average physician is flailing in the dark as far as accurate diagnoses).

  2. Thanks for the thoughts.

    As far as work, in the interest of fairness, my boss and coworkers have been great and very understanding about this. That’s not an issue. I just feel like I can’t get anything done at work right now and I need to be able to at this delicate (and early) point in my career. Plus I feel like I’m holding them all hostage too.

  3. Thinking of you David. That does sound like a lot on your plate. I echo what has already been said – I hope your Dad recovers well and that your Mom is comfortable.