Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Home at Last

I'm home from a couple of days at my dad's house.

I really know nothing more than when I received the frightened phone call from him at 10:15 on Sunday morning.

He had an episode on Saturday night in which he was too weak to walk, it frightened him, and he called 911. By the time the paramedics had broken in through the back door of the house, dad was able to walk, and got to the ambulance under his own steam.

For some reason when he got to the hospital, he de-emphasized his weakness and talked instead about insomnia and vivid dreams. So the ER doc released him with a prescription for a sleeping pill.

Other possibly relevant facts:

Dad had a car accident (slow motion fender bender) on June 10. He was distressed about this, but had not told me or my brother.

In the day (days?) before his episode of weakness, he hadn't eaten, except for sips of water. (Why? No clear answer.)

When I arrived, he seemed fine. He always has difficulty walking-- a knee injury that should have been operated on a long time ago plagues him. He has a somewhat frail appearance, a little more frail each time I see him. He ate everything I provided for him while we were together.

I told him there are basically four possibilities at this time:

He can come to live with me.

He can go to live with my brother.

He can live in some kind of assisted living facility (preferably near me or my brother).

He can stay in his house with modifications-- meals brought in, someone to clean regularly, people on a schedule to check in on him and drive him where he needs to go, severely restricted driving (if at all).

He wants none of these options. To him, he had a bad moment, it has passed, and all is well.

I am a pastor. Churches are filled with old people, with children of old people, and grandchildren of old people. This story is nothing new. It is a situation everyone in my congregation has been touched by on some level. I am witness to people making all kinds of decisions, good, bad and indifferent, about their own or their parents' care every day. I am also witness to people making no decisions, and untenable situations stretching on and on.

When I left I had in place:

Someone to prepare meals for my dad and assist with grocery shopping. This includes some social interaction for him at least twice a week (he wants to do the shopping with her).

Someone to stop in to check on my dad a couple of times a week.

An interview to be scheduled by Senior Services of the county he lives in.

Someone to visit him next Monday to talk about cleaning his house.

Someone to take him to the dentist next Tuesday (a minor adjustment of his bridge).

Someone to take him to the bus, to come visit me for a week, next Wednesday.

Now let's see how much of this actually comes to pass.


August said...

This all sounds very proactive - you are a good daughter. (((thoughts & prayers)))

Barbara said...

I hope the follow through with others involved is as meaningful as what you have done. Good Job! It is so much harder to pastor our own.

God_Guurrlll said...

Oh Cecelia, on top of all the stuff you are going through at your church. God's peace be with you.

Mary Sue said...

Prayers, prayers, and lots of prayers!

Saintly Ramblings said...

Sounds like you've done all you can at present. We all want to hang grimly on to our independence. It's difficult for us guys to acknowledge that we can no longer do what we used to. Once admitted many see it as the start of the slippery slope that we have run all our life to avoid.

IT said...

It sounds like he could be having minor stroke(s)....

Good luck, {{{C}}} !!!!

jsd said...

Best wishes and prayers for you and your family.

Suzer said...

Add to it getting grief from the rest of the family for doing all the wonderful things you have to help him, and you've described what my beloved partner is currently experiencing as well.

These decisions are so very difficult and painful at times. Our best wishes and prayers are headed you and your father's way.

Songbird said...

Wow, you got a lot done! I hope you are able to find an arrangement that works.

Cynthia said...

Y'all are in my prayers.

LittleMary said...

what a freaking few days! hope it all comes to pass.

MaineCelt said...

Sounds like you have done some very good dancing through this logistical minefield. I understand the exhaustion that can follow the exhilaration of such accomplishments, regardless of how well all your arrangements play out. May you find grace and space to unwind and feel/process everything!

Diane said...

praying for you.... you are a good and a wise daughter.

take care.

Sarah S-D said...

aie. so much on your plate my friend.

you have done good work with your dad. HARD stuff.

love you.

Sara said...

I feel your pain! Why do they do that when they get to the doctor? It's a tough time of life for all involved.

Lots of prayers.

susankay said...

Prayers and blessings. I've been there and the hardest is yet to come -- you will have to take away his car keys. This is tougher than even going into a retirement home. It is possible to have his doctor and/or the motor vehicle people help with or actually do this so that it is THEIR fault not yours.

(And it does sound like a mini-stroke - TIA)

Be well.

Anonymous said...

I love the tenderness in this post, how good is that kind of sensitivity to others

one of my big frustrations with the drive to make churches more 'modern', is it's rejection of older folk

my Dad gave up church when they installed a band, he couldn't hear against all that 'racket', he was apparently of no interest to the forward looking vicar

in the parable Jesus says 'when I was in prison, you didn't visit me, ...', just imagine a re-telling going 'when I was old, you looked down on me, and excluded me, you ignored my views, and tried to fill the church with xyz'.