My Tears Felt Different
As I returned my Mom’s phone call. I wasn’t prepared for what she was about to tell me. “Your Dad is in the ER. His blood sugars are in the 500’s and he isn’t doing very well. He was getting all disoriented and he wasn’t making any sense. So I called 911. I told him that I couldn’t help him and I that I had to call the paramedics to come take him to the hospital.”
Anyone who knows me, knows that I cry often and it’s nearly impossible for me to hold back sometimes, but these tears felt different. They were so deep. They filled the pit of my stomach. I felt so helpless as I heard my Mother speak, and I had the worst possible visual I’ve ever had about my Dad. I saw him not breathing and peaceful like an angel. I flashed back and thought of the good times, and I suddenly felt bad for not going to see him more. I felt all of his pain and vulnerability and it had lodged into my heart like a huge dagger. My gut hurt and I held back the tears as I had to be strong for my Mom. She sounded so tired, worried, and a bit relieved that he was now safe at the hospital getting the well needed help she had been trying to get him to accept. She sounded numb and as a daughter, trust me, that is a state of being that I could feel over the phone.
Dad hasn’t been feeling well for quite sometime now, and it has just been to progressively get worse. He doesn’t see it, and my Mom can’t explain how bad it is, because all he does is get defiant and doesn’t believe her. Every time we come over to visit, we see how fast this process is moving forward. He thinks that his memory loss and his forgetfulness is just because he isn’t paying attention or maybe he just didn’t hear us. He has been forgetting all of his scheduled medications, and forgets even the most simple tasks, facts, family events, upcoming appointments, and so many other situations to even mention. He stopped taking care of himself. Deep inside I feel like he started giving up after he knew that he shouldn’t drink anymore, and when my Mom outed him for having to have called the paramedics for the 3rd time in the past two months. His drinking had taken an all time low. He was drinking and driving to the point where he couldn’t even walk in the back door. He fell down and couldn’t get back up. He was killing himself. I know when my daughters called me out on my drinking that it was one of those most humiliating experiences I’ve ever felt. I know that I had broken their hearts and knowing that they had lost all respect for me, was gut wrenching. I decided it was time for a change. I wish that my Dad had figured it out earlier, but no one has ever been able to talk to him about any of his faults. All he would do is shut down, be angry, ignore you, or say horrible things in response to any confrontation. It just wasn’t worth any of our time. Now that he is 75, it still is very uncomfortable, but something will be done really soon. These dementia type of behaviors HAVE to be addressed realllllly sooon!!
My Mom feels like she is losing her mind because all she does is take care of him and has to keep an eye on everything he does. Make sure he hasn’t left the burner on again with burning oil and smoking up the house. Making sure that he takes all of his medications even when he said that he had already taken them. She has essentially turned into a full time caregiver over night. This has all happened so fast. It seems that little by little his memory was getting worse and we thought maybe it was because his hearing is so bad. We know now that this isn’t the case. There are all the signs of early dementia. Actually I don’t even feel like I can say early anymore. I feel as if he is right in the midst of a violent storm, that the waves are crashing in his head, and he can’t keep his head above water. We are feeling the same. How are we are going to fix the life raft. He is sinking fast, and emotionally it is draining all of us. Mom is with him 24/7 and her patience has just about run out. She is at her wits end. I find myself having to be here more, and I find myself wanting to be here more. I know they need me, and it’s my honor to be here for them. In my culture, we don’t just throw our elder’s into nursing homes and give up because we feel like we can’t take care of them. We exhaust all of our options, and then just keep on plugging along to take care of them to the best of our abilities. When that becomes too much, we still keep on giving it our all, because we know that having random nursing home staff take care of our loved ones is unbearable to think about.
Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.