I have wanted to write but I have not had time. I have wanted to rest but I have not had time. I want to enjoy the Christmas season . . . but I don’t have time.
I am not complaining. Ok. I am complaining a little bit. Everyone is bustling about this time of year. Everyone has a full plate and my plate is no fuller than anyone elses plate. But MAN IS MY PLATE FULL!
Life turned upside down a little over a week ago when my mom broke her foot. Two surgeries later she is still in the hospital trying to get to rehab. Dad is being carted to and from the hospital and we are employing sitters for both parents in two locations.
Consistency. We are looking for familiar faces. It is so important that Dad’s world NOT be turned upside down. This means that he gets the familiar sitters and when we have to fill in with outsiders, Mom gets potluck!
While trying to keep Dad’s life normal, I realize all the things that Mom has been doing while we were not looking.
While running between the hospital and Brookdale, I have started checking their mail. Unfortunately mail runs late this time of year and I cannot get by their daily. I learned today that Dad gets the mail and throws it away. All of it! Christmas cards. Personal letters. Catalogs. Bills. Everything!
Solution: Sitters go thru the mail with him and my sister gets a key so that she can check the mail when I cannot. Problem solved. I hope!
Dad has started fixating on things. If he is missing his driver’s licence (and he was) he goes over and over it trying to imagine where it might be. Even when we tell him why it was taken out of his wallet he does not grasp the reason. When the license is returned to him he continues to wonder where it has been. He talks about it constantly until you are ready to SCREAM! Finally he moves on . . . and fixates on something else . . . like the small yellow question mark in the right hand corner of the hospital monitor hooked up to my mother. It never ends.
I joined Dad at a doctor’s appointment today. It was a routine visit with his audiologist. As luck would have it their computer was down and we had to rehash dad’s medical history. This was challenging for him and for me. When in doubt, wing it! I need to pay closer attention to his medical needs so that I can confidently answer the questions that he cannot.
I have learned a lot about hearing aids. I know how to change those tiny tiny batteries and I even know how to put them in. I hope someone reminds me of these skills when I need a hearing aid!
I travel with a list of both parents’ medications. This is one of the most important things you can do for your parents. I am willing to guess on how long my dad has had a hearing problem, or how tall he is or even when he last had his hearing tested but I will not risk messing up on his medication. If you do not know the medication your parents take . . . find out and make a list!
So that is what I did between 11 and 5 today.
Not really. But it feels like I have accomplished a lot today and my list is no shorter than it was when I woke up.
My plate is full. So is yours. But life goes on and Christmas will still be here in 18 days. It will come even if the house is not decorated . . . thank you to my family for taking care of most of that. Christmas will come even if the Christmas cards are not done. I am so thankful I took care of that around Halloween.
My plate is full and so is my heart.
And so is my glass of wine.