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Crazy medical week.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My 87 year old Dad, who lives alone, fell Monday morning, knocked his TV off the table, and hit the table with his ribs before he hit the floor. He doesn't like to ask for help, so, he lay on the floor for over an hour before he felt up to crawling to the recliner and somehow getting into it.

His neighbor called him after noon and willingly came over to get the walker out for him, put the TV back on the table, and get Dad some Tylenol for the pain. We are all so thankful for this very good neighbor!

My sister, the nurse, and her family are in Hawaii on vacation. She called Dad, found out what happened and called his Doctor. They all agreed that Dad should just stay home and rest rather than sit in waiting rooms for X-rays that wouldn't change the treatment even if there were broken ribs.

I found all of this out at 5:30 PM when I got home from jury duty. My diabetic Dad had eaten nothing since breakfast, and was in lots of pain. My husband and I picked up some dinner and drove 1/2 hour to Dad's, where we fed him and gave him the stronger pain pill the Dr. said he could take. (They were on a top shelf he couldn't reach.)

Tuesday I had to return to the jury, which finished its service that afternoon. Dad said he had slept well Monday night and was doing OK, so he didn't want me to come since I was planning to come Wednesday.

Wednesday I got to Dad's to find him in serious pain. He said he could feel something in his side grinding when he coughed. He didn't want to get addicted to the pain pills, so had only used Tylenol and had gotten no sleep. He wanted to see the Dr, so I got a pain pill into him, and was his chauffeur to the Dr and X-ray lab. He has 4 broken ribs, and is now convinced he HAS to take the pain pills or it will be harder for him to heal. He's rather discouraged about the 6 week recovery period.

Today I went over to do the taxes I didn't get to do yesterday, and found he had slept well but had not taken any insulin yesterday nor breakfast yet at 10 AM! Yikes! He's usually so good with his diabetes that we don't have to monitor him. I'm the "financial daughter." Medical stuff intimidates me.

He is back where he is supposed to be in food and medicine use. I have to keep at him to eat. I want my sister back! She's a great nurse and calm repository of medical knowledge. She's also better at getting him to eat.

There's such a fine line to walk between allowing independence and cramping his style to make sure he is safe. For now I'm just reminding and showing up often to do what needs to be done. He doesn't want to move or have anyone move in with him.

I need to remember this if and when my advanced age causes my children to have concern about my behavior! Maybe I'll be able to not worry them so much?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • BOPPY_
    Sounds like a great Dad and two Great Daughters.

    Wishing you all, the best,

    2238 days ago
    My heart goes out to you and your family- including your wonderful father, bless his heart. We miss our parents so much. We went through this with my mom, and my husbands parents. (my Dad passed away at age 64 back in the late 80's) All of them have passed now and we don't regret a moment we spent with them during the difficult years. It was tough because we were all still working and had so much to juggle. It's heartbreaking as they are so fierce about their independence. Ours finally gave in and went to assisted living and were content there. Is there any possibility your Dad might go for having a visiting nurse or a home health care practitioner (that the family hires) come in 2-3 times a week to check in on him? Really it should probably be every day but that would be pretty expensive. Still it's less costly and less traumatic than moving. SIGH. Lots of decisions for you and your family. God Bless you. Your family's love will find a way. emoticon emoticon
    2294 days ago
  • OOLALA53
    He gets to draw the line on his choices, and you get to draw the line on yours. That's the best we can do. We are already very blessed in this country, IMHO. I've lived where people die every day from a lack of a fraction of the resources we take for granted. No matter what happens, we can drive ourselves crazy with what we think should have been. One of my spiritual teachers says we can fight with reality but we'll lose 100% of the time. The serenity prayer makes more and more sense to me every day.
    2294 days ago
    I am so sorry to hear about this episode!

    I hope you can have this concerned "talk" with your dad when your sister returns. Dealing with aging parents is so stressful. My husband's parents refused to go anywhere while they still could; now they can't and the three children that live in the same town spend all of their free time checking up on them, doing housework, bills, bringing food, taking them to appts., etc. etc. etc.

    It's very sad, but we'll all be there someday. Like you, I hope I do a better job planning for my old age so my daughter isn't put in such a position.
    2294 days ago
    Sending you lots of hugs!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2298 days ago
    It is very difficult to balance the independent spirit of the aged person and the need to take care of them. Your dad is an independent person who to his credit tries to stay off addictive medicine. However, painkillers may speed up his healing and I am glad he sees this. His diabetes does need monitoring.

    You have done a great job of being a caretaker and trying to help him while your sister is gone.

    I sympathize with you. My mom who is 94 suffers from exhaustion because her iron is low and she will not take her pills.

    Take care of yourself . You are a wonderful daughter.
    2298 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13354694
    2298 days ago
    That's rough. I hope he heals quickly and gets back to normal. But it is a wake-up call to have plans in place just in case. emoticon
    2298 days ago
    You're lucky to have a sister to share this with. I'm an only child and the ONLY time I've missed having siblings was as my parents got older. The decisions were all mine.

    Perhaps your Dad would get a medical alert system? Especially if it was presented as a way to reduce YOUR worry. He could still be independent but help would arrive in case of an emergency.

    My Mom lived with us for 10 years and after a fall when she hit her head, we got one. It cost $30 a month with no contract or anything. It gave me peace of mind so I could go out knowing that either I (or 911) would be called if the need arose.

    2298 days ago
    I hope that your dad is feeling better. This getting older stuff stinks.

    What I learned when my father was failing is: long term care insurance.
    2298 days ago
    I've got this Tshirt too . . . and it's a tough place to be for sure. You are doing all you can to be a good daughter, in so far as he will permit you . . . and unless his doctor says he lacks capacity such that his choices are a danger to himself, then (probably) he gets to choose . . . even if his choices aren't those you would choose for him.

    (A good time to make sure his will and his powers of attorney for property and for personal care are in place, up to date, what he wants . . . ).

    All best.
    2298 days ago
    The last chapter of many folks lives is the hardest, and yes, indeedy, it is not easy finding that fine line of caring for them without taking their independence from them.
    How nice that you and your sister have been able to divvy up the work like that.
    2298 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    Been there, done that. Bless you and all the caregivers. Not sure who is going to humor me as time passes by (no children).

    PS - a reference I found helpful to me was

    'Can Mom Live Alone?: Practical Advice on Helping Aging Parents Stay in Their Own Home' by Vivian F. Carlin, Ph.D.
    2298 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/27/2014 9:59:27 PM
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