Staying focused last month was very difficult because on February 1, 2002, Home Loving became a company and with that comes the memories. Memories can help, hurt, or make you feel excited and I know that I have experienced each of them this month. I have three reasons:
First, the business is in daddy’s memory, so I constantly think of him because I was such a daddy’s girl. When dad had his first stroke and I walked into his hospital room and he didn’t have a clue who we all were I felt my heart breaking. I watched my mother work with him day after day until finally he could remember again.
Second, Dad had a second stroke and this time he could not read or write. Again, with Mother working with him on just reading and writing; the memory came back. Our Mother is an amazing woman because she never gave up on dad. She would read to him and then get him to read to her like a child in school until he returned to dad again.
Third, Dad began having heart issues and had to have heart surgery which created a blood clot that caused the third stroke. This would be the one that created so much damage.
Our family has been through a lot with a Mother and Dad’s heart issues. Of course, you add Crohn’s Disease to my dad’s list of health issues which means you are in and out of the hospital so much you begin to feel like you work there. Dad loved Christmas and it seemed like every Christmas I am having a major discussion with the doctor on Christmas Eve to please let me take him home for the Holiday. Most of the time I won the battle, but there was other times I would cry all the way home because Dad would be so upset because he had to stay. Hospital was a way of life for mom, Mike and me and we had to learn to deal with each one step at a time. It was Mike’s job to keep mom calm and I had to keep Dad calm and both of them could be a handful. It seemed like Mike could do more with mom and I could with dad, but it was not an easy task for either one of us.
My days with dad would be getting him in the car and just go for a ride. This was just not a ride it was giving mom some free time and me quality time with dad, but it lasted for hours. We rode everywhere and while driving I had to explain to dad where we were and what I seen as I drove him around. He loved getting away, but he always wanted mom with him so it was a master piece when Mike and I could accomplish stealing dad away from mom. Mike covered night when dad was in the hospital because I did not want to be responsible for taking dad to the bathroom. I would be there in the mornings and return in the evenings so I could take mom home. Mike and I would share responsibilities caring for our parents. We would discuss our schedules to make sure everything was covered since he worked at Lab Corp. and I was still at Lucent. It was really hard on Mike because he still had four children at home. All of mine were grown, so it was easier for me to adjust if I had to. I am just so thankful Mike and I can discuss decisions about caring for our parents without getting upset. Of course, there are times things don’t go right, but then mom is the one who likes to call each of us to see if we need a map to her house. Being a family caregiver comes with so many challenges and I know there are others with parents in worse health than mine. I am here to help you, as a friend and an agency. My caregiver role will only increase as my mother’s health declines. Let’s lean on each other to make this transition a little easier on all of us.