Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Caring for Daddy

As my father endured his cancer treatments he often would feel so lousy that he simply couldn't bear company. I understood, but often wept once I was given the rejection call where he would tell me I wouldn't be able to come to visit. I often was all ready showered, dressed and in my car with the GPS set for Daddy's.... when the call would come asking me to retreat and come another day.
In the time since then, Dad fell on Oct. 21st, breaking his hip. It seems so unfair to have to deal with a broken hip on top of lung cancer. How could this have happened. He isn't a frail elderly gentleman who falls often. He is a vital 67 year old who was alert and not clumsy. He simply tripped on the oxygen cord that helps him to breathe. It all just feels so unjust.
Recuperation led to a horrible stay at Healthsouth Rehabilitation in Harmarville. I pray you never need to send someone there...and if you have a choice pick any other place, BUT them. The care he received there was incredulous. They were nasty and rude and insulting. We even nicknamed one of his nurses "Nurse Ratchet". He got out by having such a horrible yelling fit with the worst nurse that he had a breathing attack and was returned to St. Margaret's. We thought they were bad, but Healthsouth made St. Margaret's look like heaven. In this day and age of health care, the only way to be certain to get decent care is to have a healthy member stay in your room round clock to be certain of your care, if not doing it yourself altogether.
Though therapy is incomplete, we have decided it best for Dad to return home and simply remain there for the rest of his care. Nurses come and go and therapists as well who all help in his care. Mondays and Thursdays, Aunt Betty cares for Daddy and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my days.
I have come to love these days. It's a long drive, but it's a peaceful one with beautiful scenery and reminds me of God's beauty that lay in my path daily. The hours that I missed in trying to visit him in the past year are now mine to spend with him as long as I choose. It is a blessing to be with him this much and to be able to help him. I love playing "nurse" and love making my "patient" comfortable and bringing him lunch on a tray. Giving him back rubs that make him cozy and comfortable makes me feel so useful and I love knowing I am doing all I can for him. I love him so much and look at these moments as gifts. Kathy (my stepMom) is always so grateful bringing me meals, allowing me to do my laundry here (which is so helpful!). She has one of those sets of giant front loaders so I can double my laundry. So they are helping me as much as I am helping them... and that is a double blessing for all of us.
We have good days and bad... and I know that's how it's going to be. I am grateful for the good ones and do all I can for him in the bad. It is a blessing that my darling husband Brian also allows me to come here this much because things need taking care of at home, and he must step up to the plate. He also does things here, such as soon he will arrive to install a shower bar so Dad can take a safe shower. He installed a light and he and Shane and Zane even helped set up the hospital bed. I love my own family even more when I can see their compassion showing through for my Dad.
And then there are the friends and family and facebook prayer warriors who continually lift us all in prayer. I am so grateful for all of you who pray for him. Often I post a request on FB and by the next day, things are looking better.
Caring for Daddy is one of the life changing moments I will treasure always. I love every minute we spend together. Kathy tells me to go home before she gets here, but I simply can't... I must wait till she arrives to be certain he is cared for in every minute. I love being a "nurse" and I am so lucky to have these moments with him.
Keep praying! We are all so grateful to all of you who care enough to remember him in your prayers.

1 comment:

Diane said...

Tammy, I haven't visited in ages, shame on me! I hope your Father has improved since December? Your beautiful description of your love and caring for him touched my heart. God bless him, and you!