Dad ended up in the hospital again last week. I think about once a year his body says “Enough!” and begins to shut down briefly. Last Monday dad called saying that he had three extremely dizzy spells and that his blood pressure was low. He was also concerned because the little red heart on his blood pressure machine was not beating steadily. He had placed a call to his cardiologist, but had not heard back. He was obviously scared and asked if my daughter could stay with mom so he could go to the emergency room. After sitting in the waiting room of the emergency room for six hours he was finally brought back to an ER room. Initially he was told that everything looked fine, his EKG looked good and we were ready to take him home. But before we could get him out of the door, a nurse came in to take his blood pressure one more time. It was taken with him laying down, sitting and standing. Every time he stood up his blood pressure would drop. It was determined that dad was very dehydrated, his white blood count was elevated and he was staying the night.
I spent that night and the next day with mom. Dad generally has trouble keeping her up past 7:30 or 8:00 in the evening, but she hung with me, watching television and even asking to share a glass of wine with me around 10:00 p.m. Although mom slept pretty well that night only getting up twice, I just didn’t sleep soundly.
In the morning, after trying for 45 minutes I was finally able to get mom up and moving by 10:45. Her ostomy was falling off and needed to be changed. Dad had given me a crash course a couple of times but I had never actually done it alone. I had to call him at the hospital and he walked me through it, no problem.
Mom anxiously waited for dad to return, seeing him arrive repeatedly. Finally, at around 3:30 p.m. dad made it home.
My brief stay with mom gave me an even greater appreciation for what dad does everyday. It truly is exhausting. And boring. I cleaned everything I could clean, did the laundry and coaxed mom into eating and taking her medications. There is very little conversation, just the tv tuned to a soap opera or GAC, and NO INTERNET.
But all in all, my stay with mom was pleasant and dad got much needed rest. I’m not sure how much longer he can continue to care for mom alone, but despite our repeated suggestion that we get a caregiver to come in just once or twice a week, he continues to refuse. Dad is a very good man, but stubborn.
Things are now back to normal and dad is feeling much better. For that I am thankful.