Missing days

I’m trying to be more on a schedule where I get my life somewhat back into a normal routine, by going every other day to see my dad at the nursing home, but it’s not working out so well. I get racked with guilt when I skip a day, and usually spend the next two or three days rushing there after work.

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My dad is actually doing well. I mean, he’s not jumping out of bed and walking around, but he’s been without pneumonia or infections, and his sacral wound (bed sore) is coming around, albiet slowly.

My brother moved mountains (that’s just me saying it takes MOUNTAINS to get action at the nursing home) to get my father’s old primary care physician to check him out, instead the invisible doctor who has a contract with the nursing home. I’m glad he did. He found my dad to be anemic and said if he can’t get stronger, he’s not going to improve.

So that’s where we’re at. He ordered some changes and I continue to see my dad more awake these days. It’s crazy to think that, in February, and some of March, we really thought we were going to lose him. He was rarely awake and, at one point, had to be intubated.

Thanking our lucky stars, and also my mother’s friends from church, who keep visiting and praying for him at his bedside on a weekly basis.

What is a normal life, anyway?

Screen shot 2015-02-21 at 2.31.54 AMTonight I tweeted, “Will things ever be normal again?” A friend responded, “Define normal.”

I told him it had to do with my father being in the hospital (Yeah, he’s back after his blood pressure dipped and he developed a fever) and that, for the past month, my only two destinations have been work and nursing home and/or hospital.

But he’s right making me consider a definition. What is a normal life, anyway?

I can’t say my life was super ideal pre-my dad’s pretty debilitating fall and hip trauma, but I wasn’t mired in constant worry about them unless I’m completely immersed in my work. Today, even when I’m at work, they’re all I think about.

My father has had Parkinson’s for a little more than 18 years, and my mother is his primary caretaker, despite working part-time. I always went to their house to visit, but in 2014, as his Parkinson’s progressed a bit deeper, I went home nearly weekend to give her some relief.

But this is different. Going from work to hospital till nearly midnight, and back home (with mom; she’s asked me to stay with her until my father comes home), and back to work again, is EXHAUSTING. On top of that, not staying at my own apartment means a half hour ride to my place to pick up clothes once or twice a week. Then there is the mental party, constant worrying, even though he’s in a facility crawling with nurses. It’s tough.

So, no I can’t define normal. But I do know it’s not this.

Factor in my father’s inability to speak clearly (something that started about eight years ago, and has gotten worse since) and mild dementia, and I’m left mentally and physically drained.

I’ve written this in the past: None of this is about me. It’s incredibly tough on the entire family. But this is my dad. I feel like I have to be there for as many hours as possible every day. I’m also there to offer comfort to my mom, who I can tell, is scared about this all.

As abnormal as this may seem, I’m glad I’m here with her, and in frequent touch with my brothers. If I could go back time, I’d prevent my father from falling, but this closeness that we’re feeling as a result of this sad trauma is priceless.

Still, I wonder: will I ever have fun again? Will I ever just aimlessly walk around after work and dip into a store, or into a place for a glass of wine? It doesn’t seem that way at all.