Archive for the caring for elderly parents Category

WOW! This past January was a year since my mom passed away and in two weeks, it will be a year since my dad passed away.  I still feel the tears when I think of them and have gone to the cemetary several times to speak to them.  But most of all, I went with my daughter several months ago to tell them that Sharon (my daughter) is engaged and that we will miss them terribly when the wedding comes this June.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD…………….

I’ve been to several shiva calls over the past year and yes, I’ve come to some sort of agreement or terms with the fact that I will die, eventually.  I consider myself extremely fortunate to have a roof over my head, a husband I love, children who have graduated college and that we are all working.  I feel lucky to be cutting it. 

Not to say that things don’t get rough sometimes.  But we have to put things in perspective.  Okay, so I can’t vacation whenever and wherever I want to or I can’t give my daughter the type of wedding she might be dreaming of.  However, we all have our health, our lives or ours.

My biggest problem these days are dealing with my hearing loss and my mental state, which is not always where I want it to be.  But everyone has baggage and I wouldn’t want someone else’s.  I miss my parents terribly.  I miss my father complaining, I miss my mothers silence.  I miss their presence.  I hope that when my time comes, I will have left positive things for my family to think of when thinking about me.  We only have one life or maybe two, I don’t know, but I don’t want to waste my life on jealousy, hatred or anger.

So much has happened since I last posted.  My mother, age 89 passed away on January 29th, 2009.  I don’t care what anyone says, she died a painful death. She had a stroke but the good thing was, each decision that needed to be made, was made for us by the natural causes of heading toward death.

First she had the stroke which left her with no speech and the inability to swallow. The Doctors wanted to do a feeding tube but then her white cell count showed an infection.  She developed pneumonia. After the pneumonia, her lung collapsed.  The Doctors wanted to inflate her lung but then the cumidin which they were beginning to take her off of, caused bleeding from her lungs and blood pouring out of her mouth.  I spent several hours sponging the blood out of her mouth so that she wouldn’t choke on her own blood.

When the bleeding stopped, her kidneys began to fail.  At this point her living will clearly stated to allow her to die comfortably, so we had her on morphine every six hours.  The last three days of her life she had 106 fever, she was unconscious, she was in respiratory distress and I told her throughout the nite that it was okay to leave us, that we would take care of dad and that her mother was waiting for her. Though she was being given antibiotics and a cold thermal blanket to try to get her fever down, she continued to deteriorate.

On the last day of her life, all the grandchildren (except for one who was out of the country and except for my father who was at home sick) were in her room to say goodbye to her.  I had been sleeping at the hospital because I did not want her to be alone.  On January 28th at 11:30 p.m. I could see her breathing was deteriorating.  The nurses came in to turn her because of her bed sores and I asked that they leave my mother on her back at a 45 degree angle and requested they administer the morphine.  I found out during my sleeping over at the hospital, that the nurses only gave the morphine if requested and I certainly requested it when I was around.

At 11:45, my mother was given the morphine. I lowered the sidebars and layed down next to her, placing my hand over her heart to feel the beats.  I am hearing impaired and knew I could not hear the breathing and just wanted to hold her and lay my head on her shoulder.  I knew she was leaving and I wanted to be with her.  At 12:20, January 29th, my mothers heart stopped beating, her breathing seized and I waited and I cried.  I called the nurse in who checked her vitals.  My mother was gone.  She lay still, no pain, no awareness.  I couldn’t help but wonder where she was at that very moment in time.

After the burial, the shiva, the condolences, the surreal feeling of not knowing who, what, where and how, I cried.  Six weeks later, my father passed away very peacefully in the hospital.  Prior to his passing he spoke to my mother and reached out for her hand to take him.  On March 16th, she took his hand and they were joined together. My father celebrated his 90th birthday exactly a week before he died.  He was happy and so his death was a shock.

I feel consumed with mixed feelings of relief vs. lost.  I find myself crying in the middle of the day. I find myself crying when I go through the mail and find condolence cards.  I find myself reaching for the phone to call them, realizing, they are not there.  I’ve learned a great deal about death and dying over the past two months and I worry about my children and how I my life will end.  And then, there is life, the living. I want to live so badly and do everything my parents never did and couldn’t do.  I want to live.

Being back at work is not causing me any stress, its watching my 90 year old parents growing old and deteriorating that is difficult to watch.  My father has been totally out of it over the past few days.  He has no idea of the day, the time and he doesn’t believe I am who I say I am…..his daughter.    My mother, blind and very quiet, speaks up when my father becomes verbally abusive.  Sometimes, I just want to laugh that she can put it all together and tell him what’s reality.

 Its so hard to watch them die a little bit each day.  We’ve tried to give them everything they had requested for when they get older but the words sting.  Medications are not always the answer but it makes him zombie like and he still can’t get out of it.  I don’t want to grow old like that.  The worst part of it all, is the fighting between my brother and I.  We can’t seem to be on the same page.  I want a divorce from my siblings.  I want my life back after my parents are gone and I want very little from my brothers at this point.  It feels like a lonely battle uphill but thank god for my girlfriends who keep me in reality with a bottle of wine and food from gino’s.