Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

When I got back to the recovery room Dad was sitting up drinking coffee and having a piece of toast with jam. His nurse was there with him and they were talking. It looked like he had just dropped in for a coffee break.

His nurse turned out to be one of those little graces that you learn to appreciate in a sitution like this. She was a former customer of ours when we ran an urban gardening store in West Seattle. She looked after Dad and kept a close watch on him. She also told me that I might want to talk to his doctor about getting some more effective painkiller than the vicodin that he is taking now. She told me that Dad would be in recovery for about 20 more I took this opportunity to go talk to his oncologist. Luckily Dr. Chen wasn't with a patient and came to talk to me right away. He said that he was amazed by the way that my Dad had taken his diagnosis the day before. I told him that I wanted to get ahead of the pain and find something a little more effective. He wrote me out a prescription for Oxycodone and I immediately took it to the clinic's pharmacy right away. Fifteen minutes and $103.65 later, I was on my way back to the Day Surgery recovery room to pick up Dad.

He was ready to go and off we went ...him in a wheelchair, me steering. After we got out of the parking garage, I drove him straight home. We sat down and had a fabulous chicken salad that Pamela had prepared for our lunch. Afterwards, I got Dad settled in him chair and went to do a little grocery shopping for Mom. I lucked out at KMart...found a foam mattress pad and some slippers on sale. The foam pad if for his half of the bed...he hasn't been able to comfortably sleep in his bed because his back has been hurting. The sandels are for his feet...they are so swollen that he has trouble getting on any shoes.

Last night, with the foam on his bed, he managed to sleep half of the night laying down. Today, I added a piece of fleece fabric to his chair to make it more comfortable. He is pretty thin and doesn't have a lot of muscle mass.

He seemed pretty out of it today...the new drug is really hitting him hard. Mom is also having a tough time. She kept asking me what day it is and the date. She is in a lot of pain with the shingles. Her eye is burning from the shingles on her optic nerve.

I managed to get dinner together...another wonderful quiche, cucumber slices, peach pie and ice cream. Dad's appetite remains good.

It is so hard to see him so small and frustrated by his inability to do anything. He has been a capable and positive person all his life. He is having a hard time making the transition to needing help to do most things. I just offer to do things and then let him decide. It always seems to work out well.

I am tired tonight...wondering how much longer I can be the one to provide the help they need. I worry that as Dad's condition worsens, it will be hard to get him and Mom to agree to hospice care.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dad has made it successfully through the biopsy. Initial findings are that the origin of the cancer is most likely the gastrointestinal track. They will freeze the samples and do more analysis before we see the oncologist next Tuesday morning.

Dad is struggling with whether or not to have treatment. He is asking a lot of good questions and getting straightforward answers from all the doctors and nurses he is coming into contact with.

On my way back to the Polyclinic to meet Dad in the recovery room.

More later.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dad has Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. We go into tomorrow for a biopsy of a tumor located at the base of his neck. I had a feeling that the day was going to go downhill at 3:45am when Mom called to tell me that Dad had fallen on the floor and she could not move him. I threw on some clothes and raced across the city arriving in record time. Dad had fallen out of his chair and told me that he had spent the last hour scooting himself across the floor on his back. Mom and I managed to get him on his feet and get him to the bathroom. After that, I got him back to his chair and settled him in again. Rather than drive all the way home and then drive all the way back for his 9:30am appt. with his oncologist, I just stayed there and tried to get a little more sleep on the couch. Dad wanted me to stay...I think he was a little shaken by his fall and wanted to know I was there to help if needed.

I finally got up around 7am and called Mark. I asked him to come to Dad's appt. with me. I figured there would be so much information flying at us, we would have a better chance of getting it all if there were two of us there. Mark was really good with Dad and helped explain what the doctor was saying based on his analysis of the various tests. He recommended that Dad have a biopsy of the tumor on his pancreas. He tried to get Dad scheduled for one, but it was impossible to do in the short window that we have for any kind of treatment. We opted to go with the neck biospy.

When we saw the surgeon he explained that Dad was in a very weakened condition. He said the procedure could in fact be a tipping could make things worse. Dad got through the exam pretty well, but needed all three of us to get him down from the exam table. I put him back in the wheelchair and took him over to the lab for the EKG and blood test the surgeon ordered before the procedure.

By this time it was past noon. I wheeled Dad back to the car, got him in, returned the wheelchair to the clinic and drove us to the northend. He insisted on going in to the bank to cash his check. I stayed close to him and held his hand for most of our time in the bank. He is really unsteady and has a hard time walking. We managed to get the money and then went back to the apartment.

Mom and I had already talked about what was going on over the phone while we were still at the Polyclinic. I could tell when we got back to the apartment that she was really upset but doing her best to help. She prepared lunch while I got Dad out of his clothes and into his pajamas. He has lost so much weight only pants or pajama bottoms with elastic will stay on his hips.

We all sat down and had some lunch. I fed Dad some of the salad that Pamela had made with vegetables from our garden. Amazingly, despite everything he is going through, Dad has a great appetite. He had soup, salad and a small piece of chocolate cake. Afterwards, I had him take his vicodin to keep the pain at bay.

It has been a really surreal day. At one point, Dad looked at me and said "Bonita, don't take this so hard". He is trying to comfort me and he is the one with Stage 4 Cancer!

I spent the rest of the afternoon going to the pharmacy to refill his vicodin prescription, looking for a second hand wheelchair and talking to friends. The hardest part of all this is we have no idea if Dad will be with us three more days or six months. It seems unlikely that he will survive the summer....but we are all just trying to figure out the best way to keep him comfortable.

I feel like I have aged 10 years in one day. A month ago, Dad appeared to be in good health. Today he is a shell of his former self. I don't want him to suffer. Luckily, his faith in God is strong. He keeps saying "Nobody has ever come back complaining".

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I am beginning to feel like this whole situation with Mom and Dad is like falling off a cliff in slow motion. You know you are falling, you know you are going to crash and smash into tiny little bits, but there is nothing you can do to stop the fall.

Dad seems weaker every day. He was in a really short tempered mood yesterday. He is tired of feeling bad and not knowing why. Our appointment with the oncologist is on Tuesday morning at 9:30am. That will be another frontier to cross. I have no idea how bad the news will be or how Dad will react to it. Again, I feel like we are falling off a cliff....the cancer cliff.

Pamela is cooking for them again this morning. I will take everything out to them after church.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

Dad made it through the brain and thoracic MRI Wednesday night. He was done about 6:30pm. I drove to a drive-in and got him a chocolate milkshake. He wouldn't eat dinner before the procedure, so I felt it was important to get something easy to digest into his stomach right away. He was pretty wiped out from the tests and just wanted me to get him home and into his pajamas. He decided to eat a bowl of cereal and take his vicodin. I got him comfortable in his chair and then took off.

I took Mom to her doctor yesterday. It was a check up for her shingles. She won't take the drug for nerve pain anymore, but she agreed to tell me if she was having a lot of pain. At that point, I will call her doctor and get her something to take. They also took blood and urine to check her diabetes. Her blood pressure and pulse were both good and her heart and lungs sounded fine. They did find that she has a UTI and prescribed some antibiotics. I took her home and got her settled and then had to race home to transmit my hours for work.

This morning I went back out to the pharmacy to pick up all of Mom's medications. I didn't have time to wait last night. On my way I stopped at Lowe's and bought them a safety rail that attaches to the side of the tub. I was a little nervous about Dad and Mom bathing and losing their balance. They have both fallen at least once apiece in the last 6 months. I don't want them to have to deal with broken hips. After I got it installed, I gave Dad a quick shave and talked to him for a few minutes. He is so tired....but his appetite continues to be good. Pamela is going to cook some more meals for me to take to them this weekend.

I am still in shock from what the oncologist said last week about Dad's pancreas. If he does have pancreatic cancer it is probably fairly well advanced. I am trying to stay in the moment..but it is tough. Sometimes I find myself just breaking down and crying. We will know more next Tuesday morning.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Today was Mom's turn to go to the doctor. The assistant checked the pressure in her right eye, had her read from the eye chart and asked her a lot of questions. Mom feels that overall her eye is better. She keeps it closed a lot because she is sensitive to light. The doctor checked out the eye and seemed to think that is was looking pretty good given her age and the shingles diagnosis. She can discontinue using the ointment at night and cut back the steroid eye drops from 4 times a day to two times a day, morning and night.

On the way home I stopped at the grocery store for some items they needed. I decided to pick up some fresh vegetables and make them dinner ahead while I was there this morning. Once we got home, we found that Dad was able to come to the door to let us in. I had brought Krispy Kreme donuts over earlier in the morning, so I made them a snack of donuts and coffee. They both seemed to enjoy the donuts. Afterwards, they went into the living room to take naps while I cooked up lunch and dinner. I made spaghetti, broccoli and dinner rolls for lunch. Dinner is stuffed green peppers. They may save these for lunch tomorrow as the spaghetti lunch was kind of filling for both of them. After lunch I cleaned up the kitchen, changed the bandage on Dad's foot, and gave Mom her eyedrops.

Dad and I talked for awhile before I left. He hates not knowing what is going on with his body. He said he wasn't in any pain today and hadn't taken his afternoon vicodin. He is dreading the 75 minute MRI tomorrow evening. His faith in God is as strong as ever. I finalized all the information for the test tomorrow...where we are going, how long we will be there, what time we will leave the apartment ....and what time we should return.

I decided that I would come home for the afternoon today rather than go to work. The dogs all got a chance to lay around outside on the back lawn and I got a chance to get the bills paid. I am planning a lowkey evening.

I just got a callback from my Dad's oncologist. The CT Scan showed a lot of stuff that doesn't look good. The doctor is most concerned about what looks to be a tumor on Dad's pancreas. We discuss this and ways I could get Dad prepared for this news. I tried to remain calm, but I was starting to get really upset. I focused on what the doctor was saying. The first step will probably be to biospy the tumor. They can't treat the tumor until they know what kind of tumor they are dealing with. I asked if Dad would need to go into the hospital for this procedure. The doctor said it could be done on an outpatient basis, but that we will need to figure out those details a little later. I talked with a good friend about all of this...she was great...supportive but realistic. I got some of the emotion out before I called and talked to Dad. He took the information really well. He said that if he needed a biopsy he would have one. I asked him if he wanted me to keep giving him information about what is going on..and he said that was fine. I told him that he needed to do some thinking about the biopsy and that we would talk more tomorrow.

I am feeling pretty overcome with all of this information and what could lie ahead. I think I will take Dad's advice. He is just taking it one day at a I will try and do the same.

Tomorrow I work from the early morning until I leave for Mom and Dad's around 3pm.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday, May 21, 2007

Up early this morning to take Dad to the Polyclinic for his CT Scan. He has a really hard time riding in the car. His back hurts so much that he suffers the entire time we are on the road. I try to avoid potholes and anything that will make the car bounce too much. We got there in plenty of time, parked the car, and made it to the Diagnostic Imaging Center....where of course, we had to fill out yet more paperwork.

Luckily, other patients had not shown up, so they took us in right at 9:00am. Dad needed help laying down on the table while they put the IV link in his arm. He didn't have to undress...which was great. After a few minutes, the technician came and got us and led us into the room with the CT equipment. It is this huge machine with a hole in the middle...with a table that goes in and out of the area with the hole. On the ceiling were illuminated tiles with sky and autumn leaves. I pointed this out to Dad...he thought it was pretty neat. We got Dad on the table and the technician helped me move Dad's pants and underwear down a bit for the test.

The technician explained what he was doing to Dad and then asked me to join him behind the glass wall with all the computers. He did a trial run to make sure that Dad understood when to hold his breath and when to let it out. Once he got started, it was pretty fast. He did a full study that included the pelvic region. He included the pelvic region after consulting with Dad's oncologist. Listening to that conversation was my first inkling that they were looking for recurrent prostate cancer. Once the technician went out to talk to Dad again, I peaked at his paperwork from the oncologist. Sure enough, recurrent prostate cancer is what they are searching for at this point. From my own research I have learned that prostate cancer can metastasize to the bones and cause spinal cord compression as well as lower extremity edema. Dad's feet, legs and hands are all swollen. All this would explain why Dad's first symptoms all had to do with back pain and why his extremities are swollen.

After we left the exam room, I took Dad to the bathroom. We have this procedure worked out very well at this point. Once he was done, I got his pants secured and off we went to get the car. He moaned on the way home...the pain is really wearing him down. He also seemed weaker and skinnier today.

Once I got us back to their apartment, I fixed lunch for everyone. Asparagus quiche, rhubarb crumble and real vanilla ice cream. Dad's appetite is still really good. After lunch I got him settled in his chair with the ice bag. I also cleaned out an infected cut on his foot, put Neosporin on it and a bandaid.

I have noticed that Mom and Dad are more openly affectionate with each other...kissing, Mom tending to Dad as best she can...etc.

I ended my visit by administering Mom's eyedrops for the second time today. Tomorrow I pick her up at 8:00am to go to her eye specialist. Her eye is still closed most of the time due to the shingles.

At noon, I headed out to my job merchandising greeting cards at the Southcenter Target. It is kind of nice to take my mind off of all that is going on with Mom and Dad.

It is 9:15pm..I have done some research on metastatic cancer...done this blog entry...time to go take it easy for a little while before I go to bed.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Pamela and I both spent time cooking Saturday and Sunday so I would have delicious food to take out to Dad and Mom. I cooked a rhubarb crumble, Pamela did mashed potatoes, meatloaf and an asparagus quiche.

After picking up the groceries that they needed, I arrived at their apartment a little after 1pm today. I unpacked the groceries, put the potatoes and meatloaf in the oven to warm, boiled water for the corn on the cob and put two loads of clothes in to wash. We had a good dinner...again, Dad needed me to spoon food into his mouth. I bought him some straws so that drinking from a glass will be easier. Most of the time he can manage to pick up the glass..and the straw definitely made it easier for him to manage on his own. His appetite is good...he ate everything on his plate and then had a good serving of rhubarb crumble and real vanilla ice cream.

After dinner, I put the clothes in the dryer and then toweled off the dishes as Mom washed them. I sat her down after dinner and gave her the eyedrops she needs. I got Dad settled in his chair with the icebag and propped his feet up on the stool. His lower legs, ankles and feet are really swollen.

Mom and I talked while I was waiting for the clothes to dry. She said that both she and Dad realized that they were nearing the end of their lives. I told her we just need to keep focusing on what we can do to get both of them feeling better. She told me again how glad she was that I was helping them....and again, I told her I am happy to do it.

After I folded the clothes and put everything away, I told them both that I would be back at 7:45am tomorrow to pick Dad up for his CT Scan. I wrote out the instructions for him in large type and left them in plain view. He has to drink on bottle of barium at 6am and then drink 3/4 of the second bottle at 8am. I will bring him a travel mug so he can drink it on the way to the Polyclinic.

I know he is dreading this week of tests. I just need to stay focused on getting him through each appointment with a minimum of discomfort. I also need to get Mom to her eye doctor tomorrow.
I am feeling a little tired....but determined to make this week as easy as possible for Mom and Dad. They both really appreciated the home cooked food that I had brought to them today. I want to keep their spirits strong..and one sure way to do that is with food they like.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Saturday night, May 19, 2007

Dad and I managed to get through his bone scan yesterday. I picked him up early and made it there in plenty of time. On the up side, the clinic had free parking for the 3+ hours we were there from the time of the dye injection to the bone scan. Dad did well when they did the injection. Once that was done, we went to a small waiting area. I got him settled on a sofa with pillows all around for each arm and one to lean his head back on ...he dozed off and on for the next 2 and a half hours while we waited for the scan.

They wanted him to stay hydrated so I fed him half an organic bagel with cream cheese and got him to drink water several times. I sat and read the paper and occasionally checked in on him. Before we went into the test, I took him to the restroom. He and I have done this process once before this week. Since his hands are swollen and the last two fingers on either hand are numb, he can't dress or undress himself. He is not upset about me helping him...which makes it so much easier. I unbutton his pants then move behind him to lower his pants and underwear. This is something that just came to me the first time he needed help. It gives him his dignity and allows me to help in a discreet way. We have gotten very good at this technique. Once this was accomplished, I helped him into the exam room. I helped him step up on the step stool and then carefully helped lower him onto the table. I told him that he couldn't get away now..which made him smile. I told him I would be back to pick him up after the test.

I went to QFC to do some shopping for Mom and also to get something for the lunch I prepared for them on our return. After putting the groceries in the car, I checked back in with the technician. He had several views of Dad's skeleton on the computer screen. He said that he saw a hot spot on Dad's upper spine..but no metastatis. I know not to take this too we still have the CT Scan and the two MRI's to get through next week. I thank him for help and then go help Dad off the table and into his coat. He is tired by this time and wants me to go get the car and pick him up in front of the clinic. As we drive home, he moans off and on...he is in a lot of pain....I think from laying on his back for almost 50 minutes.

I dropped him off at the entrance to their apartment building and go park in Visitor parking. I gathered up the groceries and go to the door...where he lets me in. We slowly made it up to the elevator and into their apartment. Dad wanted to sit in his chair with an icebag on his back while I prepared lunch. Mom wanted me to put some eyedrops in her eye. After getting both of them settled, I made lunch for all of us and got them to the table. Dad needed help I spooned food into his mouth and helped him drink water from a glass. This way of helping him seems so natural....neither one of us are embarassed or have even talked about it....he needs help and I am there to help him.

After lunch, I got him settled in his chair again and moved the icebag back into position on his upper back and neck. I hugged Mom, kissed Dad and told them that I would check in with them in the evening. By this time it is almost 2pm and I have to go to work.

Dad told me that he wasn't looking forward to the other tests. I said that we needed to just take it step by step and that it might be more helpful to be glad that we had finished with one of the tests..."one down, two to go" is the way I phrased it. He seemed to like that way of looking at the situation.

It is my job to keep them both thinking positively...whether by taking them meals, doing their shopping, cooking, doing laundry, dispensing medications..or whatever else comes up. I am happy to help them....I just want to do whatever I can to make this difficult time for them as manageable as I can...for their sake and for mine.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

Dad is beginning to realize that he may have terminal cancer. He started to cry last night as I was leaving their apartment. He said that he wasn't afraid of dying...but I think he is dreading the battery of medical tests that we begin this morning with the bone scan. He said that I was a good person...that we had been through so many things together over the years. Of course, that made me cry....but I did my best to pull it together. I reassured him that I would be with him every step of the way. I also reminded him that we really don't have enough information right now to make any decisions. After all the tests are done next Wednesday, we have to wait until May 29th to see the oncologist again. I told him once we know more, we can start to make some decisions.

He says that I am so good to him....well it is mutual. He has always been my best and strongest advocate. He has always been a positive and reassuring presence in my life. He is the model of what I have become as a person. I am so happy to be able to turn around and give back to him what he has so willingly given to me all my life...

On his suggestion...I am reading Matthew 5-7....the Sermon on the Mount. He says that to understand is best to read these chapters for his own words.

Need to get ready to go pick Dad up. It is going to be a long and exhausting morning for him....they inject the dye at 9am and then we have to wait until noon for the scan.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Yesterday and today have been consumed by visits to two different doctors. Yesterday, it was the neurologist. Dad ended up having an MRI of his neck. This morning I spoke with the neurologist and he told me that he would arrange for Dad to see an oncologist today. His concern from looking at the MRI was that Dad had a tumor of some kind.

Once we saw the oncologist, we learned that he wanted Dad to have several more tests...a full body scan, a CT scan, a brain MRI and a thoracic MRI. We will be starting the test regime this Friday with the body scan, then the CT scan on Monday, followed by the two MRI's on Wednesday night.

Dad will be taking vicadin for pain while all this is happening. We will follow up with the oncologist and get the result of all the tests on May 29th. I asked both Mom and Dad if they are feeling a little overwhelmed. They said that they were feeling overwhelmed. I told them that I would be there every step of the way. I also wrote out all the appointment times, dates and what would be happening at each appointment. I got Dad to take a vicadin before I left and made it clear to Mom that he needs to take one pill every 4 to 6 hours.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day: May 13, 2007

Mother's Day. Talked to Mom this morning before going over the the Alki Homestead to pick up the family style chicken dinner she requested. She fell this morning in the dining room...breaking a chair and falling on her back pretty hard. She seemed pretty upset about it..but it was hard for me to tell if she was upset about hurting herself or upset about breaking the chair or both. She was able to get up and walk away from it and that is a good sign. I told her to take an Ibuprofen immediately.

When Pamela and I got there Dad was in pretty rough shape. He managed to get downstairs to open the door for us...but he hadn't been able to shave for a couple of days. I teased him and told him that he looked a lot like Hemingway...he got a kick out of that.

Pamela heated the food and served up the meal while I took out their garbage and got the laundry going. I ended up changing seats with Pamela so I could feed Dad. He was not able to manage the utensils. He enjoyed his dinner...finishing everything....especially the cupcakes Pamela had brought for the occasion. Mom also enjoyed her dinner and the cards that Dad and I got for her.

I finished the laundry and washed the dishes while Mom dried them and put them away. Also did a little vacuuming. Before I left, I took Dad into the bathroom and gave him a shave. He seems to really be more and more debilitated by the back pain.

I am going out Tuesday to take him to the appt. he has with his doctor. I am going to sit in on this appt. so I can get a better idea of what is going on with him.

Mom continues to have occasional bouts of nerve pain from shingles. She is still taking pills for this nerve pain and eyedrops and eye ointment for her eye. She is still not able to open her right eye. I put eyedrops in her eye twice while I was there today.

Pamela really feels that they need to be in assisted living. Mark has also mentioned this. I will probably have to be the one to bring this up..but I want to wait and see what happens at the appt. on Tuesday. If the current situation is the beginning of them not being able to take care of themselves....we will have to come up with a better and safer option than them living in an apartment.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday: May 11, 2007

A really long day at work...but I started and ended my work day with calls to my parents. I do a morning check in and a dinner time check in.

Dad continues to experience the nerve pain in his back. Mark went over today and then called me later to let me know how it is going. He said that Dad was having trouble feeding himself. I think this has more to do with the macular degeneration in his left eye than anything else. It is hard for him to aim his utensils when he essentially is blind in that eye. When I spoke to Dad he said he felt a little better...but that doesn't mean too much. He moved from the bed to the chair in the middle of the night. He needed help dressing again this morning.

Mom is still experiencing nerve pain from the shingles. She was able to talk to me for a longer time on the phone today. She had been thinking about what kind of dinner she wanted for Mother's Day. She requested a family style chicken dinner for the Alki Homestead. This is a great restaurant that I took them to several years ago. It is a good sign that she is feeling like having a special meal.

Part of what I do everyday is look for clues that let me know how their lives are going. I am getting better at understanding when they are really engaged and when they are not engaged. I know when they need me to move in and help...and when they want to do it themselves. I feel that we are engaged in a delicate dance of interdependence. I want them to be able to live on their own as long as possible. This last few months has been a real challenge for all of us....but we are taking it day by day and doing the best we can.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The last two days have been long and hard days at work. I still have 9 boxes of everyday cards, 5 boxes of Mother's Day cards and the complete reset for Father's Day facing me!

Talked to Mom and Dad twice today. Dad says he is slowly beginning to feel a little better. Mark went over today and fixed their shower curtain rod. He also offered to get Dad some pain relieving medicine at the drug store. I will probably see them first, so I will take some over. The back and body pain reliever I took over isn't strong enough.

Mom seems a little better..she is able to talk on the phone now. She was able to shower and wash her hair this morning by herself.

I am planning on going over on Mother's Day and taking a nice lunch over to them.

I need to keep taking good care of they really are depending on me for many things now.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Tuesday - May 8, 2007

A very long day. Spent the morning at my job trying to keep up. It feels like I am pushing a boulder up a hill...that just keeps rolling down on me. Still...I plug along.

Spent the afternoon helping my folks. Did laundry for them, made lunch, picked up Mom's eyedrops, made their dinner and left it in the refrigerator to be reheated later. Also went to the grocery store to stock them up on some easy to make meals.

Dad is in a lot of pain. He kept complaining that he couldn't do really makes him anxious to just be immobilized with pain. I kept telling him that this is a temporary situation and that he just needs to be patient. I put ice packs on his back and got him to sit down and relax. I had him grip my hands ...I was checking for a he doesn't seem to be able to do much with his left hand. He was able to grasp my I think he must have a pinched nerve.

Mom seemed a bit better. She seemed in a good I am happy. She needs to keep taking the nerve medication to keep the pain from shingles to a minimum. Her eye is affected on the right the point where it is closed all the time now. Her appetite is better and she was able to help Dad get dressed this morning.

They are both in such fragile condition. All I can do is help them get through this bad spot. Hopefully, they will both be feeling better before summer.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Monday, May 7, 2007

Today started with the early ringing of the phone. Dad had made a doctor's appt. for 8:45am. He needed me to take him. I knew I wouldn't have enough time to get across the city in rush hour traffic, pick him up and get to the appt. in time. I called the Dr.'s office and said we would be late....they said they were 10 minutes behind schedule...but if we were later, we would have to reschedule. Dad told me the first time he went to this Dr. he had to wait an hour and a half. I just kept driving and got him there as quickly as I could in a safe manner. I dropped him off and then went to park the car. By the time I got to the office, he was already in an examining room. I sat down to wait ....keeping myself busy by reading a book.

When he came out of the doctor's office he had to schedule an appt. with a neurologist for next week. He has some numbness in his hands, but has not had a stroke. He is to treat his back pain with ice packs.

We stopped on the way home to get Mom's medicine and pick up some lunch. I made lunch while Dad changed into some shorts. Mom and I talked while I got lunch on the table. After lunch I made sure they had everything they needed, picked up the garbage, promised to see them tomorrow afternoon and left.

Headed south to my job merchandising cards at Target. Worked frantically to get the Mother's Day section back in shape appeared to have been hit with a tornado of some force. Did what I could to straighten the rest of the non-holiday card stock, received the 2 boxes of other cards and headed home.

Long day...feeling pretty drained from this morning at the doctor's office. Dad appears so frail and vulnerable. Mom says that she is feeling better from the shingles that she has been battling. I have only seen her out of her robe and nightshirt once in the last I am not really sure how she is doing. I wish they had made the choice to move into assisted living....but both of them were so against that option.

I am going to go to bed early, work for 3 hours in the morning, get my hair cut and then head back out to their apartment. I have to remember to pick up Mom's eyedrops on the way.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Sunday, May 6, 2007

May 6, 2007

Finally committing to starting a blog. I am working with a life coach on what my next steps should be towards a happy and useful career. I have already been a librarian and an internal organizational development consultant. Not wanting to return to school for a third master's degree, I have been working with my coach to identify my strengths, my interests...and dare I say passion in life.

Right now my life is pretty focused on my parents. They have recently returned to the city I was born in to live. We finally have them settled in an apartment they like in a nice area of town. Unfortunately, they both are having health issues...back pain and shingles. I have wound up in the ER with my Mom...have taken her to a series of doctor appointments. Tomorrow I take my Dad to the doctor about his back pain. In the midst of all this I have noticed that I have a gift for working with my parents. I am acting as their advocate, translator of the current culture, the one who calls the doctors, the one who calls several times a day to check on them. Sometimes it is overwhelming...but mostly, I feel good about helping them take care of themselves. I notice that I feel that I am accomplishing something that makes a difference.

I have been talking about this with my life coach and she said that I was compelling, authoritative,and passionate. This is the moment when we began talking about me creating a blog to test the waters with my idea of being a coach for senior citizens and their families. So..there it is...I have put it out in the world. I would love to hear what others think about in terms of working with elderly parents and ways to be of assistance to them.