Monday, March 17, 2008

Giving my mom kudos

I sent my siblings this email today. It might make some of them angry, and that wasn't my point. I wanted them to just maybe stop and think about life and how rapidly things could change for them.
Man, I don’t think we all gave Mom enough credit for her strength and resilience during all the years that Dad was sick and in and out of the hospital. Sure, we called during times of acute illness but did we do enough after the acute phase was over? Living farther away I know I did the least and realized the least. Honestly, I’m not saying that we neglected her but I think we didn’t realize how tough things might have been for her.

Wiping up bodily fluids (and solids) is no fun when they’re your own – and really not any fun when they belong to another adult no matter how much you love that adult. Cleaning walls, clothes, floors, and toilets is fine when you’re dealing with everyday normal stuff. But, add an accident into the mix and you’ve got another story entirely. Dumping urinals and emesis basins are not things we signed up for when we thought about ‘for better or worse” but sometimes that’s what life hands you. Just getting comfortable and then having to get back up to take care of a need is very draining over time.

Only having a small taste of what her life was like all those years sure gives me an increased amount of respect for all that she did.

Even having someone come over and sit with Ron so I can get out would be nice. Amy doesn’t count because she’s there nearly as much as I am so she does share in the “sitting” part of it. She helps him in and out of the chair, makes sure his tubing isn’t caught on stuff, and brings him things. But, she can’t give an IV, can’t change his dressing if he’s sprung a leak, and surely isn’t going to “clean” up after him. She’s not having sleepless nights making sure his foot isn’t touching the bed, help him back in the bed after he’s been to the toilet, or getting him back into a comfortable sleeping position.

I’m sure that Mom did so much more for Dad than I’m doing for Ron – and she was older when she did it. The thing that probably helped her the most was that she wasn’t trying to work a full-time job while she was doing it. If I could do something special for her now, I’d do it but I don’t even know what it would be.

For me, I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. Can't stay home because of PTO (I'm down to 7 days left), can't take excessive FML time because of the no pay involved. I really hope the IVs are done this week and that will help some. We go back to the foot doctor on Wednesday afternoon. The kidney doctor said on Friday to watch him and see if he starts having the fatigue, nausea, and confusion again. That's our clue that his kidneys are failing and to just go to the hospital. So, now I'm trying to judge every action and reaction to see if he's in a normal state.

I’m being a bit melancholy today and a bit emotional so please bear with me. I’m struggling with the financial aspect of a long-term illness and the emotional weight that something like this puts on someone’s shoulders. I’m not asking for anything and I’m definitely not looking for any hand-outs. But, just realizing how hard life sometimes is can make a person re-think choices and decisions that have been made over time.

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