Posted by: ME | August 5, 2013

A Mountain to Move

Wow. All I feel is “wow”.

My dad was living with us for a few months after relinquishing some independence of his apartment and driving. He has diabetes type 2 and has lost some eyesight and had finally decided he couldn’t be on his own any longer. He wanted to stay with my brother closer to his home but he couldn’t accommodate dad at that time. My dad would up in the hospital for a mild stroke, which gave us some unwanted but necessary time to move him out of his apartment and transfer title to his old truck.
My dad recovered well and off he came with us to Florida. After spending 3 months with us, and some good times as well as a little frustration, getting used to another person in our home, a few wild days in Disney, and learning how to regulate his insulin and diet, he went back home via Southwest Airlines for his doctor appointments. We had decided to keep him a Louisiana resident because of the hope of my brother taking him. It was planned that he would fly around for a while staying for a few months each place while he could still do that. It was thought that when he couldn’t do this any more, that he would reside with my brother or my sister, if she then had the space.
His doctor appointments had gone very well as we had seemed to finally have regulated his diet and insulin well, he got new glasses for reading and for distance, and otherwise had been given the
“Go” for future flying back to Florida.

One morning my sister called me telling me dad was very
“off” and after watching him for a bit, decided to bring him to the ER.
long story short, my dad had suffered a stroke, typical of a diabetic, deep in the left side of his brain. He lost ability to talk and swallowing food was severely impaired. He definitely was very “off”. I flew in to help my sibs care for him and make some tough decisions, but the overall feeling from doctors and others were that he would be able to be back on his feet sooner than it felt. Upon my leaving to fly back home to Florida, dad’s disposition deteriorated and after a day of this, and an MRI, it was found that he had another stroke. This ischemic stroke was on the right side, again, deep in his brain. It further impaired his ability to speak and swallow, and this time it took his ability to walk well. He was now pretty much bedridden as far as bathroom issues were concerned.

We were now facing the idea of skilled nursing to nursing home care for my dad. He would no longer be able to come home with me to Florida it seemed.

We all are learning new things…
…to remind dad to swallow his food because he no longer could feel it in his mouth
…to wake him up because he just would be so hard to wake
…what a PEG the could be helpful for
…how long your insurance pays for skilled nursing
…the million questions you need answers to before putting a loved one into skilled nursing or a nursing home
…what qualifying for Medicaid entails
…what would dad want?
…to be excited for the literal moments we see
“dad”. It is very exciting!
… and so many other million things that cloud your mind
….visitors are essential.

Dad appears and reacts to therapy much better for us. He especially ate well for my sister, who had been feeding him.

I had flown back into Louisiana to not only spend time with my sweet dad but to also aid my sister (and brothers) in doing things during the day that they could not do while at work. My sister had since started a new job and couldn’t take off to go interview nursing facilities during their business hours. My brothers both work full time for their family’s also.

With the extremely superb aid of my aunt, uncle and mother, off we scoured the city to find care for my dad. This, in itself, is another long roller coaster of a tale. Not going there today as I am finally recovering from the hell of a week I had at home in New Orleans.

During this past week, we had decided a PEG tube would give my dad his BEST shot at recovery. I can honestly say that he perked up and had his eyes open and was responsive the whole day before I left, which was 2 days after the PEG was inserted. Yesterday, the day after I flew home to Florida , wasn’t a great day, but it seems that is how stroke victims recover. Up and down. Roller coaster ride. Hopefully he will recover more than we think. He doesn’t look great, but on his good days, he looks like an angel.

He expressed to me that he would not be coming back to Florida before he left here to go home to Louisiana for his doctors appointments. This baffled me because we had his return flight booked for 3 weeks from when he left here. I also know that my dad is a deeply spiritual Catholic and that maybe he knew something I didn’t. At first he said,
“well, maybe your brother has his place ready for me”. While I knew that may not be true (for various reasons I will not get into ), I had hope for him.

Surely, my dad had a feeling and I know he will be at peace about wherever he is. My biggest prayer for him is to go home to heaven if the result of rehab isn’t going to make him happy here on this earth.
The other part of my prayer is that his rehab is good enough to come home. The idea of him in a nursing home makes me so sad and that decision on where to have my dad cared for 24/7 was one of the hardest things in my life.bit is even a harder thought being so far from him and not being able to keep my own eyes on him and his caregivers. That will be my sister’s job. She will be my eyes as I have been the worker bee for his care. My brothers each will be her relief when they can check in on him. (My sister lives the closest to him)

My parents had 4 children and for this I am thankful. We all have a part in his care. While it make not be what we want, or the same- we all have different gifts, opportunities, and views.

I’m hoping and praying that we all come together as a family to help care for my dad completely. Until his reunion with Jesus.

In Him,

Lori

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