Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One Year.

A lot has happened in the last year. It was one year ago that I got a call from Husband that my Dad was headed to the ER because he had forgotten his PIN number at Safeway. (See here is you want to relive the ordeal in detail.)

The result was a clot on his brain and we had to wait, watch him deteriorate and then hope after surgery he would come back to us.

It was a scary time for all of us.  I remember talking to Dad just before surgery asking him about the finances.  Were there any bills due? In a moment of clarity he knew what I was asking.  He told me where I would find a file with all the the important financial stuff.  He knew he might not come back.

But come back he did.  While the hospital wanted to enroll him in a stroke rehabilitation programme to "help him get back as much as he can", he walked out of the hospital on his own steam and never looked back.  He works out much more than I do and to my annoyance is still better at crossword puzzles than I am.

But what I am thinking about today, is how much time I spent with my Mom that week and how scared she was.   We both were. I spent a few nights staying with her at the house.  She told me the house never felt so big and so empty as the nights she spent there while Dad was in the hospital.  Though she didn't let on at the time, contemplating the idea of losing Dad, or even losing part of him, was hard to manage. It was something we did not dwell on.

Mom was on chemo at the time, but fortunately on her 'off week' between cycles when the really scary stuff happened.  But she was tired due to the three month build up of chemo toxins in her blood and she could not tolerate long days at the hospital.  So my brothers and I took turns sitting with my Dad. That was the only time she would go home and rest as she did not want Dad to be alone at the hospital. 

It was one of the first times in my life that I felt I was truly of service to my Mom. In addition to overseeing my Dad's care, I went with her to her oncologist appointment and made sure she had everything she needed while she received chemo. 

While she had chemo in one wing of the hospital, my Dad, who was well into his post surgery recovery, was giving the nurses a hard time in another.  I shuttled between them.  Making sure my Mom had a warm blanket on her chemo chair. Then running upstairs to take Dad a walk few laps around the nurses' station so he could regain his strength and balance. Back to check on Mom and then upstairs to the neuro ward, hoping to time my arrival with one of the random visits of the neurosurgeon.

I thought at the time: this is what it is like to have aging parents.  I guess I won't ever really know what that is like.  Now, a year later, Dad is with us. And Mom is not. And I don't think this will ever feel normal.

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