My daddy’s in the hospital. Having him there and Mama at home only adds to the many complications of caring for elderly parents, both of whom have Alzheimer’s disease.
I’m a member of the sandwich generation, stuck like strawberry jam and peanut butter between caring for Mama and Daddy as well as my own family of two teenagers and a husband.
This week has been especially tough. I haven’t wanted to leave Daddy’s side, but I’ve needed to be at work. Needed to pick up my daughter from school, take Mama to a dermatology appointment, attend a meeting with a local hospice, get ready for a quick family trip that I’ve now had to cancel.
I chose Daddy, of course, and have stayed by his side during the day, relinquishing the night duties to a sitter who has been staying with my parents two nights a week for months now.
There are many of us in this “sandwich,” and in my blog I want to talk about the mind-numbing decisions, the heart aches and even the triumphs that come out of caring for the elderly. There will be other topics here as well because, well, there’s more to me than the daughter who does the grocery shopping and the banking, pays the bills and keeps the prescriptions filled, makes and keeps doctor appointments, holds hands, calms fears, dries tears and cleans up messes.
I’ve had a lot of time to think this week while sitting alone for hours at a time. While Daddy snored, I tried my best to stay alert.
I thought back to other hospital stays. It was a happy time when my children were born. I didn’t mind at all being cooped up in a hospital room because I had the company of my newborn babies.
When my dad was hospitalized at Wake Med following a stent procedure, we were happy to be there because the doctors fixed Daddy’s problem. We left with a resolution.
When we leave the hospital this week, I’ll be taking home an 87-year-old man with Alzheimer’s. Yes, he will be stronger than he was when he was admitted, but he’ll still be sick.
The TV remote will still befuddle him. He’ll still wonder who the “strangers” are in his house. He’ll still need help getting dressed. He’ll spout language I never heard him speak when I was growing up. And he’ll still fret and worry about every little thing, so unlike my daddy.
How nice if I could take him home with a sound mind and sound body.
That won’t happen, but at least I can take him home.