Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mama & Daddy

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.


  1. Hi Lisa,
    I'm so sorry about your Dad. I know the future will be hard. You are in our thoughts and prayers!

  2. I am sorry about your parents, too, Lisa. I didn't know both were so sick. I can empathize to a smaller degree looking after my mama. The decisions we have to make in this role are so HUGE sometimes, and it's so easy to second-guess yourself. At first, I worried about what other people were thinking. I've gotten past most of that now. No matter where I am, I feel guilty that I'm not somewhere else. It's work, Mama, and my own husband and children; there's never an easy choice. There are a lot of us in the same situation and the most frustrating part is that there is no solution to the situation! You and your family will continue to be in our prayers. Rob went to the hospital to see your dad today, but found he had gone home. We are both thinking of you.