Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sandwich with a Pickle on the Side – Part 4

In July we took our son and DIL to Europe. It was a wonderful vacation, a much needed time of re-bonding for all of us. We didn’t have a cell phone that would work in Europe, so anytime I could find decent wifi I would try to Skype with Sis and Mom. Worked about once a week. As wonderful as the trip was, I admit my heart and mind were torn.

Then Sis’s primary physician managed to get her accepted by a specialist in SF. He admitted her to a tertiary care hospital there. She had some preliminary procedures while I was gone, and then on the morning after we returned home, she was scheduled for the bypass surgery. Naturally, our flight had mechanical delays, so our 10 hour flight took 17 hours. We arrived home at 1:30 am. I was at the hospital at 8:30 am for her surgery, which was cancelled as I walked in the door. Seems she had developed a heparin allergy and was throwing clots throughout her body.

Her 32 days in that hospital are a blur. They focused on thinning her blood and getting her off of the massive regimen of pain killers she had been on. About mid-way through the stay, the vascular surgeon decided that the risk was too great and he was unwilling to do the bypass. Plan B? Oh, no one had thought about it. When pressed, we were told hospice or amputation. But then, why did we think the amputation wound would heal? Oh yeah. OK, hospice.

Sis and her hubby weren’t thrilled with that plan, so she changed it to “live.” She also became more open to spiritual input that she had every been and began to put her faith in God. I spent eight to 10 hours per day with her Monday through Friday, then her hubby came for the weekend. She continued to focus on healing and living. By the end of her stay, everyone was amazed at her progress. Wounds were beginning to heal. She was more alert and managing on fewer pain meds. She was on her way.

She went back to the nursing home until her days ran out. Since mid August, she’s been at home with home nursing and PT. He hubby works, manages everything at home, and cares for her. I call her daily as well as Mom. Now where I make my monthly trip, I juggle appointments for both of them. And I'm back in school. Oh, and my hubby was able to get an appointment at the Parkinson’s Institute, which quickly turned into many appointments—medical, PT, speech, neuropsych. Yep, I can juggle three balls! Watch me.

So that’s my excuse. That’s why I haven’t been writing. I apologize. I'd  like to promise I'll do better, but if you’re a GenSandwicher, you know I can’t promise that. I've become so aware of how little of my life is my own. I'm getting quite good at juggling, although I still don’t enjoy it. I'm learning to live in the present moment and not worry. I'm learning to take care of myself whenever, wherever I can. I do the most important things, and let the rest fall where it may. I've learned a lot, and now that I've given you the background, I can write shorter posts that will make more sense. At least to my regular readers. I'd  love to hear of your experiences and what you’ve learned in caregiving. I know I'm not alone and I know I can learn from you as much or more than you can learn from me.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Deedoucette

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