Caregiving Dilemma

Today is March 23, and we have been living comfortably and slowly furnishing the apartment.  Mom and Dad are healthy considering the circumstances. Dad’s heel sore (ulcer) is taking some time to heal.  We went to the wound center last week as the alerts and closures started for the coronavirus.  Dad was very impatient as we waited and the nurse asked all the necessary questions required before the procedure was started.  Dad had to wear a mask because he has an uncontrollable cough due to a thyroid problem.  I wish I knew what that is called.  He takes medication for it.  After the initial assessment it was determined that Dad should have an ultrasound to make sure his circulation was good and the doctor could proceed to clean out the ulcer on his heel.

Keeping Dad calm is the biggest challenge I have faced since we’ve been in the apartment.  He has had meltdowns and anxiety attacks since he came home after breaking his hip, but not this bad.  It is almost embarrassing being around him in public.   Did I also mention I cannot be out of his sight?  He has to go everywhere with me.  After one of his anxiety attacks in the car, we decided to go to the clinic to see if there was anything he could take to calm him down and help him sleep.  A prescription was filled and it has been working for the last two weeks.  He is sleeping through the night, almost:  9:30 – 2:00 wakes up and takes 2 tylenol and then wakes up at 5:30 shaves and goes back to sleep. Mom is sleeping soundly through all this and in order for me to get the much needed sleep, I leave his medication in small medicinal cups on his bedside table.  They are up around 7:00 am.  At 92, Dad is very lucid and can remember important details and events but if he is tired and gets anxious he gets very confused.

To ease Dad’s anxiety we had been going out to eat every day around noon.  Can’t do much in the morning because the nurse comes on Monday and Wednesday and the nurse aide comes Tuesday and Thursday to bathe him.  By late morning, he needs to get going.  But we are staying in now.  The order came on Friday, no more inside dining.  We went to lunch to a local Mexican restaurant and they were limiting their guests to 10.  Safe enough.  We were seated and the restaurant had 7 people in it including us.  That was Friday, March 20th.

It’s only been three days since the order, and we are doing okay, but now Dad wants to go with me to the store to get supplies.  He has to stay in the car while I go to several stores looking for cereal, TP, milk their favorite cinnamon raisin bread, and other items.   We ran out of Tylenol, but all I found was extra strength which had the same strength (mg) as two regular tylenol.  That night Dad said he needed the regular Tylenol because the other one kept him awake.  Really?  I had to take a picture of the shelf on the store to show him there wasn’t any left.  I am trying so hard to keep my cool, but sometimes I just have to raise my voice.  Now I am losing it.  I used to be so calm but to have this nervous person around me all the time gives me little time to wind down and relax.

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After going with me to the store Sunday morning and riding around and staying in the car, for two hours, Dad realized he should have stayed home.  Today is Monday and we had a scheduled appointment for the ultrasound to check the circulation in his legs.  I had 11 pages to fill out before the doctor came in to see Dad.  Yes, he was anxious and finally when I got to the 9th page he asked me to open the door.  Rather than waiting for me to comply with his request he inched himself to the door and opened it.  All the while whining about the length of time he had to wait.  We didn’t leave the office until well after lunch time and Dad had to get some lab work done before we got home and Walgreens was the only place near with Labcorp.  I decided to go through a drive through to get him something to eat and he felt a lot better.  I even allowed him to walk into Walgreens with his walker (prior to this I used the transport chair).  He enjoyed walking to the back of the store where we checked in for the lab on the kiosk.  I thought he was following me and when I turned around and didn’t see him I panicked.  I called out “Dad” several times and here he came from around the pharmacy aisle.  I felt like I lost my child in the department store.

We finally got home.  Mom and her caregiver, Paty, were sitting on the couch watching the cooking channel.  Mom’s favorite we have discovered since I told her that her friend in the hospital loves to watch it.  Everytime I am in the kitchen, she asks if she can help.  I let her do as much as she can while using her walker.  I love my Mom, and if I can get Dad on an even keel and walking without an ulcer again I would be a very happy caregiver.

Then, when Mom was ready for bed and I was giving her Meds and tucking her in she said, “What a day!  But it turned out to be ok.”  I said, “But you weren’t with him all day!”  Mom let out the heartiest laugh understanding what my day was like.  I love my Mom!

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About desertturle

Anita Henson aka Winnie. A retired teacher, and caregiver for my loving parents, wife, and mother. Married to Greg "Tex" Henson.
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