The parents didn’t make it to church last Sunday. They overslept and it was probably for the best. I don’t think Dad could have made it through the service so early in the morning. A good night’s sleep would have been in good order. Instead, he had a fitful night and whined for something to help him sleep. Tylenol is the only thing on his medication list he should be taking. He wanted Mom’s pain medication, but he wasn’t in pain. He wanted something to help him sleep and that seemed to work while he was in the hospital. I didn’t give it to him. I would have to consult his doctor first.
After getting up Sunday morning, they had their Sonic breakfast at home then took their usual break napping for about an hour. Dad was bored and wanted to go out around noon. I told him I had to go to the store to get some bread and we could all go for a drive together. He then thought of what we could do on the way there or the way back. Brainstorming together, we thought of visiting his friend or going to Starbucks. I told him we’d get in the car and since his best decisions occur spur of the moment, we would decide what to do while we were on the way to Walmart.
Dad changes his mind frequently. He was mulling it over and decided to go to Starbucks, call his friend Bobby, and meet him there. When we called, Bobby wasn’t home but his wife finally answered after Dad called all the phone numbers attached to his name on his phone and my phone. He’s changed his phone numbers several times. The latest change occurred while Dad was in the hospital. His wife, Alicia, said she would contact Bobby and ask him to call me. His grandson finally called while we were in the parking lot at Starbucks. Bobby had gone to pick up his grandson who had spent the weekend with his friend and both said they would be at Starbucks shortly.
Our favorite corner was empty. My brother met us there and helped Dad out of the car while I helped Mom. Taking two parents with walkers anywhere is a major operation for one person. Overall, it was a good experience and Dad enjoyed every minute. Bobby arrived shortly and the staff greeted them enthusiastically. The had been wondering why they hadn’t seen them every Wednesday for a month. Dad told his story as he often does to anyone he meets.
The parents immediately went to bed for a nap/break when we arrived at the house. It was an exhausting two hours for them both. After napping for an hour or more it was time for dinner and their favorite shows on TV. They went to sleep very early that night.
Dad has developed an overnight schedule that is taking a toll on my brother and me. We are alert all day and sleepless nights have an affect our ability to take care our parents effectively during the day. My Dad gets up at two every night. He has an internal clock that automatically sets an alarm at 2:00 and 5:30 in the morning. We give him a Tylenol after we hear him crying and whining for a pain pill to no avail. He watches a little TV silently and falls back to sleep. In the meantime, Mom, my brother, and I have been awakened and it’s difficult to go back to sleep. My brother stays up at night listening for the parents and gets up when needed allowing me to sleep through the night. We have developed this schedule for a week and it is helping me get through the day. I have a morning caregiver for Mom now so I can get some downtime during the day. She started Monday and so far, this has worked out perfectly. Today is only Wednesday but I’m feeling better already and less stressed.
On Monday, Dad was bored again and we went out to eat at Chick-fil-A. We left after the afternoon caregiver arrived so we could all go together. She took Mom into the restaurant and I followed Dad in his walker. It was a crowded lunch hour but we found a table at the back which the manager was cleaning up for us. Paty is our afternoon caregiver and she is most helpful. She and Mom get along and it allows me to pay full attention to Dad’s needs. It also gives my brother much needed time to rest during the day.
We went out again on Tuesday for lunch at a local Mexican restaurant. Dad was hungry for tacos. Our outing was once again enjoyable and Paty was most helpful. A friend of Dad’s was walking out of the restaurant and greeted Dad. It was his good to see him react so cheerfully to his golf buddy. Dad is eating better and will gain weight eating a good lunch instead of eating popcorn and watching a movie on television.
He has an appointment with the physical therapist today at noon. This may affect our outing today and he may be satisfied staying at home. We just need to establish a routine where Dad doesn’t wake us up in the middle of the night. If I placed his Tylenol on his bedside table it may help. It’s worth a try tonight. But I also have a call into the doctor to find out what may help him sleep through the night. I have been waiting since Friday for an answer.