This blog was formerly dedicated in 2009 to my Dad who died of Alzheimer's in 2013. It's been three years now...and I find myself missing blogging...so I am re-inventing my blog... because, after all, life is about moving through, and going forward...

Friday, January 28, 2011

If God Needs A Good Right Hand Man...

I received a phone call from the charge nurse at the nursing home today.  She gave me the preliminary results to Dad's Doppler:

Arteriosclerosis
Bilateral ischemia in his legs
Obstruction in both posterior tibial arteries
Positive for peripheral artery disease (PAD)
Chronic deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

I am still haunted by that nightmare I had about Dad.  There is a standing order for Dad to wear his compression stockings, but Dad hates to wear them.  Some times I feel our agreement not to fight with Dad if he doesn't want to wear them, in a way, gives the nursing home license to just not make it a priority.  In the process, with Dad's bad circulation in his legs, the results above are the outcome. 

When Dad first came to live at the nursing home, he fought taking his medication.  The staff would call and ask our help, telling us due to patient rights, they could not force him.  I would talk to him and we had a talk with Administration about encouraging the nurses to be more creative in getting Dad to take his meds.  They must do the same thing in getting him to wear the stockings.  Maybe one day let it slide, but the next get creative and make it happen.

Mom visited Dad today and discovered he did not have his wrist alarm attached.  When she mentioned it to a new male nurse, she was told Dad did not have a history of roaming.  She promptly told him about Dad getting out and his fall in front of the nursing home.  He got the charge nurse and she said one would be put on Dad today.  I realize there will be new staff, but it is this type of misunderstandings, where I feel I must be vigilant.  I feel details make the difference with everything, especially with Dad's care...

Mom said Dad is still focused on getting some tennis shoes so he can run.  Mom said he was on one of his rampages, where it was all he would talk about with her.  She kept telling him, "it was doctor's orders until his wound heals."

He also believed people were trying to kidnap him, so he was afraid to sleep in his room.  He  had also mentioned it to me while he was in the hospital.  I imagine he is still readjusting on being back where he feels safe.  I bet he felt like he was kidnapped when he was rushed out last week due to his low blood pressure.  In many ways, Dad is like a child now, and does not understand the whys and hows, only how it feels...

Dad also complained about lunch and how he had choked on a bone.  Mom talked to the girls serving lunch and confirmed Dad had devoured his entire boneless fish fillet lunch.  Mom also discovered when Dad told the charge nurse people were trying to kidnap him, she told him not to worry, she would protect him.
I found out Mom had visited Dad when I spoke with the nurse this afternoon.  Mom also had to re-sign all the re-admit paperwork.  I called Mom to find out if she put me down as the first contact, which she did.  She told me Dad's rescheduled Care Conference would be Tuesday, February 1st.  We agreed to bring it up during the conference.
 
Today was one of those days where I was very emotional.  Mom tried to help me calm down, but I was upset.  She mentioned my youngest brother was over for a visit, so I asked to speak with him.  He took his turn at getting me to stop worrying and fretting about Dad.  "Let go, and let God take over", is one of his favorite phrases for advice.  He told me how blessed we are to have Dad for 90 years and the fact Dad believes in the Lord.
 
I agreed with him.  He also suggested a glass of wine, snuggle in on the couch with my husband, and watch a comedy.  To take the weekend "off".... He did his best....but after we hung up, I put my face in my hands and had a good sob.
 
Bottom line, it was that graphic nightmare and guilt for not staying on top of Dad wearing his compression stockings.  He has so many medical issues, I allowed it to fall through the cracks. What if not wearing the stockings ends up causes Dad to lose a limb? Earlier in the day, I wanted to blame the nursing home...but at this late hour, as I am editing my post, I realize both Mom and my brother were right.  I will still continue to be vigilant, because I feel God made me this way for a reason and a purpose...  If nothing else, to be the kind of Mother I have been and the kind of daughter I will continue to be for my Father...
 
I have to remember, Dad had his bad leg circulation long before he went into the nursing home.  The damage has been done.  I have nothing to do with it.  Dad is part of the solution and part of the problem.  If he refuses his stockings, it is not worth forcing him and him freaking out. 
 
All I can do is my best.  I feel I do, and I do it with great love for my Dad.  I know God holds Dad in the palm of His hand.  As my brother said, "If God needs a good right hand man, he will take Dad when He is ready..." I think it is an excellent thought to hold close to my heart...

11 comments:

JeannetteLS said...

Every once in a while I am overcome with that feeling that I didn't do enough to "save" Jess. To get my sister to "change her mind." IF I had just been a little more insistent here, vigilant there. And we both know the truth. WE cannot save the people we want to stay breathing, here. with us. It stinks. We aren't God. God is. You live, breathe, and act in ways that make your love so very apparent to anyone who even vaguely knows you. MOst importantly, your father knows it and you have already made such a difference in the quality of the life he has, no matter how much there is left. I'm not saying anything new, I Know. And sometimes the words don't even help--we come to the peace, the letting go (even if we take it back) at our own times. I am so sorry ... you need a gentler day today for SURE. I hope you have one... or maybe a few in a row. Breathe--play that song, maybe "Just breathe..." And know how very many lives you've touched and that many of those people pray for you and for your dad, and feel YOU deserve caretaking and peace just now. I love you... I'm one of the people you've touched and you know that.

Mari said...

I think you do a great job of looking out for your Dad, and when the time comes, that God does take that right hand man to be with him, you will have nothing to feel guilty about.
About the stockings - yes, they are helpful for people with bad circulation, but it would not have prevented those issues. It may help his circulation, but those other problems are things that develop over years and it's because of them, not to prevent them that he should wear the stockings. So, I think your plan to encourage but not force is a good one.
Hope you have a good day - you are a great daughter!!!

Thisisme. said...

Donna dear, I can feel your anguish over your dad from here, but you must NOT blame yourself for any of this. Goodness me, you are being a devoted daughter, and could not do any more. Actually, I think that what your brother said is a lovely thing, and that when God needs a good right hand man, He will take dad when He is ready. As you see, we appreciate that they have to have new staff, but they should have been told about the wrist . That roaming thing should have been written down in large letters somewhere, so you are right to keep your eye on things, but please don't wear yourself out too much with all the worry. When I've had problems in the past, my really faithful friends have said, "hand it over to God. You can't do it all yourself" and it has usually worked. Take care.

That corgi :) said...

Donna, I've been reading your posts all along, just not commenting since we are in the nightmare of our move (in the in laws house which is so cluttered). Anyway, one thing that gave me comfort after my mom passed was Psalm 116:15 (actually I just read the whole psalm and it is a great one to read any time in all circumstances). Anyway, Psalm 116:15 says (loosely paraphrased) "precious in God's sight is the death of his faithful servants". My mom loved Jesus and I know that he was right there with her at the end, like he is right there with your dad no matter how much more time he has left this side of eternity.

Don't beat yourself up about you dad's health and the compression stockings.

Trust in God and know that nothing that is going on is catching God by surprise. Psalm 139 says (again loosely paraphased) "all our days ordained to us were written in your book long before we were born". God is in control.

As hard as it will be when your dad passes, and I'm not minimizing it at all because losing a parent is sooooo very hard, God will be right there alongside you during your grief.

And it is good that you know for sure that your dad loves God and has faith and belief in him. Knowing you will spend eternity with him is something to cling to in the days ahead.

God is always faithful and is always good so we will continue to trust in him and his timing and his will.

Your brother gave you excellent words of wisdom. I would try to remember them in the days ahead.

hugs to you; I know it is a very hard time for all..........

betty

Rose said...

i feel for you. i,too had to care for my parents. it's not easy. we make decisions with the best intention, not to hurt. we make that decision with love. we can blame ourselves for things/outcomes, but that's not fair. medical problems can continue no matter what. your father has God with him and one day he will be in heaven as both of my parents. You are the shoulder along with your mother, many children do not take that stand. remember you did out of love the best you can do in the circumstances. take care God Bless rose

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Your brother is very wise. A person cannot do everything or control everything in their own life, let alone in another person's.

JeanMac said...

What a touching post - it's just all too familiar. Holding you in my heart and prayers.

gayle said...

I know exactely how you feel. I have had the If Onlys too! If only I had made the doctors move faster then my dad would still be here.
I know that isn't the case. God wanted him in heaven.

You are doing a wonderful job. Don't ever doubt that for a minute!
Thinking of you!

Pat said...

You are doing the best you can for your father. His health is failing and you know the inevitable is going to happen; hopefully later than sooner. But you can't go blaming yourself for this. You take it easy and relieve your mind of any guilt you might have.

The Words Crafter said...

Wow, I have to commend all of you for your care of your Dad. Yes, you're all lucky to have him, but he's also lucky to have all of you. I hate that you all have to go through this....

When my mom was in her last week at the hospital (the doctors had told us she would not be leaving it), she had begged for a cigarette. Yeah, I know how bad they are (I'm not a smoker), but, looking back, I wish we had gotten her one. At that point, it wouldn't have hurt her. And it was something she found comfort in. Sometimes it's okay to just let them call the shots, especially when, like you said, the damage was already done. Don't beat yourself up. It does him good to have some control.

Katie Gates said...

Hang in there, Donna. These situations are difficult because they involve SO MANY issues. And unlike day-to-day tasks that don't always involve family, it is hard to break them down into workable pieces. Our emotions when dealing with our aging parents come from so many places...