Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Day in My Life

Would you like some yogurt or some Jello?
What's yellow?
I didn't say yellow, I said Jello.
I guess yellow yogurt would be peach or apricot. Both of those would be good.
I'll take peach.
Sorry dad all we had was pineapple. Would you rather have Jello?
What's yellow?

And so goes the third day of Dad taking a different, i.e. stronger, pain medication.

Yesterday started at 445am (not my best time) with Dad trying to figure out where he was - where everyone was. I know from experience there is no un-confusing a drug confused mind, so I stayed up with him, answering questions that had no answers.

About the time he went back to sleep, it was time to get up, take another pill (Nurse #2 says not to stop giving them. Keep on schedule. They are timed release. It takes 3 days to get into his system. The goofiness will dissipate) and get dressed so we can get to the cardiologist on time.

Somehow we both rally at the same time. I make the necessary wheelchair to car and vice versa transfers and stuff the wheelchair into the back seat. Even in the middle of concern and frustration and an all-consuming drowsiness, my Pollyanna voice that has been on vacation for a long while, tells me that if I have to do this maneuver very often, I am sure to loose the droopy flaps that dangle from my underarm. This is a good thing, though right now I'd trade arms of steel for a short nap with the sounds of the ocean wafting through my head instead of adrenaline charged thoughts of what next.

The doctor says, "Luther, you're looking really good." I look at the doctor, then at my father, then back at the doctor. I realize this man is only interested in one thing - how Dad's heart/pace maker are working. I know it's good news. I'm glad to hear it. Still I was hoping for something more along the lines, of "Luther, you're a goof ball. I think you'd better lay off that medication." It's probably a good thing he didn't say that as I may have embarrassed myself with by kissing his feet or trying to act cool with high fives and fist bumps.

For the first time in a long while, it took longer to get to the doctor's office then it did for the exam. We got what we went for, we passed inspection and we left. Thoughts of In and Out burgers traipsed through my head, making me realize I had not eaten.

Once home, Dad laid back down to sleep, and sleep some more, and then sleep some more. Each time he woke up, his legs were a little weaker and his mind kind of like that yellow J-ello, all squiggly. It was only a matter of time before he fell.

And fall he did. No one saw it but Jack heard it. We found Dad slumped on the bathroom floor wedged between the toilet and the wall. I've seen drunks like that in my day. I think Dad might have gone right back to sleep if we'd left him there. It took both Jack and I to lift him up. Dad's left leg won't hold any weight at all. But his engineer's mind, befuddled or not, gave instructions on how and when to lift. Back in his chair he mosied out to the table to sit and stare. There was a lot of staring going on.

At dinner, which consisted of pizza for Jack and I, and one bite of pepperocini pepper for dad who thought he was eating pizza crust, Jack tried to pull a promise out of Dad that he wouldn't try to stand up on his own, that he'd call for help. It's hard to even describe the conversation that came after that. In fact it wasn't a conversation so much as something along the lines of Aristotle defining the word promise. Several hours later Dad was still sitting at the table. His audience was up and moving but Dad looked to be in a kind of fugue state.

By the time he got back to his bedroom, refusing hands on help and irritated by my style of let-me-do-it-for-you-so-you (I)-can-get-into-bed-before-midnight caregiving. I was reduced to sitting in a chair with my back to the bathroom reading a book, but listening to every sound as if I had Spock ears. Jack was also on watch, but didn't have the same uptight countenance as me. I kept looking at him like I wanted to kill something, and he just smiled back. Smiled! What there was to smile about I'm still not sure.

To make a really long story not seem as long as yesterday actually was, I'll just say he finally plopped into bed, closed his eyes and went to sleep. Hibernating grizzly bear kind of sleep. Until 4 am when he called my name and I popped up out of bed like a Mary in the box.

"Help me up," he said as I walked in to find him crumpled between the bed and the bedside commode. I had to call Jack to help. Jack wasn't smiling now. I doubt I was either, but something about the whole thing pushed Dad's tickle box. He lay in a heap with a big old smile on his face.

Oh please God, I prayed, let him go back to bed. After about an hour, my prayers were answered. We both slept for a few more hours when I had to get up, and start filling him with more medication. He has suggested we call hospice and ask if we can exchange the pain medication for 3 stiff shots of whisky. Personally, I think I'd like a shot of Jose Cuervo with a wedge of lime to suck on.

Wishing for a sense of humor during hard times all wrapped up in yellow - not Jello,
Merry ME


Molly said...

Hang in there.

The writing.

The writing had an undertone of humor the whole way through despite the inevitableness that you are relaying. And isn't life like that? It so reminds me of my own experience with my grandfather.

I liked that writing.

Merry ME said...

Thank Molly, you made my day! I've been trying so hard to write "good" and follow rules and revise til I'm blue in the face. What I think has happened is I've revised all the humor out of my pieces. Hard as these days have been, and even if I feel like crying or screaming or both, I want to be able to see the humor as well as the pathos.

Pamela Jones said...

What's yellow?

I know the humor was dark, but I laughed all the way through! I think this piece could bring chuckles to many caregivers who have been-there-done-that.

Wonder how Jose Cuervo goes with pineapple yogurt?

AkasaWolfSong said...

Ahhh Mary...I remember these days all to well and thank goodness for those moments of belly laughter or I'd have lost my mind and never come back from the brink.

My Dad had an old iron Lion doorstop that he'd sit and talk to and the things he'd tell it would shock the worst cussin' sailor...course I'd scoot the kids out of the room but oh man!

He eventually just sat in his recliner and never left it. Even now when I think of those days I remember them as the time when for once we had truly had a connection...drugs or not.

Wishing for you laughter that comes from the Belly...the kind that resembles Jello wiggles!

Sending you Love and Hugs Mary!

Fire Byrd said...

You must be shattered.
So little sleep and your Dad to cope with.
Must make you feel like sharpening the axe in the woodshed.
Look after you