Lost in Caregiver Twilight Zone

We learned he had months to live during this hospital stay. One very important piece of information the doctor did not share is people his age die much quicker. My gramps died February 2010. We knew the end was near yet your never ready. For me times were challenging and emotions raw. You look at your loved one knowing they are dying yet you don’t want them to know you see death when you look at them. My gramps had Prostrate Cancer, Bladder Cancer and Chronic Kidney Failure. His breathing labored from not getting enough oxygen in the blood. Partially brought on by not using his oxygen. Kidney Failure caused severe anemia and he took shots once a month to help with energy.  I would sleep in the floor at the hospital or a chair if lucky.   XO  Warrior

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December 2009

I’ve been caring for my 92-year-old grandfather for five weeks following three surgeries within seven days. I’m so tired it’s numbing. My grandfather is a man of habits driven by the time of day, maybe from his military background. One morning he was upset when the hospital had not brought his coffee and could not see he was the problem. We’re in a hospital not the Hilton. At home it was far worse. It does not matter that I have changed the sheets again this morning, changed his soiled underpants more than once and got him dressed for the day. If the coffee is not ready when he expects or I don’t have the newspaper yet, I hear about it. My grandparents raised me and I love my grandfather dearly but it’s hard to bite my tongue. I want to ask doesn’t he realize or care that I’ve been moving since 5:00 a.m. to take care of him.

At 92 he lives at home alone, still drives (very limited), goes to the local Senior Center several times a week to play dominos. He amazes me with each year. He is the healthiest dying person I know and in his mind he is much younger and more capable. This makes it impossible for him to understand recovery will take several more weeks at least. I catch him doing things he shouldn’t and I get the standard “I can do it”. He also acts like a child when he doesn’t want to do something, most of the time it’s taking his medicine or getting up to move around.

I push him gently but firmly to get up and move around. Laying in bed or sleeping in the chair all day will not improve his strength. He does not like being told what to do. You learn what you’re made of in stressful times. Our mind and bodies can withstand so much to help someone we love. All I know is tomorrow is a new day.

I grew up in this house and it feels strange to stay in my old bedroom at 46. The house built-in 1950, is in the hood, has no dishwasher, internet or privacy. I am going crazy without my internet escape. I’m in the twilight zone, washing dishes by hand three times a day and the room is the same as it was when I left home in 1981. Tomorrow is a new day.

 

22 Comments on “Lost in Caregiver Twilight Zone

  1. Thank you for this post, as I am going through similar struggles with my parents right now. The links you sent me were admin links, so I searched your site and found this post. I’m sure I can find others now that I found this one. God bless you.

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  2. I love reading these. Incredible that your gramps was so feisty at 92! In a way, I am very glad to be able to “nest” with my parents starting now-in their 70’s. I honestly don’t think it would be as gracious a change as they get older. God knows the plan…this is not what I imagined my “happily ever after” to look like…but it is a happy, calm, and peaceful place full of unconditional love💜💙 most of the time…😉

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    • Sounds like the perfect life when you compare the options. He was a fireball until he went into a coma. I have never met anyone who loved life so much and lived in the moment. It’s not real sexy at times living with them but it will make the transition much easier. The one thing I failed to do before they died was find out more about there personal life. What they like to do. I have so many questions for both but my granny was a true survivor. Her father died in 1930 when she was nine, they went from having a good life to broke. Granny had five older brothers but in 1930 they were pretty young. One of her oldest brothers joined the circus so he could send money back. The rest of the bunch were low level mafia. It’s very interesting to me but she didn’t like talking about that. I was a mobster in another life. I watch all the shows. It’s funny Bonnie and Clyde lived in the same area, she didn’t care for Bonnie but Clyde’s mother had a local store and she knew Clyde’s mother real well. If Bonnie and my grandmother got into a fist fight my granny probably kicked her ass. I always laugh when thinking about the stories.

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      • That is great, it will help keep her memory sharp. If she not computer savy, learning who to do a couple of functions would expand her mind. I’ve heard learning new things at any age but older really helps keep them sharp. You are blessed to get the chance to enjoy the stories, making new memories and having documention. Your daughter could participate as well on the appropriate stories. Your daughter is what 8-9? I’ll check it out. This has so many possibilities to enrich all of your lifes. Have a great weekend. Got your me time planned? 🙂

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      • Mom does Facebook and some online games. Little AoA is 5…I am pretty sure she will be a writer…I tried to talk my adult daughter (27) into it…I got an eyeroll😉 This weekend I am doing a 5k in Nashville😳 the 27 year old signed us up…she runs-I don’t. If I finish it without need of a wheelchair or narcotic pain relievers afterward, I will call it a complete success. Looking for a humorous blog post from the experience!

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      • Wow!!!!You are taking the new life serious! Have you trained at all? If not prepare to get your but kicked. I don’t know who’s daughter I was thinking of. Does your adult daughter live with you? It sounds like you’re close since she signed both of you up. You might want to take items to help with blisters. I looked at the blog, it’s great. I can’t wait to hear about the run, 🙂

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      • No training-I will be walking it! 😉Big AoA doesn’t live with me…she has an 8 yr old and although I asked if she wanted to be roommates after my escape, the idea of living in a home with three small children did not appeal to her…We are close now-she was not much fun to raise from about 12 to 19. The abuse being endured from her stepfather was hell for all.

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  3. That must have been really hard to experience. My grandmother isn’t dead, just really old. I know how hard it is to keep up with her demands. And she IS very demanding. In a way, I’m glad you’re past it.

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