Well, THAT week is over… now a bit of updatage.
My father is scheduled for a biopsy tomorrow, which will show us the two forks in the road we’ll need to choose from. Dr K and I drove up last week and spent a couple days with my parents, going to Dr appointments, taking notes, cooking, and reassuring the parents that they are not alone in this latest life trek they are experiencing.
Dealing with ailing parents is one thing; dealing with ailing parents who are stubborn, self-sufficient, and wary of change is quite another. I found that, after giving them the Dr’s instructions and other medical information, it’s best to have them repeat back to me at least three times what I had just told them. I also wrote out all the pre-biopsy requirements needed before Dad goes in for his procedure. This is how the conversation went:
Dr. L (to Dad): When you get up Tuesday morning, you will only eat clear liquids all day long; such as broth, tea, coffee, jello, water, etc…
Dad: So, I can drink milk?
Mom: You don’t even drink milk!
Dr L (to both parents): No, milk is not a clear liquid. You cannot drink milk the day before the procedure.
Mom: So he can’t have milk on his cereal?
Dad: I don’t eat cereal!
Dr. L: NO MILK.
Dad: How about beer?
Dr. L: (pause to think)…As long as it’s clear, I suppose it would be ok. We’ll schedule your biopsy for Wednesday the 18th.
Dad: Ok, so we’ll do this tomorrow then?
Me: No, Dad, that’s NEXT WEEK.
Mom: So what kind of operation will he have tomorrow?
And this was the simplest part of the Dr. visit.
Since I had to be back at work by Wednesday, I spent most of Tuesday morning going over the Dr’s instructions, filling prescriptions, calling and receiving calls from family and other folk, and trying to comfort my mother, who cried every other moment and soooo needed someone to take this burden from her. I called the local priest, who promised to visit them that afternoon. His secretary, beautiful Charla, lives across the street from the folks, assured me that she will keep an eye out on them…which she has done, numerous times before. THANK YOU, CHARLA!
Before we left, I made a nice soup base with beef for them, well seasoned but without vegetables or other additions. I cut up cubes of beef roast, using the bread board my brother’s made in the early ’60’s with “Mother” elegantly carved in the middle of the board, using a wood burning pen. The pot I used for the soup was the same Club Aluminum pot my mother used to make countless soups, stews, and goulash while we were growing up. I stirred the broth with the same stainless steel utensils my mother used back in the early ’60’s. I not only wanted to make a nutritious meal for both Mom and Dad, but I truly believed using the same pot and utensils would make it a very magically healing soup. The first time I stirred the pot, there were more than a few tears seasoning the pot….
My sister M took the wheel, as it were, on Wednesday, the day after we headed home. She took both parents to Dr appointments, cleaned house, cooked, and took many a phone call from me, keeping all the information updated to pass on to the rest of the siblings. She is exhausted! THANK YOU, M , FOR EVERYTHING YOU’VE DONE THIS PAST WEEK!
Now my brother V is there from M’issippi, taking over for M for what I think will be a tag team effort from now till then. The parents seem calmer, relieved, and ready to face whatever comes of this biopsy, thanks to my conscientious and loving siblings who took over from me and will see this thing through.
Enough of this….I will update on everything else that happened during Hell Week.
Thank you, God, for giving me the opportunity to visit and take care of my parents, thank you for loving siblings ready to drop everything and drive across the country to watch over them. Thank you for Elin, head of nursing at the hospital who is keeping us all informed and updated on Dad’s condition, and for everyone else who has lent a helping hand so far.
But especially, Thank You God for giving me the parents I have. I have learned more about them and learned to love them more, during this time.