Last week was rough as I wrote about for Stream of Consciousness Saturday yesterday.
Today is Father’s Day in the United States. I was able to speak briefly with my dad this morning, but he was pretty confused about handling the phone and they were about to change one of his dressings. There aren’t visiting hours until Tuesday evening, so there is no chance to see him. We did drop off a card yesterday and he has gifts and cards already from my sisters.
He can’t really remember that it’s Father’s Day anyway…
Meanwhile, it is also Father’s Day for B here at our house but I’m having trouble focusing enough to plan dinner or much of anything else. It’s taking effort just to make my eyes focus to write this.
I did sleep quite a bit last night after very little sleep the night before.
Somewhere in the midst of all of this, we went out to dinner for our 39th wedding anniversary and opened some cards. Originally, we were going to go away for a couple of days. We still might, once I get through the initial care conference for Paco on Tuesday. I need to write notes and questions to prepare for that. Oh, and also get ready to deal with all the insurance folks.
No, this is, unfortunately, not going to be a post about what’s on the Top 40.
I have been scarce/non-existent here at Top of JC’s Mind for the last week because my 96-year-old dad, known here as Paco, fell in his assisted living unit last Saturday. B and I had visited him in the 1-1:30 visiting slot, but he fell about 3:00. We think he was in the kitchenette but aren’t sure. Although he hit the floor pretty hard, he managed to get himself up and over to the couch where he called for help.
He has had a few falls before, but he hit much harder this time. His left side took the force of the fall. He was sent by ambulance to the local hospital where the extent of his injuries was revealed and he was admitted with a bump and cut on his head – luckily no concussion – bruises and contusion on his left arm and elbow, deep bruising on his left hip – luckily no break – a cracked left rib, and two wing fractures of back vertebrae.
The fall, pain, unfamiliar surroundings, etc. also worsened his cognitive condition. Paco already is suffering from dementia and this fall completely unmoored him. On Wednesday, he was stable enough to transfer to a rehab unit. We are hoping that his cognition will improve as he heals and gets stronger. It’s a much calmer and more stable environment than being in the hospital.
Tomorrow is Father’s Day in the United States and it’s hard because we won’t be able to see Paco as visiting in the rehab facility is extremely limited.
The other hit that our family is trying to absorb is that we just got word that a member of our extended family has been diagnosed with metastatic cancer. She is only thirty. She is strong and fighting but everyone is devastated.
Many of my Facebook friends are also middle-aged and have been posting photos of their dads, with messages about how much they miss them. It has brought home to me how fortunate I am to still have my father here and nearby to celebrate with today.
It’s not that he is young; he’s 89.
It’s not that he hasn’t had health issues, including three different cancer diagnoses and a double bypass.
It’s not that he has a great family history. His father and all three of his siblings who made it into their 70’s have been afflicted with Alzheimer’s.
Yet, my dad has managed to bounce back from illness, stay sharp, and keep active.
At least a good share of that is helped by my mom. They exercise together and she keeps any eye on his diet. They are careful to make all their doctor visits and lab tests and to take their medications properly. They laugh often. They stayed engaged with their community.
Most of all, they have been there for me and my sisters and our families, no matter how scattered we were.
I have been the luckiest daughter, though, because my parents retired near us, twenty-five years ago this month. I can’t imagine how life would have been without them nearby for all but three years of my elder daughter’s and all of my younger daughter’s lives.
My dad does follow my blog by email, so he will see this post.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I hope you enjoy the fresh strawberry pie we have chilling in the fridge for after dinner.