Delays, Appointments and Routines
This is a week of delays and doctor appointments. You’re probably thinking, long wait at the doctor’s office? No, it was road construction. We live so far in the boonies we leave early for appointments. Today a trip that should have taken 45 minutes took 1 1/2 hours.
It seems like a small thing. Road construction in the summer, ho-hum. It made it a tough day for Dad. He’s six-foot three, crammed into a compact car with Parkinson’s Disease and neuropathy in his legs. Round trip he spent three hours in the car and with labs, over two hours at the doctor’s office. Poor guy, we even have to limit his coffee on appointment days, and he doesn’t even get “real” coffee.
Dad knew the construction was putting us behind schedule, though were on time. When he gets upset his tremors worsen. It’s probably miserable, shaking and unable to stop. We arrived at the medical complex and all the handicapped spots were full. So, another delay finding a spot roomy enough to get him and his walker out. He was so stiff, I had to pry him out of the car It wasn’t raining, that was a plus, but the walk was long for him and on an incline. He wobbled so badly, I was afraid he’d fall. His balance was iffy before we left the house. He nearly fell over backwards walking out the front door. His caregiver caught him before he could fall. She’s taller than I am. If he took a header with me holding on to him, my only option would be trying to guide his fall, minimizing the damage. It’s a good thing he wears a belt. It works like the transfer belt I keep on my mom.
We had to rush home so the caregiver could leave, even rushing, we were late–rush hour traffic delay. The caregiver stayed with Mom as I can’t leave her alone. Rushing disappointed Dad. He usually gets a latte on the way home–his treat after an appointment. It’s like the kids getting ice cream. There wasn’t time for treats today.
The logistics of taking care of two people who can’t take care of themselves gets complicated. I reminds me of trying to go shopping with three kids under five. The kids are easier to pick up but they don’t stay where you put them. The adults stay where you out them (most of the time) but they can’t move if they need something. If they decide to move, they often end up on the floor with more than a bump on the head that a mommy’s kiss can fix.
Arriving home, Dad collapsed in his chair, ate a sandwich, and conked out. I shoved a chicken in the oven, while waiting for my husband to get home so I could run to the pharmacy to get refill meds for Mom. I would have gotten them yesterday but the pharmacy was out of stock and so it delayed the pick-up. If I need to leave the house after the caregiver is gone and just my husband is home, I have to take Mom to the bathroom just before I leave. The best time to leave is right after the ballgame starts. She’s glued to her chair ’til it’s over. My husband’s a great help but he doesn’t do bathroom duty and I don’t expect him to. My mom would have a fit anyway.
It’s late now, everyone’s fed. Mom and Dad are in bed. We’ve finished the nighttime bed routine. . It takes about 90 minutes on a good night for their night routines–it’s more involved than brushing teeth, drinks of water and bedtime stories and not as fun. Brushing teeth and drinks of water are part of the routine. The rest is long, involved and must be performed in the same order every night. For Mom it’s pills, inhaler, bathroom, night socks, nightgown, night diaper, hand wash, teeth, face wash and lotion. Move to the bedroom where it’s, drink, nose spray, Kleenex in left hand, spare under the pillow, turn, arrange three pillows, eye drops, Vick’s Vapor-rub under her nose (weird, I know but she insists she will “die” without it), and finally Tiger Balm on the back of her neck. Dad’s night routine is easier, just pills at bedtime, make sure his shoes are put away (tripping hazard), ice water and middle-of-the-night pills on his nightstand. He can still get his own pajamas on, get his sleep apnea machine on and get himself to and from the bathroom.
Once I get Dad’s week’s worth of pills in his med-i-set box, my day will be over–as long as no one rings the bell for help and I’m delayed.
No appointments tomorrow, just the usual daily routine, then it’s back to the doctor’s office and it starts over again, hopefully without delays.
What is your caregiving routine like? I’ve found routines help. The elders are more calm if we stick to a routine. Change upsets them. Delays upset them but we get back on track and chug along.
An article on why routines are important for the elderly. .http://dailycaring.com/why-routine-is-important-for-seniors/
Have a good caregiving night!