Friday, October 10, 2008

Dad Update

So I haven't posted a Dad update in a while so I thought I would take a break from the stress and anxiety of the financial market, presidential race and local question one to delve into the stress and anxiety of my elder care experience.

I'll back up a Dad's last appointment he was tentatively diagnosed with fistulizing Chrohns disease. For at least a year and a half Dad has been dealing with chronic fistulas. He was operated on a year ago for a pilinidal cyst that also developed. That particular wound took a very long time to heal. Anyway I won't go into the gory details. I will say however, that a year ago I made the suggestion to the doctor(whom I do not care for) that perhaps Dad had Chrohns. He poo pooed the idea and proceeded to keep Dad on various antibiotics for the duration of the past year and had us come in for follow ups every 14 days. Now that I write this down I am amazed at the scope of this past year! That is at least 17 appointments that are booked for two 20 minute sessions. His co pay is only $10 but I can only imagine how much the doctor is charging the insurance company. Sorry I digress...

Back to today...Dad had to go into the hospital for a small bowel series. The appointment was for 9:30. The timing of the appointment meant that I had to go to Dad's last night after work and make sure he took a shower and chose clothes to wear today. We picked him up at 8:30 and then dropped the kids off at school. Dad and I made it to the hospital in plenty of time and even found a good parking spot. We went in and I was armed with plenty of Stand for Children, and school work to keep me busy. Well he was called by a lovely nurse to go back to prep for the test and shortly after the nurse came back to the waiting area. She informed me that the test could take anywhere from 1 hour to 6-8 hours depending on how well he digested the barium. She gave me the option to go and do errands. I told her that I felt bad just leaving him at the hospital but she pretty much insisted that I go along. I'm guessing she sees a lot of younger adults bringing in their aging parents. So along I went. In the end the test only took 3 hours. Much better than 8 hours in the hospital. According to Dad the tech said everything looked good. I'm not sure about this as I always thought that the techs weren't supposed to divulge what they might see on an xray. During my 3 hours I drove home and made a follow up appointment for Dad with his Dr. so we'll hear the results and see how the new meds are working.

It is a challenge to stand by and observe as your parent ages. For the first time in a long time I looked at Dad last Thursday and he just looked so old. When I talk to him on the phone I picture the Dad I know from my 20's...someone who is strong, capable and proud. The voice doesn't match the reality. It is the reality and the life that I am living. Mother to young children and caretaker of an elderly parent. The sandwich generation I think we are called. Maybe I'm the pickle? or the mayo holding it all together? Definitely the mayo.



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