Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way
Walnut Room? This way, please.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Me and Rio rocking out in Texas sunshine

We made it safely back to Mississippi this afternoon after a whirlwind trip between Christmas and New Year's Day.  Sis took off for San Antonio to have late Christmas with her kids, grandkids, and great grandbaby.  My Sister by Another Mother and I held down Fort Rio and took care of the parents.  It was tag team at its finest.  After all this time, my biological sibling Sis can manage Dad, Mom, Tinka, Rio, cooking, laundry, and the household chores for up to 4 days--if she has to. Fortunately, that has not happened except during a couple of ice storms.  I suppose most of us could do what we had to when it was a matter of life and quality of life for those we love, though I think some of us would even do it for strangers if circumstances thrust themselves upon us.  You know, like an ice storm or some other catastrophe.
Three shifts have to be covered every day, and due to unforeseen circumstances, we had one person...and me.  Now while I can do a whole lot of things and have a wide and varied skill set these days, there are some aspects of Dad's care that I do not know how to do because it has not been necessary since the first time he came home from the hospital with a broken hip and it was necessary.  Would I do my best if need be?  Of course I would, and we would manage just fine.  But Dad does not do well with change at this point and unless it is absolutely necessary, we avoid forcing him to deal with new experiences in the routine.  SbAM is really great with dad, having been with us for a little over 2 years now, and though young, is smart and a quick learner, and knows his quirks and how best to deal with them as it relates to caregiving--and better yet, he likes her and trusts her.  The deal was if she just took care of Dad, I would take care of Mom, Tinka, Rio, house, cooking, and dishes.  It is one thing to do all of that on an 8 hour shift, and quite another to do it for 24 hours, 3 days straight.

I sat in Dad's room every night and watched old movies with him, just being there in the chair so if he woke up from a nap doze, he could see me or talk to me.  Sis does that with him every night and I wanted to keep the routine as routine as possible.  He does not like to be alone, nor not be able to see us or hear us.

It was a hard week in so many ways, but it was also one of those times that you appreciate and honor, and for which you are thankful.  It is part of the cycle of life, and when you can embrace it, even in the hardness, even in the painfulness of impending unknowns and potential loss, it offers joy if we can have the heart to see it.




9 comments:

Beth said...

Beautiful, loving thoughts, especially your last statement. Thank you for sharing. So often we forget the struggles of those who are caregivers.

Suzassippi said...

Yes, Beth, we do, until we have the opportunity to walk in their shoes.

LindaRe said...

I admire your dedication of supporting your sister, whom I assume is the main caregiver. There is joy in giving love to those in need.

Lana Pugh said...

My mom and dad are the caregivers for my 85 year old retired Air Force grandaddy and mentally challenged aunt. They live next door and go daily 7 days a week to check on them. It's a thankless task made more thankless sometimes by the numerous family members that criticize their every move - yet can never seem to find the time or dedication to help. Living an hour away I'm not much help but I try to lend a patient ear when needed and bring treats and food so they don't have to cook much for a few days when I can. Bless you for helping your sister!

Suzassippi said...

Thank you, LindaRe for your support. I do want to see Mom and Dad and help out, and there is total joy in taking care of Rio, but the primary reason I do it so often is to support my Sis, as you correctly surmise. While she chose to go this road, I am grateful she did and do all I can to help her walk it. It has been the right choice for us, even if it was hard. When I was sitting in Dad's room, looking at Tink lying on the foot of his bed, I was thinking of you and your care for your mother.

Thanks, Lana. Distance makes it harder, but every little bit helps as I am sure you know and so do your parents. We have been fortunate that little criticism of how Sis manages has occurred. She does have POA, as thankfully Mom and Dad did that when the writing on the wall was clear several years ago, but she always runs major decisions by Bro and me. Interestingly, the most criticism has come from those who think we should have put them in a long-term care facility instead of keeping them home. I walk into that house that has never looked cleaner or smelled better, and I wonder how anyone could question that choice. I know many folks do not have that choice for a lot of reasons, so I am not passing judgment. It is a sacrifice we willingly make, and thus far, has been the right one for us.

socialbridge said...

A lovely, loving post, Suz. You sure have the heart. jxx

Suzassippi said...

Thank you, Jean. I try. :)

Jane said...

Love to you and yours. It's a bittersweet journey but I am glad you are on it with them. I admire the spirit and hard work of all involved and I am taking mental notes for when my time may come. No better people to emulate. xoxo

Suzassippi said...

Thank you, Jane, another sister by another mother. :) My biological sis said she has broken ice off Rio's water 4 times today already. I wish I was there to do it.