Old age is definitely not for sissies… I am an only daughter who looks after both of my elderly parents. As the only girl in my family, I knew growing up that it would be my responsibility to take care of my parents both physically and emotionally. I am right in the middle and have two brothers, one on each side.
My older brother lives in California and comes out about twice a year and helps all of us out financially. I am very grateful for the support as are my parents. My younger brother and his wife both work fulltime and help out when I ask, and they can fit it in their schedule.
As I sit here and type these words, my 87-year-old father sits beside me on the couch with diabetic neuropathy in his feet. His left foot is turning black at the big toe and the little toe due to gangrene. It’s not pretty to look at and it is even uglier to see the pain he is in both day and night.
He usually is up from 9am–9pm and I get his breakfast at Hardee’s, every day the exact thing. I now find the routine comforting and look forward to being treated like Norm from Cheers when I place my order daily. I only have to place the first country ham biscuit and make it a combo and the friends I have made via the drive-through at Hardee’s reply, “I’ve got you honey”. I find comfort and solace in this mundane, yet necessary, 7 days a week road trip.
Sometimes it is my only contact with other people and for someone like me who is very outgoing, it is a necessary contact. My Norm from Cheers daily Hardee’s run allows me to not concentrate on the fact that my father is indeed dying. I know, I know, we are all dying.
Yet is puts a whole different light on the subject when you are the sole caregiver for a person and it is just you and him, alone in the story of death unfolding right before your eyes.
What about my mother? She is bipolar, as am I, and the three of us have found that the best situation is for her to be in an assisted living facility and I to live alone in the condo with my father. I am a Southern girl through and through. I was born in Atlanta and my mother’s name is Dixie. This psychological diagnosis was only made about a year ago. Given the fact that my Mom is 84 and I am 55, I wish fate had let us be diagnosed much, much sooner.
Have you been watching “General Hospital” lately? They have a bipolar father and son who are portraying bipolarness in all of its emotions and getting your medicine on the right track. The fabulous actor, Maurice Bernard, is also bipolar in real life, so he is able to really relate to this bit of characterization from his writing staff.
For years, my Mom and I were Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with our personalities. It now makes a lot of sense! Two sides to me and my mother, my grandmother and her mother, my great grandmother. Gee, we should have figured this out—We just thought we were all crazy!!! Oh wait, technically, we are…
My beloved father, Bailey Henderson, has passed away at 87 years old. I am grieving, and my body said she wanted to rest, so pneumonia has kept me sidelined.
Ah, the life of an only daughter and caregiver… Bless Our Hearts…