I’m writing this as I sit next to my dad’s hospital bed. He is sound asleep and hooked up to antibiotics for an infection in his leg.
On August 2nd, I noticed some blood on his sock. I removed his sock and rolled his pant leg up to see a small cluster of open sores. I immediately alerted his nurse at the nursing home and also sent a message and picture of his leg to the most wonderful wound care nurse that has healed up my dad’s legs before. I thought this would go the same way. A few weeks of dressing changes and he would be good as new. Unfortunately, the nursing home staff refused to follow orders as they were written and did other things that lead to his leg becoming infected. I won’t go into details here. I have reported everything to the appropriate people and I am waiting to hear back on the next steps.
I am disgusted by negligence of any kind but this has elevated my advocacy instinct to a new level. I am committed to seeing this through and making sure this NEVER happens again to anyone.
As I watch my dad sleep, I am thankful for all of the time we have had together in this life and I am hopeful that we will have more time. Even though it is really fucking hard sometimes, I am in this with him. It has been challenging to care for my dad on regular days, when we both feel pretty good. There are challenges that come with aging and being in a nursing home. Physically it can be tough just doing the minor caregiving things I do. Emotionally, it can be exhausting. It is really hard to see this man who was so strong become so weak. It wasn’t that long ago that he was taking care of me. We never got the time to be together as independent healthy adults. It wears on both of us to be in the nursing home environment. It is great for a lot of things but is also really sad. We have gotten to be close friends with many of the residents and it is very draining when they are in the process of actively dying. It is something I hope to explore my feelings about more in the future. Basically, it’s tough on me when I’m feeling healthy but I have been sick for the last few weeks and it has been the worst. I’ve been dealing with complications from some surgery I had a few years ago. I’ve spent time in the ER and it looks like I have more surgery ahead of me. Now, that both of us are feeling awful, it’s beyond anything I thought I was strong enough to handle. Some days are not so bad and we make it through in pretty good shape. Other days are only handled moment by moment, accompanied by an endless amount of tears, but even on those days, we manage to have a couple deep whole hearted laughs.
We come from a long line of dramatic people with a morbid sense of humor. I have journals from my grandma, my dad’s mother, everyday she would write.”This is the worst day of my life. I will remember this day as long as I live.” On days like today, when I feel the lowest of the low, I repeat those words, as strange as it may seem, it fills my heart with love and it makes my dad smile. Seeing him smile makes it all worth it.