There is no preparation for taking care of a parent.

When my dad fell in mid-June, I was completely unprepared for what was to follow.  Although I had been managing his care from across the country for several years, I didn’t anticipate how the world could so suddenly change for him (or for me).  I came in town to move him into assisted living (across the parking lot from Independent Living, where he had been residing for 3 years).  I purposely waited for him to make the decision, as I didn’t want to push him into something he wasn’t ready for.  He decided it was time because “I need help putting on my shoes,” he said.

Almost immediately when I moved him in, I noticed a profound change.  He seemed almost completely helpless.  It was way beyond “I need help with my shoes.”  He needed help with EVERYTHING.  I attributed it to the stress of the move.  I stayed with him for a week, making sure he was settled in and then left, in hopes that he would return to the way he was.

Two weeks later, he fell outside his apartment and fractured his pelvis.  He ended up in the hospital and within hours fell into a state of delirium, a place where we weren’t sure he would return.

Talking to him on the phone was like talking to someone who had lost ten years of aging.  He was chatty, energetic….and made literally no sense.  He was speaking a different language and talking about aliens and seeing things in the room that were not there.

This went on for 5 days and then magically on day 5, he emerged from wherever he was and returned to us, cognitively…until the next day when he was moved to a nursing home for rehab.  Within six hours…delirium…again.

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