This past weekend I went home. On the way home on Saturday I stopped by the hospital, I was just going to visit for an hour or 2 and then I'd go on home. When I got there, dad was visibly frustrated, and was yelling at mom. Now, she was trying to get out of bed, and she can't support herself yet, and she has to have bowel movements and then have someone clean her up. I don't blame her for wanting to get out of bed, but this means that several times in the last few days the nurses have gone in and found her on the floor. That's bad, and dad wasn't having a lot of success in convincing her that she shouldn't do that, and had begun to yell at her. I intervened, told dad to go home, and I'd stay with her for the rest of the day. It was OK, she was frustrated and antsy, but by the time I left at 7:30 that night, she was calmer and OK when I left her.
I went in on Sunday morning around 9AM, and I stayed until 7PM. I am physically and emotionally drained. I do not see how my dad has done this for the last 3 weeks, 12 hours a day. I know that it has gotten harder as we bring her out of the deep sedation. She has been bedridden for around 6 weeks now, and it has just been in the last 10 days or so that she has begun the process of getting up and out of bed and moving again. A nurse told me that this was a 'catastrophic illness' and that it generally takes 7 days to recover for each day the patient was sick. that means, roughly 30 days sick and sedated, it will take roughly 210 days to get up and moving again, that's around 7 months. If my dad is going to make it all the way to 7 months, he has to have some help, and he has to have some breaks. My brother is absolutely useless at this point, he gets so freaked out that he can't help.
I've made the decision that I will take 2 days a week, probably a Wednesday, and dad and I will alternate between Saturday and Sunday. My boss has agreed to work with me on the days off, I can make my 40 hours in 4 10 hour days, and one day off during the week. Hopefully, this will only last for 2 or 3 weeks, until mom is strong enough to be ambulatory, to be able to wash and care for herself, even if it is in the hospital room.
I had a discussion with my very good friend over Christmas, and we talked about being strong, about how people have told me that I've been strong during this, and I haven't seen it. I know that my dad must be SO strong, to have carried this burden for the last 3 weeks, and I wasn't aware of how big that burden was for him. Now I know, and I cannot let him carry this alone. Together, we will have to be strong, for each other, with each other, and in our faith in God.
Please, Lord, make our family strong, help us to be strong together, and to help each other carry this load. Give us your love and compassion, so that my mother feels your love through our actions with her. Give her strength to endure all of the personal and embarrassing things she is going through, she is so modest, and she is so exposed during all of this, please give her peace and acceptance, and let her feel your love for her in all we do. Bless the nurses, doctors, and family of other patients. And give us all the peace that only you can bring. Amen.