downed by the dishes

I’m out in sunny California, checking in on my folks and giving my sister a break from caregiving. Things here are much less chaotic than my last visit, when my mom was in a car accident. She’s much better now, and Mom & Dad have caregivers who drop by every day for cooking, laundry and errand running. It’s all working out very nicely, although my sister is on constant call, and my folks keep everyone on their toes with the sort of shenanigans that only those with dementia can think up.

I was so proud of myself flying out, letting my sister get a little vacation in, and taking over from the caregivers for a week. Knowing that I should let my folks keep as much independence as possible, I was happy to let my dad pitch in with the chores. But, it seems that last night, there were just too many dishes in the sink. After a while, he started to look tired, and I went over to ask him to sit down. Good thing that I did, because after one step toward the chair, he fainted right in my arms. 911 call, ambulance, fire truck, and about 8 emergency personnel in the kitchen later, Dad took a ride to the hospital, where he checked out okay. No medical indications, just a little dehydrated.

Yup, that’s right: I sent my 82-year-old father to the hospital by overworking him with household chores. Nice.

I’m glad he’s okay. Perhaps I can help my folks out further, by sending them on a whitewater rafting trip or getting them some part-time work in a coal mine. I have a few more days to come up with something.

5 thoughts on “downed by the dishes”

  1. Oh goodness, Tina, I still applaud you for stepping into the role of the caregiver. It’s not easy work. I did the same for my sister when she had a hysterectomy for her kids last Christmas, and before that, I was nannying in between grad schools and helping out my arthritic mother. But to take care of your aged parents and help them through infirmity and dementia–a saint are you.

    I am hoping that there’s greater societal (and legal) recognition of caregiver work!

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  2. You know, I’m worried my previous comment does not sound as supportive as I feel. This has to have been very scary for you. At the same time, you are honest enough with yourself to know that you really have no basis for feeling guilty, at the same time as you do feel bad. I’m remembering the time I clipped off the end of my daughter’s finger with the nail clippers. That really was my fault, although I was using the clippers because I thought the scissors were more dangerous. This wasn’t your fault. And I still appreciate your wit in writing.

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  3. Ah, Tina, sounds tough. It must be difficult to strike the right balance. Like OW, I’m glad you can take what seems like a very reasonable attitude here.

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