I want to acknowledge Chris’s girlfriend Becky and pay a tribute to her for coming over yesterday and helping me with Dad.
No one else has done what she did yesterday, which was offer to go pick up some much needed equipment this weekend from her grandmother’s house. Her grandmother unfortunately recently passed away, and she has a few key things there that will help out a lot with my dad, one being a wheelchair. If I have to take him to an appointment, there would be no way I could handle him without that. In addition, she has a hospital tray, so he will have a bigger surface to eat on, after the occupational therapist suggested yesterday that he could control the tremors in his hand by putting his elbow on the table. It is worth a try! The tv tray he’s been using is too small to attempt that. She also might have a curved bed rail that slides under the mattress, which would make it easier for him to sit on the side of the bed.
She took copious amounts of notes, since she is trained in social work, so that she can make some phone calls to the appropriate people and hopefully get some answers about benefits, and what services he is entitled to, because I am not getting much help from home health. I am overwhelmed and exhausted, so she also offered to come sit with Dad so I can get out and go to my Airrosti appointment (if they ever call me back). Becky leaves in two weeks, so I appreciate her taking the time to do what she can before she goes.
In other news, the occupational therapist gave Dad some new arm exercises which I will have to coach him on and had many useful suggestions for eating and drinking. My friend Stephanie will appreciate that she told Dad the trick to prevent choking while taking his pills is to swallow with his chin tucked down. It sounds crazy, but she said that opens up the throat, making swallowing easier. It will take some practice, but he did well with it this morning. We need to get new wrist weights for his exercises, as this will strengthen his arms. The ones I had previously bought for him are too heavy. Sean said he will get them for me. I have to ask, because he does not offer up help, yet if I ask, he brings whatever I need over pretty promptly. She also suggested a no-slip pad go under his plate, and to use cups with lids and straws for his drinks. I pretty much do that anyway, but never considered a sippy cup for coffee because I thought he would consider it juvenile. She said do whatever works. Another tip was to wrap his utensils in foam so he can get a better grip, and a plate guard for his plates, so he can push the food into the guard making it easier to get food on his utensils. That would be a big help, so I will be on Amazon later to find one of those.
Each therapist brings their own suggestions and/or exercises, and while it is appreciated, it’s a lot of information to remember. I need to start writing everything down more and utilizing help when and where I can get it, so I don’t become overwhelmed. At least we have settled into a kind of routine, and Dad seems less angry and more content as time goes on. We still haven’t tried the Scrabble tiles, because it hasn’t come up yet that he needs to tell me anything I can’t get from a head nod or shake. The physical therapist will come tomorrow morning, which means more exercises to remember. Then I have the job of making Dad do them. Once they are incorporated into the routine, hopefully, it won’t create a problem, but everything he does tires him out quickly. Even his hourly walks to the bathroom or around the circuit of the kitchen/living room area cause him to need a short nap. Maybe his age, or his disease, but he naps a lot!! Oh, and she suggested he stop drinking fluids at 6pm so he would wake up dry. Well, we did it last night and this morning everything was wet except the underpad. He had risen, took everything off, put on a new undergarment, and got back in bed when I went to check on him. It’s progress, but it’s scary too because he got up without help and I’m scared to death he will fall again. We got lucky this morning.
Becky also suggested I get what’s bothering me off my chest with my other family members so I don’t let resentment fester. So I started with my brother last night, I wrote a typical day for me since Dad has been here, so he knows what I’m going through. I don’t know if he’s read it yet, but I need to do the same with Sean. Chris and Josh live too far away and work all the time, so I can’t count on them for help, but if I asked, I’m sure they would find a way. This is a family affair, and all parties should be involved in some way so everything isn’t on Dave and myself. Don’t you agree?
Well, I’m off to make some phone calls myself since no one has called me back yet. You all have a beautiful Tuesday and keep those kind thoughts and positive vibes coming. I appreciate them so much!!!