Coping with Aging Parents :: Part Two

coping_aging_parentsSo now that you know about the first post that I wrote last year… here’s why last week was such a ballbuster.

My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease 11 years ago.

11 years. It’s crazy to think that it’s been so long and the decline has been so slow that sometimes we take for granted that it won’t always be this way. But unfortunately, a symptom of aging is your body actually has to age. As my father has gotten older the chronic back problems that have plagued him since his youth have only gotten worse, to the point where for the past few weeks he hasn’t even been walking or leaving the house. He is literally in so much pain that he can’t sit in a car, or take the dog for a walk, or work on his beloved Midway. The pain has exacerbated the Parkinson’s, which makes every.single.damn.thing so much harder.

It was decided that he would have back surgery, a procedure to clean out any calcifications that had grown on his vertebrae and were putting pressure on the nerves in his back and causing him such pain. Add a metal stabilizer in his back and he would be all good to go. Jeez, between the pacemaker, the artificial valve in his heart and the steel stabilizer, he’s a machine. 

Except my father is no bionic man.

Suffice it to say that the surgery went well, but the recovery has been unexpected. The narcotics made him loopy to the point of non-functioning and it would appear that the Parkinson’s will make his recovery long and difficult. It took him twice as long to get up and moving as they thought it would and he has been sent to a rehab facility to recover with the help that he needs. A rehab facility. Essentially a nursing home.

This just sucks.

I spent the last week alternating between completely freaking out, to knowing that he would be fine. Hours of sobbing to my husband and friends about the stress, that this is my dad and he’s mine. My daddy. And he’s sick. And I’m so tired of him being sick, of stressing out about him and about my mom, wanting them both to be healthy and and have the energy to play with and love my kids, who love them SO much. I just don’t want him to be sick or get older, but he is.

And I am so incredibly sad.

But things are at least looking up from last week. He’s in the rehab facility and has been up and about (with assistance). He’s off the pain meds, which boggles my mind because, BACK SURGERY, but he’s much more alert and with it than he was when I left him a week ago. He sounds great, is cracking jokes with the staff and they are talking about letting him out in a few days.

I don’t see that happening but I’m happy for the positivity. He’s working with the OT and is practicing putting his clothes on, grabbing stuff from shelves with a grabber and taking showers. They are not only working on his back, but his Parkinson’s, which is amazing and hopefully a huge help.

Things are looking up and I just hope that he take every blessing that is sent his way.

Fingers crossed.

*****

If you’re interested in reading my original post for KludgyMom on aging parents, click here. It was a powerful and emotional post that struck a chord with so many people and I am proud to have written it. But I sure as hell wish I didn’t have to. 

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