Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Family Matters

I just got back from a week in Baton Rouge; my son and I flew down to see my folks. 

Without getting into way too much information, my mother had a stroke, from which she is in rehab recovering. She's coming along, although it was not as minor as I understood. This is complicated because my father is in mid-stage Alzheimer's. My sister and her husband are there and carrying the heavy load, and I needed to go and offer some small help. There are therapists and nurses and home help to be scheduled, and a whole shitload of other things to deal with, things to be discussed, and it was not the most restful trip.

Odd disconnects: We got up at three a.m., caught an early flight to DFW. We left Portland, it was freezing and foggy. Day after we arrived in B.R., it got to 80º at my Mother's house. 

Night before last, we had the AC running; at midnight, I had to switch it over to heat. The temperature difference went from a high of 80º to a low of  40º.

Welcome to the semi-tropics in December.

We had a family gathering, my brother-in-law Gary made Jambalaya on the patio in a big iron pot over a propane burner. I'll probably put his recipe up here when I think about it. Good stuff.

We spent our time either watching my father, who needs somebody with him round-the-clock, and going to visit my mother in the rehab facility, about twenty miles away, swapping off with other family.

It wasn't all doom-and-gloom. We had nice visits with sisters, and sisters-in-law, aunts, nieces and grand-nieces, in-laws. My other brother-in-law Dave came by with some nasty Dixie beer. My nieces two little girls ran us ragged playing baseball, tag, hide-'n'-go-seek, and even chess ...

My parents are fortunate to have a good family support system nearby. I was happy to have my son along for support.

If you have elderly parents and you've had to deal with these issues, you'll understand how it is without further ado; if you don't, I can't really convey how it feels to help your father get dressed and shower and hear for the fifth time on a given day where the pocket knife he carries came from:

"Steve gave me this."

"I know, Daddy. I'm Steve ..."

Or to be awakened for the sixth or seventh time in the middle of the night by a disoriented Alzheimer's patient wandering up and down the hall yelling for help because he can't find his way back to bed. 

Thank God for my sister and her husband, Gary, and thanks to all of you who sent along prayers and best wishes, I do appreciate it. 

If I owe you email, I'll get back to you once I get caught up.

Life is short. Enjoy it while you can ...

1 comment:

Bill said...

God bless you and your parents, Steve.

With His grace and love, may everything turn out well and happy for them in recovery.