I have been my Dad’s Primary Caregiver for over six years now, and I was Mom’s before that as she battled and succumbed to colo/rectal cancer. It has been a long road, hard yes, but also full of love and tender moments that I treasure.
Dad has been relatively pain free all his life, always proud of his fine health and “dancer’s body”. He says this in a swaggering tone, referring to days long, long ago when he Tap Danced in department store windows and on street corners. Probably around 1936-39. he also has battled worsening Alzheimer’s and Dementia, which is severe now. But , like I said, no real pain except minor aches from time to time.
Fast forward to today. He has declined so rapidly in the past few months, not eating, not getting out of bed, sleeping all the time or staring out in space. Worst of all , though, is this pain. Dad is suffering, and now I fear he will be taken away from me. If that is what has to happen for him to get relief, then I have to do that for him.
It is his hands that hurt him so bad now, and after a doctor visit, xrays and a trip to the emergency room yesterday, he is said to probably have cancer that has metastisized to his bones. The problem is his insurance now.
He has been waiting since the 4th to get the referral he needs from his Primary care Doctor. An 88 year old Veteran who can’t get a simple referral to an oncologist? I am about to get fiesty with the Doctor. I used to be a violent person before God changed me to a peace lover. But when my Daddy is threatened I am like a mother Grizzly.
I hope none of you have to live through these issues in your own life. If you do, try to squeeze every good, kind, loving remembrance out of each moment with your loved one. Even when the are hurting and cranky, even when they don’t recognize you or seem to like you at all- keep squeezing. It is God’s foremost attribute, and when we aspire to love and care for those who are our own He showers His Love down on us. It covers a lifetime of Guilt and broken dreams.
I love you Daddy, even when you don’t know it.