Tuesday October 10, 2023
Ok, this might be too much information. Don’t read on if you are looking for my usual uplifting stories. Well, this does become uplifting but it is messy to start. I have had a very rough week. My dad, John, who is 95 is in pretty good health except for his legs which are weak, swollen, painful and full of fluids. He can barely walk. We’ve had nurses coming in to care for him, but last Monday he couldn’t walk and so we sent him into emerg where he stayed for 4 days. The nurses and doctors do their best there, but it is crazy. I visited my dad 3 times a day and I observed the staff working really hard to try and care for too many people. I have no expertise in health care, but I could see that they are really struggling. They don’t have the time to attend to a 95 year old guy who is ok, except for his legs. My dad so desperately wanted to get home and I want the best solution for him and it is so complicated.
It honestly breaks my heart to watch him struggle and at the same time neither of us wants to be a burden to the system. All week I questioned the decision we made to have him come and live with us when there are so few supports. The wait list for long term care is long. I don’t want to be pushy when I can see the health care people are overworked and at the same time I want to advocate for my dad. He’s 95 and everyone deserves respect and dignity and care at that age. To complicate matters, Jim and I are leaving in a couple of days for a trip to Portugal with our long time friends. We’ve had this planned for a year. My sister is coming from Vancouver to stay with my parents, but it all seems so tenuous. I have been stressed all week to say the least. Trying to accept what is, advocate for what is needed and take care of my parents and my marriage and my friendships and myself. I have waffled between going on the trip and not going. How can I left my sister and my parents when my dad is now home, and even weaker than when he went into emerg.
Thursday afternoon I got in my car and drove out to get my hair cut. I cried the whole way there. I cried for everything. My dad. My parents. The state of our health care. The nurses and the doctors. For myself and my family. I got to Suzanne McKechnie’s for my hair cut. I pulled myself together, went in and sat down. And Suzanne quietly began to ask about my life and she listened. I normally don’t say a lot about all of it but I told her. She listened to the good, the bad and the ugly. She asked good questions. She was present. All the while she cut my hair and made me look as good as I possibly can considering my tired and worn out feeling. She helped me transform from the tired, stressed daughter to the adventurer that I am. I left with my holiday hair cut feeling heard and understood. Sometimes that is what we need, a friend who listens to connect and understand. We all do this for each other all the time and it makes a difference in this crazy world of ours. We all have many challenges we are dealing with. I don’t know what today will bring, but it is Thanksgiving weekend and I am grateful for all of my connections who support me and our family. And to the people who are making cutbacks to our health care system, I hope you can find it in you to connect and listen to people who are working in these crucial jobs. When they get burnt out and leave, it is only going to get worse.