April 14, 2000

Update & Stuff

Much activity in the past two days. Dad has been transferred to a "rehabilitation" hospital which is excellent for him (not so excellent for the rest of us because of transportation problems but we'll have to deal with it.)

The way in which it was done is typical of the hospital where he was: neither he nor anyone else in the family was told anything; my stepsis happened to overhear the nurses discussing it and then asked for details. Up to the last moment it wasn't a sure thing, it was "maybe". They just came and took him away and I shudder to think if we wouldn't have had the little warning we did and walked into an empty room the next day..

He is of course much better off where he is now. They specialize in physiotherapy and assisting people in any way they need it. He had his first shower in over a month this morning. Sponge baths just don't do it, indefinitely. They discussed "goals" with him and are trying to be as aware as possible about his physical and emotional living conditions at home.

This hospital is also a five minute drive from my house. This would be heavenly.. if it weren't for the problem of transporting Stepmom.

Not that she's demanding.. the opposite, in fact. She thinks she can take the bus (several transfers and different bus lines are involved) and generally get around on her own. Yet when she's home alone she sometimes forgets where my father is and phones me in a panic; she repeats the same questions immediately after she's asked them; she cannot find her way around in unfamiliar surroundings at all.

Yesterday she forgot that I had taken her to the mall to get her prescriptions refilled, and decided to walk there from her apartment (not far but crossing busy streets are involved) and collect them herself. The pharmacist of course told her they had been picked up and when I arrived soon afterwards, found her walking back home. She has lost her balance and fallen (with resultant bruising) several times this past year but neglected to bring her cane along on this little jaunt. She also tried to cancel her appointment at the "memory clinic" (next week) behind my back.

A rebellious senior citizen. Just what we all need in the middle of this mess.

I understand her feelings. I don't mind going out of my way to drive her around. I can tolerate her forgetfulness in ordinary conversation. But when she starts working against me (and herself!) I get angry, and then feel guilty for feeling angry. Aargh!

Doesn't she have the right to make decisions about her own welfare? Maybe.. but while my father is in the hospital and entrusting her welfare and safety to my sister and me, I'd rather err on the side of caution and overprotect her a little. If she wants to exert her independence after Daddy gets home, he'll have to decide about it himself.

I ruminated all day on whether to tell Daddy about her recent activities, fearing he'd just try to leave the hospital and go home whatever the cost to his health (or at the least, be worried and aggravated) but finally did tell him. It boiled down to a question of trust, which outweighed my desire to protect him. He took it pretty well but it's a stress we really don't need.

The dreaded social workers were to visit Stepmom and Stepsis this morning. Stepsis feels we need more support during the times neither of us can be with Stepmom, and is hoping they can offer some reasonable suggestions. The solution we worked out last month was acceptable for a week or two but now it's four weeks with no end in immediate sight.

Sometimes I feel as if I should write about something else for a change.. but this situation is nearly all that I eat, drink, and sleep lately. This too shall pass.. eventually..

Oh my.. I just noticed the date.. April 14 is the 16th anniversary of Dad's marriage to Stepmom. I'll always know how long they've been married because I was very pregnant with Younger Son at the time. The wedding was in a Rabbi's study.. the same Rabbi that had married me & Hubby and had conducted the funeral service for my mother. Only immediate family attended, and Hubby wasn't even there because Older Son (who was almost three) was running a high fever and a babysitter was out of the question.

I don't remember much of the ceremony but I remember driving Dad's car from the synagogue to the restaurant afterwards and having Dad step out of it muttering "What have I done!" Despite the recent problems, though, he did good. It's difficult to believe he was still in his sixties at the time, and Stepmom was only in her fifties! I thought they were old then..

Linque Du Jour: The Montreal Gazette

Our local daily English language newspaper. No real competition anymore.. the Montreal Star folded years ago. You can read about our endless language difficulties, pie-throwing incidents, and politics ad nauseam. Look for Jack Todd's column.. he's presently a sportswriter but it doesn't matter.. anything he writes is worth reading!

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