Hey Folks, look who’s here! So much to tell. To save time, I’ll start by saying that both my stepfather and father in law died within 72 hours of each other about four weeks ago. Everything has been in a tailspin since even before that happened.
My husband and I have been caring for his dad for over the past year, as he began to decline from Alzheimer’s/dementia. Even still relatively high functioning, he could not be left unsupervised. Seven days a week we had to get him up, ensure he bathed and put on clean clothes, provided meds, drive him to adult daycare. Then pick him up and drive him home, where BIL or a caregiver would look after him (BIL lived in the home with FIL). This was our LIFE. Then, FIL fell three times since March, the last time on August 7. That Sunday morning, BIL went in to wake him and say goodbye as he was leaving for work. FIL was found in bed, covered in vomit and urine. BIL got him up and into the shower. FIL fell in the shower and BIL called us (my husband was durable and healthcare POA). Called 911 and had FIL taken to the hospital. After extensive tests, FIL was found to have metastatic cancer on his spine, hip socket/pelvis area (tumor the size of an orange!), rib, liver, and possibly something in the lungs. We opted to not force a painful bone biopsy to find the primary site, as there was no hope for recovery. Hospice referral was made immediately. We took him home on Wednesday, and hospice came on Thursday. We got all the durable medical equipment and a lift chair, wheelchair, shower bench, bed, etc. FIL became completely incontinent within 48 hours and rapidly lost the ability to walk. He stopped eating after Thursday. He was on morphine and oxycodone. This was sudden and stunning to us. Here was a man who never complained, attended all exercise classes without fail for the past year at the adult daycare, and never so much had a cold during the time we were his caregivers. All prior blood work never showed abnormalities. He was on high blood pressure medication and an antidepressant. No other meds.
On Sunday, August 14, my mom called at 7AM to tell me her husband died. He was 67. This was completely unexpected. He was in a period of declining health from diabetes complications and heart problems (I preached this lifestyle to them and they tried it from time to time, you know the drill…). However, he recently seemed to be doing better. On Thursday August 11, my mom came home from running errands and found him semi conscious and collapsed in the bathroom. He was taken to the hospital and was found to have a recurrence of a c-diff infection he got while in rehab for a prior surgery. I immediately made arrangements to go to NJ to be with her and my family. I was on a 5:30AM flight the next morning.
After a whirlwind Monday helping my mom make funeral arrangements and a steady stream of visitors (these are some popular people, my folks!), my sister and I went to the cemetery to pick the burial plot on Tuesday (Earthquake! – a day we won’t soon forget).
That afternoon, my DH called me to tell me that his dad was semi-conscious, jaundiced, and the hospice nurse said FIL had about 48 hours left. I told my mom, and she insisted I go home to be with DH and BIL to help them out (we have no other family in NC). So, I changed my flight and was on the first flight back on Wednesday AM. While I was enroute, my FIL passed away (8:20 AM). My friend picked me up and drove me home.
Talk about emotional devastation! I loved my stepfather and my father in law.
Well, so how does all of this relate to anything here? In the whirlwind of being a caregiver and non-stop stress, I have almost forgotten to take care of myself. I honestly just stopped caring for awhile.
Knowing full well that my stepfather should be alive and healthy is a big wakeup call for me, DH, my mom, my sister, and my dad. Clearly, my stepfather’s long term choices are what killed him. He chose death. I am now choosing life and will honor him by returning to the right path of plant based eating and taking care of me.
I get a do-over of sorts. I realize this and I’m taking advantage of it. I am getting slowly back in balance and am making some big life changes. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. It may even involve relocation to another part of the US, a long held dream (since I was 8 years old!). The idea is to have a long, healthy life and enjoy the gift I have just been given.[code][/code]
Last edited by nomikins on Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:31 am, edited 1 time in total.