Sometimes…when we least expect it, or maybe when we just weren’t looking, it occurs to us that those we love are getting older. Little problems begin to present themselves, that throw us for a loop. We begin to wonder how we could have missed the fact that someone is really in their early 80’s. I mean, we know their chronological age very well, but somehow their physical age sneaks up on us, and takes us very much by surprise.
That is exactly what happened to me last Monday, with my father-in-law, and we spent the rest of the week with him in the hospital, while we waited to see if the racing heart rate that his foot doctor caught was going to be problematic, or just a result of the Pneumonia that he was also diagnosed with. Like my own dad, my father-in-law had always seemed much younger that his years, so suddenly being faced with something that could be a life or death situation, just about knocked me over, as did the possibility of losing the first line caregiver for my mother-in-law.
The diagnosis came, and we will be dealing with A-Fib for the rest of his life, but since my mom has that, I know it is manageable. The Pneumonia is pretty much gone, and he came home from the hospital today. He would like to think that he can just go back to life as usual, but for me, much has changed. Yes, he was on oxygen before, and weak in that way, but the rest of him was always strong and able to handle the majority of the care of my mother-in-law, but now…I have to consider that the stress of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient might be too much for him. Still, he has not come to a place where he is ready for her care to take a different turn, and we will honor his wishes concerning that decision. And, we aren’t ready for that change either.
So, we will modify the plan for now, until we know where we stand in this situation, and home health care will help with the day to day care for both of them. And we will see where the future will take us. In the case of my mom, the meds control her A-Fib quite well and she can do pretty much what she wants to. I pray that my father-in-law will be with be the same, and that the sudden changes that have come about will be able to return to at least some semblance of normalcy.