Sunday, July 03, 2005

A mixed bag of news.....

I talked with my mom the other day. They are planning to release my dad from Drake on July 13th, less than two weeks from now. Although I am THRILLED that he is doing well enough to come home because even a month ago I would have sworn it would have never happened, I am really concerned with how this will all transpire.

First off, he reacted to the drug they were giving him for the multiple myeloma, the only hope for buying him time, and he has had to quit taking it. They were told that they had to see the oncologist again before making any decisions about whether to continue with it or not. I am not stupid, I know my father is terminal, but I was so hoping to buy him some more time. I am worried about how quickly he will deteriorate without treatment.

Secondly, he still needs dialysis 3 times a week. This means taking him to the clinic and waiting the 3 to 4 hours it takes for them to dialysize him. This also involves the "hassle" of transporting him with the wheelchair or walker because he is weak when he is finished.

Thirdly, my mother plans to continue working FULL TIME once he is home. OK don't get me wrong, I know she needs to have their benefits continued and needs to support them....

So, you see where this is leading don't you? She has read me the riot act about needing help...and I want to help....but I feel selfish because I want to put my children first. She said she needs someone at the house from at least 7 AM to 5 PM every day and on the days he has dialysis he will need to be driven there. She said she "needs" my help. I gently suggested that she bring him here (although I don't really like the idea) but he says my house is too LOUD and BUSY (he LOVES his grandchildren, but would prefer they sit still!). No, it would definitely be better if I could come to their house.

I have played through every possible senario to try to get this to work. I talked to Jay about maybe having the older kids (Brett and Hannah) each spend a day of the week with him, but I have my reservations. It is a HUGE responsibility to put on a young teenager. What if my dad was to pass out (as he often does following dialysis), what if he gets sick (no one likes cleaning up puke, but I think it is a lot to ask of a kid), and what about the diapers...hell, I can't get Brett to change the baby, I certainly can't ask him to change a man!

OK...and there is something else. My mom has NEVER been crazy about the idea of us homeschooling and we have never really explained to her that we actually unschool (she believes and we have never corrected her, that we are working with an "approved" curriculum). She was really upset when she learned Brett decided not to go to highschool. I honestly think that she sees this as her way of "making" me put the kids back in school. In her mind, if she gets me "away" from them all day, they would have to be enrolled in school. Kind of reminenscent of how in the early 1990s, she tried to get me to put Brett and Hannah in daycare by offering to pay for it and pay my tution if I would just go back to college and "do something" with my life.

So I sit here feeling like a complete SELFISH BRAT because I don't want to go and sit with my dad all day. I do worry about what it says to my kids, about "family". I guess the up side of having 8 children, is that they would each only have to pitch in less than once a week, instead of it all being put on one of them.

No real point here...just had to get it off my chest.

1 comment:

Valerie said...

Sorry to hear how things are going right now. Have your parents looked into any kind of home health care options? I know the *idea* of having family members care for an ailing parent is the ideal situation, but sometimes it isn't always practical. I also understand the cost of hiring home health care is a burden. Is your father old enough to qualify for medicare/medicaid? Is there any ministry within your parish to which *you* could turn for help or support from time to time? Are your folks members of a parish where *they* could turn to for support?

Laura, please don't feel like a selfish brat. You are NOT the only child in your family and should not have to shoulder this all on your own just because you don't have a job outside the home which pays you money. Would you feel differently if you weren't at home, if you worked a 40+ hour week and received a paycheck? Would your mom treat you differently?

I'll keep you all in my prayers. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help!