We soon realized that my dad couldn't live alone any more. My sister invited him to go live with her because she doesn't have young children and she has a larger house. He would have his own room, own bathroom, plenty of space. My sister nursed him back to health during those really hard first days home from the hospital. I acknowledge and appreciate that she got the hardest part.
Then six months later he decided that he needed a change of scenery and he chose my loud, crazy, crowded, grungy house. He was much better by then and he was itching for some independence which he got from me. I'm super hands off and I realized that all he really needed now was for someone to be with him and to make sure that he took his medication in a timely fashion.
He flourished under is new-found freedom, walking down the block alone to the bus stop and taking the bus down to his favorite restaurant. Sometimes he'd stop along the way to go to the bank or to the cleaners. Sometimes I gave him a ride or picked him up. He loved it. He even went to stay with my sister in California for almost two weeks at the end of the summer when I took the kids to Washington DC and New York.
He'd been doing really well and I thought that maybe this time during the winter break I could schedule a weekend trip to the San Antonio area with the kids so we could see the caverns. It doesn't look like that's going to happen...
Exactly a year after he was really sick he isn't feeling well again. He started feeling a jabbing pain on his left side late last week and he confessed that he had been feeling it for some time now but he hadn't said anything.
I took him to the doctor this past Wednesday, after learning that he should have had a cat scan in August. Somehow in the transition from my sister's house to my house the message was lost. The crazy thing is that I took him to both his geriatric and cardiologist appointments in the past six months and not once did they tell me about the missed cat scan.
The young doctor examined him and asked him more about the pain. She pressed down on his side and listened to him with her stethoscope. Finally she asked us to go up for an x-ray, have blood work done, and to schedule a cat scan and an ultrasound. We did as she asked and then they just sent us home.
All week my dad has been feeling down and he's been sleeping all day. We have to wait until Monday for the cat scan and until the 4th for the ultrasound. Meanwhile there's definitely something wrong with him. The thing is the pain isn't serious enough for them to keep him and he's not in so much pain that he needs to take something, or so he says. He says it's more like a nagging pain and I think the worry of what it could be is what has him a little depressed.
Yes, I'm a little sad that we can't go to the caverns, but I don't want to take any chances leaving him while he's sick. As he approaches 90 I know that I won't regret any of this time with him and I believe that I won't regret any of the other sacrifices that I'm making for him. Yes, it's tough having an elderly parent living with me. Sometimes it's like having a third child. I can't do all the things I used to do and the house is a little crowded.
I haven't mentioned the caverns to the kids again. There are enough things around Houston that we can do with the new train running by our neighborhood, the zoo, the museums, and all the great restaurants along the way of the train line. It's going to be a METRORail vacation, visiting all the places along the way. It will be a great winter break!