Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Things to do before having time off for good behaviour

Today I took Dr P to see his diabetes specialist, who has been treating him for years. Dr P has type 2 diabetes. It is well controlled, just as well, as he has the most shocking and self-indulgent diet. As the grandmother of a  boy with type 1 diabetes, whose illness began when he was about 20 months old, I find his casual disregard of diet appalling. However I suppose it must be acknowledged that a man who has reached the age of 86 must have a very strong constitution, no matter what he does to abuse it. The pleasures of self indulgence and immediate gratification greatly outweigh the experience of self denial, as I know only too well from similar failures of will and self-discipline. Who am I to criticise?

For the last few years I have been going to all Dr P's medical appointments, in order to know what is going on, and to add to the information. (Dr P is rather inclined to gloss over certain things. As you do.)  Dr P was not very happy about this, but accepts it now. This appointment was sad - Dr P asked the same question about six times, forgetting each time that he had already done so, and his increased forgetfulness and decline were very evident to the specialist.

Yesterday was a very messy day, physically, and not pleasant. We had been invited to lunch with friends, but Dr P did not feel up to it, and went to bed. I was intending to go to lunch after finishing all the cleaning up and washing, when SD1 arrived. I never did get to the lunch. We wound up having a discussion about the care arrangements for Dr P while I am on holidays. This was both a Good Thing and a Rare Event. It is a relief to have achieved some actual communication. It transpired that SD3 won't arrive until the end of the month - this information had not come through to me, somehow, and so the care will be undertaken by SD1,  her 21 year old son, and SD3. SD1 did not feel she could put her son through the ordeal of dealing with Dr P's ablutions and dressing - too confronting, she feels. I do sympathise - but yet! So we discussed low level respite care accommodation and she arranged for us to go and visit a place with a vacancy. Dr P had been talking about some such sort of care, so it was worth investigating.

So we all went together today, after seeing the specialist. It was depressing, and none of us felt that it would suit his needs and comfort. We agreed that we would investigate paid, home based care, and I have made inquiries, which I hope will bear fruit, to have a carer come in each morning to do ablutions, dressing breakfast, washing and a light tidying and cleaning. I will also try to reactivate the home based respite care, which I had hoped to have had organised weeks ago, but which Dr P then strenuously opposed. We have probably fallen to the end of the queue again, but such things are sent to try us. It is quite stressful trying to work out what best to do, and when I made the earlier attempts, Dr P's condition was much better than it is now. There has been a significant deterioration.

Apropos of the confronting aspects of caring for people, I remembered that at the age of 15 I had kept house for the whole family while my mother was in hospital having her seventh child, my youngest sister. My older sister had started her nursing training, and was living at the nurses' home. When the baby was six months old she developed a blockage of the bowel, which required emergency and life-saving surgery. She has a colostomy for a year, and I helped my mother with the cleaning and dressing. Colostomy bags had apparently not yet been invented, and the dressings had to be changed frequently. The baby had suffered an infection in the hospital which had left raw flesh, which had to be kept clean.  We never managed to get it to heal completely. Cleaning was very painful, but it had to be done - too bad if it was confronting! My sister has a very sunny, optimistic and happy nature, even with that start in life.

There is much to be done before I leave, and I should probably not fritter away time with all this idle persiflage. But hey! Whatever!


molly said...

Hope you can make satisfactory arrangements so you can go off with a light heart to enjoy your holiday! It does seem that we were much more "Get over it and do what has to be done' than some of the fainting flowers out there now!
Which probably makes me sound like a grumpy old coot!

Anonymous said...

My younger sister was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last week. It's been a bit of a wake-up call for not just her, but my parents and I as well. As she still lives at home they are able to make the necessary lifestyle changes together. There's family history of it in my grandmothers, so I am going to get tested ASAP.

I hope you are able to sort out Dr P's care soon so that you can leave your cares behind when you travel. As someone who spends so much time caring for others, it will be lovely for you to have a break.

Meggie said...

I hope you find care to everyone's satisfaction, so you can go off and have your lovely needed holiday.
Sometimes, we lose sight of how far things have deteriorated, when we are so close to them.

Pam said...

Oh dear, how sad when old age takes its toll. Hope you can enjoy your holiday nonetheless.