Monday, 24 January 2011


On Friday the co-ordinator of our service provider took me to inspect an aged care place. It was very good, a pleasant ambience, but had no vacancies for short term respite care, and only one possible vacancy for a permanent place, with extra services. Apart from the daily charge, a bond of $400,000 would be required.

Had Dr P's rapacious breed not cleaned out the 90 per cent of his cash assets, this would not have been a problem. It would still be possible, but with a lot more trouble. I don't mean here to cry poor. The fact that they have taken assets which should have been preserved to meet his needs complicates the situation. It feels quite complicated  enough, just dealing with the daily doings. There is no time to think, or to work through anything systematically.

In the co-ordinator's opinion, Dr P will need to go into care this year, and probably sooner rather than later. His geriatric assessment is not until late March. She will take me to look at another place next Friday. It is early days, and there are many other places to look at. It does seem that short term residential respite care will be very difficult to get, or to plan for.

We have four hours subsidised respite care a week, and anything extra is charged at commercial rates. I have decided to get such additional care so I can go back to choir and to at least one of my classes.  Singing is very good for the spirits.

On Saturday night  Dr P tried to get to the toilet by himself, telling me that he thought he could manage it. But he fell, very heavily. His falls are very scary. I did succeed in getting him to his feet, having learned to work out the best technique. He had to move backwards, get himself into an almost sitting position, edge towards the steps between the two rooms, and then lift his bottom onto the lower step. From there he was able to grasp the hand rail and I helped lift him from his left side, so that on the count of three we got him to his feet. He was, of course, very shaken, and very sore. I expect he will come out in some livid bruises. When he falls he seems unable to think through the moves necessary to get to his feet. Actually, generally he has lost the capacity to think through moves and sequences of actions.

When I got him upstairs, I made him use a walking frame, that has been supplied by our service provider. They are not totally satisfactory, as they make the user lean forward instead of being able to stay upright, and they have to be moved forward after a couple of steps. However, I think they will be better than the combined use of his walking stick and his hanging on to my arm. We will, I think, need a second frame, so that we have one of each level. He needs to sleep on the other side of the bed, which is closer to the bathroom.

It is not safe to leave him alone in the house, unless he is asleep, in which case I can make brief trips to the local shops.

Dr P keeps telling me how good I am to him, and in one way this is true. I am good: I do what is required, what is necessary, I try to think ahead and to plan. I feel very sorry for him, and in most ways he is remarkably uncomplaining. His back is painful, and he takes a lot of paracetamol. He forgets what he has taken within minutes. He has no real comprehension of what it is like for me.

My heart is sore and bitter, at the lack of past appreciation, the lack of sympathy from him about his daughters, and at the fact that they carry none of the burden and will inherit all his estate. Oftentimes I feel begrudging, and that the love and affection is evaporating. I have the heavy load, all the work, all the decision making and planning, the worry, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week after week. It never lifts. It feels like thick and stifling fog, with a pressure beating down on me. I am so tired and stressed. And I am much too sorry for myself, and must struggle to overcome this.

Essentially I have lost the person he used to be. I must not lose myself as well.


VioletSky said...

My heart aches for you in this impossible situation.

Anonymous said...

You are a strong and wonderful woman, and I know you will not lose yourself. It is good that you will get some extra care so you can go back to choir; I think it's very important to maintain your interests in a situation like this, and have a healthy outlet for socialising and creativity.

SoulDragon said...

I feel very sorry for you, and can, to a degree, say that I know how you are feeling. My sister found herself in a similar situation with our father as he became sicker with Multiple Myeloma. however, he was not as bad as your Dr P.

Now we 3 sisters, following his passing in 2009, are searching for a more appropriate place for our mother, who has been in care since the late 90s. Dad moved there a year or so before he finally passed. I went through the whole guilt thing, having moved to another state for a better employment prospect, and to be nearer my adult all I can do is all the "admin" and phoning; stuck in another state whilst I have treatment for my cancer.

It is a real problem trying to find a place for relatives. And in our country, despite Government regulatory policies, our aged care facilities vary a lot with regard to level of care and simple dignity and diplomacy.

I will b[e thinking of you and hope you will soon find a solution.

You are a formidable woman with what you are dealing with, and this will help you as you deal with this problem.

Take good care.

Relatively Retiring said...

I am so sorry to hear of this sad journey.
It is so difficult to lose someone a bit at a time, and then to be left with a person you hardly know.

Pam said...

Oh dear, this is so hard on you. I can't believe that those daughters have taken his money and left you with not enough to have him cared for properly. I mean - I do believe it, but it's beyond imagination.

You must get all the help you can. You need to have your life back and his children should be taking at least some of the responsibility for his care. I'm so sad for you and hope that a solution will be found sooner rather than later. I know how desperate I felt about my confused aunt problem last year.

(Ankle getting better, thanks, and snow long gone.)

Anonymous said...

I wish you well in this endevour. I went through this with a parent, and whilst it is vastly different with a partner, the parallels of discomfort are there. I hope you find your way peacefully.