One thing I wish I could change is the tendency to have my weird health issues appear on holidays and weekends. Of course, my main wish would be to quit having weird health issues altogether, but if that's impossible to grant, could whoever is in charge please schedule them around doctor's office hours? The past weekend of waiting to hear results was a long one.
At last I have some positive news; late Monday my new gynecologist's office called to tell me the results of the biopsy were benign. The ultrasound results were not back yet. I now have an appointment in six weeks to see the doctor for a follow-up though I can call sooner if need be. What a relief it was to hear the results were normal, at least for now. We still have no answers for why this happened in the first place, though the pieces of the puzzle may come together yet at some point down the road. We'll see what January brings.
Carl's mom is still holding her own. My father-in-law insisted he could change the bandage on her leg wound after we did it together the first time, and I reluctantly stood down. I do not want to become the Dictator Daughter-in-law. This is all new territory and when the roles change, it's very hard.
You'd think since I've been through this with my mother I'd have better insight into the best way to broach difficult topics, wouldn't you? But the truth is, I don't. Every situation is different and with the onset of dementia, the situation can change every minute. No one ever said this was going to be easy.
But along with my good news yesterday, I received a call from my mother-in-law shortly afterward; her new doctor's office called and asked them to come in for an appointment yesterday afternoon. According to my MIL, her blood pressure was much better and her leg is healing well. Thank God for that; I was really worried about her blood pressure and whether or not the wound care was being done on a daily basis. I was very glad the office called them to make an appointment and another big plus is the new doctor's office is in our little hometown.
My MIL was scheduled to have some circulatory testing done this coming Thursday, and I asked about the appointment.
"No, I don't have to go back in for anything. I'm getting better," MIL said. "My blood pressure was very good, I don't need to see the doctor anymore."
"That's good," I said, but I thought differently, and asked her if I might speak to my FIL.
After talking to him, I found out the circulatory testing is still going to be done and that she will have to go once a week for wound care to the hospital, which was the original plan. My FIL understands what's going on, which is a blessing.
Dealing with dementia is very difficult. At times the fog lifts and they can remember everything with stunning clarity, but at other times, events are muddled and confusion abounds on the part of both caregiver and care receiver. In the midst of all the upset and role-changing, there needs to be respect. After all, my in-laws have lived eighty-six years of their lives without me telling them what to do. So who am I to waltz in and turn their world upside down? No one wants to lose the ability to make their own decisions. I know I won't either when my time comes.
As a caregiver, you have to develop a thick skin because at times (ok, most of the time) you're seen as the Bad Guy. Having a good support system in place is a necessity for your own mental health. And a sense of humor and irony is also a must.
Sadly, if we live long enough, we will all need help of some kind. My late uncle always joked, "Treat your kids well because they'll end up picking out your nursing home."
My mother had a very hard time adjusting to my taking her car keys when she turned 93. And she still protests turning over her laundry and other chores, but I think she's come to grudgingly accept it now. At one point we were all helpless infants and our parents cared for us. Now we have the duty and the honor to repay the favor, though the time may come when I will also have to hand over the reins to someone more qualified. Until then, we keep on keeping on, one day at a time.
I want to send a sincere thank you to all of my dear friends, near and far, who have and continue to support me as I stumble around in these uncharted territories.
Without all of you, I would be lost.