When you make the decision to care for an elderly parent, you are taking on a huge responsibility. In my situation, I was my dad’s caregiver, but since I am single and lost my house, I had to move home with my parents.
I was devastated at the time, but I realized my purpose for having to move back home. I developed some health problems at first, and then my mother became terminally ill with cancer. I became her caregiver until she passed away.
In April 2002, my father became seriously ill. I called an ambulance, and they took him to the hospital. I came to the hospital as soon as I could after the ambulance left. I stayed with him at the hospital most of the night. They told me he was severely dehydrated, and they almost lost him in emergency before I got there, but he survived. I was glad about that because I did not want to lose my dad. It was difficult enough losing my mother.
They transferred him to a private room and began immediate care. Even though I wanted to stay there the whole night, my father wanted me to go home and take care of the dogs. He loved my dogs, and they knew him as Grandpa and my mother as Grandma. I decided to go home in the middle of the night to take care of the dogs, but I got up early the next morning and drove to the hospital, so I could spend time with my dad and help him during his stay.
When they released him from the hospital, they transferred him to Rehab, so he could learn to walk again. I continued to stay with him most of the day because I felt responsible for my father.
Within a few weeks, he was up walking and doing better. A month later, they discharged him. He came home, so I could take care of him. I wanted to be with my father, and he wanted to come home and be with my dogs and me.
I loved my father and wanted to be his caregiver like I was for my mother. He continued to gain his strength and was doing better, so I went back to being a substitute teacher in the fall.
In December 2002, my father had a major stroke. He was in the hospital for a few days and back in Rehab for a month. I stopped working as a substitute teacher, so I could be with my dad in the hospital. I wanted to spend time with him because I did not know how much longer I would have with him, and I was his caregiver. I also wanted to make sure he received the right kind of care in the hospital.
He survived the stroke again and could walk better, but he had to come home in a wheel chair. A physical therapist worked with my dad at the house a few days a week to help him walk. An occupational therapist came over to work with his hands. My dad was paralyzed for a short time on the right side. He overcame most of his disability. However, he could not use the right hand as he did before. He used the left hand to eat and do things.
Since my dad had his stroke, I did not want to continue subbing because I felt the responsibility of caring for my father, but I did renew my certificate each year, so that I could sub again in the future. My desire at the time was to stay home with my father and be his caregiver. I never knew when he was going to have another stroke, so I did not want to leave him for a very long time.
My dad continued to improve, but I still stayed at home so I could help him. It was during this time that my dad and I began to develop a better relationship than we had when I was younger. He even started playing Connect Four with me for four hours at a time because he enjoyed that game. We played the game while we watched television, ate snacks, and took care of my dogs.
I was glad I had that time with my father before he passed away. My brother had his own family and lived about two hours away, so I knew I had the responsibility of caring for our father, and I’m thankful for the time I had with him because we grew closer together, and he arranged it so I could have my name on the house and have my own place when he passed away. Being responsible for a parent can be difficult at times, but there are also times that I was blessed by my dad’s and my relationship