Been a while, sorry. My dad's been ill. He's getting better--kind of. He's on oxygen and he doesn't want to do anything that requires leaving the house. He's stronger so I don't think he'll need to be on oxygen much longer but these past few weeks have been hard--very hard. Good thoughts and prayers are welcome.
No one tells you things about having your parents get sick. Here are Thirteen I've learned the hard way.
1) It doesn't matter if you know how old your parents are, you're not prepared for them to look old, or infirm, the way you see them in a hospital bed.
2) It is frightening, in that place where you don't talk about it, to see mortality etched on a loved ones face.
3) You want to throttle anyone talking down to your loved ones.
4) That being said, you want to kick anyone's ass who doesn't speak to them with respect. I nearly yelled at the doctor for calling my father "83 year old male" to another doctor. That's my father you're talking about! My father! He has a name and he's not just any 83 year old male, he's mine!
5) Anger fills you and you get angry at everything. Your spouse, your job, your car. Even your loved one for not being invincible. That last will keep you up late at night praying for forgiveness.
6) There are two words for children caring for sick parents that don't think that somehow their siblings could be doing more. Those two words are: Only children.
7) There is a pride in doing for your parents in ways that they have always done for you.
8) You start crying at everything.
9) You graduate with your PhD of Google Medical Sites. How were people informed about their own conditions and that of loved ones before the internet?
10) You start thinking in terms of before and after the hospitalization. How silly all your worries were before it.
11) You thank Gd for Medicare so you don't have to choose between buying groceries for your mother and paying your father's hospital bill. You have nothing but evil words for anyone who thinks that universal health care in the US should not be the law of the land.
12) You start talking about quality of life issues. Seriously people talk about them BEFORE you get sick. My parents have done so and I know where they stand.
13) All those stupid little things you were mad at your parents for--all of them--go away when you think you might lose them.* You end every phone conversation with "I love you so much." You find yourself going back one more time for one hug and you pray in your heart when you leave that you will see them again.
(*This of course does not hold true in cases of abuse--because, of course, that is not a stupid little thing. Thankfully I can only speak of my experience and equally thankfully abuse had no part in my growing-up)