Since arriving in Nebraska, I have worn many hats – furniture mover, plumber, part time cook, personal trainer and daughter.  Here is a small sampling of my week: 

Furniture mover –There were several pieces of furniture and carpets that needed to be dealt with.  Mom had not done much prior to my arrival.  She needed someone to “think” out loud with.  I helped her think through what needed to be done and where to put certain items.  I moved the recliner, rolled up two area rugs and several throw rugs.  Then came moving the grill and several other pieces of furniture into the 2nd garage.  The table needed to be moved as well as a couple other chairs.  All in all it was a busy morning for the furniture mover!

Plumber – Then there were some adaptations needed in the bathroom.  So I became the plumber and put the rails together for the toilet and started to remove the toilet set to ” bolt” them to the toilet and realized that the bolts were too tight and even though I have been lifting weights, I still couldn’t budge those bolts, partly due to 15 years of corrosion.  I called in the reinforcements  – my brother came and helped finish that job.  Today I replaced the shower head with a hand held shower head -so now dad can take a shower! 

Part time cook – I have cooked some of the meals so that mom can focus on dad and his needs.  This morning while mom was getting dad up and dressed, I made breakfast.  It was nice for her to be able to sit down for breakfast and not have to cook it.  She however really enjoys doing dishes so she does all the dishes from the day after supper.   This morning was the one time I wish I knew how to make coffee – Mom would have enjoyed freshly brewed coffee instead of the instant!

Personal trainer –  Dad is responsible to continue his exercises and I have helped him to remember to do them and have added some resistive exercises with therabands into the routine.  However since he didn’t seem to think that they were doing anything, he pushed to hard and is a bit sore today.  Pray that he will rebound quickly from this pain.  I really don’t want mom to have to deal with pain management with everything else she is adjusting to.  This morning we had a Physical Therapist come in.  She is associated with Home Health and really likes Parkinson’s patients.  She will be talking with my dad’s doctors to get a different Parkinson’s drug, with the hopes that between the things that she does and the medicines, dad’s quality of life can improve!  My dad was thrilled with the way she showed him to get into bed – it was like jumping into bed.  She also said that my dad is at the top of the list in terms of stiffness in his upper body.  In just a few new exercises that I learned today and have done a couple of times, dad is beginning to loosen up a bit!  Both mom and dad are more hopeful that there can be some improvements!

There is also the training of my mom.  She is really overwhelmed by all the changes and the medical “stuff.”  She has been caught off guard by a couple of things and had to be walked through them.  She tells me that she has learned a lot from just watching me.  My biggest concern is that dad prefers to have me work with him when he walks or does his exercises.  Part of that is because I am physically stronger than my mom and can physically manipulate him, if necessary.  However I plan to leave on Thursday and I really want mom to feel comfortable.  Pray that my mom can get in at least a couple of good sessions with dad before I go.  She just needs to feel comfortable with all that needs to happen. 

This has been a hard week emotionally for me as a daughter.  I have seen some things that tell me the Parkinson’s is progressing and making life more challenging.  My dad seems to have lost some more range of motion since the first of March when I was last here.  I also know that mom will require more help on a more regular basis.  I need to think through schedule and cut back on outside activities so that I can be more available.  There is much to ponder and pray over.