The week here in Nebraska has been really challenging. I have had a hard time understanding why my dad has been so difficult and fighting so hard to stay here and willing to let strangers take care of him. It wasn’t until God began to show me how to look at this situation through a different lens that things began to make sense.
My dad and I have talked a lot in the past about him coming to Minnesota for an extended stay – but in the past he has always been able to fall back on staying here where it is comfortable and he knows people. Now there is not fall back plan – it is a reality and it is overwhelming for my father to think about leaving the comfort of the familiar.
I thought he would jump at the chance to come to Minnesota while mom was in the hospital and rehab. However now that his options are severely limited and he has only 2 viable options, he felt backed into a corner and came out fighting. I wasn’t prepared for this and since my dad and I are very similar in nature, things were tense.
It wasn’t until we had exhausted all the other very expensive options, that dad began to open up and share what his fears were. He has been turning over every stone trying to find a way to stay here and now that he is out of options, he is willing to talk. Once he calmed down, I also calmed down and things have gotten better. He is still trying to find a way to stay here, but every once in a while I hear things like, “I can do more walking in Minnesota.” or “We will need to start getting things ready for the trip.”
He is still not emotionally ready to make the move, but there is an even bigger move coming that hasn’t registered yet for my dad. Mom can no longer be his primary care giver and currently when mom and dad are in the same room, mom’s blood pressure sky rockets. She has some emotional things to work through with regard to my dad, but over all she is now done. Dad doesn’t realize that when an opening comes at Tabitha – the long-term care facility, he will be there a long time – probably the rest of his life. This is not the outcome I would have liked, but given that he has chosen to not exercise and keep his body moving, the options for him are very slim.
However I am seeing some mental motivation at least to try some things. Since mom’s fall, I have had to remind dad that we are in this situation due to his choices. He seemed appalled at first that mom was given tools to help her with dressing. I looked at dad and said he has the same tools sitting at home. He denied that fact until we got home and I pulled them out. I couldn’t find one and he knew where it was. He has now started to use a couple of them. He is slow, but making progress. At least now, he can take control of part of his dressing while I get breakfast or do other things. Sometimes it is hard to not think about the “if only’s” , but God is sovereign and I see Him using Mom’s fall to spur my dad into doing what he should have been doing these past 18 months.
He has been pacing like a caged animal trying to figure out a way to get what he wants. This time however, it is not going in his favor and the pacing is slowing down. The growling is becoming quieter and later today I hope to be able to start packing. Dad is waiting for one more phone call from his dr. He is hoping that he will tell him to stay in Nebraska. I don’t think he will, but it is an option.
My brother and I have talked about long-term options and when I explained to him my observations as to why Dad was fighting so hard, he agreed. We talked about putting him in the local nursing home, but mom really does not want him there – so we are not actively pursuing it. Mom needs time to heal and to recover from all of the care giving she has given over the past year. She needs to understand that we are not expecting her to go back to the “status quo” prior to the fall. I am not sure she has fully comprehended that yet. I think she might still fear she will be thrown back into that role again.