And the only constant is . . .


Intellectually and professionally, I understand this just fine. And it’s my turn to live it in an intensified fashion.

5 April Dad sick.

6 April To hospital.

8 April Not Covid-19. It is failure of his previously replaced aortic valve.

9 April Discharged from Hospital. Home to his independent living apartment in a senior complex from hospital.

10 April Formal enrollment in home hospice care.

12 April. No phone answered in apartment. Emails not returned.

13 April. Finally, phone answered. We’re fine. Phones don’t always work. No, I don’t want to use my cell phone.

17 April. Email from my stepmother that there is a bed available in the care center for Dad next week.  Many phone calls later, make clear to his facility that going into a care center with a zero visitors policy (due to covid) is a no-go.

18 April. Meet with step mother, explore options. Meet with dad, who is clearer than he’s been. He at least temporarily understands in situation and articulates clearly that he doesn’t want care from people he doesn’t know, and he wants to be on his own as much as possible.

19 April. Stepmom rages at my sister, saying that she’s trying to get stepmom sick or thrown out of her complex. Turns out she’d misread/misinterpreted an informational letter. Many phone calls and hours later,

21 April Finally talk to the right person, and then another right person

23 April  Assistant from Hospice arrives to help dad with shower (despite 18 april conversation that family a better choice)  Dad, furious at stepmom, leaves apartment, walks too fast, and collapses a few blocks away. Kerfuffle, he’s assisted home safely, no he won’t use a wheelchair, no major harm done.

Zoom conference with stepmom and facility social worker. Experimental agreement, that one of Dad’s kids will come from 9-noon 3 or 4 days a week. Gives dad contact he wants. Gives stepmom a much needed break. Phew. We set a plan for one week.

24 April. Spend 9-noon with Dad, it goes fairly well. Meet hospice nurse, checking him out after yesterdays’ stumble, future CNA visits cancelled. Stepmom arrives a bit past noon. Dad snoozing on couch, and stepmom and I complete the paperwork to file 2019 taxes. Big relief to have it done, particularly for her.

25 April  Brother#1 spends 9-noon, and again, a pretty good day, and Dad voluntarily showers on his own. Phew!

27 April Brother #2 spends 9-noon, again things are going okay.

28 April. Email from stepmom that it was a bad night. Dad up and down a lot fiddling with the microwave. She’s exhausted and out of patience. Ready to move to the facilities guest suite and have the kids take over. Talking it through–does she want/need me to come over now? As she has options, she decides to stay one more night.  I compose a long list of questions on logistics, etc, email it.  I also send out a heads up to my siblings. After dinner, I call and discuss the questions, get a number of answers.

More follow up to siblings, phone with sister, who already was planning a morning visit the next day. She’ll arrive in the morning for a 24 hour shift.

29 April. Meet with my sister at Dad’s. He’s still sleeping, stepmom has gone hiking for the morning. Orient my sister to some stuff, like how to work the oxygen concentrator, which Dad will sometimes use, where his pills are, emergency phone number for hospice, and yes, you can call me first. Email social worker, hospice, etc that I should now be primary contact as stepmom is stepping back for now.

What’s next? Stay tuned.

Tomorrow will be my first 24 hour shift.

Its been a wild month.





15 thoughts on “And the only constant is . . .

  1. Well, I guess this is how family memories are made. No one is going to forget the beginning of 2020. I’m pretty sure this is not going to be anyone’s favorite year, either. And no one could possibly accuse your “isololation” as boring. I hope that everything settles down and you can get a good, long, deep sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In the midst of fear for someone we love, fear of our own personal loss, uncertainty about tomorrow, their old age and illness it’s just not fair that we still have to strive with personalities, including our own. My heart goes out to you, Steph. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry that you are having to go through all of this, even though you know more about the situation than most. Your dad is fortunate to have you to advocate for him! My thoughts are with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your dad is very fortunate to have you all take care of him in harmony with his wishes Steph and this is a great gift to give. It isn’t easy on anyone and I’m glad you have your siblings to help out too. Wishing you strength at this time and take good care of yourself too 💗

    Liked by 1 person

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