Child As Parent

There is a closeness you get when you take care of a parent in the hospital. It is different than any previous stage in your relationship. Somehow it is the switching roles, where you are more the parent and they are more the baby. In my case it is a baby with attitude and a sailor’s vocabulary. Spending hour upon hour in a small room together with constant visitors of varying healthcare jobs is an experience like no other.

Today was a good day. I arrived at the hospital around 8:00 to find my father had actually slept, which was a godsend after almost two months without a good night’s sleep and had eaten breakfast, also a rare occurrence in the same time period. My sister Janet said he hadn’t eaten much at all for the four days she was taking care of him.

Some visits with health care people go better than others. I am there as the interpreter, referee, memory keeper, coach, phycologist and cheerleader. I knew things were looking up when Kevin, a transport tech came to my Dad’s room to wheel him away for a test. My Dad took one look at Kevin and asked, “Do you have a band?” You never know what my Dad is thinking.

We got my father settled in this new high tech wheel chair and as Kevin pushed him down the hall I heard my father’s loud, low voice say, “Kevin, how long have you been doing this?” This is the sentence that he says first to anyone new he meets for his whole life. I knew he was more himself in that moment.

Hospital food is not something that anyone likes, especially someone who hasn’t felt like eating their own good food. I discussed with Dad’s nurse, Micheal, if my Dad could have a lunch we brought him and he agreed to it. Hope Valley Diner sometimes has egg salad as a special and it is my father’s favorite. So Russ called them and asked them to make it especially for him, which they did once they heard it was for him in the hospital.

Carter delivered the lunch of egg salad on rye to her grandfather and stayed to watch him eat practically two sandwiches. He may still have a lot wrong with him, but the eating was a good sign.

Russ texted me a message just after four this afternoon, which I read to my Dad. “Dow just gained 1000+ points on the news that Ed is now up to eating egg sandwiches…”. My father roared his big laugh. Happy about both the food and the market.

As I was giving the evening instructions to Micheal the nurse for him to pass on to the night team I said, “I really need to go home and rest and will be back first thing in the morning.” Micheal said, “We need you to rest so you can be here.” There is no place else for me to be.

Thanks for all the kind messages of support and prayers. I appreciate all of you even if I don’t have time to respond.

2 Comments on “Child As Parent”

  1. Sally Graham says:

    So glad your dad is doing better. I have been praying for your family. I have had a hard time after my most recent shoulder surgery in November. Will spare you all of the ER visits, etc. Magnus says I have diastolic heart failure. No fun. Not able to do anything, including PT for my shoulder. Thank God for Jack and my girls, they are such a big help. There is nothing like family when you are sick. You are doing a wonderful thing for yours. Hang in there. Sally

    Sally Graham 919.475.1082 Sent from my iPhone


  2. Carol Walker says:

    I have been through this 4 times but only once with my Dad the love of my life. I am so with you in my prayers . There is nobody like your Dad. I know you have lots of close friends but please let me know if I can do ANYTHING.


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