My father, with whom I've had a rather stormy relationship, called me from the Emergency Room Friday morning.
He'd called for an ambulance when he awoke and couldn't stand without experiencing severe vertigo and nausea. He told me there wasn't much cause for alarm he didn't think but as his daughter, regardless of our personal dynamics that leave me agitated, infuriated, and drained whenever I talk to or see him, I left my office and drove over to the hospital.
After 4 1/2 hours of sitting there listening to him alternately pick at me and describe all his latest medical ailments, we were told it wasn't serious. After several tests including an MRI revealed nothing alarming, the doctor determined he was suffering from inner ear stones or "rocks in his head". Certainly not life threatening on its own. But the vertigo could prove to be extremely dangerous for a 74-year-old man who is barely mobile as it is.
The doctor wasn't sure what to do with him. While medically there was little to be done and a hospital stay really not necessary, he wasn't willing to send my dad home without assurance he would have around-the-clock supervision and assistance.
I am so fortunate my brother and his family made the move a few months ago to a town about an hour away. My brother arrived just as Dad was signing his discharge paperwork and I was off the hook for the night.
Because really, just 4 1/2 hours was enough to do me in emotionally.
The thought of having to provide 24-hour care while he recovers makes me want to throw up and then bury myself under my bed covers until it's safe to come out. But it's a moot point anyway. I literally can't be there 24 hours. None of us can.
So...what are we supposed to do?
We know what needs to be done. Assisted living. So now begins the campaign to convince an extremely contrary old man to do what is best for him. And I am filled with dread knowing how he operates, how he thinks, how selfish and unaware he is, how he won't do anything he doesn't believe was his idea.
Convincing him is only the first - albeit hardest - hurdle.
If he will agree, then we're faced with the logistics - terminating his apartment lease, packing, moving, storing his property, dealing with the auto dealership from which he just leased a new car (even though he swore he was just going to get rid of his car altogether), going through his paperwork, ensuring his power of attorney and living will get updated, figuring out what bills he has and when to pay them, understanding his income, working with insurance companies and Medicare and doctors.
After thinking and talking about it over the last 48 hours, I'm brain dead.
I can't seem to get motivated to do anything. I didn't get out of my pajamas at all which is probably just as well given I've slept most of the day. I'm tired, weepy, anxious.
And I just realized I still haven't done my taxes. Poop.