This has been an eventful week.
On Monday, I learned that my Dad had finally made the decision to seek permanent care for my Mom. She’s 90 years old and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, she’s virtually blind, incontinent and confined to a wheelchair. Dad has been burning himself out trying to be her primary caregiver and most of the time she doesn’t even know who he is.
I was relieved! I would be able to leave the country knowing that Mom was being well cared for and that Dad could finally relax and possibly regain his flagging health and strength. Then came Wednesday and a phone call from my sister. Dad was suffering from chest pains and she was catching a plane that afternoon to fly out to Vancouver to be with them!
I was already feeling stressed over the delay in getting our visas. This news was almost more than I could handle! Questions and doubts flooded my mind. What was I thinking of? Was going to China at this point sheer insanity? We’d already signed our contracts! What choice did I have now?
I don’t handle stress well. Apparently, neither does my father! His chest pains were not an indication of an impending heart attack as we feared but, as far as we can tell, the result of stressing about the decision he’d made and all its implications. He had lain awake for long hours Tuesday night worrying about where Mom would end up, how he’d get her there, what he should pack for her, whether or not she’d adjust well to her new surroundings and so on and so on until the pain began.
We knew that initially, at least, Mom would go into the first appropriate long term care bed in their area. We prayed that it would be easily accessible by bus so that Dad, who no longer drives due to failing eyesight, could visit her regularly. God did even better than that! Tomorrow morning she’s moving into a care facility just down the street from the apartment building where my parents have lived for over 20 years! It’s literally about 500 metres away, close enough for Dad to walk over anytime he wants!
After more than 64 years of marriage, tonight will be the last night that my parents will spend together. It’s sad, but Alzheimer’s is sadder. In a sense, Mom has already been gone for quite a long time. I’m just glad that Dad will still be able to spend time with her each day and that my sister is there to help them with the transition.
Now, if only the results of our blood tests come back soon so that we can head to Calgary to apply for our visas. Then maybe the knots in my stomach will begin to untangle!