Thursday, February 1, 2007

CARING FOR THE ELDERLY



My birthday came and went a week ago. I am officially 39 years old now! Wow! I had a wonderful birthday DAY but we have been so busy with helping an elderly friend in various ways that I haven't had time to blog.

It all started a few weeks ago when D wanted Tommy to help him out by retrieving his mail at the post office, getting a few groceries, picking up cleaning, and odd jobs like that. But then D got bed-ridden and needed Tommy more. For the past few weeks Tommy has been helping D, feeding him, rolling him over in his bed, helping him to the bathroom, and just being there to keep him company and talking with him. A week ago, another friend and neighbor of D had his son's girlfriend come stay with D during the day but that turned into a nightmare until finally last weekend Tommy convinced D to go to the hospital. D didn't want to go, but Tommy agreed to go with him and stay with him until he was settled in.

So Monday they were in Savannah all day with much ado in the hospital. D laying out in the hallway for 3 or 4 hours. Then after Tommy started making waves, they finally put D in a room at 4 pm. Then it wasn't until hours later they hooked the man up to an IV, gave him pain reliever, etc.! I don't know if it was the fact that Tommy kept calling the Floor Supervisor to complain about the lack of care or because he mentioned how there was a judge and lawyer in the room that accounted for their sudden attentiveness to D. He started getting some care, however, and eventually a diagnosis was made and it was discovered that D had pneumonia!

There have been more issues in the past week, mainly with the girl who was staying with D during the day but who had been VERY negligent in caring for the man. D told Tommy one day last week that he supposes the girl just wanted him to sleep all day because she didn't come in to feed him. Whereas Tommy had been feeding him soup previously, that particular night when Tommy went to visit him the man ate an entire ham sandwich Tommy made for him! That was abnormal for the man to eat that much. Then Tommy discovered the house had been plundered, things out of place and obviously gone through. Tommy expressed his concerns to one or both of D's daughters (who both live out of state thousands of miles away) and they told him to "hide" anything that needed hiding such as his business size checkbook. But Tommy told me the next day that the girl had already found it! I asked him how he could tell and he indicated that things were out of place in the closet where he had put it the day before. Then there was an episode Friday where the girl and her boyfriend (whom she'd been having come over during the day, eating D's food, and playing their video games they brought) had a fight and D ended up CALLING Tommy on the phone scared for his life!

Thankfully all that is over now, however, since she won't be needed anymore. D will be in the hospital for at least a week recuperating and when he gets home, life will hopefully be smoother with a couple of caregivers who have done this before and have good references from other elderly people here in town who used them when they needed personal help for a time.

Meanwhile, the past few nights Tommy has been driving the hour to Savannah and the hour back each evening to visit D in the hospital. We all went Tuesday night, but it was really too much on the children to drive all that way and then be cooped up in a hospital. So Wednesday night Tommy went by himself and spent several hours visiting with D. When Tommy got back home in the 10 o'clock hour, he told me how he had said goodbye to D and left his room. But on the elevator ride down Tommy realized that he'd forgotten his glasses in D's room. So he went back to D's room and was surprised to see that the man had tears running down his cheeks! D quickly wiped at his face when he saw Tommy unexpectedly come back and Tommy discreetly acted like he didn't notice. D is a smart man and alert still, but I think he's just very lonely. I think it even moreso after hearing about him crying. How sad is that.

D had asked Tommy a few weeks ago if we would move in with him. Tommy had to think about that, though, and wasn't really ready for such a move, even considering the generous pay that D offered. (And believe me, it was generous!) But just the fact that this old man asked, considering we have 3 small children, 8 and under, reinforces to me that he's just a lonely man. He wants people around him. "Life" around him. We did spend one night with him a couple of weeks ago, and he didn't mind the children's noise in his home even though I was on pins and needles trying to keep them from being so noisy. Evenso, he seemed to enjoy having them around though he was bed-ridden.

Tommy and he are old friends and he's been taking care of D the best he can, but it will be good to see a capable husband/wife duo come in and help out. I know it's been tough on Tommy, as far as time spent away from us. But we're all managing just fine, and considering the age of this man, this is something we can all do for him. Just give him some time and attention. I am really touched that D was crying. Tommy had been with him for a whole 5 hours and yet it just wasn't enough time for D, I suppose.

So that's what's been going on the past few weeks here. Just staying busy caring for an elderly friend. Hopefully, I'll have more time to blog as I've received several fun packages in the mail, especially birthday packages, and I wanted to picture it and thank the Senders in this way, too. So I'll be back later today to make that post. Until then, THANK YOU! to my CLBFX partners Janet, Roberta, and Alicia, and my SP9 Judy for the Birthday packages I received. Thank you, Barb, for the Book/Bookmark package I received Tuesday. I'll show pics and write more later today, but for now, I need some sleep!

Goodnight! Sleep tight!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad it arrived, I paid extra for 7 day delivery and when I did'nt hear anything I thought it was lost!! I hope you enjoy the package :)

Chrisitne said...

It really is a shame how the elderly are treated in hospitals and nursing homes (my mother is a geriatric nurse and goes nuts about patient abuse, which includes not helping with pain) I am glad to hear that a neighbor like yourself and husband are compassionate enough to care and give time out of your busy lives to make someone feel loved.
I must say, recently being hospitalized, it is very, very lonely in there, and I am only 31.
You and your family and D are in my prayers.
Christine
www.iknit2.typepad.com
knittinpal@gmail.com

Rosesandtea said...

Happy Belated Birthday!

What a lovely example of Christ's love in action in your family - through Tommy in caring for this elderly gentleman, and through you, in being so gracious about the time your husband is spending away from you in order to help someone else.

God bless you so much!!