Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Upside - I lost 4 kilograms. (nearly nine pounds)

I never knew I could be this weary. Arthur asked me if it was worth it to have him at home, I told him of course it was, and as long as I have breath in my body he is staying with me.

After the provider planned his program, he gets two people for half an hour in the morning to wash him and change his clothes. They will also shave him a couple of times a week, cut his nails when he needs it and put on his creams and lotions. He gets his incontinence pads supplied and his creams and lotions supplied. A nurse is available to apply dressings if needed. Everything else I do.

I have lost 4 kgs in two weeks, from doing Arthur's transfers in and out of his bed and everything else. He has to get into the hospital bed before they come in the morning, so I help him out of the queen-bed in his bedroom, using his walker (rollator) get to his seat in the kitchen to have breakfast and then I help him into the hospital bed in the front room. After they leave I get him out of the hospital bed, help him outside to sit on the porch if he wants, and I encourage him to take a walk down the path and back. Sometimes he does a walk after the evening meal instead, but he is only walking about three times a week.

After lunch, which is usually soup, I transfer him into the queen-bed. He watches TV or sleeps. Later in the afternoon I help him out of bed and into the kitchen for dinner. I heat up the Meals on Wheels dinner in the microwave oven and arrange it on our best plate with garnishes to make it look appetizing. He has his food ground to 2 mgs (puree) so I need to make it not look like mush. He takes a while to eat and during dinner Arthur watches TV or we talk. I try to get the kitchen cleaned and peg the clothes out onto the line so I am finished most of that by the end of the meal. I eat a little with him but I find my appetite is gone by then.

After dinner I help Arthur to the toilet if he needs to and then help him back to the queen-bed. I change his pad and make him comfortable. Each time he sits or stands up, gets in or out of bed or needs re-positioning in bed he needs me to physically help him move.

I need so much help now and I am getting so little. The attitude is that if I want Arthur home I have to do it, because the authorities won't help much when some-one gets too frail. It doesn't matter what the aged person wants or what the family wants, all you get is 7 work-hours a week, which is 1/2 a hour a day with two people.

I often have no appetite, and start eating food and can't finish it. I have gone from eating 3 Weetbix http://www.weetbix.com.au/ for breakfast to barely forcing down one. I am too tired to read books, crochet or much else. I cry a lot and fear the future when I will be alone.

My adult children are not much use, two live in London, one in Perth, Western Australia thousands of miles away and all live full busy lives, one son here is has a job that takes up all his time, and he can't visit without Arthur's condition upsetting him. The other son is my main contact but he has his own troubles that worry me. My Mother is a great emotional support but I am aware of her health problems and that I need to help her out too. I have to say I am lonely. I miss the times when Arthur and I used to go out, and I know he does too. I must say I as a young mother, I never envisaged a time when my children would not be there for me, but that is the modern family way, far-flung, fractured and distracted.

I said to Arthur we have to make the best of this. He says he has to come to terms with his life as it is. He is resilient and I must be stronger.