Photograph compliments of K. Farwell

It is time to write again. My world is coming back to some semblance of normal. I was able to have a telephone conversation with my father yesterday. He was happy; he was going to watch a football game with my youngest sister. He was able to hear me tell him I love him, and he was able to tell me he loves me. That seems like a somewhat insignificant thing to be happy, no delighted, about. But, you see, there is a bit of history with that point of delight. On Tuesday of this past week my father’s appeal to Humana to extend his rehabilitation coverage was denied, and, as a result, he was moved to a long term care “restorative program” that will focus on keeping him at his present level of functioning by encouraging walking and regular exercise. He was not physically able to benefit from the rehab therapies—-partially due to his deteriorating physical health/COPD issues. He was, and is, too ill to live at home alone even with caregivers in the home.

Making a move to long term care has long been one of his most dreaded possibilities. For years my father has said he wanted to die at home and has repeatedly asked us to never put him in “one of those places.”  He has out-lived his ex-wife, his wife, his best friend, his younger brother and sister, and his older sister. Now, in spite of everything, he is exactly where he never wanted to be. Most people are “there” long before they reach the age of 92. It is a small miracle he has made it this long “at home ” alone even though he had a lot of loving, caring people helping him do so—-especially when you realize he has severe cardiac problems, COPD/asthma, a history of a bowel blockage, and now, more recently, renal failure and a newly developed  swallowing dysfunction. In addition, walking has become increasingly difficult for him. To make a long story short, he is where he needs to be. And he still loves me and my sisters even though we were instrumental in making the decision for him staying where he is.

It is a gift from God that love can survive and overcome the boundaries of circumstance, environment, and necessity. I can sleep better at night now knowing he is being taken care of by professionals. Granted, I know even though he is in long term care, he can still fall, contract contagious diseases, and even fall victim to MERSA and other dreaded “evils” that lurk in today’s medical care settings. But at least now, if he falls, there will be someone there to help him up, to check him  for injuries, and to notify family if needed. My youngest sister who lives close and other friends and neighbors have been visiting him on a regular basis, and my other sister and I call regularly. It is very important that he not feel abandoned.

Lurking in the back of my mind is the constant, nagging thought that when I am “in my father’s place” should I reach such a cross-roads in my life,  there will be no children to help me make decisions or to visit me. But, then, I remember God has always been with me when I have been hospitalized close to death and away from friends and family.  God will not forsake me; nor will he forsake my father.

Enough about the “family crisis” I have been surviving. What I want to emphasize is the increasing importance of a particular quote I found crumpled up in pocket of a jacket I was wearing when I was taking care of him in the hospital while  he was recovering from renal failure. Finding this note wadded up in my pocket was no accident.  I truly believe it was a direct gift from God. It kept me going then, it kept me going through the stress of finding a good rehab and long term care facility, it kept me going through placing him in long term care, and it is still keeping me going on a one-day-at-a-time basis.  It is a quote from “The Cloud of Unknowing”—-and it has become my mantra: “Love is our task; everything else is up to God.” Not a bad mantra to have in your heart and soul! Thanks for letting me ramble. God bless and keep you.