Friday, July 9, 2010

And we continue to spin around the sun

A few days ago I posted that indeed my father-in-law was gravely ill. He was admitted a few weeks ago for a suspected heart attack. That came back false, and he hasn't left the hospital since. He's got lung cancer and likely a lump near the stomach. Not good, but he's in no pain so far. He's very tough for his age. He's been in World War 2 fighting the Germans in Normandy. Recently he was declared mentally unfit and pronounced (legally) not to be of sound mind anymore. Basically you lose all rights. He's going into a nursing home soon. He can't walk. It's sad but I understand why he has to go there. We just can't take care of him. In truth, if I could work from home I probably could take care of him, but it's 24 hour care. 

I helped him up and lifted him into bed. He was a 2-person lift - no strength left anymore. I thought I was strong but lifting a 160 pound man by myself put me to the limits of my own strength. It really is very hard to lift someone straight up and place them gently on a bed. His nails were very long and dirty. It bothered me that the nurses don't do this job anymore. They simply let the nails grow. They can't cut the nails they say, because of the risk of infection and damage caused if the person has diabetes and they accidentally cause a cut. It could begin a nasty process of limb loss should it get infected.

I cut his nails and washed them. I'm not a nurse. I told him "I got a confession here... long nails drive me nuts" I told him. He looked at me and said calmly "I'll confess too. I hate dirty nails." So we made a deal: I would cut then help clean his nails. You'd be surprised how much this makes a person feel better. I think I would rather be ripped to pieces than to put a close loved one in a nursing home. It's a betrayal and guilt that last a long time. You are not God, I say. You cannot care for this man. It is difficult but a fact of life. We all get old and die. Not everyone has family that cares about them. Many people die alone, abandoned by family and lost in their dementia. For this I am grateful we have death. Could you imagine living for millions of years but existing like a vegetable? Pure hell. 

And now for an uplifting link. Here is a story about a cat that can predict death. Very neat.

No comments: