Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Taking Care of Parents

Sorry to have been gone for so long. Things have been nuts around here. Mom, is not well and has been in and out (mostly in) the hospital for the past 3 weeks. She has congestive heart failure and initially went into the hospital because she was having an episode that we thought was another heart attack. During that time her sodium levels dropped way too low and well lets just say during that time she was a candidate for the mental ward. Once all that was straightened out we went home and were home for 4 days before we went back in. This time she had an E.coli infection which the doctor suspects was from her being catheterized during the first week. So, there I was another week practically living at the hospital. Her fluid levels went up and we had a couple days of panic as she could breathe due to the fluid build up in her chest. For those who don't know about congestive heart failure it isn't that the heart doesn't pump it's that the heart doesn't pump well, which causes fluid build up in the body and especially in the chest. Fluid building up in the chest causes to person to feel like they can't breathe (pressure on the lungs) and can eventually lead a weak heart to stop pumping as the pressure builds. What complicates matters with mom is that she is a chronic pain patient and is on loads of pain meds. Unfortunately, pain meds can aggravate her condition with her heart as they cause a decrease in respiration and slow her heart rate. Without the pain meds though the stress of the pain she would then suffer would finish off her heart. She is in a catch 22 situation and she is only 69 years old. I have had several conversations with friends lately that are going through similar things with their parents who are about the same age. What happened to that generation that so many of them are in failing health so early in life? My dad died at the age of 58, yet his father died at the age of 90 and his mother at the age of 81. My grandfather was active up until the last year of his life and still growing a garden until he was about 85. What I see different is food and lifestyle. My grandparents farmed, they were physically very active and they ate what they grew and produced. My parents generation had the option of more processed easy convenience meals from the grocery store and that is what worked for them because with the women's revolution it was no longer acceptable for women to stay home and cook wholesome from scratch meals like my grandmothers did. Their lifestyle centered around social gatherings with friends after work..cocktail parties, dinner parties, etc. Liquor was abundant and smoking was THE thing. Now my parents were the older version of the boomer generation and didn't partake in some of the "recreational" activities that the younger boomers did. By the time the hippies of the late 60s came around my parents were firmly settled into careers and thinking about children. Still because they both left the physical activities of the farm behind to live a more sedentary life along with all the parties, I believe they both have suffered from it. My dad never got a chance to even see his grandchildren. He missed his youngest child's high school graduation and her naval academy graduation. Mom too has missed out on so much piano recitals, ballet recitals and classes, times at the park and many times just being able to get out of bed long enough to play or color together. It's tough for my generation because we still have little ones to raise and now we have our parents in failing health that take so much of our time. My parents didn't have that as their parents were still taking care of themselves and living full lives. How do you balance it all? I simply don't know as I am struggling right now trying to figure it out. Sometimes I have to admit that I find it unfair that the boomer generation has done this to my generation. I in unfair and I am being selfish. However, I see the toll that has been paid by my husband and children as they have had to live without mom for 3 weeks. And it's not over as I am now taking more responsibility for mom's care and spending more time taking care of her. I know one thing that has come of this and it's that I am more resolved than ever that I don't want to be that way. I want to be like my grandparents, teaching my granddaughter to make jelly when I am 78 years old and taking trips through the woods to watch the grandkids play in the creek, growing a small garden in my 80s and putting up food every year. I want to teach my grandchildren those lessons about life and living that it seems only grandparents can teach. My grandfather taught me so much and my children have missed that. I want to make sure that my grandchildren don't. I am more resolved than ever to grow my own food and suffer the hardships that come with farming as I am convinced it is all worth it in the end. Blessings from the farm, Kat


Marmee's Pantry said...

Take your time, do what you need to do & be w/your mom. My mom passed away on the 17th & we just buried her on Friday. But the LORD is SO good ~ she passed peacefully w/my brother & I holding her hands, stoking her hair & telling her how much we love her. Praise the LORD for her easy passing.

Blessings from Ohio...Kim<><

Rick said...

Kat I feel for you as I read your post. Went thru the same thing with my parents. Have lost both within the past 12 months. Basically due to what I would all excessive lifestyle choices on booze and smoking. It is tough because you care but hard at times as I watched what they did to themselves. Have to be there while they are still around. Take care and hang in there.


Kat said...

Thank you both and my prayers are with you and your families. Kat

Kit said...

I'm sorry to hear about the health of your mother. My husband and my brothers have the same concerns for our parents, who are in varying degrees of poor health. God has really opened some doors though for us to help them change their lifestyles and so far it seems to be helping. I'm so excited to have stumbled across your blog. My husband and I have two young sons and we are working toward homesteading with family. My husband is a graduate student towards a degree in professional counseling which God willing we will use to open a not for profit homesteading practice in a few more years. We feel absolutely that God wants us to slow down and be good stewards of our money and resources in order to further glorify him. Thanks for sharing!

maxcomputer said...