the journey

BIG CHANGES! And biting off more than you can chew.

I am writing this in January of 2018. A LOT has changed since my original blog post. One major change is that my father did not fair well in the nursing home that my mother and I chose for him.

He has always been stubborn, and always slept during the day in naps and not much at night, for as long as I can remember. The nursing home needed him to be on a schedule and it turned into a clash of wills. WHich eventually led to my father being 302’d. For those who do not know what a 302 is, it is an involuntary commitment of someone when they present a clear and present danger to themselves or others. Nursing homes frequently do this to their patients when they become unmanageable.  It is sad, and terrible that this happens. But it is a fact. When I worked as a nurse in a busy, city Emergency Department I would see this frequently. Elderly people being brought to us for medical clearance and then moved on to the psychiatric hospital. For minor reasons, that made you realize it was just to get them off of their hands.

This happened to my father over Thanksgiving last year. It was a very tough time, visiting him, trying to explain why he had to be there. He couldn’t leave to smoke cigarettes and kept pulling his nicotine patches off. Which just led to him being more anxious and wound up. When I would go for my visit with him after work, I would see him behind the door trying to get out and wandering around. It was terrible.

My boyfriend could see that this was tearing me up, and so we along with my mother discussed moving him into our house, converting the first floor into his apartment and arranging for home Health Aides.  We set this up in 2 weeks. WHEEEEEWWWWWW! (Pics of pre- mid- and post 1st Floor clean out posted below)

It was madness, we were exhausted physically and emotionally. We also had to install a bathroom for him as there was only a half bath, leading us to be financially exhausted as well!

BUT, we did it. We moved Dad in on November 28th of last year. It has been 2 months and we are starting to already feel caregiver fatigue. We have aides to help 7 days a week, which believe me is lucky! Many people do not qualify for that and thank God Dad does.  But after work and having the evenings to make sure he doesn’t fall, and has his medicine, and is safe, and that we can spend some quality time together, and then also spending quality time with my boyfriend, and dinner for us (which is different than Dad’s as he does not like anything resembling healthy), and walking the dogs, and doing the dishes, and tucking him in, and checking on him when I see on the monitor we have set up that he is walking around at night…… It doesn’t stop.

Let me take a break here to say a couple of things. I do not want this to sound like I am whinging. I realize that so many people find themselves and their loved ones in a situation like this or worse. I am aware that I asked for this, fought for this.

So. From the last post to this post, a lot has changed. Did we bite of more than we could chew? Probably yes. For our on self-care, but also for Dad’s safety. Is he happier here? I believe he is happier here than he would be in a home, however he is so confused and doesn’t really understand where here is. And that really makes me sad.

The upper left picture is the 1st Floor before we did anything to it. My boyfriend bought the house last year and the previous owner just left his whole life there… The 1st floor is commercially zoned, so we left that as we were getting our living space together upstairs…

The bottom left picture is the room mid process, we did a Herculean moving day to junk everything, then painted. Dad wanted a blue and gold room, so that’s what we did!

Finally the right side picture is the finished product at the time of move in. After dad moved in we had a friend help install a full bathroom.

I’d love to hear from you, do you have a similar story? Are you going through a tough time with things right now? Please leave a comment, let me know what s going on in your world.

And thanks for reading such a looooong post. I’ll get the knack of writing shorter ones maybe.


2 Responses to “BIG CHANGES! And biting off more than you can chew.”

  1. rachndani

    Dear, dear friend. How I applaud your bravery! I truly enjoy your writing, although your reality is complicated and heartbreaking to hear. Being in healthcare myself, I know all too well how crazy and surreal and hard it can be when our professional and personal lives collide and converge. I am amazed by your resolve, your tenacity, and your resourcefulness. And of course, as a daughter myself too, I share your unwavering love and determination in loving and protecting and advocating for your dad. Blessings to you and keep on keepin’ on, sharing your love and light with all of us through this awesome blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • svcullens

      Hello Love! Thank you so much for your encouragement and support! It means the world to me. We have had some wonderful Social Workers involved in Dad’s care planning, and it has truly, truly made such a difference for us. I know you are amazing and compassionate in your work, so thank you for all those you are helping💜 I miss you, and am here following along and sending love from Pittsburgh as you also share your journies. You are one of the many friends who have encouraged me to share…



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