Thursday, February 21, 2013

Taking care


Last Thursday, on Valentine's Day, I received a call from my Mom.  My Dad had been on a trial of several new blood pressure medications and was having all sorts of bad side effects from the latest one he'd been on for three days.  I was eating lunch with my sister when she called, and we finished up to head over to their house to see what was going on.  I found my sweet Daddy, who turned 80 on the 10th of this month, sitting on the sofa looking for all the world like he wanted to head out to meet his maker.  He had swelling in his legs, was not voiding well, said he felt like his head was "fuzzy" and he simply had no energy to get up and go.  The medication, which was a vasodilator, was certainly not agreeing with him, though his blood pressure was actually pretty good.  He'd been struggling for weeks as his nephrologist (he inherited his Dad's polycystic kidney disease) tried to find another combination of blood pressure medication that might not cause him to retain fluid as the one he'd been on for years was doing.  He's always been sensitive to medications and it took his previous PCP forever to find one that he could tolerate which controlled his blood pressure. There had been spotty communication from the doctor's office and I was simply tired of all the confusion.  So, I put on my best "nurse Jayne" voice and called their office to talk to the nurse.  She was seeing patients so I had to leave a voice mail, but lo and behold, she called me back within 30 minutes and said, "Can you get him on down here to see Dr. H?" I told her I certainly could, and hung up the phone to tell him to get his shoes on because we were going to get him evaluated.  He seemed surprised as it's hard to get past the front desk with this particular practice and phone calls are usually returned at the end of the day and urgent appointments made for days out.

We got down there, they collected blood and urine, and we were back in an exam room in no time.  They did an ultrasound of his kidneys and bladder as well. His weight was up five pounds from the prior two weeks. Dr. H came in, smiled, shook all our hands, and looking at me said, "I knew when you called something was up."  I had once worked with him when he was a hospitalist, before he went on to do a nephrology fellowship, and we had a good relationship.  Our labs and urine looked OK and the US did not show anything new.  Once we discussed how difficult it is for him to adjust to new medications, the good doctor decided to place him back on his regular BP medication and add a diuretic to the mix, which was met with great relief from both my parents.  It had been a truly miserable few weeks.

This week, he's slowly feeling himself again and on Tuesday, my parents asked me to go to lunch with them. We had a lovely lunch at Red Lobster and once back at their house, my dad handed me an envelope.  Once I got in my car to leave, I opened it.  Inside was a way too generous "love offering" with the note above.  I paused.  My eyes welled up with tears. I've never felt I had to take care of my Daddy.  He has always taken care of me.  I felt humbled, and the swell of love in my heart was huge.  He's taken care of me for 51 years now.  He saw that I got an education as a nurse and that I grew into a strong, confident woman who can take care of herself.  Now, it's his turn. And I smile as I think about how gladly I take on this task of making sure he has everything he needs in these next years of his life. I feel honored and privileged that I can somehow, in some small way, say thank you for the enormous love I've been given.  It's what life is all about.

14 comments:

The Bug said...

I'm so glad you were able to take care of your father for him! Mine lives far away & still takes care of me. I know there'll come a day when he'll need my help & I hope I can step up to the plate!

troutbirder said...

Wish I had a daughter. Especially one the likes of Jayne...:)

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

What a wonderful example of love,both on your part and that of your Dad!

Laurie said...

How beautiful Jayne, you are both so lucky to have each other.

Beth said...

Aww...what a sweet note from your Dad! So lovely that you both were able to show your love for each other---you are indeed blessed.

Ruth said...

So glad things turned out well. Your parents are fortunate to have you as a very knowledgable advocate.

Beth Stoddard said...

What a beautiful post! I'm at that stage with my dad as well; this is very inspirational.

Carolina Linthead said...

Gee thanks, Jayne...bawling my eyes out now ;-) I think of Dana's brother, the pharmacist, making sure their mom got the best care she could get in those last months. It cost him far more than we realized to give that care. We now know the whole of it. I love that you can give back, but never forget that the most important gift your father has given you is life itself. Live, thrive, and continue to help so many people in need. What a legacy you are for your parents!

NCmountainwoman said...

Giving back. That's what it's all about. Great post.

KGMom said...

Jayne--there does come that time when we children do become the ones who take care of our parents. And you have special training that makes your help all the more valuable.
Good daughter!

Diane said...

This is so nice, Jayne.

altar ego said...

It is one of my sadnesses that I have lived so far from my family for so many years, and especially in my father's later years. I wish I could have done more than I did, and wish that I HAD done more than I did. It is a blessing to be near and to enjoy that love. I am glad for you that you have that closeness.

LauraHinNJ said...

You are so lucky Jayne to have what you do... as is your dad!

(hugs)

dAwN said...

Wonderful..that brought tears to my eyes. You are a good daughter