Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Personal Holiday Anecdote: Christmas Journal #1

It turned out to be a better day than I had expected. It was a long, long way from the normal, comfortable holiday we have shared at my parents' house since time began.  Even so,  we are adjusting to a new reality, and are breathing a small sigh of relief, at least for today.

During the past week, after a series of incapacitating falls at home, my father was taken to the Emergency Room, and admitted to the hospital for observation and a battery of tests.  He is in the same hospital where my mother is now, and has been for a good part of the year, for treatment of dementia and other psychological maladies.

My mother has been frantic at the sudden end to my father's daily visits to her ward, where geriatric patients are secured behind a locked door for treatment of various emotional and cognitive impairments. 

Since it was impossible for them to visit each other due to my father's serious condition, he is stable enough now, and she has become strong enough, for her to be informed of his whereabouts, and to arrange for a visit between them.

That is how I, my sister, and Mark, spent our Christmas afternoon.  We signed my mother out and then wheeled her to the tower clear across the hospital, to my father's room.  It was a brief visit, with small gifts, fresh-baked banana bread, a little confusion, some slurred speech, and a smile out of each of them. And, of course, a tearful departure as we brought mom back to her floor.

It has been a time for being a little numb.  Our immediate thought today was to make sure their special visit could be arranged, and to finally allow my mother to know the truth of my father's health.  Her obsessive fear of him being ill or dying has contributed to her anxiety. Now, she can begin to deal with this fear in an honest way. 

All of the other things: their eventual discharge and placement in nursing homes, and the maintenance and/or sale of their current home, will wait another day.

To all of you, especially those who are hurting this Christmas, there are those of us who understand, and wish you peace and support in 2012.

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