My life as caregiver . . .

Started up in full this weekend. Mom fell and fractured her rib. Before this event, it was two pretty healthy older adults that needed a little help with things. Now I have a very proud 91 yo man with the beginning stages of dementia, feeling helpless that he can’t help his 89 yo wife that is healing from a cracked rib. My life has gotten harder.

Quiet spot on the lanai to catch up on calls, emails, and texts

I’m learning as I go as many things I do in my life. Wish there were courses in what to do when your aging parents get injured or start showing signs of dementia. Not sure if it is right or wrong, just doing and trying to insure that both of them are comfortable, feed and rested.

Google has been a great support. Searches on fractured rib and hyperventilation have been a great help.

Thankful that I was talked into the taking the wheelchair by E/S. I has come in handy just for this event. Been wheeling her around the house. I think she’s enjoying the ride. The house is barely handicap accessible, it makes steering the wheelchair a little difficult.

Day 3 She’s progressing as best as can be. She got out of bed 4 times yesterday. One of them was to take a shower then sit in the living room and watch TV. She trying to do her breathing exercises and has doing well with it. But need to do it more. She still struggling anxiety, that leads to her hyperventilating. On day 2, she fainted 3 times because of it.

Dad is handling it okay but seems sort of aimless. It’s really hard for him as Mom did so much for him. He doesn’t know how to turn on the TV or even use the phone.


Day 7 Mom was rush to the ER because she had a fainting episode (I thought it was a seizure because her arms and legs were flaying around) because she wasn’t getting enough oxygen to her brain. She was complaining all day of not feeling right and having bad dreams. She thought she had indigestion.

Once at the hospital, the ER dr asked if we noticed the hematoma on her back where she had fallen. I said yes, that she get those because she’s on blood thinners. Well, the dr said he was worried that with that very large hematoma and her fainting spell that she may have blood in her chest and making it very hard for her to breath.

One CT scan later, she has blood in her chest and a collapsed lung plus not 1 but 2 fractured ribs. ER dr said they would need to transport her to the trauma hospital to have surgery because of the blood in her chest. They needed to put a chest tube in, give her blood and fluids before the transport. They needed to reposition the chest tube with more ct scans and more priority trauma case push her transport back.

Day 8 During our wait, Dad froze, even with 3 blankets on. I took him home at 2:30 (hour 5) to get some sleep before we moved to the trauma hospital. Around 4:30ish they started to prep her transport and I went back home to gather dad. I gave him an extra hour to sleep and we got to the trauma hospital around 6:00.

More waiting and freezing for my dad at the trauma hospital. Our ER dr from the previous hospital came with my mom. He was concerned about her. I need to get his name and tell him thank you.

The surgeon and his associates came and gave us updates. They wanted to get her in the surgery sooner or later. And gave me all the bad news first and at that moment, I made the decision to cancel my trip to Sapporo. My sister was arriving on Monday I was leaving on Tuesday. I had to make the decision. Called my travelling crew that I had to cancel. Sad but I’ll get to Sapporo another time.

Got into ICU and waited for new of when they would do the surgery. First it was maybe Monday then 2:30 Sunday. And around 10:30 Sunday, her nurse came in said it would be at 11:30. All this time, she was a trooper, rarely complaining about pain, mostly about being tired.

In the court yard, where my phone works

During all of this time my phone was in the dead zone of the ICU. Probably too many devices running. I was running down to the lobby get service as everyone was calling to find out about mom. I was working on get someone to watch my dad during the surgery. It was too long of a wait for him.

Thank goodness for my Cousin R, L and J as they came to my assistance with my dad. J got me in touch with R/L and they came to pick dad up and spend the afternoon with him, feeding him lunch and letting him have a nap.

In the meantime, my Aunties J1 and J3 in the missed my text due to the dead zone was on their way to hospital. They wanted to see mom before she went into surgery. They just missed her and spent the afternoon with me talking story and waiting for mom to come back from surgery.

This post is getting long. I thinking of turning this into a monthly post of what my life as a caregiver is. And maybe pass on helpful hints that I learn on the way.


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