Caretaker? Caregiver? Part 2

Part two of a continuous narrative by guest author, Gemma Tammas.

One morning I found Tom tied down in a wheelchair in front of the nursing station.

His head dropped on his chest, saliva was dripping from his mouth.

“He was climbing out of his bed,” the nurses told me, “we had to tie him in the wheelchair and roll him out to the hall to keep an eye on him.”

“All these medications make him crazy,” I argued and from there on, I had no choice but to stay with him during the nights also.

After two long weeks, still feverish, losing half of his weight with gall bladder infection and against his doctor’s advice, I brought him home.

He was weak, not able to stand by himself.  With my brother’s help, we would carry him to the bathroom, wash him on his bed and feed him, forcing the food down as he had no appetite.

Slowly he recovered his strength, what was left of it, and our pilgrimage to different specialists began. After six months and countless tests, he was diagnosed with Parkinson disease, Alzheimer and hypothyroid. As he already had a pacemaker, visiting his cardiologist three times a year was now topped with regular visits to his neurologist.

His medication ‘regime’ had to be set, and after six months, a routine was established. To help his memory and to help him to sleep better two more medications were added.

We follow a stringent schedule for his eating as he can only eat an hour before or two hours after with certain pills.

I was amazed how religiously he was taking the pills, he, who never took even an aspirin in his whole life.

Now, from 7am till 10 pm in the evening he is on a strict schedule.

When I wake him up at seven o’clock to take his first dosage – he kisses my hand.

But at night he seems more confused.  When I try to put eye drops in his eyes for his glaucoma, I have to force his eyes open because he opens his mouth instead.

 

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