My Mom, My Hero

I have written a lot about my dad who is almost 87 years old and has Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia. It’s been a long road for my dad (Steve) and my mom (Judy). She has been by his side for 62 years of marriage with many highs and lows along the way.

I consider my mom as my hero as she has cared for my dad in recent years being his primary care partner while enduring her own health issues.

Health challenges

Mom has had many surgeries to replace a knee, a thumb joint, and her degenerative back. As she tries to physically care for my dad now, it’s become increasingly difficult because of her own pain.

A few years ago, Mom went thru several blood clots and then a life threatening drop in her platelet count in her blood. She spent 2 scary weeks in the hospital in early 2019. Now she gets weekly fusions to keep her platelet count in a healthy range.

Mom does everything now at home. Dad used to help with the cooking and maintenance of their big house. They successfully moved to a senior community home last year so at least there is much less to take care of.

Dad used to do all of their investing and handling of money. Luckily Mom has always been the checkbook keeper and bill payer. I help manage my dad’s care and help when I can.

Hiring caregivers

More challenges have occurred lately as my father displays more cognitive issues. He has a catheter due to previous prostate cancer. With having a catheter, he is more susceptible to urinary tract infections.

The primary symptoms for a PD and dementia patient for this situation are confusion and lethargy. Needless to say, when he has bad days with his PD/dementia and displays theses symptoms, it’s a guessing game if it’s one or the other. Dad has had more frequent UTI’s in the last 12 months so it’s become very difficult to manage his care.

We have hired 3 caregivers now to cover the hours of 9 AM to 9 PM. This gives my mother needed relief from doing so much for my dad. She deserves to have joy in her life too. She still drives and goes out to water aerobics twice a week and bible study with long time friends.

Seeing her strength

Hopefully we can keep my dad at home for awhile. Soon I’ll start to research memory care facilities to be prepared for what is to come. It reminds me how blessed our family is to have both of my parents still alive. Not to mention both of my husband’s parents are with us too.

In the meantime, it’s a tough balance to watch my mom go down this road with the man who is not the same person she married 60 some years ago.

Mom still treats dad with dignity with making decisions when applicable. She can endure this and still have dad at home - this is why I call mom my hero.

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