Friday, April 5, 2013

Tales of a Daughter-in-Law (or Out-law).

My father-in-law, 91 years old, has been having some major health issues lately. He has been in and out of the hospital, first home for a few days, now in a 'transition center'/rehabilitation center. He has had a heart condition for awhile but with the emergence of 'shingles', it may have made it worse. He has had his ups and downs. The medicine given at the hospital for the shingles may have made him retain fluid; he went home for a few days then back into the hospital since the fluid retention was not lessening at home and making him feel sick. That was taken care of but then the arm with the shingles was not moving well, he could not use it. So they started physical therapy, PT, to help. In the meantime, appetite and wanting to drink has been up and down. Back to the hospital after some type of 'spell' but sent back to rehab after a few hours. Also, a little confused about where he is and what day it is (which is normal).

(family pic)

The other day, I stopped by to visit and ended up watching him in PT. His physical therapist gave him a good workout!! So we walked him back to his room and I visited for a bit. He seemed fine, tired but kept up with the conversation pretty well (had a hard time finding the right words sometimes - who doesn't) but right on with the talk. Strangely enough, a short time after I left, he had another 'spell'; I was told his blood pressure dropped quickly but doing better by the end of the day.

Just wanted to set the background to my saga. A year ago, I dealt with mom - similar scenario in and out of the hospital, rehab, therapy, etc. My husband has 3 siblings; one sister lives out of state while the others are local. I have a sister-in-law, (my husband's brother's wife) who lives near my in-laws; we are about 45 minutes away. She has been helping out with the doctor visits for quite a while for both my mother-in-law (90 years old; she had 2 heart valve replacements - 1st one didn't take - a couple of years ago) and father-in-law, which is wonderful!! She has been doing a great job and I commend her for it!! My other sister-in-law, my husband's sister, has moved back into the area to help out and has been a great help with the cooking and errands, etc. My husband stops by to help as well and relieve his sister so she can have some time off. I guess my situation is that having been through a similar situation recently, I tend to have 'opinions'. My husband's sister has called to talk to me about offering my opinion (unfortunately I also compare to my mom's - probably not the best thing to do). Most times my opinion I feel is valued. I know my husband and his siblings have to come to agreements on how things will progress. I just let people know that I can help if needed but try to stay out of final decisions except to ask if everyone is in agreement and do his parents feel the same. I also try to remind people about paperwork for the nursing home and/or hospital, power of attorney paperwork for healthcare or otherwise, asking about talking to the pharmacy when he was home, reminding people to ask for VNA services before going home, etc. So I haven't figured out if I am better being an 'out-law' and staying out of things, or keep voicing my tales of caring for an elderly parent. I don't think they feel I am interfering but is the comparison/I just went through this/I am somewhat more familiar with this, the best way to offer my '2 cents'. Anyone out there want been through this and want to offer me some advice??

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