I Am Not a Doctor, and I Don’t Play One on TV

Well, it’s been a long time, and, I don’t exactly know where to begin, except to say that I have had a lot of family matters fill up my life for the last few months. One of my parents has been very ill and has been in and out of the hospital numerous times since “The Holidays.” Because I am geographically convenient, I have been tasked with the lions’ share of the care-taking, appointment shuttling and had, until recently, completely “stopped” my life. My siblings have been  very helpful, but, I am the one with the most flexibility.

The tide does seem to be slowly turning, but, coupled with the bonechilling cold of the winter (and some snow), it has been a very intense time that, sometimes, feels like a dream. I had actually prepared a couple of entries, one on making cool paper ornaments that are dipped in wax, and another is a foray into trying to bake a gluten free, sugar free red velvet cake. I’m not sure that one was entirely successful — it looks good, but tastes like glue. I’m still searching for a better way on that one! And, lovely Robbie has sent me an entry which, I will post after this one, in which, I apologize for my negligence. T

here are some takeaways from experiencing parental illness first hand. Other than the first and most obvious — OMG, I HAD BETTER TAKE CARE OF MYSELF, after the initial shock of the situation, I have become much more appreciative of my “free time!” I am not letting those casual, uncommitted moments slip away unsavored or unused…they are too precious!

Another takeaway is greater medical knowledge and capacity. I, who am deathly afraid of needles, can administer diabetes blood tests now and have learn to give insulin injections.

Also, and this is really important, it is key to be able to be an advocate in the Dr.’s offices. Ask the questions again and again and again. Don’t assume doctors will talk to you or each other (DO NOT ASSUME THAT, BECAUSE THEY WILL NOT UNLESS YOU ESSENTIALLY GOAD THEM INTO IT!!) Be the squeaky wheel, no matter how annoying it might be. I never thought I would be pushy, but, I have become pretty tough minded with the doctors, physicians’ assistants, etc.

Make sure the doctor will approve home healthcare, that way it will be covered by medicare.

Here’s another one…bleach and surgical soap don’t mix well. I put a white washrag that still contained surgical soap into a tub of water and bleach and it turned an ugly brown.

And, don’t forget, vitamin K, found in leafy greens, garbanzo beans, power bars, etc. can counteract the effects of blood thinners such as warfarin (also known as coumadin).

Medical supply stores are a GODSEND!

I think that the biggest thing I continue to learn is that events like the illness or death of a loved one (both of which I have experienced in the last 12 months) have their own process and rhythm, and there is not much a person can do to change it. Try to hold onto as much of your own life as possible, but, realize that the situation has its’ own pace, one to which you will need to adapt.