It’s been a funny few weeks. Since my Dad came out of hospital and moved in with me, my world has turned upside down and inside out (as has his of course!). Now bear in mind, I’m (unfortunately) not married, nor do I have children, so looking after people 24/7 is somewhat a novelty for me. But since January 2nd, I’ve rolled up my sleeves and thrown myself into my new role as ‘Chief Carer’ with gusto….ish.
I have discovered it’s all about the routine. If you have a plan, a timetable and a daily menu (more of that later) then the day should go without too many hiccups. And from waking until sleeping, there’s always something to think of….has Dad got water, is he drinking enough of said water, does he need painkillers, is it time for his injection, what time are the Nurses coming to change the dressing, are the Nurses even coming today, do we have any visitors scheduled, am I feeding him enough? I can honestly say my brain is full of questions, information and doubts of whether I’ve forgotten something – fortunately, it’s only been cleaning my own teeth so far!
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not looking for sympathy by writing this blog. My Dad has looked after me more times than I can remember over the last few years and has probably had to deal with things he’d rather wish my Mum was here for (seriously, no Father needs to know his daughter is having her womb burnt away do they?!) So, now it’s my turn to care for him, it’s a complete no-brainer. It’s just that I’m a novice. I’ve spent the best part of my adult life looking after me, myself and I. And Harley, of course. But now, caring for your only parent after a major big C operation – well, that’s a whole new experience.
When my Mum was ill with the big C, my Dad was Chief Carer. Myself and my brother kind of watched from the side lines and did what we could, when we could. I’d rock up on a Sunday so Dad could get some ‘him time’ playing golf and I’d throw together a Sunday dinner of sorts. I’d paint Moms nails, keep her company and fall asleep next to her in the sunny conservatory. We’d have some ‘quality’ time and under the circumstances, we did OK. But looking after a man…. well, it’s a different ball game.
As well as being new to the care world, I have discovered that I can actually cook anything if I try and whilst I may not be quite ready for Master Chef, I’m certainly way past the beans on toast stage! Dad has to follow a high fat, low fiber diet and is in the enviable position of being encouraged to eat all the things we all normally view as a treat. Cream cakes? Bring it on! Jam on toast every day? Absolutely! White bread, butter and cheese? Yes please! I can’t help but shed a small tear as I prepare his food; food that I put weight on just thinking about!
So, this week not only have I mastered the most perfect onion gravy (small pleasures I know, but it was gorgeous!) I also made a chicken casserole with dumplings! I have never in my 49 years made dumplings before and when you only have your Dad’s rather exceptional ones to go by, the pressure was on! I might even go for gold this week and try a Yorkshire pudding…. yes, from scratch and not Aunty Bessy’s!
So, as we enter Week 3 at Jo’s Care Home, yes, I’m exhausted. No I haven’t been to the gym this year and I have no idea what day it is most the time but would I change it?
Not a chance.
P.S. I’ve also decided I’d make a very good wife!
To read more of 50 Ways to Leave Your 40s, click here.
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