Sunday, January 29, 2012

Aspie as a Caretaker, ie why it has been almost four months since my last post

Hello everyone--

First, I am humbly ashamed, and quite chagrined, that it has been so long since my last blog post. I've not forgotten you all, I promise.  These past few months have been filled with activities that both are keeping me busy, and in one case, draining a goodly amount of my emotional energy every day.  And THAT is going to be the subject of this post.

First, for those that don't know, the Erudite Mom has thyroid cancer.  She's been battling the stubborn beast for 4 years now, and during the end of September through the holidays she was dealing with surgery and Radioactive Iodine treatment.  I have taken care of her during this time.  It is really much like tending for a child--you do all the cooking, cleaning, errands.  Fortunately for me,  my mother is undemanding and gracious.  And praise God, she is feeling much better now.  Though I may let out a gusty sigh when I have to empty the dishwasher yet AGAIN, being a caretaker for my mom was as easy as such things get.

Not so with my father.

I got a call the day after Thanksgiving from my Cousin informing me that Dad was in the hospital in emergency surgery.  Now, I knew my dad had issues and was seeing the doctor.  I was NOT prepared for it to get as bad as it did, as fast as it did, and put him into surgery.  Summarizing, my Dad had Charcot's disease in his left foot, meaning that all the bones in foot are soft, and they fractured.  Plus, he had several diabetic ulcers.  To make life more fun, his talus bone slipped out of one of the ulcers, got exposed to air, got infected, and managed to infect his entire foot before the bone itself died.  I'll spare the rest of the details, but let's just say that my dad's left foot and lower leg is in an external fixator called a Ilizarov frame (google yourself for pictures, they are slightly disturbing if you are squeamish so I don't want to link here) to hold it all in place, is non weight bearing, and will be for several more months. His right foot isn't much better, as it also has Charcot's disease and can only handle his considerable weight for the briefest amounts of time, like transferring from bed to wheelchair.

Although since November he has been in the hospital or in a Rehabilitation center, on Tuesday afternoon he is going home, complete with the necessary equipment and professional help to get him started.  I am going to be in charge of feeding him his low fat diabetic diet and making sure he does his PT every day.  Tomorrow and every Monday will be spent cooking a week's worth of food that can be heated up or eaten cold, as he can't cook.

I am sure you can imagine the rounds of Rehab visits, PT training visits (which was actually interesting for my exercise, science oriented brain), doctor's visits, errands, questions asked, phone calls, etc I have had to do.  And with him at home, I face yet more.

Now, this normally would be fairly exhausting, but I am unemployed.  I have all the time in the world, right?  And I'm tough, capable of prioritizing my time to the Nth degree and working hard with a purpose to get all accomplished.  I'm GOOD at this.

Except when faced with a father like mine.  A man who doesn't listen to half of what I say, ask half of what I need to know, or pay any attention at all.  A father who is in this situation ONLY because of bad decisions he has made in his life.  A father who has no problem lying to everyone around him to get what he wants.  A father who has no problem lying to medical staff right in front of me if it will save face, even at the cost of making me look cruel or incompetent.  A passive aggressive father who will flat out lie to your face in order to get you to shut up and then goes off and does whatever he wants.

My Neurotypical friends, imagine how this would make you feel.  Tearing your hair out yet?

Now multiply that feeling by a thousand, and you might understand how hard it is on the Aspie.

And this isn't going to end anytime soon, it will be well over a year (since they have to operate and put an external fixator on his right leg when the left leg is done) before he is healed, and he is always going to have troubles walking.  If he is lucky, and CAN walk again.  It's a horrible thing.  Moral of the story, if you are diabetic:  WATCH YOUR DIET AND CHECK YOUR FEET.

So, I just have to get used to this.  Realistically, it is way easier on me than those last few years working for Salinas Public Library were on the emotional front.  I also have the support of the Erudite Mom and Erudite Siblings, which helps to no end.

And when I get too stressed out, I just go out for a run.  There is a reason I run half marathons.

So pray for Dad, and pray for me, and I hereby promise to post more often.  As always, if you have a topic, put it in the comments!

God bless you all,