Home Health Aide

This is my new job description. Home Health Aide. The Lord has made it very clear that this is what He wants me to be for the next two and a half weeks. For the last week, as I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been living with my mother, making her meals, giving her her meds, cleaning her house, waking her so she will drink her water on schedule, and watching to see that she doesn’t fall (or rescuing her when she does, as she has twice now. God’s grace was in evidence on both occasions as she sustained no injuries — I’m glad that I can rest in the truth that He’s the one who ultimately protects, not us, despite what our safety-obsessed society would have us believe.).

I’ve also conversed with her physical and occupational therapists, who alternate the days on which they come. And I’ve taken her to her doctor’s appointments… the PET scan, a trip to the hospital to get fitted with a twenty-four hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor, another trip the following day to have it removed and its readings downloaded, still another on Thursday to see her primary care physician. Finally we have something concrete. He burst into the examining room with confidence and conviction, announcing to her that she should take no more blood pressure medicine — her numbers are stabilizing, but on the low side now.  He told her that she looked good — good color, bright eyes, hydrated… that she was fighting a horrific disease and doing very well with it.

I’ve learned a lot about monitors, blood pressure, and orthostatic hypotension. We also had news on the PET scan — “marked reduction of activity” at all the cancer sites and no new ones, which was good news indeed. However, the chemo-induced fatigue and neuropathy in her feet, legs and hands has worsened with every day. It hurts to stand. She cannot walk any distance even with a walker and must use a wheelchair to get to and from the car for her appointments. She can hardly use her hands at all. Her feet keep her awake at night.  And I am amazed at how exhausted she becomes over the littlest thing. Sitting at the table eating breakfast and trying to figure out what she wants for lunch for an hour does her in for the entire morning.

The outings of course were monumental undertakings which left her completely drained. And even though the Oncologist’s physician’s assistant said that she almost certainly will not be getting any more treatment, the scope of effect of the last dose remains to be seen. After two weeks, nothing has changed except the pain she reports which has increased. She has willing begun to take some pain meds for it, which is a huge change for her.  When she’s not having to get up to go out for some test or doctor’s appointment, she spends her time lying on the couch, mostly sleeping, sometimes just lying there. No TV, no reading, nothing but lying there. I have to wake her up to drink her water, which she does not appreciate, and prod her to do her exercises, which she doesn’t appreciate, though she does do them. She is, at least, eating better, and I’m hoping that next week will show some improvement.

The physical therapist has begun a series of infrared treatments on her legs and feet, which in some patients provides relief — but not all.

With all the sleeping she does, I’ve begun to slip away at times to go to the store, take a walk, go home to see Quigley or take a shower or to get something I forget. Why shower at home? Because for one there’s a big tub-transfer bench in her tub and for two, her hot water is merely warm and the pressure is way too low. It’s only five minutes and I’d rather just take a shower in my own bathroom where all my stuff is. Right now my hubby is with her, so I could come home and do just that, as well as get in some work on the computer. She has no internet hookup and no interest in getting it either, so it’s been interesting being cut off like this. Kind of like a weird sort of retreat.  I’ve been reading Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor. Almost done. Tomorrow I’m going to try to find the next one in the series…

There’s been lots of talk about getting help to relieve me from various agencies — there are official home health aides who’ll come in and sit with her for something like $100 for 4 hours, which insurance doesn’t cover. If you want them to do any more the price goes up for each added task. There are other agencies but I’ve not really been in a good place to research, and not moved to do so, either. I believe the Lord will put the pieces into place when the time is right. And right now, He’s got me doing something I’d never dreamed I’d be doing. But I have a feeling some of it is going to end up in the next book. In fact, I’m almost certain of it… 

Okay, I see my time’s almost up, so I’ll sign off for now. Probably won’t get another post in for a week, but one never knows. Thanks to my readers for all your prayers and support.

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3 Responses to “Home Health Aide”


  1. 1 KC Frantzen January 30, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Well DONE good and faithful servant.
    You are a living testimony, to man and angel, of Eph 6.
    Thanks for the detail. Will pray more specifically for these things.
    love in Christ, always,
    kc

  2. 2 Laura Hess January 30, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I watched my mother take care of both my ailing grandparents for two years, so I know how difficult it can be. You are a wonderful daughter for taking such good care of your mother. Take refuge in God; He give strength and peace. I will pray for both you and your mother.

  3. 3 Rebecca LuElla Miller January 31, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Definitely have been praying and will continue to do so, Karen.

    And if you need to get away for an hour or so every day, is there someone at your church who would be willing and qualified to be with your mom? Seems like something the family of God could handle.

    Becky


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