When Your Parent Gets Sick…
Updated: Jan 17, 2021
You jump in. The first time I took my dad to a doctor's appointment I had no idea how rapidly his health was declining. We're not the closest, but I always made a point to call or see him at least once a week. He never smoked or drank, and exercised often for as long as I can remember. For him to reach out and ask for help I knew things had to be...bad. From the day I picked him up and for a while after, he was in excruciating pain, had trouble walking, and increased loss of appetite. It was scary, to say the least, and heartbreaking to say the most. Nothing prepares you for watching your parents get older, especially in sickness.
Say thank you a little more. I can't thank every person that helped us along the way enough (trust me, I've tried). From my mom asking about my dad often ( anyone who's a child of a nasty divorce knows this is a big deal) to the Doctor that was adamant about getting my dad admitted into the Seidman Center after taking one look at him during a consultation. During the many moments of feeling helpless and overwhelmed, having anyone knowledgeable and caring on our side made steps towards the best case scenario seem more possible.
Being unorganized isn't an option. Having two jobs means that my schedule is already tight, but factoring in another person's schedule (especially for health-related appointments) requires a type of organization that I didn't have before. I started using my phone's calendar to log appointment info and created a binder for any and all educational information, medication updates, and notes that make appointments run more smoothly.
You start to romanticize everyone under the age of 35. If looking good in case of an emergency is a crime, lock me up! Clearly, all of this happened because the universe wants my next boo to be a Doctor, Nurse, Valet, or Patient. Who am I to argue with the universe?
You hold on to close things a little closer. In the beginning, I felt lonely in taking on this new responsibility, I was nervous to talk to my dad about his new normal, and telling the people I'm closest to would make it...real. For any friends reading this, I'm sorry I never said anything or said something late. The moments of normalcy you provided me during such a difficult time are something I will hold on to forever. All the laughter, sharing, and caring you showed me pushes me to be better about sharing difficult things because I never want me not showing up (literally or figuratively) to be taken personally. I was just going through...this.
You don't sweat the small stuff (or big stuff really). I didn't know what truly not giving a fuck meant until now. There are SO many little and big things I simply don't care about as much anymore. If I only remember to eat one time a day or if I haven't washed dishes in a week, it's fine because I know it'll get done eventually. Generally speaking, if the thing won't matter in a few months to a year, then it doesn't matter to me now. This understanding has saved me a lot of time and energy for the wrong things. Pouring into what's important to me has helped me process how life changed drastically in a matter of months and has guided what I want the future to look like. I'm cautiously optimistic about my dad's health and my ability to navigate the future, other inevitable things and otherwise :)
Comment below with one of your favorite memories with your parents! Like, share, and hug your parents a little tighter today :)