Monday, August 27, 2012

The reality of parents getting older

I don't really know how to write this, and it may not all make sense to anyone, but I just need to write it out.

So here it goes....

25 years ago my dad found out he has type 2 diabetes (in his 30's). He has gone threw having both knees replace, and a massive heart attack three years ago.  He is only 57 years old.

And now this weekend he has lost 1/3 of his left foot.

He had an infection, that went horribly wrong and turned into gangrene. He was supposed to only lose his big toe, but during the surgery found out the infection was much worse and the top 1/3 had to be removed. He had signed a do not resuscitate order.

There is no way to describe the feelings that come up when the surgeon comes out and asks you to step into a private room to talk after a surgery. Or how hard it is to watch your dad break down and cry. Knowing this is hard on him, not only for the loss of his foot, but because he knows this is what happened to his dad. Crying on the phone with his sister, when I had to call her and break the news. And then call her again and tell her the outcome.

We are all taking it hard. Probably more so because my grandpa (his dad) had this happen to him. Lost his foot, and he died shortly after. In the month of August.

So to say I am freaking out is an understatement. I have spent the better part of this weekend crying off and on. At weird random times. Although not while at the hospital in front of him.

Today the surgeon will look at it again and decide if they need to take the rest of his foot off. I think the possibility of him losing his whole foot is low since they have taken him off antibiotics for the time being.

I am angry at the foot Dr he was seeing. He went in there 3 days in a row worried about this infection and the Dr wasn't concerned.

Its scary, and there are so many things I am worried about. Trying not to think about my grandpa and hoping the same ending won't happen again.

But where do you go from here? Is he going to be more depressed? If you think about it, how would you feel if you lost a limb? I am devastated, so I can only imagine how he feels.

Is this going to happen to me? Am I going to be the next one to follow in these genetic footsteps? I am almost the age he was when he found out about his diabetes. I am worried for my kids, will they get to know their grandpa? I am worried about my mom. How is she dealing with this?

From the sounds of it, he won't be going home after the hospital, he will have to go to a rehabilitation center and re-learn to walk. Go through physical therapy, perhaps get a prosthetic shoe or foot? I have no idea what they do for this.

In a way I hope he does go to a rehabilitation center instead of having an in home care nurse. They will do more physical therapy with him, and hopefully help him with the depression and feelings of losing a limb, or part of a limb.

My parents aren't going to live forever. And possibly not as long as I would like them to. Unfortunately the very real reality of my parents getting older has hit me at the young age of 27, and now again at 30.

36 comments:

  1. I am so sorry to hear about this! I can understand the fears and frustration. I don't take things lightly, and three years ago, a couple months before I got married, actually three days before we were going to pick out flowers, my mom had a stoke. It was definitely a shock to us all.

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    1. Oh my goodness! Its so hard to deal with sometimes

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  2. How horrible for you all. I am sure you are talkinf to your doctor about how to avoid type 2. At one extreme it appears that gastric banding or equivalent can take it away , immediately, ehich seem s weird. My thoughts are with you all as you cope with this new reality. Take care.

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  3. So sorry to hear this. I can completely relate. I am 24 and both my parents are 62. Both have diabetes, high cholesterol, heart problems, overweight, etc. but are my BEST friends. I get scared all the time about losing them... I can't stand to think about it.

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    1. Thank You, its inevitable that they won't live forever, but its hard going thru it so much sooner than you want to.

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  4. Oh, Audrey, I'm so very sorry. What a terrible thing for your dad, and all of you to be going through. My thoughts and prayers are you with and your family. Sending you lots of hugs.

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  5. I'm so sorry for what you're all going through. I used to work at an extended care facility, and I've seen how difficult it can be - sometimes even more so for the family than the person in rehab. My thoughts are with you.

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  6. I am so sorry for all that you and your family are going through. Diabetes seems to be the disease that no one thinks about. Especially Type 2. I had gestational diabetes so I do think about risk factors for my children - especially since their paternal grandfather has developed Type 2 (although in his 60's - not earlier).

    also, kinda wanna throat punch that foot Dr. for ya. huge pet peeve of mine that doctors are so busy these days that they are rushing patients through appointments; and not really listening and over-looking things as a result. gggrrr.

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    1. I agree about wanting to throat punch that Dr. He hasn't even come to the hospital to see him. Although his diabetic Dr did. Just goes to show you which Dr's are good I guess.

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  7. I'm so sorry to read this Audrey. I don't think there are any words that I can write that will help. So just know I'm keeping you and your family in my thoughts and hoping for a positive outcome.

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  8. So sorry Audrey! I hope all turns out ok....!

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  9. Just so sorry for all that you've been through. It is all so hard. Ellen

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    1. It is definitely hard, and not something I thought I would be going thru so soon

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  10. Oh Audrey i am so so sorry. I hate the fact that my parents are gettin golder. My dad has had pretty severe health problems all my life but still the older he gets the more I see he just can't do some of the things he used to be able to. Still for 69 he does more than most guys his age.

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    1. Thanks Wendy! Its just hard to watch and go thru

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  11. I'm sorry, that must be really hard to deal with. I just lost my own dad in May, and worry all the time that now my children have only one grandparent left.

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    1. I am so sorry to hear your lost your dad. I can only imagine how hard it is

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  12. We want to think our parents are always going to be there. I'm so sorry for the worry your family is dealing with right now.

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    1. Thank you, hopefully for now the worst is over

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  13. I am so sorry to hear all of this. My FIL lost a foot, then his leg, then the other leg within a year due to diabetes. He did fight on, in a pair of prosthetic legs for another decade, though. Don't know if that helps, but hang in there!

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    1. That does help! Hopefully things will only get better from here

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  14. I am so very sorry to hear that you are facing these types of health problems with your parents. I just spoke with 2 different friends today who are facing serious health crises with their parents, as you are with your dad. And I also understand your concern over genetics. I am wishing your strength and grace as you face what is next.

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  15. It is hard to face the realities that our parents won't be around forever. Watching them age and struggle with health issues is incredibly heartbreaking. My grandfather had to have his leg amputated below the knee due to diabetes.

    Thanking of you and sending good thoughts.

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  16. It is tough to watch parents get older. As kids we think that they are super human and then we learn that they are just a fragile as the rest of us. It is not a fun realization. I hope all goes well with your father.

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    1. Thank You. No matter how many times you have to go thru it, its a tough realization

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  17. Oh, I'm so sorry. I hope your dad has a speedy recovery and you see that all is going to be OK.

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    1. Thank You, so far its going as well as expected

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  18. Coming over from your link on today's post....
    fear of losing a limb is what prompted me to have gastric bypass surgery - I didn't even have diabetes (yet) but that was such a huge fear of mine. So I understand how hard this must have been on him (and you all). I am glad he's doing better now!

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    1. He seems to be in the best spirits I have seen in months. He knows it was unavoidable once it turned into gangrene. And I think he is happy to be home

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