Just keep swimming – Dory, Finding Nemo
The loveable but forgetful blue fish in Finding Nemo (and of course Finding Dory) had a simple and positive outlook on life. When things get tough or rough it’s important to ‘just keep swimming’. A bit like Winston Churchill who once famously said that if you’re going through hell it’s important not to stop’.
Of course, caring for Dear Old Dad is nothing like hell, but there are plenty of rough times.
There are days when not much seems to go right. And that’s just for me – not Dad!
When I’m having a frustrating day with Dear Old Dad (or myself as a result of what I do with Dad) I usually text my sister #justkeepswimming. Sometimes this is done with fingers stabbing at the keys or jaw clenched; more often with a wry smile. Yesterday was one of those days:
7 am – get to my PT (pretty much the only exercise I get each week due to chronic pain situation in my stupid feet). On the drive there, I calmly ponder the day ahead – before I go home I shall call into Dad’s place to change the dressing on his leg ulcer. This now has to be done only every three days instead of daily, and I had cancelled the daily visit from the Anglicare nurses only last week. The rest of the day stretched ahead of me. Monday is my day for not going out again once home – a day for ‘getting stuff done’. At the moment I am still working part time until my replacement starts and I am anticipating a good start to the week.
7.30 am. Regular three ring call from Dad to let me know he is alive and up and about. Three rings and he hangs up unless he needs to talk to me. I realise I wait with bated breath to not hear the fourth ring.
8.05 am. Phone call from Dad while I am in the car on the way home.
“Where are you”
“I’m in the car on my way home”
“But you said you’d be here at 8”
“No darling, I said I would be there at 8.15; that you should get into the shower at 8”
“I’m sure you said you would be here at 8”
“Well I’ll be there as quickly as I can”
*remind self to make sure that he actually hears what I say when making arrangements.
8.15am Get to Dad’s house, right on time. Notice his wound is leaking through the dressing. Prepare dressing tray and take off old dressing. See his ankle is very red and angry looking and quite damp. Then notice a not so nice odour coming from his ankle. Take photo of wound. Clean wound and put new dressing on. Make light of what I saw.
8.30am Go home. Send a photo to the wound nurse at the vascular specialist to ask if she thinks it is not right.
8.40am. Phone call from Dad. Reminds me that I was meant to call the physio to make an appointment for him at a time convenient to me.
8.45am Call physio and make appointment for Friday at 8am. Make cup of tea while on phone.
8.50am start working and I am on fire! Kick a few goals in a short space of time. Regrettably forget to drink cup of tea.
11 am Telephone call from nurse at vascular clinic. She tells me it looks infected and to get him to the doctor asap for antibiotics and immediately put the previous wound dressing on; the one that needs changing daily. Take a deep breath.
11.10am Call GP and make appointment for 3.15 (earliest they could do). Also call vascular specialist to make appointment for this coming Wednesday, just in case.
11.30am Back to Dad’s place to tell him I have to change the dressing again. The wound and the skin around it look even worse in the three hours that have passed. Change dressing according to the daily routine from the last three months and say a silent prayer that we won’t have to do this for the next three months.
11.40am Go home. Work some more.
1.00pm Go to my own appointment for deep tissue treatment for chronic foot pain. It hurts. A lot.
1.35pm Eat an entire packet of red frogs. Not helpful.
2.55pm Collect Dad for the doctor. He is not happy he can’t see his regular doctor and I hide my annoyance because it is the only doctor who is available and he is lovely, kind, concerned and respectful. He thinks the infection has come from the adhesive from the new dressing, pulling on Dad’s thin skin. The nurse comes in and finds a new dressing to stay on until Wednesday when he sees the specialist.
3.20pm Go to chemist for antibiotics.
3.35pm Drive back to his house and have a cup of tea. I have thankfully remembered to put his dinner in the car in a small esky. It’s a small win for organisation skills and cooking enough food the night before for leftovers.
4.00pm Back home bit more work at my desk.
5.30pm Wonder if I could have some wine but don’t because I am doing Febfast and am committed and I would not be able to give myself a star on my star chart. Yes, really , I have a star chart. But at this moment I am hating Febfast.
6.00pm. Start preparing dinner for my own family, wine glass full of diet lemon lime and bitters in hand.
7.30pm Collapse in a heap on the couch and remind myself to #justkeepswimming.
In the words of Scarlett O’Hara, tomorrow is another day.