A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The little white envelope in the back of my purse

A few weeks before my dad had back surgery in 2005, I had some notes from his back surgeon and his cardiologist which I didn't want to lose. So I put them in a white envelope and put it in my purse. As the day of surgery arrived, and then during the post-surgery time, I added to the notes in that envelope. Every new physician, new drug, etc. I had all the numbers for the hospital, the ICU, the case worker. Than I added the information for the assisted living place he needed to move to. And numbers to close out the lease on the apartment he could no longer live in. Notes on where to get a walker, where to get oxygen tanks, receipts for furniture and other things we bought for him so his room at the assisted living facility would feel like home.

Over the past two and a half years, the contents expanded to include other physicians, his social security number, the nursing home staff, additional medications, his dentist, social worker, nurse. Notes about the funeral arrangements we had to make and pay for before he could move into the nursing home. So many things. Most of these notes were on post-its or from e-mails. I never could quite throw them away, even the outdated ones. It was like a little chronology of all my dad went through before, during, and after his surgery. And I kept the envelope with me at all times in case something would come up and I'd need a phone number.

Last weekend before I went to Tucson I finally decided to take that envelope out of my purse and put it in a safe place. Although I don't need those numbers anymore, I can't throw them away - they are a journal of the past 2 1/2 years. But it was at least time to move it to the "archives" in my desk drawer - in a larger white enveloped labeled "Dad" which has a whole heap of other documents from when he moved into his new house in Tucson, and when he moved to Chicago.

Ed's dad, Clyde, has had a rough year since Ed's mom passed away. The picture below is with Vika and Eamon at Vika's birthday party this summer. He lives close to us, but his health is declining. He's on dialysis, is becoming more and more forgettful, and his driving skills are definitely scary. This week I spent a lot of time on the phone with his dialysis case worker, dietitian, and physician. Trying to understand all his meds, what his diet should be, etc. I had a bunch of post-its on my desk with all these notes. So I started a new white envelope that is now in the back of my purse.

They don't call us the sandwich generation for nuthin'!!!


Fleur de Lisa said...

Dialysis is rough. You are such a good person, Sandi. Your caring shows through in all that you do. :-)

Scoobers said...

Lisa is right. You do so much for your family. They are all lucky to have you.

I've never heard of the sandwich generation. ? Google here I come.

Desert Diva said...

You are such a great organizer to coordinate all the "needs" - first four your father and now your father-in-law. It's a difficult role, but I'm sure that your efforts are/were much appreciated.

Kelly Mahoney said...

That's smart that you kept it all in one place. I'd keep it too, just because.

ira said...

Take care. Of him and yourself.