These last seven weeks have been nothing short of challenging. I am unsure as to whether or not I will be able to compose an essay that is cogent on Charlie’s condition and the resulting answer to our issues. The downward spiral that led to his admittance to the hospital and was detailed in my last blog post continued until it became clear that I could no longer care for him at home.

Understanding the Boundaries I Place on Myself as a Caretaker

By the fourth week of his stay in the hospital, I came to the realization that the little assistance that was available via the VA was not going to be adequate for a lady of my age (79), who was responsible for providing round-the-clock care for him. After determining that this wasn’t an option, the next decision was whether or not I should put him in a nursing facility that is paid for by the VA. Should I instead give in to the desire of his daughter, who is 48 years old and wants Charlie to be transported to her house, which is five hours away so that she and her family can care for him there?

She wept her way through the tours of the local nursing homes, but she persisted, “I can do this.” I accompanied her on our visits to the local nursing institutions. At first glance, the house that was within a ten-minute drive from where I live seemed to be the most appealing alternative.

The ultimate choice was one that required a significant amount of consideration, mental anguish, and emotional sweat. During the last four weeks of Charlie’s hospitalization, Laurie had camped out on a bench in his room around the clock, tending to his every need, cleaning up every mess, feeding and bathing him, and changing his bed in the middle of the night. She had been Charlie’s primary caregiver throughout the entire ordeal. She was very well-liked by the nurses since she made their jobs much simpler. After much deliberation and consideration, I came to the realization that she was deserving of the privilege of bringing her father back home with her to care for him.

Making Tough Choices About Medical Care

When I eventually disclosed, in a discharge discussion with medical personnel, that I had chosen to let my husband of 11 years go out of state to join the family of his daughter, I believe everyone was astonished. I think everyone was shocked when I finally announced it.

The issues that would definitely arise in the context of a nursing home were the subject of numerous compelling arguments that Laurie had raised. At this point, Charlie was even unable of remembering how to contact a nurse in the event that he need pain medicine or assistance with anything else. Because of rheumatoid arthritis, his hands would often get swollen and painful to the point that he would be unable to feed himself or adjust his position while he was in bed.

Because of the severity of his illness, it was inhumane to put him in a nursing home when there was someone who was ready to take care of him and who loved him deeply and would do all she could to see him through his last days (or years). There is no question in my mind that Laurie will end up with a lot more than what she paid for. She has a husband and two children who live with her, as well as four dogs, a cat, and a house that is not in the optimum condition for someone who has accessibility modifications due to a disability.

I urged that she submit an application to the VA institution in her region so that she may get the most amount of assistance possible with her attempts. Upstate New York’s Visiting Nurses Association will be on hand to provide a helping hand to Charlie and his family as they transition him into the Home-Based Care Plan they have developed for him. His granddaughter is a registered nurse and will provide her assistance to her mother as she takes care of him.

Doing My Best to Do the Best I Can Do

As Charlie has been gone for five days now in New York, I am already missing him like crazy. Even though he is unable to discuss much of his life with me on the phone, I call him every single day. I want to maintain track of his health via the VA physicians and to participate in the decision-making process about his medical treatment as far as is practicable. If Charlie starts pleading with me to take him back home, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to take it. I can only hope that the choice I’ve made is the correct one. That is all that can be done by any caregiver.


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