Nut graf: A flu bug can create all kinds of havoc for the caregiver. Be prepared for when it happens, because it probably will.
Dad had a real rough week. Couldn’t walk, couldn’t straighten himself up in a chair, couldn’t do much of anything.
His cognition, not real strong at this point in life, also took a hike.
A heavy cold or flu will do that every time.
For a day or so, he retired to his bed. Had me worried, of course. He keeps his own hours, but this time they were all over the map. Up at 4 a.m., sleeping until early afternoon, all that fun stuff that did a number on my own schedule.
Then he retired to his room. Didn’t emerge all day. I went in to check on him, and he was reclining on the head. Not a bad idea ’cause he needed to go there sometimes, but it’s still not the most comfortable seat in the house. Later I saw him sleeping on the bathroom floor.
Finally got him up and into his bedroom chair, which is sort of a way station when he’s feeling lousy. A few minutes after I got him there, he asked me if it was dark outside. He wanted to take a walk around the block.
“You might want to get your pants on first,” I said.
Moved a TV tray in his room for him to eat off of, and a portable latrine so he wouldn’t get that far. I didn’t want to use that, because Mom used it and it has some memories attached to it.
Dug up my own tools, too:
- My gait belt for hauling him around. I had to find that, which is easier when it’s not an emergency. Anyway, it’s now close by.
My back brace. I told him it’s not for him. It’s for me.
I usually sleep in my “cabin,” a converted patio by the house. All the comforts of home, including my recliner, laptop, and library. But when he’s like this, I have to constantly monitor him. Like all the time. So last night I closed the cabin down and slept in the spare bedroom next door to his. More weird feelings. That was Mom’s room, in fact she died there two years ago. About 40 years earlier, it was my room. Last night was the first I’d slept there in all that time, and that was weird.
This morning he’s feeling better. Sitting up in his chair, eating breakfast from his TV tray. His cognition is still shot.
“I just closed out the year,” he told me. I think that was a leftover from when he owned a liquor store, and it was a paperwork thing. It took him a few minutes to get that sentence out.
“You did?” I asked.
“I just closed out the year.”
“Good,” I told him. “I hate leftover stuff hanging around.”
Fake it, man. Fake it.
Scary stuff, but it’s the flu. Just routine seasonal stuff, right?
Except at that age you’re kind of fragile and it’ll really nail you. If your cognition is hanging by a thread, a good working dose of the flu will snip that thread.
He’ll be okay in a day or two. A little stronger. Made it to the bed by himself (he said). I know he was able to straighten himself in his chair by himself.
But here’s the thing: All that from the flu.
My joke is that the flu is like the Mummy’s Curse. The only way to get rid of it is to give it to somebody else.
Gee, Dad. Thanks a pantload.
Talk to me: How does your loved one handle a flu bug? Since it’ll probably affect you, how do you handle it?