Looking for Minor Victories


It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything.  It’s partly because I don’t really have anything good to write about.

These past few years, the long, dark days of winter have dampened my mood.  I’ve also gotten way out of shape.  When I’m stressed, I tend to eat more.  When I’m at my dad’s place, I snack like crazy.  It doesn’t help that my sister leaves a lot of junk food around.  Dinners there are usually take out food.  No one really has time to cook.  I downloaded a fitness app only to find out how far out of shape I’m in.  I don’t sleep enough.  I know I’ll pay dearly for this.

My dad’s health is declining rapidly.  We used to celebrate minor victories.  He ate well.  He slept well.  He had a bowel movement.  There wasn’t any pain.  It’s hard to find those minor victories now.  I stayed over the other night.  I told my sister to go to bed and she did around 1 AM.  My dad called out frequently when he is asleep – not deep sleep.  I had to keep checking to see if he was really calling out or just talking in his sleep.  He did wake up a couple of times and I gave him some water.  I would hold his hands to give him some assurance and told him to rest and go back to sleep.  I think the hardest part is watching him grimacing in pain when he is being changed.  I finally got to nap for an hour around 4.  My sister woke up a few times to check.  She eventually got up around 5.  It’s like this for her every night.  I left the house just as the rush hour started.  When I got home, I fueled myself with caffeine to get me through the day.   My brother came over later that day with food.

Is this heroic? No.  I’m just doing my bit to help.  I have no idea how previous generations handled all of this.  How do the people living around the poverty line manage with elder care and dementia?

Writing is one of the few things that keep me sane.  I wish I had more time for this.



10 thoughts on “Looking for Minor Victories

  1. Caring for elders has always been a huge burden, generation after generation. I remember that my grandmother became so accustomed to her sleep being interrupted during the several years my grandfather struggled with cancer, that for more than five years after he passed away, she still couldn’t sleep through the night.

    Of course, I hope that you and your siblings don’t end up with that much of an effect, but I just share the story to illustrate how much of an impact care-taking can have.

  2. As Chris wrote earlier, caring for others has always been a burden. Maybe in previous generation the burden always fell on the women as they didn’t work.

    I wish you and your siblings lots of strength.

  3. I just wish there was a way you guys could get more help with your dad. The task sounds very tiring. I guess those people that can’t afford to (or don’t care enough) just don’t care for their elders, which is sad. Your father is at home and being cared for by his siblings, along with medical staff – you guys are great for doing this.

    • It’s a question of affordability. There are somethings the gov’t will cover (e.g. hospital bed, Red Cross visits, some supplies, basic medication, doctor visits at home, nurses visits at home) but they don’t cover Personal Support Workers and some other supplies. The impact on our lives is something we accept – after all, he did the same when we were kids.

  4. just hold on matt. i want to be encouraging in my comments but i also don’t want to sugarcoat things. it is great that you are doing this, and like you said in the previous comment, your father did the same when you were kids. it’s something that has to be mentally prepared for, taking care of the elderly. once you start doing it, everything else has to get pushed to the side or jumbled in as much as possible. i remember when i was helping with my ailing grandfather. I also was not the primary caretaker but being there to roll him over whilst changing the sheets was a tough experience. it made me question what the purpose was in getting old in the first place. It was tough for me and i knew my grandfather didn’t like it, but it was just the situation that it was and we kept going. i believe you have it right in saying that you are looking for small victories – i never thought about it in that way and I think that would be helpful for me when my time comes to do it again for loved ones that will grow old.

    take care matt. it is nice to see you here.

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