I live with my grandmother and her father, my 94 year old great-grandfather. I live with them so that I can help them out. I do the shopping, cleaning, general errand-running, and drive them to doctor’s appointments. They both use walkers to get around and have a pretty hard time walking. My great-grandpa is very forgetful, can’t see or hear very well, and gets confused, lost, and disoriented very easily, especially at night. Usually when he gets up in the middle of the night, my grandma takes care of him, and I help her when I hear him. He has very vivid dreams and they really upset him sometimes and then he doesn’t know what is real and what isn’t, so we usually have to explain that he just had a dream and that everything is fine and that he’s home with us, and he eventually settles down and goes back to bed. Earlier this week, things started getting worse for him. Monday afternoon, my grandma was trying to help him and she ended up falling, which is especially bad for her because she has very severe arthritis and has collapsed discs in her back and has had several back surgeries and has had both of her knees replaced. She is already in constant pain, sometimes so bad, even with strong medications, that she can hardly get out of bed. Falling just made everything worse and she was in bed for a few days straight. I told my mom that things weren’t going well, and she called my great-uncle, my grandma’s brother, who was a nurse and still works in the medical field. He is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. He came over for a couple days to help out, and he talked with my grandma about options for helping my grandfather.
He used to get physical therapy, so they decided starting that again would be beneficial. They also decided to hire a nurse to come in at night. She comes in at 7 pm and stays until 7 am. I really haven’t been told much, which is really annoying and frustrating, but from what I’ve gathered, she is here to help my great-grandpa walk around and go to the bathroom when he needs it, talk to him and help him at night when he gets lost and confused, help keep his bathroom and the kitchen clean, make his morning coffee and his breakfast, help him get dressed in the morning, make his bed, and do dishes and laundry as needed.
She is here tonight, currently. I haven’t really heard much at all up until about 20 minutes ago. My grandpa got up to go to the bathroom, and she came to help him. He asked her if he was going to live here for the rest of his life, and she said yes, probably. He then asked when he could go home, so she told him that he was home. He said that he wanted to see his family, and she said that they were here, but they are sleeping. He then said to her that his blood family wasn’t here and that he wanted to see them. She told him that they were but he would have to wait until morning to see them. He got upset at that. They talked for another minute, but I couldn’t really hear much. I think she convinced him that everything is fine and got him back to bed. The whole time I heard them, I didn’t know what to do. Normally, I would have gone upstairs to help him and calm him down, but I didn’t know if I should, and I don’t really feel comfortable around this nurse yet. I don’t know her. I also know my grandma is paying a lot of money for her help. But I knew that him seeing me probably would have helped. I wish now that I had gone up there, but I just didn’t know what to do. I don’t know what’s right.
I’m not good at making decisions, ever, especially split second ones. I wish I could be more helpful. Maybe next time, I’ll know what to do…