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Happy to be home, Dad goes his own way
Patty Leon new

Dad is happy to be home. He is eating much better. He likes to be able to brush his teeth in his own bathroom. Loves to eat at his dining room table, sleeping in his own bed and loves binge watching Live PD and other shows. But he still has a long way to go in terms of strength and recovery. He seems to fatigue quickly when trying to do his home therapies. He has a hard time catching his breath after a few steps or exercise routines.

The Occupational and Physical Therapist that come by for his home visits do get him to get up and go. But when Mom and I try to get him to do activities he tends to wave his hands at us as if to say heck no.

He also wants to sleep A LOT.

It will be mid-day and he will be asking Mom and I to put him to bed.

“No way Jose, way too early for bed,” I said.

To which I get the typical Paco response – a perfectly crafted middle finger with a smile to let me know he doesn’t really mean it (or does he?).

We tend to be a bit hard on him, but for his own good. He needs to walk and be mobile, especially after his surgery. The old “use it or lose it” comes quick for the sedentary elderly. And up until his Dec. 18, fall, Dad was never sedentary. He was always up and moving from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily.

Mom keeps reminding him how important it is that he regain his strength so he can do things for himself as he did before. 

I compromise at times. If he does his exercises, I will sometimes let him take a nap later while I worked and Mom cooks. 

One particular afternoon, he just wasn’t having any of it. He wanted to sleep and we wanted him to stay awake and do his arm exercises.

He complained but got started. I went back to work and Mom was doing chores in the kitchen.

A few minutes later, I got up from my desk and looked in the living room.

“Where the heck is he?” I asked Mom. She looked around just as surprised and confused as I was. I ran to the bedroom. I ran to the dining room and Dad was nowhere to be found. 

“DAD, where are you?”

“In here,” came the voice from the bathroom.

“What are you doing in here?”

“I had to go to the bathroom,” he replied.

“Well okay, but you still have your pants on, you know.”

“Yeah I might need some help with that,” he said.

About a half hour later, I was writing, Mom was doing laundry and Dad was watching his favorite TV show – American Pickers.

Mom went to place the clothes in the bedroom. The dryer sounded meaning the next set of clothes was dry and ready to fold. Mom started walking toward the dryer.

Suddenly I hear, “Where the heck are you going?” It was mom, in Spanish and with a few added expletives. I turned to see dad walking toward the dryer.

“WHERE THE HECK ARE YOU GOING?” I also asked alarmed at just how quickly he was moving down the hallway.

I jumped up and ran toward him, grabbing his wheel chair in route. Just as I reached him he had reached his walk limit and he was going to sit down wheelchair or not.

“I got you,” I said as he plopped down on the chair.

“What were you thinking,” I asked him, again in Spanish and with more expletives than mom used. “You know if you’re going to go for a stroll you have to let me know. What if you would have fallen?”

“Well you guys wanted me to walk more,” was his stubborn reply.

“If he keeps this up we’re going to have to put a cat bell on him,” my mom said.

“Do you have one?” I asked.

Dad wasn’t amused and I got the one finger salute again.

“Dad I have some more work I need to do and mom is going to start cooking, would you like to take a nap?”

“Oh, yeah,” he said.

Paco -1, Mom and I - 0

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