Dad sat in the chair beside his hospital bed last week with tears in his eyes. He wanted to go home. Simple as that. At 90 years of age he was deeply troubled, depressed, lonely and downright sad. He’d had enough of hospital and he wanted to go home. It didn’t matter that home was no longer safe for him and that Mam, at 89, with her own problems, would struggle to care for him properly. Nor did it matter that by putting his bed downstairs he would no longer have access to the bathroom. He just wanted to go home.
Lack of mobility is the problem. As he says himself, from the knees up he’s fine. Years ago his foot was almost gangerous as a result of diabetes, which was left undiagnosed until my sister intervened and had him tested. His then doctor was treating him for ulcers. He has struggled and gone downhill ever since.
Bit by bit, little by little his mobility has deteriorated, his independence has been eroded, his dignity has been stripped away and we are now at the stage where, even though he wants to go home, it is far from being an ideal situation.
A stair lift will be installed, but that will take a number of weeks. A care team has been put in place, to come to the house five days a week, but it remains to be seen how effective that can be. The HSE in Ireland is under a lot of pressure due to cutbacks in funding and lack of personnel. Mam and Dad both have alarm buttons but they forget to wear them or to use them. My siblings and I cannot be there 24/7, but even though we are doing all we can, there will be times when Mam and Dad will be alone.
The hospital has assessed his progress since he was admitted two months ago and have decided to discharge him at the end of this week.
It’s far from ideal but he wants to go home and having seen him with those tears in his eyes, it’s possibly for the best. For now.