My mother agreed to take out the house loan. None of us knew the future, but at least they were covered for the moment. We paid off the credit cards, which I promptly put into safekeeping, and put Dad on an allowance.
That went over very well. (NOT!)
I paid his office bills; he continued to make a little money selling his wares. My mother paid the house bills.
We could no longer ignore the “elephant in the room”, my sisters and I knew we had to get him a diagnosis. God bless my sisters, they are three amazing, strong women. We each had a role.
- Terri, the eldest sister lives in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul). She is the sweetest, most loving person you will ever meet. Once when I woke up from major surgery, she was wiping my forehead with a cool cloth, and had ice chips handy for my dry mouth. From cutting toenails, to putting on pain patches, organizing Dad’s office, to just listening to stories, she lovingly served our parents.
- Linda, the second eldest, lived in the Eastern part of the United States. While she couldn’t always be here to help, she was just a phone call away to offer support and encouragement. I called her our “Angel of Mercy” as she always flew home just in time when there was a major crisis, and the rest of us were at our wits end. She had worked as a therapist in a clinic for people with head injuries, understood medical terms and tough decision-making.
- Then there’s me, the pragmatist, administrator, filler out of government paperwork, tracker of finances – all those analytical tasks fell to me.
- Patty, my youngest sister, is a mix of love, understanding, and practical administration. She fell into the role of managing, coaxing, and guiding our dad into some of the difficult decisions to come. She’d run over to our parent’s house with homemade soup or a pastry treat. I love all my sisters, they are truly my best female friends. But Patty and I are a lot alike, Terri says Patty and I have our own language.
Top, left to right, Linda, Terri, Patty. Bottom, Dad, me, Mom.
Read on for how we dealt with medical care, and the initial diagnosis.