Every other week, I stop by my father’s retirement home, to refill his pill boxes. I have always managed his medications and find it to be a straight forward process and a simple way to care for him. I hadn’t seen him for weeks because I had been traveling, but in part, because I didn’t want to see him. Before I left for my travels, I prepared ahead of time and filled up three pill boxes in advance to stretch out my visits. I had friends drop off personal items in the interim to him that he wanted like toilet paper, toothpaste and other household items, while I was gone.
My father was really quiet today. He was tired, but very appreciative that I came to visit and that his pill boxes were being filled. I sat at his kitchen table in his studio apartment in the retirement center and he rested in his bed, curled up in the fetal position, with a pillow between his legs.
I usually play music on my iPhone while I organize his pill boxes, so I won’t get distracted and I find it relaxes me, since most of the time I really don’t want to be there.
The tiny, colored, pills hit the bottom of the plastic container as I methodically filled up all the days of the week. He fell asleep as I worked and I felt relieved. I usually don’t like going into his apartment, but since he was so tired, I thought I’d go and visit him there. The whole idea of going into his apartment kind of creeps me out, so I usually meet him in the dining hall and we get a bite to eat, as I fill up his pill boxes.
It feels like I have had a lifetime of therapy, reflection and growth to heal from this frail man curled up on his bed.
I heard him snoring from his bed and pondered why I feel so much apprehension over him. It feels like I have had a lifetime of therapy, reflection, and growth to heal from this frail man curled up on his bed. I wondered if this uneasy feeling about my father will ever go away. His walker is right next to his bed, which is right next to his oxygen tank! He can barely walk or breath at this point. He’s always kind to me now, and in general, says positive things. He’s unrecognizable from the person he was when I was growing up.
I felt a bit sad about my thoughts as I gathered up the empty prescription bottles. I stacked the boxes neatly on the kitchen table and quietly slipped out of his apartment. When I stepped through the automated doors into the cool fresh air, I thought, I’m a survivor and it’s all history at this point. I choose my memories and the ones I want to keep. I felt grateful for all the work I have done for my healing. There is nothing wrong with a little apprehension. I’m listening to my gut, the voice that has always kept me moving forward.