I was at the Jewish Pavilion Bloomingdales Fashion show in 2011 when I received a phone call that changed my life forever. My father called to let me know my mother was in the emergency room after having a stroke. She was doing well and there was no need for me to rush to South Florida. That weekend, my husband and I drove to visit my mother. She had a severe stroke and was being transferred to the five star health center of the continuing care community they had recently relocated to for rehabilitation.
This was the beginning of a journey which has taken many twists and turns. When a family member experiences a devastating or chronic illness, it becomes a family illness. Whatever decisions (good and bad) you make, the situation evolves and you adapt your life to it. For spouses, dealing with this life altering event becomes your existence. The psychological, social, emotional, and physical toll this new life causes is immense for all involved.
Almost two years later, it is difficult for me to reconcile with the changes in my mother’s personality from the stroke. The role reversal of child becoming parent is even more devastating for both of us. As a professional, I attempt to detach any emotion from my role as patient advocate and care manager along with my father. However, side stepping my emotions and addressing her needs simultaneously is like a dance that has no end. And the dance continues…
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