About Rachel A.
The caregiver in this story is my stepmom, Ellen. My Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014. His routine surgery went horribly wrong, and he ended up intubated in the ICU. The physician who performed the surgery is now operating with a restricted license. My brothers and I completely fell apart, as our Dad is our only living parent after our mother died of colon cancer in 2001. My step mom held us all together. The hospital he was in seemed like they’d never actually worked with humans before. Although he was intubated and unable to speak, they didn’t even give him access to a call button to ask for help when needed. They thought his birth mark was a bruise and kept expressing concern. It was truly mind boggling. It was entirely up to us to take care of Dad. We took shifts and never left him alone for longer than a few minutes. On my 30th birthday, they released him from the ICU and into a regular ward. After a week or so, we were able to take him home. Unfortunately, he continued to have complications from the botched surgery, making it difficult for him to pee. My step mom, a retired family physician who now works with Alzheimer’s patients, catheterizated him several times a day to give him some relief. She also cooked, cleaned, and even took care of me and my siblings. We were all adults at the time, but this incident brought back horrible memories from the loss of our mom and we weren’t coping well. It’s now 4 years later, and my Dad is still experiencing complications from this surgery. He has had 3 bowel obstructions caused by adhesions (scar tissue) created by the surgery. Scar tissue that was never supposed to be there. My stepmom spends the night in the hospital with my Dad every time he has a blockage. Twice in the last month, but sometimes only every few months. We all work together to spend time with my Dad when he’s really ill and also try to encourage my stepmom to take a break for herself. Her parents are 90 and 96 and also require a lot of care.
I never wanted a new mom. And nobody will ever replace my mom. But if it had to be anyone, I’m so thankful it’s Ellen. I don’t know what we would do without her. I know that my Dad would not be as well taken care of, that’s for sure.