For two years straight, my husband and I took care of my elderly parents, thinking we’d be doing that for years. My mother was always sickly, since I was in kindergarten. So, my father spent my entire life taking care of my mother. She had many illnesses, including osteomyelitis, an infection that could have been controlled with antibiotics, but, at the time, when she was a child, it hadn’t been invented it.
So, the infection spread throughout her body and ate away at her hip bones. The total hip replacement wasn’t invented until I was in college. So my mother waddled through life, partially with a cane, partially in a wheelchair. The first hip replacement wasn’t that great, so it didn’t last long. By then I was in college. Over time, my mother had about eight hip replacements. All that surgery weakened the surrounding bones. In addition, she had other health problems along the way. I had friends and a social life, so I could block out her problems for most of my life, as did my older brother.
Tragedy happened when my father turned 76. I had never seen my father sick, ever! The worst he had was a cold or the flu. Suddenly, he had many things all at once. He had prostate cancer, colon cancer, pneumonia and a debilitating stroke. He ended up in intensive care.