I recognize that I have a form of seasonal affect disorder (SAD) and tend to get depressed as the days get shorter and the nights get longer. I have lived in the north most of my life and have always felt more “alive” in the spring and summer months. Dark days darken my mood.
Add to this the fact that November has been an unlucky month for me and my parents since 2010. Early November 2010 mom fell, broke her hip and within 3 weeks she had passed away. See “The Emotional Toll of Caregiving”
Exactly a year later, in early November, dad’s ALF called to tell me that dad needed to go to the ER because of “too much blood’ all over. It was a Saturday and the nurse wasn’t working that day. I spent the day in the ER with dad and then he was discharged. The following Monday I took him to his physician who sent him back to the ER and this time he was hospitalized for more than a week while they determined a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Dad ended up spending over a month combined — in the hospital and then the nursing home before he was finally back in his Assisted Living Facility. See “Looking Back: Looking Forward”. It took many months before dad readjusted to his ALF and began coming out of his room and socializing again.
Two years in a row – on exactly the same day in November – one of my parents entered the Emergency Room and then the hospital. Last year as November approached, I worried and waited for catastrophe, and fortunately everything was fine.
Now it is early November again. The days are getting shorter. The nights are long and dark. And again I find myself stressed with the unreasonable fear of a phone call in the early morning or evening with bad news about dad.
In fact, dad is pretty much the same as he has been these past two years. He has good days and bad days. Sometimes he seems engaged in conversations longer than others. Often lately he tunes out even when several visitors are with him, and he stares into space or lays his head back in his chair. Yet, he used to do the same thing when mom was alive, so I can’t really say he is worse than before. I just can’t tell.
Dad is years older than he was before. He has survived longer than any other family member in his family or my mom’s. He seems content where he is and doesn’t worry about the future. Dad has always been more likely to take each day as it comes. It is probably a life philosophy that has kept him healthy. Worry never prevented anything from happening, and so he doesn’t worry. I wish I could say the same thing for me!