Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Dad Bag

Today I slept shockingly late, did a small amount of knitting, worked out on the elliptical for forty minutes, and went over to Dad's. He and Fran were having a rather tense discussion, not quite edging into a fight, about her departure (she thinks he should pay for her move back to Chicago, which he and I both find outrageous). I said some things that were honest but perhaps not terribly politic, although I tried to say them calmly; Fran stayed calm too -- she and I both have tempers, so I'm amazed things didn't get louder -- and for a wonder, we all got along for the next few hours. (My sister, by the way, was delighted when I reported my comments. "Good for you for confronting her!" Lots of good it will do.)

I reconciled Dad's meds -- replacing old Reno scripts with new Palo Alto ones (most of which are the same) -- and set up his med trays. I made a list of the meds, went to work to photocopy it, and put a copy on the fridge next to the advance directive.

My major accomplishment of the day, though, was The Dad Bag, a backpack containing an accordian file, which in turn contains manila folders with Dad's legal documents (copies of legal and medical power of attorneys, and of his anatomical-donation form), medical info (copies of the meds list), and financial records (his checkbook and register, since I've been writing his checks, along with VA eligibility documents, Social Security info, and the bills I'm going to try to persuade the VA to pay). I also have a folder for resource info: phone numbers people have given me and the little "Guide to Senior Care" pamphlet from the VA.

The accordian file also holds copies of my business card, which I've found handy to give to medical folk since it has all my phone numbers, post-it notes, a small stapler, some paper clips, and a pen. Elsewhere in the backpack are extra pens, a clipboard with a legal pad for to-do lists and notes, and power bars in case I get stuck with Dad in an ER in the middle of the night and get hungry.

The backpack has enough extra room for a knitting project and a water bottle. It's essentially a portable office/hospital survival kit, and will be easy to find and grab if I have to make a mad dash to an ER, or to Dad's apartment, in the middle of the night.

Getting this done was a huge relief, since documents had previously been scattered hither and yon. (I'm still not sure where the original of the general power of attorney is, but that's less important than the medical one, of which I do have the original, plus two copies.) If anyone can think of anything I should add, please let me know!

Now we have to go to PetSmart, and then I have to try to get some work done for my actual job. What a concept!


  1. Ummm...a package of tissues? Your laptop in case inspiration strikes? LOL Susan, this is fantastic and it sounds like you've done a really good job putting it together. Have you included a directory of the names, specialties, and phone numbers of every doctor he has? That might come in handy.

    Good for you standing up to Fran! She needed to hear those things, and I bet your Dad felt good about you being on his side.


  2. If you ever do end up in an ER, they will LOVE you for the completeness of this preparation. I mean, LOVE LOVE LOVE you. I'm sorry things keep being so tough, and I'm sorry about Fran. Who could have predicted this? OTOH, if she really cannot manage to help him, better to find out now rather than an even worse time. Hugs and kisses all round.

  3. Whoosh. Hang in there, hon. We're praying for you and your dad.

  4. Thanks, everyone! (And Lee, the bag already contains tissues!)

  5. Anonymous5:04 PM

    Delurking to make a suggestion about your dad's meds. Is there any way he can have blister packs made up by his pharmacist with the medicines organized by day and time (ie Mon -breakfast; Mon--lunch).
    My parents are both in their late 70s and until their pharmacist did the blister packs, they had a tremendously difficult time tracking which medicines they'd taken.


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