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Caring for Your Parents

Chapter 17: Ricardo, Nelly and Raul [4:03]

"It is what it is."

Raul's cancer and Nelly's Alzheimer's have worsened, and now Ricardo is in poor health, too. Who cares for the caregiver?

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Transcript 

Chapter 17: Ricardo, Nelly & Raul “It is what it is.”

RICARDO:  

This Christmas I think is very sad  because I don't have my wife. I start to feel, I didn't even have any decorations. I didn't have the energy to put up any decorations. Honestly, I don't feel in celebration mood.

Today's one of the more difficult days in my life. 

Esta bueno? 

We made the decision today that, uh, we are not going to give him any more treatment or any more medicine. We realize that, uh, his days are counted. It is very sad, but it is what it is.  

(Ricardo speaking Spanish to his father.) 

NARRATOR:

MORE BAD NEWS.  HIS MOTHER'S HEALTH SEEMS TO BE FAILING TOO...

RICARDO:  

Thanksgiving day, she was here with me and she was kind of with pain. So I took her to the nursing home and we gave her medicine. Turn out she has problems with the gall bladder. 

The problem with Alzheimer's is because they are like children.  They don't really know what is going on. So they--  She doesn't really know how to express the pain or where is the real pain. You have to kind of touch her and start to ask, where it is, what do you feel?

NARRATOR:

AND...ON TOP OF IT ALL...RICARDO'S OWN HEALTH HAS STARTED TO DECLINE... 

RICARDO:  

I have a heart condition. And last week, the doctor told me they are going to install a pacemaker.  

Yeah, I have my father and my mother. My mother with Alzheimer's and I have a father with terminal cancer. And it's in the last stages, so any day. 

DOCTOR:

I'm sorry to hear that. 

RICARDO:  

No, I did enjoy them so many years. My father is 83. He's going to be 83 this month.  

DOCTOR:

How have you been feeling? 

RICARDO:

Alright. The only thing is the over last week I did have kind of flu. It's more my sore throat. But this time it was very strong. Probably it is because of the tension I have with my parents. 

He say to me that my heart is working at only forty percent of the capacity. That I should be, like, incapacitated. I should feel very tired, or with no desire to do anything but I say, "Doctor, for me, that is not an option." 

NARRATOR:

IN JANUARY NELLIE WAS MOVED TO THE THIRD FLOOR FOR THE MORE ADVANCED ALZHEIMER'S PATIENTS...NOW, FOR HER OWN SAFETY THERE'S A HIGHER LEVEL OF SECURITY. NELLIE HAS BEEN REFUSING TO EAT...BUT SHE WILL IF RICARDO FEEDS HER... 

NELLIE (SUBTITLE):

Suffering. 

RICARDO (SUBTITLE):

Suffering? Why? 

NELLIE (SUBTITLE):

Because I miss my friends. 

RICARDO (SUBTITLE):

You miss them?