It’s Never Planned | So Plan Ahead

Growing up I always had visions of my parents living forever.

Doesn’t every child?


I’ve known for as long as I can remember that my Dad has “head problems”. After several years of football he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus and had a ventricular shunt placed. I remember the struggles my parents faced as the shunt would occasionally fail followed by yet another surgery. It’s been many many years of smooth sailing with no problems.  Then one day my Dad called. He called me several times actually. He kept asking what day it was and if he had missed work. Several of our conversations that day were mirror images of previous ones we had had earlier in the day.

I knew something was up.


My Dad had been living on his own for several years and without a significant other in his life, I became the decision maker for him… his caregiver. It was a horribly rough 2 1/2 months being torn between my own family at home and the hospital. He had to have several procedures including a completely new shunt being placed on the other side of his head because they couldn’t get the old one to function properly. This was compounded by a wicked infection that left him bedridden in ICU for nearly a month. When he was finally cleared medically for release from the main hospital he had another week and a half at a rehab hospital. In the end, there was talk of long term care possibly being a necessity because of damage that might be permanent.

This got me thinking about my own family. Although my husband and I are young, I started wondering when was the best time to start thinking about long term care insurance. My Dad didn’t (and does not) have any and I don’t ever want my children to be put into a situation where they have to take from their own families to take care of us. It’s one of those conversations you put off, like creating a will. Nobody likes to think about or talk about their own mortality but it’s a necessary part of life. Especially if you don’t want to burden those that will eventually become your caregivers (like your own children).

Illness isn’t planned. But… you can plan ahead for your care.


  1. Wendy says

    Wow. Powerful post, Heather. Now that I have a family, I KNOW I need to start making important plans, and your post has inspired me and given me a real kick in the butt!

  2. Maureen says

    I know what you have been going through.
    Last fall my father had a stroke. A year and a half earlier he had a heart attack while out of the country.
    This year he has had three melanoma surgeries on his head.
    This year my mother has had two aortic aneurysm dissections. Then a month after being released from the second surgery she was back in because of a bleeding issue. She was in for 10 days.
    I am one of 7 siblings. 4 live out of state or even out of the country. One sister and brother live in the same town. I live a half hour away (on a good day).
    The sister who lives in the area is a nurse. She has 4 young children herself (with the youngest having a heart health issue at 18 months).
    I am the oldest of the whole gang. I do not have children (as I have a health issue). It is something or a subject that a lot of people do not want to discuss. It is hard and very emotional.

  3. Oh, how true it is! We cannot plan illness but sometimes we can prevent ourselves from struggling from it. And all it takes is just realising it at a good point on life….Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. It IS sad to think of these things but it must be taken care of ahead of time and before it’s too late. Thanks for the info.

  5. I’m sorry about your dad. My father moved in with us a year after my mother passed away. He had cancer and COPD. He couldn’t live alone anymore. My husband is disabled and I am a stay at home wife and mother. We care for our 8 granddaughters when our kids have to work. So there are usually little ladies running around here all the time.
    It was the best 4 years we had together. Oh yes it was hard, many times. My husband and I never got to be alone and every where we went he did too. He was my husbands best friend. When my dad got really sick my husband stayed in the room with my and made a bed on the floor next to him. My grandchildren still miss PaPa! He always had one, two and even three try to climb up and be read to in his chair. My father was a special man as was my mother. It was the best sacrifice we ever made. You and your family will be in our prayers. God bless you!

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