Belatedly introducing myself...
I just jumped right in a few months ago and started posting, and never introduced myself.
I'm 37, and live in Atlanta with my husband and two DDs (5 and 2.5). DH and I both work full time. Three years ago, my mother lost her seven year battle with colon cancer. A few months before she died, the cancer moved into her brain, leaving her paralyzed (both legs and one arm). She wanted to die at home, so we got hospice service. So I'd diaper my daughter, then my mom, then diaper my daughter again. About this time, I realized that my dad wasn't functioning mentally like he should be. His Alzheimer's diagnosis was official a few weeks after Mother died. Mother's final months were extremely hard on my dad. I was at their house (over an hour away) to help four days a week, and my brother would stop by to visit (but not help) once or twice a week.
When my dad started his Alzheimer's meds, they wrecked his system. He threw up, lost weight, and refused to lower the dosage. He stabilized for a while at a level that he could continue to live by himself with help. My brother and I got him to sign POA and medical POA. He couldn't cook, but was OK to drive to the little local restaurants for meals. Then, he had a decrease in function and wasn't OK to drive anymore but refused to give up the car keys.
This past Christmas Eve, we got some divine intervention. He had a pocket on his colon that burst (I forget the proper name), and had emergency surgery on Christmas Eve. From the hospital, he went to a temporary nursing home, and then onto the assisted living place near my brother that he had selected with us many months before. In May, the colostomy bag was removed, and there was great rejoicing.
Although Daddy's much better now than he was by himself, he won't eat or take his meds unsupervised. Since I'm not home for 10 - 12 hours a day, that rules out him living with us. We do bring him to our house for the weekend once or twice a month (requiring two 3 hour round trips). He is angry and bitter about his loss of independence and his car, and generally refuses to engage with the other residents at his assisted living place. When he's at our house, he's generally more demanding of my time than our two-year-old.
I have it quite easy compared to most of you. He's not having problems with incontinence (the colostomy bag was sheer misery). Most days, he basically understands what's going one but has lost most of his vocabulary. He's always been quite the talker, so this is really hard for him. He can spend hours talking about "the man with the thing" and I never know what story he's trying to convey. Some memories are blending together (he has combined a surgery he had 50 years ago with the one this past Christmas Eve, for example). Even though he hasn't been able to call me by name for a couple of years, he has never forgotten who I am. He loses everything, from clothes to dentures. I'm trying to spend as much time with him as I can while he still knows me, but it's hard between the job, kids, etc. Hopefully, I'll be able to quit working for a while in a few months and spend more time with him. He's only 70, so I should have a few more years with him if all goes well.
So that's me in a nutshell. I'm not truly a caregiver, but I appreciate y'all letting me hang out here.