I just need to vent some

mikeandbarbNovember 18, 2007

Where do I start? Well, let me start off with that I've been caring for my dad for 20 months now and it's been the longest 20 months of my life. While there has been many good times together there has been the hard times to go with caring for dad. It does not help that I have back problems and not in the best of health myself. I'm a 52 yr old female. I started taking care of dad when his brother my uncle passed away Jan of 2006. My uncles death was not expected, he died of an aneurysm at the age of 75.

Dad has problems urinating due to scar tissue. He did have an enlarged prostate but with medication it's now ok. With his problems urinating he will take flowmax even though his doctor has told him he does not need it. He think's it helps him to go. Also when he's not able to go he'll take his high blood pressure medication. He had two types of high blood pressure medication and just two weeks ago he'd gone to his doctor asking to be put back on the old high blood pressure medicine. Well, dad now has two types of blood pressure medicine and he had the newest one filled and ask my son to pick it up at the drug store.

Dad did not tell my son what the medicine was for, dad calls it his peeing medicine.

I have told has doctors and the hospital that dad takes his medicine when he thinks he needs it not as it should be taken. The flowmax he has taken up to three pills in one day.

I have told dad that he's not to be taking the flowmax anymore the doctor said his prostate is fine and he doesn't need it and I have tried to explain to dad that these medicines have nothing to do with his ability to urinate.

What's really bad is that dad's PMC doctor will give dad whatever medicine he ask for. The bad thing is I cannot take dad away from this doctor because dads mind is slipping away slowly and he gets lost when having to go to the heart doctor and urologist. There are times when I'll take him on a drive and he'll not know where he's at. Now this is a man that drove all the time, it was a hobby LOL...he could not stand to stay at home so he drove all around town so I know he should know where he's at when I'm driving. In fact I know of the places I drive because it's where he'd drive us around as kid's around showing us places.

The specialist told me that dad's bladder is very strong and the wall has thickened up and this causes him to not have to go as often as normal. Well, dad gets all worried and will call me to take him up to the hospital.

The past two weeks I told dad that I needed to take some time to take care of myself and that I'd be over three times a week to take care of him. He will not have in home health care. The doctor ordered it just a month ago he dad said no.

I went in for my check up and the doctor found a mole that needs to removed and I need to have my mammogram done. Not to mention that I've been trying to find a doctor for my back. I'm in pain 85 % of the time with my back. On good day's dad is able to care for himself but it can change in a matter of hours, His mind becomes clouded and he can't remember thing's.

I'm so frustrated


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I am guessing that your father is in his 70s, right? OK, then he is on the downward path of his life. Try to understand that it really doesn't matter what kind of medicine he does, or does not take. Just let him do what he feels best for him. It makes him more content and saves you from the arguments. At this point, his peace of mind is the most important thing. Forget about his bladder and prostate. What his mind does is more important.

I know that you worry about it not being good for him, or that it will shorten his life. Even if it does, you have no way of knowing how much or how long. So, while he lives, he will be happier without having to discuss this over and over again with you. Just leave him be as much as you can. I know that's hard to do, but trust me, we older folk really don't like our kids telling us what to do. It really makes our lives worse.

And if daddy is unhappy, then the daughter is too. This is one time that you need to look at the easiest way to handle him. It's going to get worse. The bad days will become more frequent.

At some point, he will need more care than you can give. Since he has refused home health care, you don't have much choice except to wait until such time that he needs around the clock watching.

Start looking around for suitable nursing or assisted care homes. Check with your lawyer as to what you will have to do to get guardianship over him.

Come here to vent anytime you need to. It has helped many people to cope with unpleasant situations. You are going to have to put yourself first. Take care of yourself. Remember that if your health is damaged, you will be able to do much less for him.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 10:46AM
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For the first time since my uncles passing I have had to step aside to care for myself.
I understand what your saying about not repeating myself but it's dad that ask the same questions nearly every time I go over. He forgets and doesn't understand why he doesn't get better with the urinating thing.
When I was over there today he was telling me about his troubles and I told him that his doctor said the next step is to put in a stint and this worries him cause he's now having trouble holding it.
I always talk to him kindly and softly. I'm not the that to get mad and snap at him.
I just wish life was easier and better for him. If it wasn't for my dad helping through out my life times of troubles I don't know where I'd be. Even though I was always grateful for what he did for me it was hard to show him just how much but now it's mine turn to show him how he means to me.
Our family is not big I have two grown kids in their 30's and two grand kids 13 and 9 and I have a wonderful husband and he has been a rock for me through this time of my life. Not complaining one bit if I come home to tired to cook dinner. My daughter would help out but she's got four kids to care for so it's would be to much for her, not to mention that dad can't handle young ones for very long HECK even I can't take them for long LOL. To noisy and to active for me at times. My son helps some but he is not very understanding, he calls him an old man.... WELL DUH
I've already told my kids I'm going into a home when the time comes. Thankfully I have my husbands VA to help with that.
BTW, Why do the call this the golden years? It's anything but golden unless you have great health and how many aging people have that?
I think my uncle was lucky to have gone the way he did, it was like here today gone tomorrow. No prolonged pain or illness.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 5:07PM
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Is there an assisted/nursing home in your area? With you medical needs, regardless what he has helped you in the past, he needs more help/guidance that you can give at the present time. Many times people will listen to others. Also some times speaking softly is not always the way to go and I know with my Mom, I had to get very firm, and sometimes ending up yelling. Older people are like kids, they will do what they want to, hear what they want to, and if you do not have a Dr that does what is best for the patient that is a problem. I am in my mid 70's and would be in really bad shape if I had not been the "mom" and my mom not been the child. He is not listening to you, will not, and does not listen to the Dr. He shows signs of dementia, and needs more help than you can give. You did mention VA, but now VA is very strict on the help it gives so please check what restrictions they have. Also you need some legal advice because with the HEPA laws,bank regulations it you father does require additional help you cannot do anything. We fill out form, and many more forms to give insurance, medicare, A & B, banks, medical center so our kids can take over in case of an emergency. Without these forms on file, you cannot find out, apply for and even get help for anyone, including your spouse even have forms on file for medicare or my spouse or myself cannot find out information or even file if necessary.
Now is the time, not when you need it.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 12:03PM
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Back in Sept. Dad wasn't to the hospital with chest pains and was admitted. I talked to the nurse in charge about dad talking his medicines how he saw fit. I also told them of other concerns and they did check him out asking him questions and he PAST with flying colors, but at home he'll say thing's and even show signs that not all is ok at the moment. He will not hear of going into a home of any kind.
Today he was talking to me about his medicine the flowmax and high blood pressure and said neither one of these will help me go to the restroom will they? After all this time explaining to him it finally go through. He is due to go for his check up in two weeks and his doctor said the next step is a stint. He has questions he wants to ask.
Oh, another thing most of the time he is unable to take himself to the doctor to remember just what he needs to ask or remember what to tell him whats going on. This is why I've take on so much of taking care of him but as I've said I'm not able to keep this up.
I feel as though the system lets us down and does not care.
Sometimes I feel as dad is playing possum though, just for the added attention. Both Husband and son telling me dad plays me to get attention.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 6:06PM
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Barb, Just a thought.....how do you think he would handle writing things down that he wanted to ask the doctor? Maybe you could suggest things?????? It might register with him better. Encourage him to write down the doctor's answers as soon as he can. Things like, "The doctor says to take one pink pill every morning."

Sometimes, if you can get them to get into the habit of writing or making lists, it helps them hold on to what's going on.

Might work, might not. But it's worth trying

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 8:58PM
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You are right to a certain degree about your dad wanting attention, especially if he is living alone. But the fact that he does not take his medication properly and is unable to communicate effectively with his primary care physician means he needs more monitoring & supervision then he is getting right now. You can't be there with him all the time. So you've got to come up with a better way of supervising his care before he ends up endangering himself.

As Agnes & Marie have indicated, now is the time to start doing a lot of advance planning & research. You need to look into the VA benefits he could draw on; federal,state, and local agencies that aid the elderly; legal advice from a reputable lawyer specializing in elder care; etc.

Also, the fact that he can put on a good front for others does not mean he is really capable of taking care of himself properly. It's not unusual for an elderly person to have moments of lucidity only to withdraw back into a state of confusion.

And it sounds like his doctor isn't really paying enough attention to your concerns. Is there a way to make yourself heard better? Or can you change doctors?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 9:06PM
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I don't think he'd keep up with writting things down. He has to take laxatives to help with bm's and the only way he's able to keep up with when he's gone is by marking a B on the calendar. That's as good as it get's as for writing
His doctor ordered home health care but dad refused to let them come help out. He does not want anyone coming to his home messing with medication. He has everything where he knows where it is and if you moved it he's be lost.
I have found that you cannot get them the help if they refuse help. As long as they can tell you no your hands are tied.
It is very sad that it is this way. Dad does not have VA.
Dad has some money but not much, it would be enough to last a few years in a good home, then they'd take his homes and that would last another two years.
Dad did set everything up giving me power over everything, my name is on one bank account, the one that is SS goes to.

My husband and I have VA. I was stating that I don't want my kids going through what I am with my dad. At least try to releive them of as much as I can of want to do. I want it set up before I need it and can still think for myself.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 10:45PM
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If you have power of attorney for finances & have been named as the agent in an advance health care directive, then I guess you'll just have to wait until a crisis occurs or his condition deteriorates so much that he requires round-the-clock care. You're right, you can't force him to accept aide if he's dead-set against it.

However, it still would be wise to check local, state, & federal agencies that deal with elder issues. You might consider consulting with an elder care lawyer to make sure everything really has been taken care of. AARP is a source of information along with hospitals, senior centers, etc.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 12:51AM
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Shambo wrote.. then I guess you'll just have to wait until a crisis occurs or his condition deteriorates so much that he requires round-the-clock care.
This is what is so hard watching and waiting for signs. As human as we are we get into a routine, get busy and forget to stop and take a look at how one is doing, this includes other family members.

Thank you Shambo, I will look into these avenues. BTW Dad has picked out the nursing home he wants to go to when the time comes but I know in my heart he will fight it when that time does come. My fear of the nursing home he's picked is that it's not to far from his home. I have not checked it out but my son said it is a good nursing home.
If dad does have to good into a nursing home I know it will be very emotional time for me.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 5:58AM
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I know it will be a terrible time for you when he does go to a NH. But look at it this way.....he will get the mental stimulation from many others. That's something that he cannot get living alone, or even in your home. You are only one person. In a nursing home, he will be seeing others, chatting with them, developing friendship. Even getting to disliking someone is better than no relationship at all. The mind needs stimulation from real, live people, not just those on TV.

Check out the nursing home that he has picked out. Put him on a waiting list if there is one. And when the momment comes when he is ready....just go!! Don't worry about packing up his things, you can do that afterwards. The trick is to first get him inside the home.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 8:51AM
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agnespuffin, Thank you I know dad would be much better off being with others but he has lived alone for to long, 40 years without dating much. After he and my mom divorced he had no desire to marry again. He was very heart broken over the break up and it took him about 15 years to finally get over it, if he truly is over it now. He still talks about her, not in a bad way just wishing it had turned out better than what it did and I'm sure he wishing he had a wife to be there for him. I wish he did to but that's not the case.

I will go to the nursing home and check it out. Is there a good place on line where I can get a good list of what to ask the nursing home? Do I need to bring all my papers?

BTW, We did talk to dad once about moving into an all adult apartment that went over like a lead balloon. We didn't push it, just let him think about.
I thought that at least he have people his on age to talk to, he would not have to worry about taking care of his home, like a break in pipes and not have to worry about the yard. He can do yard work, my son does what he can to keep up with it then dad has a guy that will mow for him from time to time.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 9:57AM
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Even if he didn't DATE, I am sure that he had male friends that he talked about sports or politics with. He needs other men....equals that have the same life experiences and memories that he does. It's difficult to share with those of a younger generation.

Go see the NH that would be the easiest for you. They would be used to people in your situation and will be able to advise you as to what they offer.

One thing to look for is whether or not they have a separate section for the very ill. And if they have organized activites for the patients.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 5:15PM
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Checking out the nursing home in advance and getting on the waiting list is a wonderful idea. The thing you really need to remember is that there is never a perfect solution. You're doing the best you can now, and you'll continue doing the best you can in the future. As long as you let your dad know you love him & care about his welfare, you have nothing to feel badly about. None of us can turn back the clock and make our elderly parents younger, happier, healthier, or sharper mentally. What we can do is assure them of our love and try to make their declining year as safe & comfortable as possible. Your father is lucky to have you.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 7:14PM
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Going through the same thing, but with BOTH "parents". My step-mom had a stroke and my dad cannot care for himself at all. She was the caretaker - yeah, right; her stroke happened about 10 days before anyone realized it. No one could recognize it and she just kept trying to do what she knew best. It was so sad - the house was in shambles when I got there! Unfortunately, they are half a country away from any family that can help - I'm on the east coast and my step-brother is in CA. They are in MI. Since there was no one to take care of Dad when they took my step-monm to the hospital, the hospital kept him as well. Of course that was 3 days of self-pay!! After that, my Dad had a seizure - major, and cut his head and face pretty badly when he fell. I guess that was a good thing because that allowed both of them to be placed in a skilled care facilty. I can't tell you the nightmare with that though - they were placed in the wrong type of facility at first which was an awful experience. They were expected to take care of themselves, and of course, couldn't. What a mess. This country has to do better with health care! When they finally realized that they needed extra care, they couldn't take my dad because they didn't have any male beds. The law says the facility has to have a certain number of beds for females and and a certain number for males - who the heck made up that mess!!

Anyway, the best thing is to NOW try to get on a waiting list. In my "parents" case, they live in a small town and were able to get in right away, especially coming directly from a hospital. Where I am, there is a waiting list. Plus, you want to be sure that your Dad is getting the proper type of care. That may take some time too. Don't remember if you said, but be sure to get POA NOW while you can. I can't get it for my Dad - he is already diagnosed with dimentia. My step-mom has it for him. If something happens to her, like another stroke, then the state has to take over. Luckily she is still in her right mind after the stroke, and has passed her POW to her son. HOWEVER, she still has POA over my dad. The only way I can get it for my Dad is if my Step-brother gives it to me - that won't happen because he does't really want to give up Dad to me. Gotta work on that one pretty quickly.

My best to you. If I find out anything else in my travels, I'll pass it on.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 10:26PM
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