Update on dad

mikeandbarbNovember 28, 2007

Yesterday around 6 pm I got a call from my son letting me know that dad wanted to go to the hospital.

I went to the hospital and dad told me that he had not urinated since 9 am that morning.

Once they got the catheter in I looked at the bag and there was not much in the bag.

I went over to dads this morning and he was just about at his breaking point. I don't know how he's going to handle it if he has to wear this long term. I called the doctors office to get dad into see him tomorrow, I had to wait for the nurse to call me back. When she called she said they'd really like for him to keep it in till his appointment on the 4 th of Dec. I told her that dad just could not handle it.

I got the appt. and called dad to let him know what time his appt. is and he started in on about the bag not having enough fluid in it. He asked me if taking a flowmax would help and I told him I didn't know if it would or not, then he said ...it couldn't hurt could it? I told him no it wouldn't hurt. Dad thinks this medicine is the cure to helping him. I don't know what to do. I also think he maybe loosing track of when he's gone and how much?

I don't know how much longer I can take this. It's very hard when your unable to do anything for them. It's hard to sit back and watch and not do something.

Thanks for listening to me, Barb

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I went back and re-read some of your posts, concerns and other thoughts.
Now is the time for you to be the adult and encourage your father go into a home where he can get more attention. He will adjust, get meals and meds on time and improve. Because of the HEPA laws make sure you have signed documations that you or your husband can talk to the Dr, staff etc. There are also forms your Dad can sign allowing you to contact and talk to the insurance companies and also Social Security. For SS, you need two forms, one for A and one for B.
I would drop in to several homes (if you have them), look around, talk to some of the people who live there, talk to the staff and maybe take your dad for a visit. Many homes do have times that the visitors can come for coffee and cookies. He might even find that he knows someone in a home
We have already talked to our kids and when the time comes that we cannot drive etc. we will choose a place to go but then we have some excellent assisted living places and homes in the area. Rated very high and have lots of friends there already.
Do not feel guilty, your family comes first and your father will understand in his own way.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 10:25PM
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Thank you for the info. The key word is encourage. This will
be the hard part because he is scared to death to go into a home he fears of being beaten up cause of the stories he's heard of. I think that is the only thing that holds him back from going.
Also it can't be easy for a person to admit it's time, even if his mind is clear.
I do have some paper work that gives me the power to care for him. My problem has been know one is really listening to me. His doctor does not believe in placing anyone into a home. When dad first started showing signs of decline his doctor told me that I was to care for my dad.
I know it's not up to his doctor if he goes or not but if he'd listen he could be a big help to me dad, but not even the hospital listens to me.
One time when he was in the hospital I'd asked them about his need to go into a home and the next thing I know a doctor comes into dads room and says so you want to put your dad into a home. I was shocked that they did not use better tack than this. Why didn't they talked to me in private, find out why I was concerned? They ran some kind of test and dad past it but what their not seeing is he's abuse of taking medicines. Not to mention his doctor is part of the problem and there's no way dad will change doctors cause this doctor will give him medicines that he ASK for.
Other bad news about this doctor, he's been in local magazines with praise of his work so going against him would not be easy.
I don't know about this, it's going to be very tough to get through to anyone to help out.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 4:28AM
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BTW, having Power of attorney is not a substitute for the HIPAA privacy releases. Because of the vagueness of the HIPAA laws, every single doctor and medical facility can interpret them in different ways. Our estate attorney drew up not only regular power of attorney docs, but also healthcare power of attorney with HIPAA releases that can be used in every situation with any medical facility or personnel.

First of all, it sounds like you may need to talk to a geriatrician, if you can find one (a dying breed, unfortunately). You don't necessarily need to replace his doctor, but get some second opinions here if you can.

Second, it is sad but true that many people have these kinds of anxieties and will only go into facilities when they are forced to. Is there any chance you can at least get one of those medical alert systems so that your dad can remain independent a bit longer? Talk to your dad's doctor; they often get discounts for patients for some of these systems.

Certainly there are bad facilities as well as good ones. You should start investigating what's available now, because good ones have a waiting list. At the very least this helps calm a lot of your own anxiety because you will have a better idea of what to do when the time finally comes.

Once you've found some good prospects, see if you can get your dad to visit with you during social hours, so he can see what kind of activities are there and what the people are like.

It takes time, so don't expect to change his mind quickly. My MIL lives with us and it's taken us a year to get her to visit a local senior center for a weekly seniors exercise class! Now she's getting comfortable enough with the people that she's considering taking an additional line-dancing class on a second day - for her, that's amazing progress.

Certainly there's a basis for your dad's doctor to dislike putting people into facilities - it's been proven people are happier and live longer in their own homes. But your dad seems to be falling into that 'gray area', where he may not be capable of being independent much longer.

It's hard for parents to recognize that they are failing and need to be taken care of by their children. It's especially hard for women, because the older generation and much of the medical establishment does not take women as seriously as they do men - that's just fact. I find I have to speak pretty forcefully to my MIL for her to take my word for things, she keeps saying, "Well, I'll ask my son when he comes home." It's just habit and cultural differences, so keep plugging away.

Don't fuss or get emotionally upset over it - if you remain calm and logical, people will start to take your concerns seriously. It may not be obvious now that your dad is starting to get confused, but if dementia is indeed happening, there are tests that can help determine how fast the mental deterioration is progressing over time.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 11:22AM
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If his need for medicines is the major problem, go over his medicines with another doctor as a consultation. If any are not needed, then throw them. Sit down with your dad to get an idea of how much fluid intake he has a day. If he's not drinking much, there won't be much in the bag. Have they checked his bladder, kidneys, urinary tract and prostrate? If there are no problems there, what does he drink that you can put in a container with the ounces marked?
I see too many times a person put in a home as the family is frustrated and tired. The mother or father gets depressed and self-worth is out the window. They decline and die much earlier than if in their home. A lot has to do with the lack of care in a nursing home.
AS is probably evident, I hate nursing homes. My brother called to let me know he put momma in a nursing home and was selling her house. She was forgetful and not taking her medicine and eating properly. My brother lives about 5 to 10 minutes from her house depending on lights. They would go to the grocery story one block from her house. They did not go by to check on her nor helped her with the yard, she paid someone to cut the grass. They were not there for momma but went to my SIL's mother's everyday. Momma's health has declined badly. She had not gone to the bathroom for quite a while. The home finally called the doctor due to her pain. She now has a colostomy.
I know it's hard to take care of someone to that of just wanting to scream, cuss, cry and whatever else we can think of. My husband is disabled and I care for him. If possible, money wise, have someone be with him a few hours a day a couple days a week just so you can have time for you. My doctors and friends preach that to me. Sometimes it's easier said than done. Take time for you.
A catherization is very uncomfortable to a male. Then knowing the fluid level is being monitored probably makes him anxious worrying about what they will do to him.
I wish you the best and am sorry for the long post but I understand your frustration very well.
Lynn in Alabama

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 1:55PM
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I took dad to the doctors for them to take out the catheter. While there I talked to the nurse about my concerns about how much flowmax dad was taking. She told dad that if he took to much it could cause his blood pressure to drop causing him to faint.
When we got to his house he said that maybe it would be best just to take one pill a day and I told him one would be best.
As for getting dad to see another doctor you can forget it. I would have better luck moving a mountain.
I was reminding dad one day that he needed to just go have his blood work done and he refused. I tried telling him how important it was to get it done, he said he didn't care, But while we were there today I managed to have it done. He doesn't mind if he already has to go to the doctor's but just to make the add trip.no way he doesn't want to mess with it. So I don't push it, it wouldn't do either of us any good to get all upset at each other or blood work.
He is tried of having to constantly see a doctor or have something done he'd just like some peace and quite for a while, and I can understand but it still doesn't make it easy on me.

Lynn, that is sad about your mom. Could this happened because your brothers wife controlled what they did? It sounds like it to me. After all they went to her moms.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 7:33PM
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It has always been her family comes first unless they needed help with something. My brother and I have had some not-so-nice conversations about momma in the past. He said momma told him not to worry she was fine. Therefore he, and his kids, all grown went their merry way.
Momma was raised to be strong. She did try to take care of things herself. HOWEVER, even a toad knows when grass is tall. I'm only civil to them as I'm 1500 miles from there and he is my only source for info as my sister died of cancer 7 years ago. There's a lot involved.
This is your post though. My daddy hated to go to the doctor. With both of my parents I really believe in their growing up and perhaps your dad too. There were home remedies, you just didn't go to a doctor. Now it seems we go for just about everything - medicine for this and that.
I found if I told my dad we needed to talk, asked him if he knew how much I loved him. I then asked did he love me enough to live longer. Then I'd tell him how important seeing the doctor was. Then if not for me, what would the grandchildren do without him. Daddys and PaPas are special, they can't be replaced. It might take a day or 2 to think over but he would go.
Some may think that was wrong but I did what I had to for his sake. Think a bit about what matters to him in personal relationships and use it. Be honest with him of how it is taking so much from you in worrying. Daddys don't like upsetting their little girls. My dad called me that till the day he died.
I know you want what is best for him but sometimes it'd sure be nice to smack him with the broom. Consider what would work for both of you and try it. Just take a deep breath and take one step at a time. Sometimes we fall but there are friends and family to help us up.
Take care of yourself.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 8:16PM
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You've gotten a lot of good advice. Investigating nursing homes and visiting them in advance can go a long way in easing your father's fears. Checking into all the legalities will help you feel more confident about the future.

I think your dad's hesitancy to go to the doctor is understandable. My mom hates going too. She says it always end up with more pills to take, more tests, more poking & prodding...

Is there some way to have his medications monitored even while he is living on his own? Perhaps having them kept in a lock box and an in-home health care aide administers them. Or maybe having them kept in one of those weekly vitamin/pill dispensers sold at drugstores. They've got some that allow for up to four different dosages per day. Another idea is seeing if your pharmacy can put the pills in bubble packs. Each individual pill is wrapped, so it's really easy to keep track of dosages.

I know this is hard for you, but you're doing a good job. Every situation is different and you just do the best you can.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 11:57PM
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