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Feel like a terrible son
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jimbond007 posted:
My mom recently had a hysterectomy and they ended up taking out her fellopian tubes becasue there was cancer coming out of them. Post tests revealed cancerous lymph nodes. She went in to surgery and I have been through living hell being with her. The agony...not pain...the hallucinations from the drugs...not being able to eat or go to the bathroom....all the tubes in her...she just wanted to leave the hospital and yank out all the tubing. I became the focal point of all this because I was the one that kept her in the hospital and in the bed. She is finally getting better...it was horrible.

During this time...my father who was the nicest father in the world...who has alzeimers and parkinsons (83) is only concerned with himself. I have snapped a few times and I know that I shoudn't. I know that it is the disease. I am a special ed teacher and deal with disease associated behaviors all day lone and it doesn't fase me at all...and it's all day long. I expect it from them.

You would think that I could just understand and it makes me so angry that my dad keeps expecting everyone to cater to his needs when my mom just got out of her second surgery in less than a month. She needed the air conditioning down very low and the door to the hospital room open because of the drugs and surgery....meanwhile he kept telling us to close the door because he was cold. Everytime he would walk in the hospital room after being at the hotel while I was up with my Mom in terror all night no sleep would talk about what he ate and what he wanted for breakfast...dinner...etc..while my mom hadn't eaten for 3days..who thought that her induced state that I was doing it to her...I couldn't understand how he can be so self centered in a time where I am in tears because my Mom may potentially not make it out of the surgery and she is crying and moaning in pain.

I feel like a terrible son. He has steadily gotten worse overy the last couple years to the point where he talks at you not to you. It's the same old story. I feel like I lost my dad...he only cares about himself...doesn't ever ask me about me...doesn't have conversations with me and tells me I am criticiszing him. I don't know how to tell hime that he is not the center of attention and that Mom is more important.

I also have anxiety to begin with...thank God for Zanex...On top of everything else my Mom is a RN and takes care of my dad...and she is the one who needs taken care of.

I feel terrible and helpless. I don't know what or how to say it to my Dad. I know that I am being a jerk and can't seem to know what to say. How do I nicely tell my Dad who can cognizantly tell everyone what they are going to do when he wants it and expect everyone to drop what they are doing to attend to his wants....Wants...not needs.

I am an extrememly considerate person to everyone...especially my students and bosses and friends and I am the exact opposite with my dad. Help I am very frustrated. ...and we haven't started chemo yet and I have to go back to my home 17 hours away to go back to work and I wm so worried because he will want everything now when my mom is nthe one who needs it.
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davedsel57 responded:
Hello.

I am sorry you are having to deal with all this and fully understand.

What you need to do is rise above your own emotions and make sure both your parents are getting the care they need. Has your dad officially been diagnosed with some form of Dementia, like Alzheimer's disease? Are there care givers of some type coming to their home on a daily basis to take care of them? How about Power of Attorney - do they still take care of their own finances and are they able to do it properly? Is there a document giving you Health Care Proxy, or in some states this is referred to as a Medical Power Of Attorney?

As difficult as I know this will be for you, you need to step in and take an active roll in your parents' care. Make sure you have legal and medical control if they need/want you to do that. Make sure they are getting the medical care they need from physicians. Make sure someone is coming in a daily basis to take care of their daily needs. Are you the only child? If not, discuss all this with your siblings and get their help.

You are NOT a terrible son. This is extremely difficult, but you can do it and get your parents the care they need and deserve.

I pray you can get all this take care of soon for their sakes and for yours.
Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.

Blessings, Dave
 
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cjh1203 responded:
Hi Jim. Your situation sounds so frustrating and sad. I'm really sorry your mother has gone through such a terrible time, and I hope she will begin to recover soon.

Your reaction to your dad's behavior is probably pretty normal. You're under an extreme amount of stress, and I think we always tend to take that out on the people closest to us.

No matter how much you care for your students, you're more emotionally detached from them, so it's easier to be patient and understanding -- and you only see them for a certain amount of time, in certain situations. You get to go home at the end of the day and whatever they do, and however they behave, doesn't affect you after that. With your dad, his behavior affects you very much, even when you're not physically with him.

The most important thing is to remember, as you said, that his behavior is not him -- it's his diseases. After the earlier stages, people with Alzheimer's are in their own worlds and they're like children in the way they see everything and everyone around them. They can only see how it affects them. They're also like children in that, when they want something, they want it right away. That's not stubbornness or selfishness, and it's not deliberate. Your dad can't help thinking only of himself. Talking to him about it won't make any difference because he's probably not capable of understanding the concepts of empathy or patience.

From your father's perspective, what's going on now must be just awful. The most important thing in the life of an Alzheimer's patient is structure and familiarity. His life is turned completely upside down and it has to be scary and overwhelming for him. Living with your mom in their home, doing pretty much the same things every day was comfortable for him. Every single part of his life is unfamiliar right now. For an Alzheimer's patient, just going to a new grocery store can be very frightening and upsetting.

Your mom obviously isn't going to be able to care for your dad, at least for quite a while, so it may be time to think about bringing in someone to help. Your mother is going to have a hard enough time without worrying about your dad's care. She needs to be able to concentrate completely on getting through her chemo and getting better. She would probably tell you she can handle caring for your father, but please don't let her do it. You're seeing first-hand what the stress of that can do.

Before you go back home, I think it would be really helpful if you could talk to someone at the local Alzheimer's Association about the situation with your parents. These are things that they deal with all the time, and they should be able to provide you with invaluable support, advice and resources. Joining a support group at your hometown Alzheimer's Association could help immensely once you get back home. One of the worst things about having an Alzheimer's patient in the family is that you feel so alone and helpless. Hearing from, and talking to, people who are dealing with the same kinds of things can make all the difference in the world, both practically and emotionally.

You are far from a bad son. You're in the middle of a heartbreaking situation, and doing the best you possibly can. You seem very caring, and you're being a tremendous support to your parents.

I hope you will keep us posted about how things are going, and that your mother's condition will improve. My heart goes out to you.

Carol
 
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Judith L London, PhD responded:
Hi Jim,

I know just how you feel. I have been in caregiving situations and find myself unable to follow the suggestions that I give to others.

Try not to take personally what your Dad is saying. Every time he speaks in that self-oriented way is a sad reminder of the ravages of his diseases. Everyone is frightened about being so ill, and the hardest thing is for you to detach from the hurt he uncontrollably creates.

Try to preserve yourself during this ordeal. Meditating for even 5 minutes may help.

Hope your parents stabilize, and thay you can get some relief,

Judy


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