At My Wits End

by K
(South Carolina)

My mother has been bed bound for over 12 years. She was obese and needed knee replacement but refused to see a doctor claiming that everyone she knew that had knee replacement had bad results. So she just stopped walking and took to the bed. Many years later she asked us to take her to a bone and joint specialist who, of course, said he couldn't help her because she had been bed bound for too long and he couldn't rehab her after surgery because she hadn't walked in years.

She was 70 when this started and she's now 85. My father who is also 85 has been waiting on her hand and foot for 12 years. I helped him full time for six years until my back and shoulders gave out. I'm now 55, an a single parent of a teen and will likely have to work the rest of my life.

I barely make ends meet and still have back and shoulder problems from caring for her.

Three years ago my dad had triple bypass surgery and a valve replacement. During that hospital stay they discovered he had kidney cancer. Forward three years now and he is in stage IV. He has had a kidney removed, a part of his lung removed and now having immunotherapy hoping to buy him some time.

Yet mom still wants him to care for her. They have a lady who comes in four hours a day Monday through Friday. Other than that my dad takes care of her every need. Bed pan, bathing and she is demanding.

If she needs something she bangs loudly in her bedside tray. We've tried to give her wallow talkies or bells but she prefer banging. Her mind is perfectly sharp so she knows exactly what she's doing.

Sunday she insisted they go to church when it was 30 degrees outside. My dad has pleural effusion from the cancer and already has trouble breathing. I warned her they shouldn't go. But she still insisted.

By the time I
went to their house after my work he was doubled over unable to breathe. I rushed him to the ER where they quickly admitted him saying he was in congestive heart failure. His heart is operating at 15%.

My sister and I have tried to tell her that she needs to move to a skilled nursing facility so he can focus on his own health, but she screamed at us and called a friend from church to tell her how mean we are.

My dad will care for her with his dying breath because that's how he is. And we have tried to explain the situation to his doctors and they will not tell him not to keep caring for her.

He has no business driving and they refuse to take his license. The doctors are no help at all. They say oh well yes you should help take care of your wife. Really? Have you emptied bedpans for 12 years 7 days a week for someone who never lets up on the demands? And if you don't do it exactly right you get yelled at? She's impossible.

If you don't do things in exactly the same routine you get corrected. No! You hand me the toilet paper now! And now you take some!

I'm sorry to go on and on but I'm at my wits end. There's only two kids and I'm the one here. My sister is clear across the country.

I served six years waiting on my mom and I can't do any more. I want to be there for my dad but I'm angry that he is shortening his life by caring for her. I'm so sad I'm going to lose him and my mom cries but only about who is going to take care of her.

I'm a nervous wreck. If he needs medical help she won't even know. They shouldn't stay in that house alone but we've done all we know to do and they insist they aren't leaving. It just breaks my heart for my dad.

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Agree with anonymous
by: Tammy

I agree with anonymous. Get an elder lawyer. There may be many options. Find another doctor that will consider the stress your father is under and how it may affect his health.

She can be put somewhere where she can get aroud the clock care. There are more options available that that you may not be aware of.
Elder attorneys deal with this sort of things all the time. Please find some help. Bless you.

by: Anonymous

After reading a lot of the comments here I really feel for people. I guess family is a lot of things to a lot of people. I grew up without family and spent nearly a lifetime alone. I remember hating the holidays and dreaded them.

I use to watch folks at Easter, families dressed up and seem to be having a blast. I always wondered what it would be like to have a brother, sister, mom or dad to share with. Life can be cold and seeing the end coming does not feel so tough when most of life was tough.

I spent it traveling all over the world working and making money, sometimes spending the holidays with hookers in a foreign bar all the time wishing for family. I crossed the ocean working freighters and worked the oil fields all over the world. Meet a lot of good people, all with their own problems.

I use to sit in airports watching the departure board and taking a plane to nowhere to be going. I learned one thing a life alone is not good, people need people.

just say no?
by: Greenacres

It sounds heartbreaking. YOU NEED HELP! I take care of my mom, I'm 54 and I know the guilt and love you must feel. I keep asking why me? I wake up crying and am a nervous wreck. I've heard only worry about the things you can do something about.

You're supposed to get the WHOLE family together (of course we aren't like that, my other sisters could give a ****. One of them would actually throw her out on the street or nursing home) and decide what to do.

It shouldn't be all on you, but relationships and logistics do play a role. I hope you find a little peace within yourself, because what YOU ARE DOING IS SELFLESS! i LOVE YOU ALREADY. just HANG IN THERE.

They say God doesn't give us more than we can handle. Not sure I believe that. Please just hang in there. I don't know how to handle my situation either. I've turned into a resentful hateful person and I don't like it. Let me know how things are going. It does help to vent and I will listen. Toni (Greenacres)

Help yourself in order to help your parents!
by: Anonymous

It sounds like both parents may possibly need care. You have to be strong and do this. First, do you feel your mother is competent? That is a start. You may need to go down that direction in order to begin to help her and your father. Speak to an elder Care attorney.

Good luck!

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