Caregiving for Years and Counting

by Jennifer
(North Carolina )

Hello, first time posting, so bear with me! 5 years ago my mom was diagnosed with dementia, had diabetes, heart problems, etc. Had no choice but to put her in a skilled nursing facility. She went to a behavior ward 2 times with drug addicts, alcoholics and the reason she was there 1st time got mad and said she would commit Suicide and the 2nd time she threatened to hit her room mate.

This was not my mom, it was the disease, but none the less she had to go. After the 2nd time when they adjusted her medications for depression and anxiety she seemed to be better. Only 4 days later she had a massive stroke with massive head bleed and passed away 2 days later. While doing all I could for her, I had my dad who was in denial and trying to help him deal with her.

After her death, I took care of my dad, he was living by himself, but also a diabetic, didn't take care of himself and so I made sure he had home cooked meals, took his medications and whatever he needed. Then he met up with his old high school sweetheart and rekindled the flame, such a sweet love story, but she had cancer that was in remission and after 52 years of them being apart they married the following December. She had never married.

Then the following March her cancer came back full force, dad moved to her home which was an hour from me and she grew sicker and sicker, once again my dad went into denial, even when she went into hospice. She passed away only after they were married for 1 year and 1 month. She was sick for 10 of those months.

After her death we moved dad back home in a new house that he loves, he has been suffering with being lonely, depressed and angry. I have been taking care of him for 2 years now and on New Years Eve 2012 his foot started hurting, doctors thought it was gout, antibiotics were given 3 times, his big
toe was turning purple, black and red. Severe pain!

Doctors decided that it was not gout, got him to a vascular surgeon who in turn did angioplasty on his leg to unclog his arteries in order to heal the foot. (by the way gout and the vascular blockage looks the same, the only way to tell the difference is when gout does not heal) after opening the artery, the foot is suppose to heal, not dad's case.

Decided to amputate his toe to save his foot. During that surgery no blood came out, another angioplasty was done, artery clogged up again, put stent in. Went to rehab for one week, wound was not healing, back to hospital. Re-opened wound, no blood flow. Talk about amputating leg to save his life. One more angioplasty, this time 2 1/2 hours usually 30 minutes and 3 stents later artery unclogged, in one day's time infection came, no pulse in leg, 2 days later amputation below the knee to save his life.

Now dad back in rehab, confused and angry, he made all the decisions, I am Power Of Attorney of everything but he is still competent so it was up to him. I have been there the whole time. Working when I could, but taking off work a lot!

I am beyond tired, can't even think straight enough to get a grip on all that has happened and took one day to rest, went yesterday to see him and all he did was fuss and tell me that all of this is a big money making racket and I was crazy and didn't know anything. Going to wait a couple of days before I go back.

Don't be a victim....Yesterday was upsetting for me, but I did what I could to ease his mind and nothing worked, so I just walked out and putting time between us helps both him and I. Even if they live with you, walk away, go outside. Give them and yourself some time! Then breathe for a hour and return, see what happens. Above all don't let them make you the victim, take care!

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You Are a Saint
by: Anonymous

I really have nothing else to say. My heart goes out to you for all you have been through and even for your poor Dad who has been through so much in his last years.

How you have managed to survive all of this is amazing. You must have a wonderful support group behind you, or you are just one of those strong people in the world.

Do take care of yourself. The world needs more people like you.

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