I'm a Rotten, Angry Daughter
I'm 51 years old and ready to lose my mind. My mother is 85 and almost 2 years ago broke her leg and got a fracture blister the size of a goose egg on the front of it.
Simultaneous to her hospitalization for the leg break, she was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism. She was sent to skilled nursing for 3 months with a non weight bearing break.
At skilled nursing her blood counts were off the charts high, she was sent to a specialist where she was diagnosed with a rare bone marrow disorder requiring oral chemotherapy medication daily.
If that weren't enough, after her bone healed, her fracture blister didn't. She went to wound care for months, during this process, I noticed something moving inside her wound..it was her TENDON!! and below that I could clearly see her leg bone.
I was responsible for cleaning her wound daily and getting her to and from wound care once a week. Come to find out, she had a collapsed artery in her leg, which was partly to blame for the slow or lack of healing of the leg wound.
She was taken into surgery and given a stent to open up the leg artery roughly a month after seeing her tendon in her leg. Enough issues? Nope...but wait! There's more!!!
So, back to wound care after the stent. Still going weekly for debridement and flushing of the wound and still not healing. Wound care doctor sends her for an MRI as he suspects she might have Osteomyelitis(bone infection)and sure enough, she does.
Now, I get to try to find a surgeon that will actually take her case on with all of her current health issues. I had doors closed right and left, not a single surgeon would touch her surgically as she was a huge risk for clotting and stroking out or bleeding out as she was now on blood thinners also to prevent her from having another pulmonary embolism.
One Doctor wanted to amputate her leg, needless to say, he was on our NO list and we never went back to him. Four other surgeons declined to help her but all kept consistently referring her to the same surgeon.
I called to make an appointment with this recommended surgeon only to reach his secretary who refused to set up an appointment as he was "not accepting new patients"...???? HE'S AN ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON!!!!!! patients come and go, its not like a primary care Doctor that gets and keeps patients for decades. I tried and tried to get through to this woman who repeatedly hung up on me, even though I had a referral, even though several doctors had emailed, faxed or somehow otherwise contacted the office on our behalf...she even hung up on one of the other Doctors that referred us.
I was left no option but to go through corporate. I started at the HR level and quickly moved up the chain to the top head honcho who got me through to the Surgeons' nurse who in turn scheduled an appointment for my mother.
Needless to say, the Doctors secretary that was so rude and hung up on me was fired. In an attempt to shorten this story (which has no real way of shortening it) my mother was scheduled for 4 bone surgeries, bone was to be removed a little at a time, each time. This was to be done over an 11 day stay at a hospital.
Surgery 1 went as planned, infected bone removed and at this point we found out that her ankle joint was also infected so the cartilage was removed and infected bone removed from the joint as well...a nerve block was done in place of a general anesthesia and a pathology was sent to determine the bacteria in the bone.
Surgery 2, same as surgery one, successful, nerve block was performed and at this point the bacteria was identified and she was put on the appropriate antibiotics to fight it.
Surgery 3, the anesthesiologist decided a nerve block wasn't appropriate as she had felt some tingling in her foot and he didn't want to do permanent nerve damage so he chose (unbeknownst to me...he never came out to get family approval) she was given a general anesthesia. This did NOT go over well. She was hallucinating, crying, had shortness of breath and low oxygen levels and erratic heart rate.
She was put on a cardiac monitoring system and was watched for several days. At this point, MY adult daughter and I decided it wasn't a good idea to allow her to go through another surgery immediately and we decided to have her recover for some time before the 4th and final surgery was performed. She was sent to skilled nursing to recuperate.
I stayed the first night at the skilled nursing facility with her as she wasn't feeling well and was uncomfortable. Good thing I was there, the next morning when I woke up, she was holding her chest and gasping for air. I had her rushed by ambulance to the ER where she was diagnosed with yet ANOTHER condition, "congestive heart failure".
She was admitted to the cardiac ward for 10 days, pumped with diuretics and actually lost 38 pounds of fluids!! Discharged once again, shes sent to skilled nursing to recover in anticipation of the still needed 4th surgery.
Six weeks go by, she finally goes in for the 4th surgery. It is done with a nerve block and is successful, the infection has been eradicated and now it's a waiting game.
Per the surgeon, the infection could rear it's ugly head again and if it is going to, you would see redness on the surface of the skin or a boil form where the once open wound used to be (which is now healed due to surgery and the surgeon closing the hole up with stitches.
All the time at this point that has passed has been a year and a half. She's been back and forth monthly to see her orthopedic surgeon and recently had a CT scan as it's been 16+ weeks since her 4th surgery. Her bone healing is very slow because of her age, the fact that she is on an oral chemotherapy and unable to walk. She is receiving ultrasound bone therapy treatment daily by this little portable ultrasound machine that I have to apply to her daily for the next 3 months or so.
She may require yet another surgery if her bone doesn't regenerate itself with the ultrasound therapy. This surgery would include bone chips to fill in the void area lacking bone still along with plates and screws. He says the ankle appears to be fusing but if she goes in again for plates and screws in her bones her ankle will be screwed into place as well. At this point now, this has been going on for 23 months, next month will be 2 years.
All this time I have been the sole care giver. I have not had one single day off, not one single break, nothing at all. At the time my mother broke her ankle, I was in the process of finishing up my schooling to become a medical assistant and I did manage to graduate and get my diploma. But I have not been able to work one single day in almost 2 years.
The job caring for my mother is 24/7. There is no break for me ever. My daughter helps me when she can but she has a husband and a toddler of her own and is pregnant with her 2nd which is due is 2 months. I'm exhausted, I'm frustrated, I'm angry, and I'm resentful and at my wits end. My "older sister" refuses to help. I have asked her for help and she's told me it's MY responsibility, not hers. She claims to need to work, yet 3 months after telling me her family relies on her income, she quit her job and her and her husband moved 6 hours away. But not before coming into our house and screaming at my 85 year old mother because my worthless sister is a psycho friggin nut with her worthless thieving husband that I have come to find out bilked $14,000 out of my mother over the course of a couple years (and she has checks to prove that he's cashed them).
I am under such extreme stress and exhaustion that I at times wish I wouldn't wake up in the morning. It's come to the point where when I do wake up, I dread the day, I dread my life, I dread everything. I am immediately upset as I know my next step is lifting my mother out of her chair to get into her wheel chair so I can take her to the bathroom (she can't take herself and is heavy since she hasn't been able to walk for almost 2 years)after that, it's taking her blood pressure, getting her pills, getting her breakfast, then getting her second round of pills two hours after the first, then getting her lunch, toileting her in between and hoping she doesn't wet her pants (even though she wears a pad, she sometimes leaks on her clothes,then I have laundry galore) then back to her chair and then its time to fix dinner.
Some weeks there's 3 or more Doctor appointments, all of them I am responsible to take her to. I NEED HELP! No one offers, no one comes around from her church, nothing...I feel so alone and I'm so mad all the time, I'm such a horrible person.
I don't know why this is all stuck on me as "my" responsibility. My mother didn't really spend a lot of time with me as a child and her and my sister were best of buds and glued at the hip but now that it comes time to do all the dirty work, it's all dumped on me. Why is it I should sacrifice my life to care for her when she didn't have much time in her day for me as a child? I'm so resentful! I just want a DAMN BREAK!!!!! My daughter has told me "Mom, you've gone down hill over the last year" gee, thanks. No doubt I've gone down hill, I get no sleep because my mother see's to it that she wakes me up in the middle of the night to go pee.
I just can't take much more of this and I wasted a year of my life going to school to get a diploma in a field that after caring for my mother I DON'T WANT TO WORK IN THE FIELD I TRAINED IN.
I feel like my life has been robbed, my schooling was for naught, I have no income, I can't buy myself much needed clothing, I'm down to 1 pair of pants and can't afford to buy another pair and I pray to god every day they don't rip out in the crotch where they are wearing. I'm so ready to just give up on life. What do I do?