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A Struggle

posted 1/2/2011 1:33:01 AM |
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This year the holidays have been less than spectacular for me. Normally I'm so happy and excited during the stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve, but not this year.....
At the beginning of November my dad fell and shattered his elbow. It took forever for the Orthopaedic doctor's office to get their surgery schedule together, and the whole time my dad was in pain, with his entire arm wrapped and imobilized, swelling more and more each day. Finally, my dad's family doctor took pity on him and admitted him to the hospital. This was a Sunday. The Orthopaedic doc finally did elbow replacement surgery the following Wednesday! Since my dad has some heart issues, the docs conferred and decided he should stay in the hospital a while, in order to be monitored.
My son, a freshman in high school, went to Disney World with his band during their Thanksgiving break. So first he is gone, then my dad is in the hospital; Thanksgiving consisted of my mom, myself and my younger brother doing a buffet-style meal service, then eating wherever we wanted to. Talk about your disjointed holiday!
My dad came thru his elbow replacement surgery with flying colors, only to have some kind of an "episode" while recouperating in the hospital. The doctors STILL have no idea what caused the problem, but my dad slipped into a coma-like state and stopped breathing. After the hospital staff revived him, he was moved to ICU where he spent ten days being monitored by every piece of electrical equipment known to man!
DX after the episode? "Renal Failure". Ask the family doc how dad goes in for elbow replacement but ends up with renal failure, and his answer is, "Your husband/father had a reaction to the medications building up in his sytem. Mainly, the narcotic pain relievers are to blame!" (My dad is a cluster headache sufferer who had a clip placed on his Trigeminal nerve- only to find out 20 years after the procedure that messing with the Trigeminal Nerve results in "Phantom Pain").
Dad gets out of ICU and is moved up to the hospital's Rehab Unit, where he proceeds to get physical and occupational therapies.
He is released from the hospital at the beginning of December (he spent 27 days there).
Once he's home he starts all this weird behaviour; hallucinating, talking to friends and family members who are dead, etc. He sleeps a lot, but even though his eyes are closed, his arms are constantly moving- turning pages, scratching at the blanket, holding pills, etc. He can't do anything for himself, and getting out of bed is a struggle. Mom calls the family doc and my dad is readmitted to the hospital.
Kidney specialist is on board now. Tells us dad has only one kidney working, and that kidney is only functioning at 20%.
Hospital and docs get my dad stable again, and two weeks ago today, he comes home. Three days later, he's back to hallucinating and doing all the weird behaviours. My mom awoke to the sound of the garage door opening one night. When she went to check, she found my dad. He'd gotten himself dressed and was in the garage putting his shoes on. When mom asked what he was doing he told her, "I'm getting ready to go to the doctor!"
As his cognitive abilities wane, his temper flares. He's been treating my mom and I terribly. I understand he is sick, but I don't think that should be an excuse for treating your wife and your daughter like slaves or second class citizens.
Because he's always suffered from chronic pain, he's pretty much been a mean son-of-a-bitch for as long as I can remember! I had to put up with that crap as a kid; his roof, his rules. But now at the age of 45, I realize I don't have to keep quiet and put up with the abuse. I can stand up for myself. And for my mom (because she's a nice person who puts up with way too much crap from him!)
So we've been fighting. When he is nasty to me, I give it right back to him. And oh does it just FROST him that he can't do anything about it! Finally, my mom reached her limit, too. Dad wasn't listening to something she was saying about balance and he ended up on the floor. Mom left him there for a few minutes. I believe this little exercise helped him understand that you can't bite the hand that feeds you!
I'm a little sad because as an adult I have had a much better relationship with my father. When I was a kid I hated his damn guts. And I'm sure the feeling was mutual! But as I got older I was able to understand why he behaves the way he does. But it still doesn't excuse him being a total ass to us.
Anyway, he got out of the hospital a week before Christmas, so on 12/25 my whole family was together. It was a much better feeling than Thanksgiving, but still had a depressing cloud over it because my dad is ill and he's acting like a jerk.
I go back to work on 1/3, so tomorrow my son and I are heading back to our place, and I'm really, really looking forward to being back in my own home, just my son and I. I worry for my mom, about how she'll handle my dad on her own, and I feel guilty for wanting to escape this situation. But all those bad memories of how I was treated as a child have come rushing back, and I have no desire to relive those memories now.
I choose to move on.

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post a comment!


Jan 2 @ 6:36AM  
here's hoping things get a lil less stressful for you hun.

Jan 2 @ 7:19AM  
I am so sorry Sunshine, I hope they get his meds right which is probably making him meaner than usual. I have heard when mixed some meds are rough on a person.

Jan 2 @ 7:48AM  
Prayers are sent, for you and yours!!!


Jan 2 @ 11:41AM  
I hope this new year, brings all positive changes for you!


Jan 2 @ 11:54AM  
Let's hope that things smooth out and improve.

Jan 2 @ 12:09PM  
What you're going through brought back memories of a couple of years ago with my Mom. Not that the situations are similar...just a parent ill and all that goes with it. The dynamics of everything changes. I understand the guilt of just wanting to get away...the flashbacks of not-so-good childhood memories.

It's a time of just hanging in there the best way you know how. It's taking care of yourself because if you don't, you're not much help to anyone else. You have a son to think about too.

I pray the doctors find some answers to bring your Dad into a more calm and peaceful state for your Mom's sake. Prayers for her and for you.

Jan 2 @ 2:44PM  
Unfortunately holidays intensify stressful situations, especially with families.
I went through it last Christmas... it was THE worst of family time. It took a year before I was willing to return.

Softie is right... take care of yourself and your son. Then when you have enough energy reserve do what you can, if you want, to help your mom and dad.

Medications, anethesia and pain from medical procedures coupled with extended hospitalization can create horrific results. I've been through this one too... it's a challenging gauntlet to run keeping all of the medical team on the same page while being relentless to get to the true source of the complications. And it takes the cooperation from the patient as well as the family.

I hope you will be able to de-stress and focus on what needs to be done while letting the rest go. It isn't easy. May this year bring you the peace, comfort and understanding as you move forward.

Does your mom have other family or friends to help her emotionally as well as physically taking care of your dad? She really needs help or will break which will create even more complications. You are able to take a break, but she can't. This is not a criticism... please understand. I just have serious concerns for all of you. All the best to you... & hugs.

Jan 2 @ 8:39PM  
I hope the new year turns out better than last year for both you and your family. You're in my thoughts.

Jan 4 @ 3:53PM  
senior services sometimes have hospice break help available for no cost to you... maybe time to look into that for your mom.. at least one day a week so she can get out and do something for herself.

It sucks, I remember my dad's last few years as being miserable and no fun for anyone. It really was a relief for everyone when he finally died. That's a sad state of affairs right there..

Hugs sunshine baby girl.. I love you.. Happy Nude Year!

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A Struggle