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Topic : When a Family Member Gets Sick

Number of Replies: 305
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Created on : Thursday, July 07, 2005, 09:07:23 am
Author : dataimport

Nothing makes one feel more helpless than watching a child, spouse, or parent suffering. We understand. How do you cope with illness in your family?


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April 8, 2008, 7:48 am CDT

You gotta friend

Quote From: saudi_girl

Today I have decided to write about my life, and the reason for that is to take a step towards change. Last week was my first attempt for suicide whith overdose medication. Why I did that ? Its not just one thing,  Every part of my life is a mess. Actually,  my family and I can relate  to 90% of dr.phil's shows, ranging  from anorexia, bullying, dealing with sick members in the family, depession,......... you name it.

 

Every day I see my mother, father, and sister's health deteriorate infront of my eyes. We have tried to reach out for help by going to hospitals, but we have the worst heath system (in Saudi Arabia), and the worst doctors specially in my city "Taif". To Make the problem clear, I can say It is similar to racism that used to be in Amerca . If someone has a very high position in, what you can call, "the govenment" then he will get the best health care and best treatment. On the other hand, If  you are a hard working person, you will be treated like a "garbage" Every time we go to hospital, doctors treat us like we are lying. Imagine My father has ceribillum degenration and it took 10 years to be diagnosed. My mother, now is almost dying and when we took her to hospital we have been treated with lack of respect. They made us regret comeing to hospital.

 

I know they want me to think that it is my fault but I'm sure it is not. It's not my fault at all. Right now, I am full of anger towards my society and towards the people who tried to islolate me.  I have no sense of belonging..

 

       Racism is still a problem here in America.  Given a choice of "colors," I'd rather be "green" than white.   Money matters--a lot.  Everywhere. 

      There are things the doctors do not know.  It can take years to diagnois, and then there is little can be done to change the outcome. 

      By first attempt, do you mean there will be others?  Are you the main caregiver?  It sounds as if you are overwhelmed and depressed. 

         

 
April 8, 2008, 10:53 am CDT

Good morning

 

    Reveille sounded at 7:30:  "Carla, get your Mom her ice pack and a cup of coffee."

    He is concerned about her.  She injured her sciatic nerve.   Sunday morning, she knocked at my bedroom door.  "I want Demerol!" she demanded.  "I want to get out of this pain!" 

    Dad and I tried looking up Dr. Slicker's home telephone number.  It was easier for Dad to dial 911  and ask for an ambulance.  Three big strong men came and got her to the hospital.  She got a shot  of stuff guaranteed to make her the envy of every junkie in the state. 

    Then, she came home.  She's been in bed for two days.  

   I heard a loud hissing sound.  It is my father in his bedroom filling his portable oxygen tank from the big one in the corner of their bedroom.  Dad is on hospice care, for terminal patients.  He has CoPD--that means congestive heart disease and pulmonary problems.   His name is Charley, and he can still go to the bathroom and dress himself!  This requires his maximum effort.  Down the hall he creeps with his walker, step by step,  dropping himself into his lounge chair in the front room.   He can't tolerate spending all his time in bed. 

     He picks up the remote control and checks the news.  "Don't put too much cream in my coffee."

     When I bring him his Green Bay Packer mug, he asks, "Can you help me get my socks on?' 

     "Sure, Dad."  He managed to pick up his diabetic socks, and he has one of them dangling on his big toe.  It is too difficult for him to bend over and put them on, so I help him. 

      This elderly person in the chair is not really my father.  My Daddy is 34 years old.  He is a veteran of the Korean War, actually one of the Chosin Few.  (Not many soldiers survived the second worst day in the history of the US Army.  "250,000 screaming Chinese soldiers" came over the border)  My Daddy opened the hatch of his tank, and he saw the saddest sight in the world.  He seldom discusses November 26, 1950.  In most of his conversations, the battle of Chosin Reservoir sounds something like a long picnic.  He then Ran the Gauntlet, taking his tank over the mountain pass, crammed with the surviving infantry troops. 

       I actually saw him doing this.  Walter Cronkite hosted a a television show back in the late 1950's called The Big Picture.   A wartime photographer took a film of Dad doing this.  Every one who saw this clip of film of the tank commander recognized Dad.  He received the Bronze Star for valor.  (But he lost a stripe for lobbing a tank shell into the US Embassy when we retreated from Seoul when the Chinese army captured it)

      And later, my father had a job on a place here in Idaho. This means he took care of the cow-calf operation.  He baled hay in the summer, and fed the alfalfa hay to the cows in the winter.  This time of year, spring, meant it was time to get the cows and calves ready to go to the mountains.  The calves need to be branded.  It was also time to play endless games of catch with my brothers, hitting them  high "pop flies."

He was remarkably sympathetic when they missed, and they cried out of pure frustration.  "That's fine, Ralph.  One day, you'll catch it!"

      That vigorous, energetic person is my father.,  

       "I need my pills," he tells me.  I don't reply.  I know where the morning part of the 14 pills are.  It is in a condiment glass sitting on the chest of drawers in his bedroom beside all the bottles.  After his breakfast of Cream of Wheat--which he can eat without his teeth--it is time for his insulin shot.  Yes, he has diabetes.  I have been ordered to fix whatever he wants.

      "What's for dinner?"  is a large part of the day.

        I'd like to type more, but I am doing this while my parents are taking their morning naps.  Soon it will be lunchtime, and I need to go to the pharmacy at K-Mart in Twin Falls.  I need to pick up some more insulin and three other prescriptions.  Also, I want to buy my mother a new nightgown.  It was very embarrassing when she went to the hospital on Sunday wearing a nightgown I won't even inflict on the poor.  

      

       

      

 

             

 

 

 

 
April 8, 2008, 1:19 pm CDT

Hospitals, Doctors, and Tests

I took my father to the St Luke's Episcopal Hospital on Jan 8, 2008 and brought him home 60 days later. It was exhausting for me, much less my mother who has Parkinson's and my father who was so ill.

 

I relied heavily on prayer, Scripture, and friends praying for us. My house is still a wreck, my yard is still filled with weeds, but they are coming along and will be up to snuff soon.

 

Another outlet for me was my blog. I just told snippets of my day and where I saw the Lord. Nothing theologoical, basic stories of my days and thoughts.

 

One of the most exhausting things during this was the drive home from St Luke's which in the best circumstances is 45 minutes (including speeding on Hwy 59 from Houston to Richmond) and could take 2 hours depending on the time of day. I should have taken friends up on offers to drop me off at the hospital occasionally. I think it's hard to take help offered sometimes because you are just taking each day as it comes.

 

I am so thankful my father is home and for the miracles and kindness we received...it took 3 weeks to feel good again.

 
April 8, 2008, 8:38 pm CDT

Reclaiming My Life!

I am a 50 year old woman who is reclaiming her life!  Just like Dr. Phil says, I am excited about my life!  I don't mean to sound cliche.  I just have this overwhelming sense of peace and happiness and a new-found focus and determination to live my life the way that God has planned for me.  I want to share that hope with others.  I want them to feel encouraged in spite of the low points, the desperation, fear, frustration and everything else that comes with a serious illness.  Please be encouraged.  If a 50 year old woman who had gastric bypass two years ago, breast cancer with a bilateral mastectomy a year ago, rotator cuff repair surgery last month, physical therapy and who knows what's coming in April to address a severe case of GERD, if I can get my life back.....anyone can.  And I don't mean just living.  I mean being me and liking me as I am but loving me enough to not leave me where I am.  In other words, to require more of myself. This is different than my typical over-achiever approach to everything in the past.  This is more about slowing down, thinking it through and taking the next right step and being forgiving of myself if I make a wrong one.

 

Dealing with breast cancer, the surgery and chemo, saying it was hard doesn't really accurately describe it.  I'm not sure that I've ever been so scared, so sick or so miserable in my entire life.  Yet, getting breast cancer was also the best thing that ever happened to me.  When I was first diagnosed, I didn't realize it, but I was spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically bankrupt.  The breast cancer forced me to focus on me, accept my mortality, re-evaluate my priorities, my entire life and most importantly, reconnect with God.  As a result, I'm making some pretty significant changes in my life.

 

First, I've gone back to college to pursue a new career in diagnostic medical sonography.  My first class was a trip!  Being 50 and still recovering from "chemo brain", well, let's just say I was mentally challenged.  I've never had to work so hard at school ever.  It had always come easy for me in the past so that was very scary.  In the end, that effort got my mind back in shape....that first class was exercise for my mind.  I'm back and I'm loving it!

 

I've struggled with depression and anxiety for many years.  It's something that runs in my family.  I hadn't been evaluated by a psychiatrist in years.  While I'd prefer not to need medication to help me with these issues, I've learned that I need my medication for depression and anxiety just as much as I need synthroid for my thyroid disease.  So choosing to get my mental health/emotional issues treated just as I got treatment for my breast cancer was another big accomplishment.  Plus, sleeping is really good.  I really like it.  I went months without sleeping prior to getting this help.

 

Of course, I went through the treatments for my body as I described above.  I'm still going through it.  I don't  know if it's because I'm 50 or from the breakdown of my body from the chemo, genetics or all of the above, but it seems like my body is falling apart.  Yet, when I look back a year ago and compare me then to me now, it's oceans apart.  I am so much better and though I still have a ways to go, I can see light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm scared to say that God is teaching me patience because it seems those lessons usually come in the form of a hardship and I've had my share already so I don't want any more.  But for someone whose primary character flaw was impatience, I can almost say that I have moments where I am actually patient.  Okay, so I'm not cured yet....but hey, progress not perfection.

 

Finally, and most importantly, I've reconnected with my higher power.  I work on my relationship with God every day.  Whether it's praying, reading, admiring his handiwork in seeing a rainbow or the sun rise....it's this relationship, this faith that has given me the strength to keep going and to come up with a life plan guided by my God.  At my worst, my poor "chemo brain" had to keep it real simple.  So I had 2 simple prayers that I said every single day.  First, "Thy will be done."  Second, "I can do all things through Christ who strenthens me."  Phillipians 4:13.   In fact, I often would just say "Phillipians 4:13".  To think that seven words could give anyone the ability to keep going, well, who'd of thunk it?  Before breast cancer, not me.

 

Thanks for letting me share my story.  I hope that all of you who are struggling with a serious illness of your own of a family member get the gift of hope and acceptance.  Take care.

 

Karen (a soon to be grandma of her first grand-child!)

 

 

 

 
April 21, 2008, 9:15 am CDT

Old Friend From WT

Quote From: jerramye

For me it started in the Summer of 2003.  Until then, I was an active, involved, if somewhat overweight, stay-at-home Mom.  My third baby, my only girl, was just months old when I first noticed pain in my right eye – when I looked up and to the left.  I waited until my cold was past, but other vision problems – subtle, but unusual – persisted.  I went to see my optometrist and was referred on.  Fortunately, my Internist insisted on an MRI, even though I’d had one just 6 months earlier for a long standing migraine condition.  Yup – brain tumor.  Benign but aggressive and made up of nerve cells.  I had intense IV steroid treatment and two surgeries that year to eradicate the tumor.  Finally I was told it was gone and most likely would never return. 

  

 

On my daughter’s 2nd birthday I sat and listened to test results confirming that not only was the tumor back, but that I had Lupus too.  I had two more surgeries last summer – to remove this tumor once and for all.  Instead, I lost the sight in my right eye, half the hearing in my right ear, the ability to feel the upper right quarter of my face and scalp, the ability to open my right eye, and the ability to balance.  I must now walk with a 4-prong cane – the ones we typically associate with really old people.   

  

 

My children are now 8, 6 and 3.  I went from being a Mommy that kept her house clean, but opted for more play time with the kids than to have a “Martha Stewart” interior.  I made wedding cakes, and castle cakes and all manner of wonderful birthday cakes – I have the pictures to show it.  My kid’s cakes are bought at Sam’s.  My 8 year old has tremendous anger issues - all because I went from being a normal Mom to “Feeble Mom”.   

  

 

My husband told him to get used to – that the best any of us could ever hope for on a good day was about 75% of what they remember Mom being like – bad days I don’t come out of my room.  Not that I don’t want to see my kids, or that I’m trying to shut the world out, I just literally cannot walk through my house because I’m too weak or the pain is so bad or the nausea is so bad I cannot sit up without = well you can guess the rest.   

  

 

It kills me to see what this is doing to my family.  Until this tumor and Lupus, I never just didn’t do __________.  I might not get the dishes in the dishwasher until after kids went to bed, but I got it done (unless my hubby did it for me because he wanted to).  Last night I finally dragged myself to the kitchen and washed and loaded dishes that had been left since Saturday.  Hubby works white-collar job 45+ hours a week with about two hours commuting each day total.  This is really putting a strain on our relationship.  Doesn’t help that I’m suddenly dropping weight like crazy (30 lbs since mid Feb.) and he really wants to be “all over me”.  Somehow, between all the different medications I’m on, the facial paralysis and muscle weakness, and his loving comments right after surgery about “Bride of Frankenstein”, I am having a hard time drumming up much interest.  Or maybe it’s the fact that I don’t eat because half the meds kill my appetite and the other half make me feel sick. 

  

 

Anyway, this has been so hard, because I see what it’s doing to my kids and its changing my relationship with my husband – which needs changing, but not like this. 

I was being silly the other day and I put your name in a Google search.  I found where your father had passed away.   I am so sorry.  I also read what you wrote to Dr. Phil.  Sometimes God gives us more than we THINK we can handle.  But you know as well as I do that He's there with you every step of the way.  You sound like you have done a lot of wonderful things since WT, most importantly of course, motherhood.  There is no greater job in life, or one with more headaches.  As for your husband, he sounds like a wonderful man, and I for one can say that he is truly a blessed man to have married you.  At one point in my life I hoped I would marry you, but of course that wasn't what God had in mind.  If your husband is half the man you say he is, he will understand that your health is more important than his sexual needs.  I too was married in the early 90's, had a beautiful daughter in April of 1994, and lost them both to a drunk driver in 1997.  In the 10 years since, I really haven't cared about much of anything.  Not to mention my own health problems.  I have had 2 Major strokes, 17 TIAs (Minnie strokes) 5 heart attacks, and I currently have 7 stents in my heart and a pace maker.  I finally had to decide that enough was enough, and I sought help.  I ended up being diagnosed with PTSD and Bi-Polar Disorder.  Once I began treatment for those, my life started coming back together.  There is a new woman in my life.  The first since my wife died.  And things in my life are brighter than I ever thought they could be again.  I know I do not need to tell you this, but God will lead you through whatever situations you find yourself in.  It may take longer, and take a different path, than you thought it would, but He will never leave you or forsake you.  Anyway, you probably are shocked at hearing from me, but I just wanted to make contact, and let you know that I still think of you from time to time, and I will always love you and you are in my prayers every day.

 

Your OLD friend,

 

Michael McWhorter,

Nashville, TN
 
April 24, 2008, 8:03 pm CDT

when a family member gets sick

Quote From: 2nephi

I know what you are going thru.  i am losing my sight and my hearing and I have a heart condition.  my husband is my tower of strenghth and gives me so much support also.  we are so lucky to have them.   when i first started losing everything as I had worked for 25 yrs in restaurants I went for counsiling to deal with it all.  it helped me and also praying to God.  You know he listens also and answers our prayers if we just learn to listens.  Now with everything else I have deal with i have headaches that are worse than migraines that I have have everyday and the dr. is trying to find the right medication and dosage to control them.  I make it day by day.  I still do just about everything but work my job as I need my eyes and ears to do that.  But I know you can get thru this also.  you have a greeat support system there with your husband.  you can do it. I have plenty of faith in you and i know that you can get thru this as it is just a shock right now.  once you decide you its ok and you are going to live your life to the fullest and like you want and like you always do, don't let it beat you. some days might be a bad sure. I have them everyday with my headaches but i keep going.  I don't let it get me down.  I have things to do.  I know you will come thru this just fine and be able to handle it as God will be with you. ask god to be with you and guide you during all these tough times and trials.  Many blessings to you and yours,  have faith, I know you can do it.  I have faith in you and i know you can get thru it.  2nephi
Have you been checked for pesudotumor celebir?  My hearing and vision got bad also and had headaches everyday,really bad ones .I was told after a spinal tap and mri that was what i have. have doctors to check you for it. It's rare and doctors don't know a lot about how to treat it ,but it is attacking more and more people everyday. www.angelfire.com/okPTCSupport Network/ check out this website and read about it.Hope it helps you
 
May 22, 2008, 3:58 am CDT

When a Family Member Gets Sick

Quote From: derevna33

 

       Racism is still a problem here in America.  Given a choice of "colors," I'd rather be "green" than white.   Money matters--a lot.  Everywhere. 

      There are things the doctors do not know.  It can take years to diagnois, and then there is little can be done to change the outcome. 

      By first attempt, do you mean there will be others?  Are you the main caregiver?  It sounds as if you are overwhelmed and depressed. 

         

 

 I am overwelmed and depressed. We are a four-member family, and my sister and I are  the caregivers. my sister has always been helping. she is the one who raised me and who taought me everything I know, even though that she has her own health problems. she weighs 37 kilos now and she lost he job because of bullying and being treated in a bad way. I remeber once she went to psychologist and told him that she suspects that she has anorexia. The doctor immediately told her that she does not have right to tell him what to do and that she has schizphrenia. Now my mother has a problem ( severe anorexia as I think), she refuses to eat . I see her almost dying and doctors don't care. My wish now is that we die together , all the 4 of us.

 
June 10, 2008, 11:03 am CDT

can relate

Quote From: k2lnd2

It's always easy for me to share fun, upbeat and encouring stories, but this is one that hits the heart.  Writing about it has helped me, and I'm willing to share it to help others who may be dealing with the same situation. Sorry if it's lengthly. 

Thursdays with Daddy

 

As I approach the nursing home doorway, I can’t help but wonder, is it me he can’t wait to see or is it just the food I bring that causes him to wait by the doorway for my arrival every Thursday?  Sometimes the workers say he’s been waiting since first thing in the morning.  Funny, he can’t seem to remember much, but he always knows when it’s Thursday. But Thursday’s are reserved for Daddy and despite the pain and hurt, I owe it to my father to visit him because he waits and after all he’s done for me, he deserves at the very least one day a week of my time.

 

 

 

My father is only 59 years old and yet he has the mind and body of a 90 year old.  What exactly is it that ravishes his body?  Well, there are so many things there is not one thing to blame in his situation.  Whether mental, physical, job or war related, this is our circumstance; this is our life and one that we trust God will get us through and I’m feeling the need to share it to help others, somehow. 

 

I don’t have horror stories about growing up; my father and I didn’t always get along. Mom says it was because we are so much alike, looking at him now, I hope we’re not so much alike that this someday will be my fate.  I hate the pain I go through just watching him and now I feel even guiltier when I think about my own pain, how selfish of me.  What about him? Somehow I think he knows he’s stuck in a body and mind he can’t control.  I know my father had a zest for life, he loved to do things and loved food, well, he still loves food, but everything else is somehow lost between a world of assumptions of what’s going on and his reality.   

 

Dad seemed to be sick ever since the late eighties.  It started out with mini strokes I believe and then some Army related health issues and eventually another diagnosis of a mental illness, bipolar.  With all of dad’s medical issues, it was such a shock to our family in 1998, when mom suddenly got sick and within 30 days she died of cancer that she never knew she had.  Mom was the glue that held our family together; she was my dad’s caretaker and life support. Now I had to step in, at 28 years old and raising my own family, I had to have dad come live with us.  I became the parent to my father while parenting my own kids.   A responsibility I didn’t realize at the time that I was unequipped to take on.  

 

 

The next couple of years are a blur to me.  Such mixed emotions, grieving a mother I loved, learning I didn’t have father anymore either, not in the sense that I needed one.  I was angry but couldn’t really blame one person. Life still has to go on.  I gained so much weight during this time.  Finally there came a time when dad had to go into assisted living.  To protect myself from my own guilt my husband and I decided to put him in one 3 hours away.  Out of sight out of mind, at least that’s what I tried to do at first, but in reality that just created more guilt on my part. And an even lonelier world on his.  What was I thinking? He already lost his wife.  After my mom died, I moved him to a brand new state and now, after living with us for 3 years, I moved him 3 hours away?    I was upset that it even had to come to that, but after those years of living with my father, I really got to see the decline that my mother tried so desperately to hide from us or she was in denial herself.  I didn’t want to deal with it anymore.  But people aren’t exposable and even when it hurts, you have to take the hurt and love the person.  It took me a couple of years to realize that but when I finally did, I had to take drastic measures to move him back closer and the one thing I promised myself I wouldn’t do, was actually the best thing for him; a nursing home.  (I remember writing late one night writing to the Dr. Phil show about the guilt I felt over that). 

 

 

It wasn’t easy getting him in, the stress nearly got me to the point of denying I was his daughter. I honestly don’t know how an elderly person can understand when it’s time to put their spouse in a nursing home. The Medicaid red tape and stipulations were so stressful, my husband eventually took on most of the battles.  But finally after hiring a paralegal, still not understanding the processes, he’s been in a nursing home since March.  He now is only 10 minutes away from my home and I made a promise to myself and to him that I will visit him at least once a week. We set aside Thursdays for Daddy. And although dad is on ground up foods because the medications he’s been on for the last 10 years have rotted all of his teeth and he has esophageal problems, the home lets me bring him a special lunch every Thursday because that brings a joy to his life. I wheel him outside to our own little area where he has lunch. The nursing home grounds people planted marigolds in our little area that we visit every Thursday, and they had no way of knowing that marigolds are what my dad planted at our home when I was growing up every spring.  I think it’s God’s way of reminding me of the past where Dad did so much for me growing up and reminding me of the joy of my childhood.  As for the joy of the food, yes he loves it, but the reality is he waits for me. It’s easier for me to think he loves the food more than me.  But my dad loves me so much and even though it’s tough watching him on his bad days when he puts the straw up to his forehead instead of his lips to drink, he remembers that I come to visit him every Thursday.  It’s amazing how a father’s love surpasses all understanding and even overrides an illness that causes him to forget simple daily living activities; he still remembers I’m his daughter.  He doesn’t know what year it is and at times thinks Jimmy Carter is president, but he knows I’m his daughter.  I’m not kidding myself, I know someday that may not last either, but for now I have Thursday’s with my dad and I thank God for showing me how much I mean to my father that I can fight through the hurt of seeing him in this condition to give him the most precious thing he holds onto, which I can’t believe is me. I’m not kidding myself, some mornings I cry before I go to visit him because it hurts so much, but it would hurt even more if I didn’t go.  I'm not saying it's always easy, sometimes my Thursday mornings are filled with crying so much before I have to go and I just pray for God to give me strength to do what's right. 

 

After all the mistakes I have made with him and the hurt in taking care of him and not wanting the responsibility, he loves me and I still bring joy to his life.  This is one of the most difficult challenges in my life but working through this and seeing how much my father loves me despite an illness and despite myself is one of the greatest gifts my father can give me, I only wish he understood how much it meant and how much he means to me. 

 

 

If your in a situation too, look for your marigolds.  If your trying to take care of your loved one by yourself, sometimes the best care is lettign someone else take care of them so you can just enjoy your love one.  I visit with Daddy now, not be his caretaker, I was too emotionally involved if that makes sense to anyone. I hope my story can help, it's helped to put it on "paper."

 

 

 

"Romans 8:28"

Thanks for writing. I know that mental illness is and will continue to be a part of my life. Several of my husband's family members suffer from depression, as well as my husband (from time to time). My son also seems to have a lot of friends with bipolar disease; so 'it' is all around.
I think I related to your story as well because my dad has been in a nursing home for 10 years. He had a stroke and was 73, so it was not as startling as your dad's illness at 59. I have to say that the place where my Dad is, has a lot of compassionate people, so I feel very fortunate that he can be there. My mom visits him every day; thank God she is doing okay health-wise, even though she is 83.
As the oldest daughter, I feel like I will soon be taking care of Mom, when she gets to a point where she can't take care of herself and her home. She is really already there, but she can do the "basics", so she gets by. At her age, taking care of a home all by yourself is not easy. We are a family of 5 children, so we are again fortunate to be able to share the 'help'., which makes everyone's life a little easier.
I just want to thank you for sharing your story. I know that just being able to share it with someone lightens the load. And thanks to Dr. Phil - this is a good place to do that! My thought is that whatever happens to us prepares us for the next part of our lives, so even though you are young to be handling such responsibilty (I am 54), I feel sure this experience will be a blessing to your life as you go on. What a tremendous gift you are giving your Dad; and it is so wonderful to know that he knows. I feel like one day, he will bless you from heaven.
 
June 22, 2008, 3:24 pm CDT

Just some food for thought

Quote From: sthipkens

Mohabee96

I also hope you're still checking the message boards....

Because I finally logged on, and came across your E-Mail.  I hope you still can find some benefit from my opinion. 

I had this all written out a few nights ago, but then what I call "the computer blues" happened, somehow, I lost it all, so, here I go again.

Most importantly, realize I'm no professional, I've no affiliations, degrees or anything other than my own personal opinion as a care giver. Without enough help or relief helpers, this leaves little free time.

I realize this is a note from almost a year ago that I'm only just now reading....

However, IF, you're lucky enough, to still have one or both parents STILL in their own home...."Keep them there ! as long as humanly possible !"

The familiar surroundings, routine, as much of the same as what they used to do as possible, is what will help keep them from becoming, less functional as quickly perhaps.

As to the difference between Altzeihmers and Dementia, again my opinion ONLY !

I believe with Dementia, you're able to remember MOST of the past well, however, the most recent events, especially conception of time, they come in and out like waves, with most recent events, being on an always outgoing tide.

Whereas, with Altzeihmers, most, if not all, is no longer within their grasp. I believe it to be "the most cruelest affliction" as in most cases the body is fine, the afflicted might just not know what to do ? how ? or when ? and why ?

The saving grace for Altzeihmer's is they're not aware how bad off they might be. Whereas with Dementia, there's moments, time periods of total clarity....they unfortunately might be aware something's amis.

Now, as to Parkinson's, I came into the care of a "stubborn, independant, Scottish lady in her late 80's. The whole time she stayed in the home she kept her whole adult lifetime, she did as well as can be expected. I gave her as much privacy, and independance as possible, but stepping in was neccessary at times.  I'd say well over a decade in her home with the affliction taking it's toll.

However, after losing a majority of family, to moving away, or passing on, as well as her last dog....As "they" say, that was the straw that broke the camels back."

Shortly afterwards, it became neccessary to put her in the unfamiliar territory of a home....Well, in my opinion, her decline was swift. I recall it might have been a year, but less than 2 in that facility.  She is survived by 2 sisters, 91, 104, they however were spared the affliction of Parkinson's, which of course is an advantage.

Suffice to say, rally as much of the troops, relatives, friends, aquaintances as possible. Access as many help organizations and agencies as you're able, set up a support system to relieve you of some of the aid neccessary to keep them in your life and you in theirs.

In my opinion "Keep them home and as active as possible !" "Familiarity, breeds longevity...." Best of Luck, Sthipkens.

Hi everyone,

 

  I can tell that most people that are responding are confused on the dementia and Alzheimer's thing, so I would like to explain it a little bit.

 

  Alzheimer's is a form of dementia, the difference is that dementia effects all parts of the brain and brought on by trauma. This be from a fall an illness something of that nature.

 

  Alzheimer's is something that happens on its own and usually effects the frontal lobe of the brain with plaque. this is why there are some rapid progressions in different stages.  A neurologist will be able to tell you the progression of the disease.  There are seven stages.  I am actually caring for an individual with Alzheimer's and another with dementia.

 

  Everyone will tell you that it is best to keep the person home this is not so in most cases, the simple fact is that taking care of an individual with Alzheimer's is a full time job as they get into the 3rd stage of the disease.  Taking care of someone with Alzheimer's on your own is consuming your whole life if you have children this would be a tough task. People are trained. It does not mean that you have to have them put into an institution, there are group homes out there that specialize with individuals with Alzheimer's.  It is the quality of life that really matters.  Find a good group home that you can visit frequently that allows for overnights for you to take your loved one for the night, that goes on special trips with your loved ones. My Alzheimer's individual has a sister that use to take him everywhere which was fantastic but now she is scared because he is in a moderate to severe stage of the disease and does not know how to deal with him. This is where I come in. I have made him part of my family he loves small children he comes home with me for visits we sit and have tea and a snack, We take him to Martha's vineyard on the ferry he loves it and enjoys it very much. My goal is to give him as much quality in his life that he can handle. If he were still living with his sister he would be in the house all the time.

 

  I ask if you have a loved one with Alzheimer's to please think about the quality that you can provide before being "selfish"/ "feeling guilty".. Sometimes we must let go of the ones that we love to ensure this.

 
July 9, 2008, 2:27 am CDT

Family Denial

Quote From: grammasnook

Hi everyone,

 

  I can tell that most people that are responding are confused on the dementia and Alzheimer's thing, so I would like to explain it a little bit.

 

  Alzheimer's is a form of dementia, the difference is that dementia effects all parts of the brain and brought on by trauma. This be from a fall an illness something of that nature.

 

  Alzheimer's is something that happens on its own and usually effects the frontal lobe of the brain with plaque. this is why there are some rapid progressions in different stages.  A neurologist will be able to tell you the progression of the disease.  There are seven stages.  I am actually caring for an individual with Alzheimer's and another with dementia.

 

  Everyone will tell you that it is best to keep the person home this is not so in most cases, the simple fact is that taking care of an individual with Alzheimer's is a full time job as they get into the 3rd stage of the disease.  Taking care of someone with Alzheimer's on your own is consuming your whole life if you have children this would be a tough task. People are trained. It does not mean that you have to have them put into an institution, there are group homes out there that specialize with individuals with Alzheimer's.  It is the quality of life that really matters.  Find a good group home that you can visit frequently that allows for overnights for you to take your loved one for the night, that goes on special trips with your loved ones. My Alzheimer's individual has a sister that use to take him everywhere which was fantastic but now she is scared because he is in a moderate to severe stage of the disease and does not know how to deal with him. This is where I come in. I have made him part of my family he loves small children he comes home with me for visits we sit and have tea and a snack, We take him to Martha's vineyard on the ferry he loves it and enjoys it very much. My goal is to give him as much quality in his life that he can handle. If he were still living with his sister he would be in the house all the time.

 

  I ask if you have a loved one with Alzheimer's to please think about the quality that you can provide before being "selfish"/ "feeling guilty".. Sometimes we must let go of the ones that we love to ensure this.

Thank you for the important information.  My 85 year old mother started exhibiting strange behaviors in 2003.  Her Mother was never diagnosed, but by the age of 79 she lost touch with reality.  I think it was one of my Mother's biggest fears.  The difference between the two were that my Mom kept her mind active.

 

I had a medical crisis in 03. A paratidectomy.  10 hours of surgery.  The day I was released, she forgot to pick me up.  When she did finally got there, she wanted to shopping on the way home.  She actually stopped and parked at the store (I'm wrapped in bloody gauze with my face stiched up, and on drugs), got ready to get out of the car and go into the store before I was able to convince her that I needed to go home and go to bed.   The weeks it took to recover were horrible.  I think she forgot I was there.   I remember finally having to drag myself out of bed to get some food.  I finally had to start calling friends for help in order to get any food.   As I got better, I would walk by her office.  I noticed that she was in the same position hour after hour.  Staring off into space. Not moving for hours.  If she came down into the living room to watch TV with me, with in minutes her head would be in her hand in a position of severe distress with her looking at the floor for an  hour.  I would ask her what was wrong and she would act like she was in a daze.  I believe there was also some major depression there.

 

At one point she bought a large luxury car she.  Later she said they tricked her into buying the car.  I went with her, I was there, they didn't trick her.  I was very surprised she bought the car.  It was much to big for her, but she is not the kind of person you argue with.  Later she did the same thing with a car she signed off on for me.  We had gone truck shopping.  She wanted me to buy a truck so I could move things for her.  I told her my back couldn't take a truck.  And I didn't have the credit for a brand new car.  The last place we went I was ready to leave because I couldn't afford anything they had.  She asked if the had any used cars, found one and started wheeling and dealing, pulled out her checkboook and signed off on it.  It was almost like she was in a power struggle with the manager, trying to prove she had the credit to do it.  Like I wasn't even there.  Then she later told my sister I manipulated her into buying the car.  It was crazy.    She just started making crazy accusations.   

 

Also I would hear her drive the car up, but she wouldn't come in.  I would find her sitting in the car for hours.  Just sitting there in the same position staring off into space.  Or she would be asleep.  I was terrified she would do that in a dangerous part of town.  She told me once that she had pulled over on the freeway and took a nap.

 

I made an appointment for her with her MD.  The Dr did a memory test with her and chided me for even thinking something was wrong with her.  She was very angry that I had made that kind of appointment for her.   I shared  what I had noticed with my sister.  Of course she didn't listen.  My mother is severely depressed and may be dealing with demintia, but no one would listen to me.  She already made one financial mistake, but no one believed me because I'm the youngest.  My older sister would say she talked to Mom every day and mom sounded fine.  It was me that was messed up.

 

I was the one living there, every day. Watched her behavior and noticed the changes.  My Sister came to town a couple of times a year.    I wish older sibs would get beyond the "know-it-all"  crud and listen to the family member that deals with the parent everyday.   With her support, we might have been able to get Mom DX'd and helped.  It's too later now.  She sent me a box this winter that had clothes that were obviously too small.  The scissors , marker and tape were still in the box.  She must have forgotten she left them in the box, bought new ones and sealed the box up.  I didn't say a thing this time.  No one listens.

 

I sure hope my sibs grow up someday.

 

 
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