Dad's Parkinsons(2 Posts)
Just popping in for a chat.
My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2008 but he admits he probably had it for a few years earlier than that. He hasn't deteriorated as fast as some people do, but now, at 73, he is literally a shell of his old self. He weighs 8 stone and is/was 6 foot and he is permanently exhausted, not helped by the tremor that has only developed in the last couple of years - he never had the classic Parkinson's shake which resulted in a few other illnesses being suggested, but we are now back to this. He's more 'juddery'. He's lost his sense of smell and taste and, saddest of all, he is losing his ability very to speak. His posture is terrible and overall he looks very fragile. It's one of the cruellest diseases. I'm terrified to imagine how bad things are going to get.
I can't bear to see him like this. He loves seeing us - my DC are 4 and 7 and he adores them. Every time I see him my heart breaks to the extent that I find it hard to have a normal relationship with him. Not helped by the fact that he is (understandably) obsessed with his illness and, combined with his speech problems, it makes visits distressing.
I'm mid 40s so I feel I should be more capable than I am. They live a couple of hours away on the train, I work 3 days in a stressful industry and my DS is not at school yet so weekdays are impossible at the moment and at weekends we have the usual kid classes. They don't expect me to look after them and they can afford care when they need it (mum is coping for now) but I feel guilty I only see them a couple of times a month. I have two brothers but they are literally no use. One of them believes that only him and his wife and kids are important, and the other married a narcissistic bitch he met online and has moved abroad and only contacts them for money. I may as well be an only child - my brothers are happy to take their money (we have all been given significant amounts), but don't seem to give a shit otherwise.
Added to all this, my DH is Kiwi and we are planning on moving there in the next couple of years. I know it's the right thing for us, but I have no idea how I will be able to leave them. My dad can't travel. We are his world now. I can come back for a couple of weeks a year but it's not the same.
I feel like a shit daughter.
On the plus side, I think they have decided to move into a retirement village. They can afford somewhere lovely and I think that they will be happier and less isolated that stuck in a big house. I just want him to be the happiest and most comfortable he can be for his last months/years.
Shit, listening to Magic and they are playing 'Dance with my father again'
Sorry, this is fairly long. And self indulgent.
You're not being self indulgent, you're caring about your dad and it's heartbreaking to watch him deteriorate. How can you be a shit daughter when you care about him so much?
I know how you feel as my dad diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2008 too. Mine wouldn't talk about it for the first few years, it's only now that he'll discuss medication, symptoms and let me go to his hospital appointments. I've seen him go from someone who would play cricket in the garden with my DS to a man who can barely get out of his armchair.
Has your dad had any speech therapy? That has been a big help for mine. Last year he could barely speak (i couldn't understand him on the telephone) but now he's getting a little more confident. My mum goes with him to the support group as it's a chance for partners to have a break and chat to others in a similar situation.
Food is a big issue for us. I know that a good diet would improve some of the symptoms but my parents have an over reliance on processed food plus have a high sugar content diet. What's your dad's diet like? How about getting him some shakes to help bulk him up a bit?
Try hang onto the positives that he still feels joy in having your DC around. They'll cope with it. Mine are a little older (12 & 15) but they're grown up with his Parkinson's and don't feel embarassed by their dear grandad.
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