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Elderly parents

Just need to scream for a moment...

5 replies

FurryDogMother · 22/05/2013 19:06

So, my 85 yr old Dad broke his hip in a fall last September. He lives in the UK, I live in Ireland (and am an only child). I've been going back and forth between countries ever since, two weeks there, two weeks here, a month there, a month here and so on - making sure I'm there for all his various Dr's appointments (he has prostate cancer) and so on. I just got home from a month over there - arrived back yesterday, with a return date in a month's time. I've managed to get a daily carer to come in (thanks to Social Services) to make sure he takes his meds in the right order at the right time. So there's the background.

Now, Dad drinks. I wouldn't say he's an alcoholic (could be wrong, but it doesn't really matter), he's just got into this routine of drinking, because he's bored (won't go out, doesn't get many visitors) - and some days he's fine - but others he'll drink all night and all day. Anyway - the month I was there, he had his good days and bad days, but on the whole was OK. Today, I phone him to get his usual Tesco's order (he gives me a list, I order it online, it gets delivered to him), and he's pissed as a newt, and has fallen over and hurt his head - blood everywhere he says. Doesn't seem to be concussed, and I've phoned the carers and asked them to check on the cut on his head in the morning.

I feel like I should get on the next plane back to him - but I have a husband here who I hadn't seen for a month until yesterday, and I'm bloody exhausted (mentally). I just can't believe that the very next day after I come home, this has happened. He said he knew it was because he'd been drinking, and has promised (again) to cut down - 'it's bloody silly' he said. Yes, it is.

I just wish there were two of me, one to be here and one to be there. I love Dad, he's been a brilliant father to me and I am doing everything I can to make sure he's safe and cared for (organised a Carelink alarm, and a cooker alarm in case he leaves it on, pressure cushion being delivered tomorrow for his pressure sore, caused by never moving out of his recliner, got the daily carer coming in etc. etc.). He's fine when I'm there (though when I went out for a day he managed to arrange a dentist's appointment for when I wouldn't be there to take him, and at the same time the pressure cushion was being delivered), but it's almost as though he's deliberately having crises as soon as I leave him. I had just begun to relax and chill a bit today, after some time out with DH, and now I'm sitting here feeling like the worst daughter on the planet because I wasn't there to stop him falling...

So, anyway, am having a vent here because I can't think of anywhere else to have it. Gawd knows what the next 30 days hold - the last time I'd planned a month at home I ended up going back after 2 weeks because he was forgetting to eat and losing weight rapidly - but I really need to spend time with my DH (who is being a star during all this, very understanding, very supportive, although he is in the pub right

So - here's my scream - aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!!!! Thanks for reading if you got this far - am sure I'll feel better about it all in the morning after the carer has checked Dad's head - just needed a vent (and a large vodka - like father, like daughter, I guess!). And breathe...

OP posts:
emess · 22/05/2013 19:38

Hello Furry, sorry to hear you are having to deal with this, but vent away and have as many virtual screams as you need. It's what MN's for. Sounds like you are already doing as much as you can for him. Don't take it personally when things happen that you can't control, and don't lose sight of your own needs either.

Rosa · 22/05/2013 19:45

You poor thing... When you are there water down the wine or vodka..might help a bit. Hope the head is nothing serious and you can spend some uality time with dh...

Needmoresleep · 22/05/2013 23:14

Scream on. We hear you.

And look after yourself. Obviously old age can be miserable and we should support. But we are not required to sort out the impact of poor decisions our parents may have made. You can only do so much.

whataboutbob · 23/05/2013 18:29

I second what the previous posters have said. you are doing as much as you can, but you also need to think of yourself and your marriage.
Just wondering, and I realise this is probably completely unrealistic, but could he move closer to you? just to make it easier on you and cut out all that traveling. Are you in NI or the Republic? If the latter I appreciate it probably isn't an option in terms of entitlements to help etc. Just an idea.

FurryDogMother · 26/05/2013 17:11

Thanks all - I'm actually in the Republic, which would make it very difficult with all his NHS consultants etc., so he's best off where he is. He promised me faithfully on the night he fell that he was going to stop drinking so much, then when I phoned him the next morning, he was pissed again, and had cancelled his dentists appointment, after I'd managed to get a friend to agree to take him there - ah well! Having said that, he's been a lot better since - but it's only a matter of time before he has one of his 'days' again.

The watering the vodka/gin down idea is a good one - my DH suggested the same thing, so I'll have a go when I get back there - have also got some blue food colouring - bear with me here - to tint his spirits with so I can tell if it's really 'water' he's drinking, as he often claims, and it isn't.

Most of the time I have a sense of humour about Dad and his little peccadilloes, but I was shattered after travelling and could have done without a drama the very next day. He's fine, apparently, and at least I know he has a daily visit from the carer now, who will let me know if anything's going wrong.

My pseudo-sister (daughter of his late girlfriend) is arriving in the UK (she lives in the US) in just over a week, so that's going to be a comfort until I get back there. He's always on his best behaviour when she's around (whole other story there!) so he should be OK for a while.

Thanks for letting me vent - I do actually value the time I spend over there with Dad - at his age I'm aware that he doesn't have forever, so it's a privilege to be able to be so involved in his life now. In years to come I'll be able to look back at our good - if frustrating - weeks, dealing with his various issues and challenges, chatting about old times when my Mum was alive, and so on. He's a lovely man, and I totally understand WHY he's taken to drinking too much - he's lonely, but won't go out anywhere, and has very few contemporaries left alive nowadays. Fingers crossed he won't fall again!

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