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Depressing Family News - Unbeliever's Land
...The continuing chronicles...
Depressing Family News
Back from the Coast -- for tales and photos of the vacation itself, read oregongirl1969's journal.  Short version: It was an absolutely beautiful, restful, wonderful trip, and desperately needed.

Before we left, we got word that my Dad had fallen again, was very sick, and was back in the hospital.  (For those who don't know already, my family skipped two generations on my father's side, and one on my mother's side.  I'm 38, my Mom is 77, and my dad is 93 -- nearly as old as my Mom's mom, who recently died at 96 years old.)

My Dad's been losing ground health-wise for quite some time, but the rate of decline has been accelerating lately.  He's been falling alot lately, and both he and my Mom together can't get him off the floor when he does.  She's taken to calling 911 when this happens, and some firemen come and get him lifted up and into his chair again.  (
My folks still live in Houston -- which is where I grew up -- and don't have any friends or relatives to call on for help.)

Well, this last time, he was pretty sick, so an ambulance took him to the hospital, where he was treated for pneumonia, and given a couple of transfusions (since he's also anemic).

[This is where we were when Angela and I left for our long-planned three nights at the Coast.]

Monday morning, as we were packing to leave our room, eat lunch in Depoe Bay and head back home, we got a call from my Mom on my cell phone.  My Dad was no longer sick -- but he was too weak to come home.  The doctors wanted to send him to a nursing home for three weeks of physical therapy to get him strong enough to come home.  And my Dad -- stubborn as always -- was absolutely refusing to go.  He hates being away from the house, hates any sort of movement or exercise (because everything HURTS), and absolutely refused to do anything but come home, even though he was too weak to do so.

Mom had me talk to Dad and try to convince him to do the right thing -- but he wouldn't hear of it.  So they wound up signing the "Against Medical Advice" (AMA) paperwork, and an ambulance brought him back home (since he was too weak to travel in my Mom's car).

They managed to get him to bed that night (Monday), and back to his recliner chair the next morning (Tuesday) -- but then he sat, unmoving, in the recliner for over 24 hours, not even getting up to go to the restroom.

During this time, my Mom discovered that in going AMA, they had lost all claim to the home healthcare people who had been coming out every day to help Mom take care of Dad.  Suddenly, Dad was worse than ever, and NO help was forthcoming.

At that point, Wednesday morning, my Mom was finally forced to tell Dad that he'd run out of options, and with a great deal of help from their highly-frustrated doctor, arranged for Dad to be taken to the physical therapy place after all, AGAINST HIS WILL.  And that's where he is, now.

I spoke to Dad during this last bit on Wednesday, and tried to convince him (again) to go along with the therapy so he could be strong enough for Mom to be able to take care of him at home.  And he refused to even consider it.  "
I'm in heaven, I'm in heaven, I'm in heaven", he kept saying.  "I'm comfortable here, at home."

You had to hear the way he was saying it -- but it sounded to me like he never wanted to leave the chair again.  He was ready to die.

My Mom, of course, is absolutely NOT ready to let him die.  She's at the other extreme -- she kept her mom (my Grandmother) hooked up to machines for ten years after she effectively stopped interacting with the outside world.  Toward the end, it was almost a Terri Schiavo thing -- my Mom kept saying she thought she was seeing responses from my Grandma, but nobody else ever saw them.

And here we are.  My Dad ABSOLUTELY refuses to cooperate, doesn't want anything but to sit in his chair, at home, even if my Mom can't take care of him.   And my Mom, utterly exhausted from a decade of being the only responsible figure in taking care of her mom and her husband, then making pre- and post- death preparations for both her mom and her uncle, continues to fight tooth and nail to keep him going, no matter what.

[Meanwhile, my only sibling (my sister Rachel, 3 years younger than me) has Lupus, is ALWAYS sick, has several organs that are actively in the process of failing, can't hold a job, won't apply for disability, and recently got divorced from Her Only Means Of Support.  Prior to getting married three years ago, her Only Means Of Support was my Mom taking out loans and maxing out her credit cards for her.  So that's yet another crisis waiting to happen Any Minute Now.]

Angela and I are trying to find a way to get my folks into an assisted living place here in Oregon -- but it may be too late for my Dad.

...And THAT'S the story of my family as of today.  Gee, aren't you glad you read all this?

Current Emotional State: depressed depressed

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From: kightp Date: August 17th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm sorry to hear all this, Reed. I can understand your dad's reactions (all of them), and at the same time, I get why your mom wants to fight to hang onto him.

All I can hope is that it all works out in the best possible way for everyone involved, and with the least possible stress and drama.
oregongirl1969 From: oregongirl1969 Date: August 17th, 2006 09:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
*BIG HUG* Always know I love you and I will be there to help you get through all of this.
amaebi From: amaebi Date: August 17th, 2006 11:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am glad I read it. I care about you, so I like to know your situation, even when it is so terribly hard. :(

Although the situation is so very painful, I hope that you can be gentle to yourselves and to each other, as you try to do what you can, and probably hope to do what you can't....
From: kshandra Date: August 18th, 2006 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)

*slowly shakes head* I'm so very, very sorry.
krascal75 From: krascal75 Date: August 18th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
So sorry to hear about your dad. I know how it goes with the skipping generation thing. I'm not yet 50 and have first cousins who are in their 80s.

My mom- 87- just went into an assisted living place. While her health is good, she has very little eye sight left and is very hard of hearing. She misses us terribly- she lived with us for about 4 years- but loves her new home.

My prayers are with you.
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