Caregiving When You Need Care

I have never lived on my own. I’ve always lived with my parents. I didn’t plan it that way. When I was younger I imagined living on my own or with my husband and kids. That wasn’t to be. My alcoholism and undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder often left me with no money and in trouble of some kind. There was a point I was making $40,000 a year. This is a lot if you don’t have to pay rent or utilities. I still had to claim bankruptcy several years ago. My spending sprees were out of control. I never wore the same outfit twice. I had an expensive perfume collection and a ton of high end makeup and hair products. I didn’t blink twice about walking into Nordstrom’s and picking up the largest size bottle of the “new” Chanel perfume, paying $150, and moving on to the next store.

My twin sister moved out for college as fast as she could and never came back. My brother was kicked out at 17 and never moved back. (They wouldn’t let him) My sister would call when she needed something but that was about it. The same went for my brother.

Around the year 2000-2001 my mother was diagnosed with Lung Cancer. I was working 50 hours a week and trying to help her. They decided to operate and remove on of her lungs. The operation was difficult and there were complications. She was in a medically induced coma for a month. I was at the hospital everyday, work or no work. My brother and sister came every once and awhile. My sister’s workplace wasn’t as understanding as mine.

When she woke up and started physical therapy everything started to improve. Her sister even came back to our state to live. My mother thought of her sister as her best friend. They spent almost everyday together. I would sit and talk to them often. I loved to hear them laugh. My father and I spent the most time together. We share a passion for all animals and would go to the movies together.

About 6 years went by. My aunt had gastric bypass and decided to move back to Florida. My mom was devastated. In anger and pain she told my aunt that she “would die soon without her there”. It took almost 2 years to make that true.

My mom gave up on life. She was eating a lot secretly. She had diabetes and would hide bags of candy in her room. She had fluid around her heart and would eat 5 or 6 Bologna sandwiches at a time. She didn’t want to interact with any of us.

One night a scream woke me up. I ran to my mom’s room and she was crying in agony. She said her back hurt. She didn’t want to go to the hospital. I was awake with her the entire night. It would be the first of many long nights.

She started to lose control of her bladder and other bodily functions. I would have to go in to her room in the middle of night to clean her up and change her sheets. I would then have to get up early for my 12 to 14 hour work day. I still found time to drink though. It was the only think keeping me sane at that moment. My mom finally agreed to see a doctor. The doctor said she had broken a bone in her back and needed surgery! Because of the strong doses of chemo and radiation her bones had become weak. Her heart and lung doctors had to sign off on the surgery. I never thought she should’ve had it. I didn’t think she could handle being under anesthesia again and her heart wasn’t strong enough. Her doctors agreed to it anyway.

She needed a lot of help when she came home. My father did what he could and I did the rest. My brother and sister? They called or came over once every couple of months. It was expected of me to take care of my mom because I still lived with her. Working close to 50 hours a week, trying to take care of a chronically ill parent, and keep a house together was taking it’s toll. I drank more and was not the nicest of people to be around.

In 2008 my mother went into the hospital because she couldn’t breathe. Her doctor said she would be out by the next afternoon. She passed away that night.

In 2014 my dad started having problems with his kidneys and other areas. We found out he had gotten a rare virus that destroyed his kidneys and he had to go on dialysis right away. Again I was taking care of a chronically ill parent.

Recently he has had to go on Prednisone. This has changed his entire personality. He has threatened me physically, said horrible things to me and then cried like a baby. Again, my brother and sister are not around. My sister has told me to “just move out”. I wouldn’t leave him. He took care of me at my lowest point and I’ll return the favor no matter what. I know it isn’t him but the medication making him mean. It’s still extremely stressful. My sister doesn’t answer her phone. Yesterday my dad was talking nonsense about something in the Navy that happened in Cuba. He wasn’t making since at all. Of course I couldn’t reach my sister. He also screamed at a telemarketer and told me to get out of his house. My father hates swearing. The “F” word is foul to him. He hates when people use it all the time when speaking. I had to warn people when they came to my house not to swear or bring up alcohol. Alcohol is like the “F” word to him. To hear him say the word in a rage is scary. He has a deep voice that has shaken the windows at times. I walk on egg shells constantly. The other night I was dry heaving in the toilet because I was so anxious about what he was going to do.

I’m not sure how much longer I can put up with all of it. There are people in the family expecting something from my dad when he passes. The house is to be sold and split 3 ways. He has NOTHING IN WRITING! It sounds horrible but I don’t think my brother or sister deserve anything. They have never thanked my dad for the many things he has done for them. They don’t visit or call. They have not been here! They have not held both parents while they cried in pain. They have not changed soiled sheets daily while dealing with their own health problems. They both put their heads in the sand and pretend everything is ok. I’ll be the one left homeless if they have their way. They know nothing about his hobbies and what to do with his collections. I do. I have become so frustrated and disgusted. I tried to talk to my sister this morning but she didn’t like the “tone” of my text. lol She said she was having a “bad” day and couldn’t talk. Shocker! I’m done being nice and agreeing with everyone. I need to have a life.

About darie73

I have lived with Bipolar Disorder since my early teens. I have lived with Social Anxiety Disorder for even longer. I self-medicated with alcohol for over 20 years, that's how long it took to get a diagnosis. I'm open and honest about my mental health so hopefully one day the system will change. View all posts by darie73

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