This Is A True Story- Part I

My Dad passed away on my 46th birthday, January 11, 2019. He passed without leaving a Will or any instructions for what he wanted should he die. He did have a DNR and instructions for no feeding tubes. He was 112 pounds when he passed away.

Some of you may know how close I was to my Dad, for those that don’t I’ll tell you I never left home and he saved my life on more than one occasion.

I wasn’t diagnosed as Bipolar until I had already self-medicated with alcohol for a little over 20 years. My Dad did everything he could to help me maintain my sobriety. He took me to the movies when he would rather be outside, watched numerous TV shows he normally wouldn’t have, drove me to see the animals I love in a different state, whatever it took to make sure I was safe.

I decided years ago that I would take care of my parents for as long as I possibly could no matter what. I kept that promise with both of them.

My Dad did have to stay in a long term care facility for a few weeks at the end of his life. I had become Manic, over stressed, and couldn’t lift him any longer. He was 76 and Sepsis, a UTI and Pneumonia, had caused Dementia. None of us knew this could happen. Within 6 months the man I knew became a frail child. The man who fixed and collected antique clocks now didn’t understand the difference between 5p.m. and 5a.m. leaving me up all night as he tried to leave the house in the middle of the night.

My twin helped as much as she could. She’s married with two small children and has ME Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. My older brother lives in the next state over and worked a lot. (I should mention he’s my half brother and had a different father).

Growing up we were always told everything was to be split three ways if anything ever happened to my parents. He was the only Dad my brother had ever known and he was 7 when we were born so I never thought it would be a problem.

My brother and sister never got along. I was always close to him even though he had a tendency to push everyone away and was always in trouble. Drugs, alcohol, fighting, AWOL from the Military, a wife, kids, gambling their home away, jail, divorce, a lot of baggage and trauma to go around.

When I was little and had a nightmare it was my brother I went to first because our parents drank. I went with him on his paper route and watched wrestling and horror movies with him. To me he was my “cool” older brother, not so much to many other people I would find out in High School. It never stopped me from loving him.

My Dad’s Wake was uncomfortable to say the least. My sister hadn’t seen or spoken to our brother in 10 years. He had never met her children.

My twin is a difficult person to get along with and so is her husband. Once they make up their minds that’s it. I thought she would be a little more forgiving when our Dad died. Instead she felt out of control and the need to gain that control back took over.

She decided our Dad would basically be buried naked or with a “shroud” around him and a closed casket. I agreed with the closed casket because he was unrecognizable. She then had her husband first in the receiving line. I and many other people were not happy about this but my brother never said a word.

We had to get a lawyer because there was no Will and my Dad owned the house and land him and I were living in. The lawyer mentioned we didn’t have to give our brother anything because our Dad never adopted him. This was never the plan but I could see the wheels turning in my sister’s head. I put my foot down.

I didn’t know my brother had a lawyer of his own telling him the same thing at about the same time.


NIGHT NOISES

My psychiatrist is a nice man and I’ve had 2nd and 3rd opinions on my diagnoses which he encouraged, but sometimes I wonder if he stays up to date.

He suggested trying medical marijuana to possibly wean me off the Klonopin and sleep aid I take every night. We’re trying to save as much of my kidney function as possible so I don’t have to go on dialysis like my Dad. I miss him.

The doctor said he doesn’t have a license to “prescribe” medical marijuana but he thinks it would help me immensely!

You don’t need a special license to prescribe it, the doctor just has to verify that you actually have one of the qualifying conditions that would benefit from it’s use. I only found this out recently.

In the meantime, my sister has a license for it and I tried what she gets for anxiety at night. I think it’s the first time I’ve slept that good in years.

Of course, all good things must come to an end. We had another argument where she tells me I never take responsibility for anything and I’m cut off. I was ok until my Dad died.

I did the worst thing and asked my brother. He was nice and just gave it to me lol nothing with him is free. I started hearing things. Now I don’t know if I’m hearing voices and noises because of my Dad dying, the pot, or who knows what?(THC can cause auditory hallucinations and I don’t think it’s in much of the medical marijuana)

I haven’t processed my Dad’s death at all. It’s in a little blue box shoved far, far, in the back of my mind.

I just keep hoping I get to live near my Aunt for a little while. I love the area where she lives, I get along with my cousins, I love the weather, my Aunt is like my Mom, filled with love and laughter. They were sisters and best friends, imagine that!

I’ve been wanting to write more I’ve just been too tired. I had to postpone my kidney surgery by 3 and a half months so I start to feel like a giant slug. I’m good with it, I got to have extra time with my Dad.

 


BUT YOU’RE GONE

FIRST THINGS FIRST 

Why do people insist on putting a time limit on grieving? Or continuously ask you how you are but it sounds more like “Are you done yet?”. My best and possibly only friend of 35 years accidentally said out loud “How long has it been? Almost a month? Hmm…it’s close.” But I know her, I know she was doing her own equation on how to deal with feelings (eww). I do wonder how she became the way she is and what makes her love me and stay my friend no matter what.

I hear you call my name 20 times a day, I can hear you whistling “Moon River” from my sister’s wedding, I hear you say the only swear you ever really used, all because of your birds. Birds we all thought at one time or another, you loved more than us. The 2 that are left are like me, broken and unpredictable, no one wants them.

This hysterical commercial came on and I turned my head to your end of the couch to ask if you had seen it too. But you were gone. I keep forgetting.

I had to listen to a message on my phone, I didn’t know there was one from you from when you were in the hospital. I sat in my car and cried.

Yes, I have found myself outside liquor stores and bars since January 11th. Physically I can’t, I don’t know why but my body can handle maybe half of a beer (not the best example considering I’m allergic) before I feel nauseous. It isn’t Antibuse or anything like that it’s having 38% kidney function. I don’t want it to go any lower.

The biggest problem is the loneliness. I’m not used to being alone this much. My Dad deserves a lot of credit for listening to me babble for so many years.

The rest of my family doesn’t really want to have much to do with me. Everyone has their own lives or I said something they didn’t like so they avoid me. My twin sister doesn’t want me in her life until I go through an “intensive treatment program” because I am a “manipulative c*nt and a dry drunk”. I also “never take responsibility for anything I’ve ever said or done”.

In ten years no one else has ever called me a “dry drunk” and I know plenty.

I’m the first one to take responsibility when I know that I’m wrong.

I don’t always know that I’ve offended someone or said things I didn’t mean when backed into a corner or if I feel threatened.

I know I am alone.

I miss my Dad more than anything.

I wish I could be in Florida with my Auntie L. who would hug me and talk to me.

They listened to you Dad. Without paperwork I told you they would run right over me. I know you felt guilty and torn about what to do so you kept putting it off. Now I’m stuck doing what I’m told waiting for the day I’m free.

I love you Dad

 


TOGETHER AGAIN

I haven’t been able to do much of anything these last few months.

In my last blog post, I mentioned what I was going through with my Dad and his health.

On January 11th my Hero and Dad passed away. It was also my 46th birthday.

I’m not even sure what was put as his official cause of death. I had so many questions that no one was in a hurry to answer. My sister didn’t question any of it. I have to be extremely careful with what I say now. If not I’m accused of being “paranoid” or “imagining things”. I also have to be careful not to cry too much and make a “scene”.

I kept my Dad home with me for as long as I physically and in good conscious could. When he refused to go to dialysis one morning, all I could do was beg him or bribe him. Soon it didn’t matter, he would hide under his blanket and like a child pretended he was invisible.

He was also falling more. I wasn’t going to restrain him, he had the right to walk around his own house. We made the downstairs completely his and as safe as possible. I just couldn’t be up all day and night. I would feel so guilty when he would get confused and think it was time for dialysis. It would be 2:30 in the morning when I would hear a thud and immediately know he had fallen.

The weight loss was disturbing in itself. How many times can you call the same doctors? The other problem was my Dad had only given my name as an emergency contact. This would turn into bigger problems.

My Dad never did a Will or put someone else with him on his bank accounts. He did no End of Life Planning at all. There’s so much to do and go through there isn’t a time when I don’t feel nauseous. And lucky me the dry heaves are back in full force.

I know I’m sick. I kept putting things off to take care of and be with my Dad. My kidney stents should’ve been changed in November. I’m losing weight again, my vision has changed for the worse, and last but not least I’m having auditory hallucinations. I keep hearing voices outside, bottles being thrown in a recycling bin, car doors, and voices of family members coming to visit (ha). It could be anything so I’m not panicking yet.

My twin isn’t making any of this easier. I’m scared. I don’t know what to do. Her suggestion for everything is that I go to an intensive treatment facility for mental health and addiction. She said we can’t have a relationship unless I do.

My Dad was the best anyone could’ve asked for in a Father. He had his faults but was always there for his family. He went from a 30-year-old man who never said “I love you” or showed affection, to a man who hugged me and told me he loved me almost every day.

He loved my Mom so much I don’t think he ever got past her death.

The night before he died he was unresponsive and so small in the hospital bed. I got behind him so I could hold him and he could hear me.

“It’s okay Dad. I’ll be okay. You can let go now. I love you more than anything but there’s somewhere else you need to be. So get in your boat and find her.”

His foot arched back and he opened one eye to look at me briefly, he sighed and was out again.

He was ready.

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CAN I DO THIS?

I started to notice small differences in my Dad after his car accident.

He was taking a lot of medication he should not have been taking. His Doctor never explained the medication to him. You give a strong opioid to someone who never used to take so much as an aspirin.

He struck a guardrail, his front tire became stuck up on the rail and he took out 350 feet of rail. His brand new truck was destroyed, both airbags deployed, the State and Town Police came to the scene. He refused to get in the ambulance or go to the hospital.

I handled the insurance company (not easy), the State and the Town. My Dad winced every time he moved the wrong way. We argued about him seeing his Doctor and he still refused. It took several weeks to settle everything and we discussed that he should get a used truck and not a new one. He agreed.

Next thing I know he’s bought a brand new Nissan Rogue. He had it 2 days when I noticed a big dent in the back.

I told my twin sister all of this because I knew something wasn’t right. My Dad is extremely frugal. He doesn’t like to owe money and after everything was paid he wasn’t getting much from the insurance company.

My Dad also began having problems talking. He kept running out of breath. I told him the day after the accident that he could possibly get fluid in his lung from the rib I could see sticking out. He still refused to see anyone. I called his dialysis place and let them know what was going on.

We were trying to get him help with his bladder that had been ongoing for years. He was at the point where he was screaming into a towel each time he urinated.

We finally got him in to see a Urologist. My Dad insisted on going alone. They inserted a catheter for a few days so he could go back and have tests done. He was in so much pain all he could do was sit there and grit his teeth. He thought the nurse cut him while inserting the catheter.

Three days later he goes to dialysis thene24a0470e843063ac24ede8055779515 back to the Urologist for tests. When I got home he was in his chair unresponsive. I couldn’t wake him right away. When I did wake him he was confused.

He could only give me his first name, he didn’t know the day of the week, and he said the year was 2008 (this is the year my Mom passed away). I called my sister and even though he was mad I called 911.

I should also say during this entire time his weight was steadily going down which I complained to everyone about for months.

When the EMTs came they tried to ask him similar questions that he couldn’t answer. He had a fever and his vitals were all over the place. One of them said “Sepsis”.

He had been to 2 different places with plenty of doctors and nurses who had to have noticed that he was walking like he was drunk, was incoherent, confused, had a temperature, any of the above! He was driving like this!

He spent a month in the Hospital. He had a UTI, Pneumonia, a Pleural Effusion, Sepsis and weighed 127 pounds.

He spent 20 days in a Skilled Nursing Facility for Rehabilitation. He was too weak for any rehab. When my sister and I brought him home we had to half carry him in.

Most people don’t know that a UTI and Sepsis can cause a form of Dementia, there is also a type of Dementia that people on Dialysis are prone to.

I’m with my Dad 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He didn’t want this for me but right now he’s scared. We talked about this. He didn’t want me to take care of and watch another parent die. We didn’t talk about any of this with my twin sister or anyone else.

My Dad didn’t do any paperwork. No Will, Durable Power of Attorney, nothing. He didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause arguments so he kept putting it off. I kept telling him I didn’t want anything that he needed to just do it. Then my brother would do something stupid and my Dad would be back at square one.

My twin said she would be with me all the way and help as much as she could.

She did for the first two weeks. Now she comes twice a week and stays 2 hours. She does do our laundry because of course we can’t go in our basement right now (don’t ask). She also insists on cooking which is tricky with my Dad. He’s become picky in the last few years.

I don’t know how he went from a vibrant 75 year old who did everything to a stooped over frail old man in diapers. One who wakes up every hour on the hour to get ready for dialysis because he can no longer tell what time it is or what day it is.

I had to explain time to a man who fixed and collected antique clocks.

There are days I want to leave and never come back.

There are days I’m so afraid I can’t swallow because of the lump in my throat.

There are days I don’t want to do this anymore.

There are days I’m so tired I can’t sleep.

And there are days I’m angry, sad, and feel alone.


PTSD, Triggers, Keeping Silent And Remembering Trauma

The smallest things will trigger a response from me. A loud male voice behind me at the grocery store, the smell of beer and leather, bright lights and loud music, aggressive men in general, and even the way my Dad calls my name sometimes startles me.

Deep in the back of my mind I think I still resent my Dad for the way he handled everything. For the way he shook his hand and thanked him for bringing me home. For the way he called me a “drunk and a liar” as I was on the floor covered in blood, in and out of consciousness.

It wasn’t the first time, it was just the worst time.

REMEMBERING THAT NIGHT

I don’t remember the day. I don’t remember the exact year. I remember the apartment because I was there everyday. I remember the person because we had been as close as two people can be for over 10 years. We were both alcoholics. The only difference was I did my drinking between 4pm and 3am. I never drank during the day and I never drank alone. He drank whenever, by himself or with other people.

Over the years I had seen him be cruel. He had been physical with me on a fee occasions but I wasn’t a small girl and always thought I could handle him. I thought I could handle all of them, that it was no big deal. I admit to drinking to the point of blacking out at times, having no memory of the previous night. I know during these times some things happened without my permission. I only know this by how I looked when I woke up and where I woke up.

I was undiagnosed Bipolar and doing anything I could to not feel emotions. My alcoholism eventually made this a million times worse. I also admit I wasn’t always nice while drinking. I could be obnoxious, jealous, and petty.

I would try to stop or slow down my drinking many times.

One night I took my cousin to the apartment with me, I wasn’t drinking. Someone thought it would be funny to put Rum in my soda. I took a big gulp and that was it. He was pissed and said “You better not get drunk because you’re not staying here tonight”. Of course this pissed me off and I thought “Who the hell is he to tell me how much to drink? He wouldn’t even have groceries or clean laundry if it wasn’t for me.” So I drank and drank.

At some point we started to argue. Over the years he always said to me “You always hurt the ones you love the most”. And he did.

I turned my back to walk away from him, he picked up a heavy oak chair with wheels and hit me over the back of my head.

I tried to fight back and it angered him more, he grabbed my hair and pulled me to the floor. He got on top of me with all his weight, pinning my arms down with his knees.

He started punching me in the face, he wore a skull ring. All these years later, if you look closely, you can see a scar on my chin and an indent on my nose. With each punch he said a word “YOU, STUPID, FUCKING, BITCH” I remember spit flying out of his mouth and my nose swelling shut.

The blood started to go down the back of my throat and I felt like I was drowning. I couldn’t get any air and I couldn’t move. For the first time ever I was terrified.

Eventually he pulled me up by my hair. I noticed one of the bedroom doors open and a girl I had known for years looked out at me and hurried to shut the door. I know I said “Help” but maybe I wasn’t loud enough. My cousin was asleep in a bedroom.

I had bleach blond hair at the time, it was soaked with blood. Everything was soaked with blood.

He dragged me to his apartment door which was always open and threw me down the stairs. I don’t know how long I stayed at the bottom of the stairs.

The next thing I remember is being in a moving car.

He had his friend drive me and my cousin to my parent’s home. He carried me to the door where he told them I fell. I kept trying to tell them it was him, I didn’t just fall.

It might have been the blow to the head because I wasn’t able to remain conscious. My Dad took this as a sign of being extremely drunk.

When I could speak and told my parents as much as I could my Dad said no one would believe me. I shouldn’t have been there and I was a drunk and a liar. They told me not to go to the Hospital and that I would be fine.

I wasn’t fine and wouldn’t be fine for the rest of my life.

The heavy chair hitting my head had actually caused permanent damage. I found this out 6 months ago.

PTSD is bad enough. When you have an underlying mental health issue like Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, and Substance Abuse Disorders, it can turn into something much more complicated.

Dealing with Conversion Disorder has been as bad as coping with Bipolar. I never really know what is going to set it off. It’s embarrassing to start stuttering and have people stare at you. To start shaking and have your hands tremor so bad you can’t count change. To have no control over your body.

I knew eventually he would get drunk and say something in front of the wrong people.

He did. A month later he bragged about what he had done to me in a bar filled with people. The story got back to my older brother and he in turn told my parents. My Dad was furious but both my parents encouraged me to let it go.

Two years later he was arrested for Domestic Assault & Battery and was sent to counseling. He broke the woman’s jaw.

These are some of the reasons we stay silent. We’re talked out of it, told no one will believe us, think we deserve it or we see that nothing is ever done about it when we finally do get the courage to speak up.ddc04855251fa6c0f0d2cc95d4f717f1

Towards the end of my Dad’s life he apologized for not doing more at the time. He said he thought about it often, it was one of his biggest regrets.

I make no excuses, my decisions are my own. I only offer an insight into what life can be like for someone with severe mental illness who doesn’t receive treatment.


TAKING CARE OF DAD~ MORE ON THE ELDERLY AND ADDICTION

There are some people who abuse alcohol or drugs their entire lives and live to be 80 years old with no problem. On the flip side of this you have people who later in life, form addictions due to an “event” or “trigger”.

Retirement, death of a spouse or loved one, loss of income, or a decline in physical health can all be triggers for addiction in older people. Depression is one of the biggest problems.

You wake up one day unable to do the things you once loved, worried about finances, still grieving the loss of your wife/husband who was also your best friend, your children have their own lives now and you find you have fewer people to talk to. All of these things can lead to depression.

I’ll discuss more about depression at a later date.

A person’s age and gender contributes greatly to how open and honest they will be when answering a doctor’s questions but doctors play a role too. Too often an older adult’s concerns are dismissed as “old age” and prescription medications are used to solve the problem.

The #1 drug prescribed to people over the age of 65 and on Medicare are Benzodiazepines. They are used to treat anxiety, pain, and insomnia. They are also one of the most dangerous medications prescribed to seniors.

According to the American Geriatric Society benzodiazepines pose an increased risk for impaired alertness, respiratory depression and falls.

All benzodiazepines slow down the Central Nervous System. When used for insomnia it’s only effective for a few weeks. When combined with another benzodiazepine you can lose consciousness and stop breathing.

There are symptoms people experience when combining benzodiazepines that you need to contact your doctor if you exhibit:

  1. Continuing slurred speech or confusion.
  2. Severe drowsiness or weakness.
  3. Staggering.

There is a big issue with over-prescribing or “polypharmacy” which means having more prescribed medications on a daily or weekly basis than is healthy for one person to have. It becomes dangerous due to different drug interactions and side effects.

A person with a chronic or serious illness can find it challenging to keep up with a complicated medication schedule. Taking multiple meds at one time can cause some medications to neutralize each other so they end up taking more believing they either didn’t take it or it’s not working.

My Dad didn’t understand why he was still feeling so anxious specifically at the end of his dialysis treatments. He wouldn’t understand unless he had a degree in Pharmacodynamics or was a doctor (most doctors still don’t understand how to adjust medications for patients on dialysis). The pain medication he was on for his compressed nerve was making him anxious as it was being dialyzed. The anxiety medication he normally takes is at a very low dose. He didn’t think twice about doubling the anxiety medication. He would be unsteady on his feet when leaving the Dialysis Center and no one said a word.

Some people go to more than one doctor who may prescribe a medication without knowing what the patient is already taking. Patients don’t always remember all of their medications and don’t make a list like they are asked to.

I usually go with my Dad to any new appointments to fill out the paperwork and list all of his medications. His Nephrologist doesn’t see him in his office he visits him during his dialysis treatment. This means I can’t be there. I’m not there to fill out any new paperwork or to let them know about any new medications. My Dad isn’t going to tell them. My Dad will say everything is “Fine” when the doctor comes around.

Primary Care Physicians should be going over a patient’s list of medications on a regular basis and making adjustments. I know my Dad’s does not. If he did he wouldn’t have prescribed 2 benzodiazepines with an opioid. My Dad shouldn’t still be on Klonopin and they should be looking at Chronic Pain Management instead of him taking Hydrocodone that isn’t even working. I made him stop taking the Restoril. I personally wanted to go to his doctor’s office and tear him a new one for even prescribing it to a 75 year old man. It’s a dangerous medication for anyone to take long term but even more so for people over 65.

None of this matters when you are dealing with someone so full of pride and stubbornness that he won’t admit just how sick he is.


TAKING CARE OF DAD~A LOOK AT ADDICTION IN THE ELDERLY

Chronic pain conditions affect about 30% of elderly people. The first line of treatment they are given when they see their doctor is either an immediate or extended release opioid medication like hydrocodone with acetaminophen.

Elderly patients with chronic pain usually develop insomnia which in turn can make pain worse.

Benzodiazepines are often prescribed for insomnia and anxiety. These would be medications like Klonopin and Ativan. Insomnia and anxiety can both occur with chronic pain.

Older patients  have an increased sensitivity to Benzodiazepines. As we get older we don’t metabolize medications the same way we used to. This can cause an increase in sedation and memory loss. Unfortunately too many people are unaware of this.

With the opioid addiction crisis becoming more of a problem the CDC came up with a set of guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain.

The guidelines are intended to improve communication between providers and patients about the risks and benefits of opioid therapy and reduce the risks associated with long-term opioid therapy.

Nonpharmacologic therapy and nonopioid pharmacologic therapy are preferred for chronic pain. Clinicians should consider opioid therapy only if expected benefits for both pain and function are anticipated to outweigh risks to the patient. If opioids are used, the should be combined with nonpharmacologic therapy.

Clinicians should prescribe immediate release opioids at first and at the lowest dose. For acute pain 3 days or less is often sufficient, more than 7 days is rarely needed.

Clinicians should avoid prescribing opioid pain medications and benzodiazepines concurrently whenever possible.

My Dad has always had severe anxiety. He never told a doctor about it, I think he only discussed it with my Mom and me.

When he had to go on dialysis he found that towards the end of the three and half hours he felt the overwhelming urge to get up and leave. He couldn’t keep his legs still. He’s always had problems with his legs being restless. He’s always been a light sleeper and now the restless legs were causing him to get no sleep at all. He finally mentioned it to his Primary Care Doctor. His Doctor put him on Klonopin, 5mg three times a day or as needed. I know my Dad, he wasn’t going to take them three times a day and I felt comfortable with it being a low dose.

His health became worse and he was under more stress. He wasn’t sleeping at all and his legs were moving all the time. His Doctor prescribed Restoril 30mg. I wasn’t aware he was taking this medication until he was on it for a few months. I started to notice a change in his behavior.

Restoril is a benzodiazepine. Now he was taking 2 benzodiazepines but this one lasts longer in older adults. The other problem is how these medications work when you’re on dialysis. His Doctor has a habit of not taking this into consideration or looking it up. During the day he was off balance at times and sometimes sounded like he was slurring his words. I was pissed about it and told my Dad he shouldn’t be taking both medications that there were better alternatives, but he was so afraid of going back to not sleeping he wouldn’t listen.

My Dad hurt his back a few months ago. I repeatedly told him to go to the doctor but he refused. He finally went to his Primary Care Doctor who of course prescribed him Hydrocodone on top of everything else he was already taking. I didn’t know he was getting 90 at a time.

My Dad came home a few weeks ago extremely upset. He had crashed his truck into a guardrail and didn’t know how. The truck was brand new and completely totaled. He took out 200 feet of guardrail and both air bags deployed. He refused to go to the Hospital even though his ribs hurt. If they had tested his blood they would’ve found Klonopin, Restoril, and Hydrocodone in it and he would’ve been arrested. He had no idea the medications were still in his system and effecting him as much as they were.

You would think this would’ve scared him but it really hasn’t. He’s in so much pain from the compression in his back and the previous fractures that he can’t sleep. At 75 and being on dialysis he doesn’t want to have surgery and I don’t think anyone would do surgery. The doctors he’s seen have been useless.

I sit here and watch him fade away. He’s down to 149 pounds, he’s all bone with a sunk in face. He doesn’t look like my Dad. He’s getting up in the middle of the night and saying scary things like how he wants to die. He has no memory of what he says or does from the night before. I can’t remember the last time he said something positive.

I don’t know how much longer I can watch him pop pills slowly killing himself. I’ve done this already with my Mom.

I feel so guilty for wanting to have a life of my own. I’m also petrified because I’ve never been away from home.

I don’t want to be 75 and alone. My Dad has had a wife who adored him, children who love him, a job he loved, travel experiences, a lot of good memories. It’s sad that only 1 of his children worries about him but that’s most families. My siblings think I owe my parents because of what I put them through when I was younger. First, my brother was way worse than me. Second, I think I’ve more than made up for my mistakes in ways they will never know or understand. I did it with love, understanding, being there when needed, listening, and on occasion I made some of their dreams come true. I’m proud of that.

But it’s time for me to have a life. I won’t survive mentally watching my Dad die. He’s always been my hero I don’t want to think of him as anything else.


DECISIONS (I CAN’T MAKE THEM)

I have a million things I want to do. A million places I want to go. A million ideas to put into action.

The problem?

I can’t make decisions.

I have energy in my mind but not the rest of me. The thought of taking a shower, doing my hair, make up, getting dressed, is exhausting. So I don’t.

I’m tired all the time.

Then there is the anxiety. The feeling that something bad will happen if I leave the house. The extreme worry that my Dad will get sick or have an accident. It’s not far fetched.

On his way to the post office 2 weeks ago the package he was mailing started to slide off the seat. He took his eyes off the road for a second to catch it. When he did his truck hit the guardrail, his front tire got hooked on it and he took out 200 feet of guardrail. Both airbags deployed, the 2017 $25,000 truck was totaled, and he refused to go to the hospital.

I had to take care of everything for him. He isn’t a people person and he doesn’t hear very well. He thinks you get further dealing with people by using his deep angry voice when my mother always said “You get more with honey than you do with vinegar” a concept he never understood all the years they were married.

Where was my twin sister during this crisis? At the beach, sleeping, taking care of the kids, at the beach, and sleeping. To be fair she has ME/CFS? She had Mono for a long time that wouldn’t go away, she went to several doctors and no matter what they did she was still testing positive for Mono and could barely move. This went on for a few years when she started having a specific type of seizure where you might not notice right away. She would just stare off at nothing but I noticed 2 of her fingers would flutter when it happened. It was harder for me to have empathy because she never did with me.

Lately we were working on our relationship and had made a lot of progress. But I needed her these last 2 days and she couldn’t be there. I understand she’s tired and feels sick. I don’t feel well either. I’m having problems with my kidney stents which is beyond painful, a fever, and headache that makes you want to hit yourself in the head with a hammer.

There’s something really wrong with my Dad. I can’t handle it on my own. He’s lost so much weight. He has diarrhea all the time to the point he isn’t making it to the bathroom. I also noticed that it’s black which I know means blood. He’s cold all the time even when it’s 90 degrees outside. He isn’t sleeping, his legs move constantly. His Primary Care Doctor is giving him the wrong medications.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I didn’t have a summer. I wanted to go somewhere for a few weeks just to take a small break but I don’t think it’s possible. Who would check in on my Dad? I worry about everything all the time. Even about dying alone because I have no contact with the outside world. Plus I quit smoking and gained 30 pounds.


HOW MUCH LONGER?

I grow more tired every single day. My Dad grows more difficult to deal with each day. The pain medication mixed with anti-anxiety medication has changed his personality even more.

I find myself jumping at his voice and trying to make myself invisible when he’s around. I cringe when he slams doors and growls at the smallest things. I know he’s in pain but none of this is helping me.

Where are my siblings? My brother is somewhere in the state but I haven’t heard from him in at least 8 months. He never called to wish my Dad a Happy 75th Birthday in June and he hasn’t been by to get his mail.

My twin sister didn’t call my Dad on his birthday either. She called after his birthday or said she would. We are having a tough time. I need help with my Dad and she refuses. She lives 10 minutes away and doesn’t work. She did say that her “Mono” became active again and she had to rest. I then find out that she’s at her mother-in-law’s beach house with the kids going to all these events. Not resting.

My Dad fell out of his truck after dialysis the other day and couldn’t get himself up from the hot pavement in our driveway. I couldn’t hear him yelling my name. He eventually crawled to the door. One arm was covered in blood and missing the skin on his entire bicep. I couldn’t stop crying while I cleaned him up and bandaged everything. Of course he yelled at me to “Quit your crying!”. He’s my Dad, I couldn’t help it.

I can’t watch another parent die. I’m not healthy enough. My last stent exchange didn’t go well. It was done May 20th and I’m still urinating mostly blood (sorry for the over sharing). I also have a lot of pain in my back and pelvis. I know something is wrong but I can’t take care of it right now. My Dad is going for Injection Therapy on his back on the 31st. I have to take him. I hate the hospital he’s having it done at, it’s where my Mom passed away, it’s where I died for a short time when I went into Kidney Failure, and it’s where nurses commented on my mental health in front of me.

I’m tired, lonely, angry, disappointed, and keep wondering why I’m fighting so hard.

People go out of their way not to talk to me. It isn’t because of anything I’ve said or done. It’s because of what I might say or do. And that’s the worst part of all.6fdde65c60ad6b93a59fc21b54fa7621


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