Help! My dad is hospitalized and not eating

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Sadsong
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 344
   Posted 2/26/2006 5:18 PM (GMT -7)   
My dad suffered a mild stoke on Dec 6, 2005.  Shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with cancer.  He was given permission to come home for Christmas.  This was the first time I had seen him since the stroke, since I live over 400 miles away and have just started a new job.  It was a shock to see him.  He had lost over 30 pounds since Thanksgiving and relyed on a walker to move about.  He was in good spirits, but he seemed to be only a fraction of the man I know and love.
 
The operation was very successful.  However, he contracted an infection, which created several additional complications.  I went to visit him last weekend and it seems as though he has no will to live.  He is wasting away before my eyes.  He's down to 110lbs. from a healthy 5'7" 160lbs.  He refuses to eat saying that nothing tastes good or that he has no appetite.  The nurses have told him that if he does start eating that he will die.  I don't know what to do.  My mom and brother have brought in all of his favorite foods and the nurses have tried to give him nutritional shakes, but he won't eat more than a few small bites of anything.  I mean if he wanted to die and that was his choice I could understand that.  But, watching him disappear before my eyes is heartbreaking.
 
Any words of wisdom or support would be greatly appreciated.
 
   

els
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 2/27/2006 7:32 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sadsong,  I am sorry about your father's illness.  Maybe the best thing to do would be to talk to him and see what he is feeling.  It could be that he has lost his will to live as you thought.  Or it could be a whole host of other things.  I am sure that your mom communicates with his physicians and they are aware of the weight loss and what is going on.  He may need to see someone professionally speaking.  But as an individual we are the ones who are most tuned in to our bodies and people who do have chronic illnesses are more so.  I would divert to what to atedogs had said, let him know how much you love him which I am sure that you have done and do.  Take care and please keep us updated on his condition.....

~elisha
 


Sadsong
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Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 344
   Posted 2/27/2006 3:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you both atedogs and elisha for responding. His doctor has asked him if he wanted anything for depression and my dad refused. My family has never been one that talks about feelings. Plus, the way that my mom and dad interact just isn't healthy. My mom nags him and has always put him down and my dad has always just taken it. He gets mad, but unable to say anything so he would just stomp downstairs into the cellar or basement. Now, he has no place to hide, since she comes to visit him almost every day. They sit there and not say anything to each other. I did have a heart to heart talk with him while I was home, but I don't think it made that much of a difference. He just said that he would try to eat. I'm not sure what the doctors are saying, what type of medications he's on, or anything else, since my mom is supposedly taking care of that. But, whenever I have asked her detailed questions - she can't answer them. She also keeps telling all of our family and friends to wait until he comes home to visit him. Which seems like it would just make him feel even more isolated. I think she keeps telling herself that it's not as bad as it looks, but the fact is he has a lot of healing to do before he can come home, IF in fact that is where he wants to be. 'Cause I could completely understand why he wouldn't want to go home.

els
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 2/28/2006 6:57 AM (GMT -7)   
Oh, I see.  Where is your dad now?  Hospital still?  Have you tried talking to your mother about the way she interacts with your father?

~elisha
 


Sadsong
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 344
   Posted 2/28/2006 4:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Elisha -

My dad is in a rehab hospital about an hour drive away from where my parent's house is. I sort of tried to talk to my mom when I was home last, but I just made her cry. I made a flip comment to her saying something like "Of course, he doesn't want to eat, it's the only control he has in his life, and since you're telling him to eat - he's not going to. I just think it's ironic - here you are addicted to food and dad is starving himself to death!" So to add an additional layer of complexity onto this whole thing - my mom was hospitalized around this time last year because she couldn't breath. To make a long story short she has some heart problems that are directly related to her diet and lack of exercise. When she went into the hospital she was 100 lbs overweight. Today, she still has to lose around 50 lbs, but she hasn't been eating well (she's been eating out most of the time and not choosing healthy options) or exercising as much as the doctors have told her she should be. It's difficult just to have a conversation with my mother. She doesn't know how to listen. She'll interupt me while I'm talking to finish my sentences, eventhough what she has said is not what I was talking about. Later, she'll store her version of the conversation (as she said it to me) as the actual conversation. So, if at some point in the future we'll be talking about a former conversation she'll quote me using her made-up version. It's really weird. It's as though she creates her own endings to any conversation and remembers only what she wants to remember and the way she wants to remember them, so she can live in her own fantasy world. So, needless to say the way I've found to best deal with her is to move away and only talk to her via telephone once a week. But, that's sort of changed now...

els
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 3/1/2006 7:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Well I think that you are prabley right about why your dad isnt eating, control issue. 
When you are sick and everything that you used to do is taken away from you like driving, job, freedom to go where you want too is really hard and emotionally stressful.  So you will see a lot of people rebel or seek some of that power back in the only way that they can.  Like not eating, not taking their medications, not being compliant with the doctors.   It can make it even worse if there is a power struggle between your mom and dad.  I really don't even know what to suggest except to let him know that you are there for him and love him (which I am sure he knows).  Keep pushing for a counselor, hopefully he will open up to someone about what he is feeling.  Please keep us updated on how he is doing........
~elisha
 


Sadsong
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 344
   Posted 3/6/2006 4:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Guess what - my dad is eating again!  Yippee!  My mom called me Sat night to let me know and I was overjoyed.  Apparently, he had a half of a grilled cheese sandwich on Fri and when my mom went to visit him on Sat he ate half of his dinner.  I haven't talked to him yet, but I'm just so relived!  :-)

els
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 3/7/2006 9:04 AM (GMT -7)   
That is great!!!  I was also going to suggest that your mom try to get or bring in foods that he likes to eat.  I know that food from those type of places isn't always all that good.  Just a suggestion.  My thoughts are with you...

~elisha
 


Sadsong
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 344
   Posted 3/12/2006 5:43 PM (GMT -7)   
I spoke with my dad this evening and he sounds like himself again! His appetite is almost completely back to normal. (I think when his doctor told him that if he didn't start eating by Wednesday they would insert a G-tube into him, got him to change his mind.) So, now my mom is bringing him whatever kinds of food he asks for - it's a bunch of junk food, but the nurses said as long as he's asking for it and wants to eat it - bring it on! :) Hopefully, he'll be back home in time for Easter! :)

els
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 3/13/2006 5:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Wow Sadsong,  That is really great. It sounds like he is on the road to recovery. :-)
~elisha
 


Sadsong
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 344
   Posted 3/14/2006 4:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Yep, things are looking up. It's funny how things outside our own influence can affect our moods so drastically! Anyways, my dad still has a pretty nasty internal infection, but hopefully they can isolate that soon. He's still in rehab where he's learning how to walk again. (He has to use a walker, since he has limited mobility on his left side.) They are also teaching him how to care for himself, so he can be as independent as possible. So, things are good. Thanks for all of your support! It's been a wonderful source of relief! :)

Sadsong
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 344
   Posted 3/18/2006 8:49 AM (GMT -7)   
My dad came home yesterday afternoon. He's lost 50 lbs and now weighs 117lbs! He put on one pound before leaving the hospital, but he now has his appetite back and is eating again. My mom was cooking him his favorite dinner (steak) last night when I talked to him. Thank you for your support during this difficult time.

els
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 3/19/2006 11:20 AM (GMT -7)   
I am glad your dad was able to go home and hope he has a full recovery.  He will be in my thoughts.....

~elisha
 


Cyborg Ninja
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 660
   Posted 3/21/2006 7:16 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm really glad your dad is getting back to normal and wish you and your family the best.
"The path to enlightenment is littered with the bodies of the ignorant." - Musashi Miyamoto

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