My dad has just been hospitalized initially for severe low sodium. After being in the hospital for about 2 weeks, they regulated his sodium, but unfortunately he's been showing signs of dementia/AD more now than just before he was hospitalized.
In hindsight, I've been able to see his relative steep decline over the past 6 months...more now than while it was occuring. My dad always had what I would consider a mild case of ADD. I used to kid with him as I was growing up about my needing to explain myself within the 1st few sentences or I'd lose his attention and would have to re-explain myself. Mom would always laugh and call it selective hearing. Well, in any case, because of that for nearly all of my 50 years, it's hard to see changes in that behavior getting worse.
Dad was starting to repeat himself more, ask the same questions over and over, and we'd have nearly the same conversation on the phone each time we talked. I'm in another state...1,500 miles away with my husband. We have no children (I couldn't have any) and I have developed many health problems over the past 5 years...including lung cancer and I am currently nursing a broken leg. I mention all of that for a reason. We also don't have the money right now to fly down to see my dad...the earliest would be around October when we can have time to come up with the $$$ to fly down.
Since dad also has lost most of his hearing, it was becoming more and more difficult to talk to him without my having to nearly scream on my end...and 1/2 of the time he wouldn't understand what I was saying. He insisted that he needed to take out his hearing aid while on the phone because it would give him problems. In doing so, I nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to talk with him on the phone. He was stubborn to change his phone to one that was for the hearing impaired so I didn't have to go through what I did everytime we spoke on the phone. He would tell me that nobody else complained and I was being rediculous...AGH!
Well, this past July he was coming up for a visit to see us...I couldn't wait! I missed him so much and couldn't wait to see him. On the day he was supposed to come up, he missed his flight. When he called he said he didn't wait to see us and maybe he'll be up another time. I was devastated! He would not admit to missing his flight. It took 2 weeks for dad to make arrangements for his trip up here with the airlines again. This time it was for the 1st week of August. Would you believe he missed his flight again? Now I was getting worried. At least this time he admitted to missing his flight. He lives 40 miles from the airport. Being stubborn as he is, I told him if he could find someone at his church to drive him back and forth to the airport. My sister lives down there about 20 miles from him too (that's another part of a sad story...and I know the reason why she didn't drive him back and forth).
Anyway, Dad at least took my suggestion of driving to a motel close to the airport the night before and he could take the shuttle the next moring. Thank goodness that worked well. He made it up here and it was a wonderful visit! I'm grateful for the time we had here because it looks like now it will be the last time he'll be able to come up again :(
While he was here, in hindsight, there was only one occurance of my dad having "unusual" behavior. During a period of a 1/2 an hour one afternoon, my dad would get up, walk to the bedroom and check his paperwork for his flights home...wanting to make sure everything was in order, then come back and sit on the couch with me. He did that about 10-12 times. By the 6th time I was pulling my hair out from constantly reassuring him he's all set and there won't be any problems for his returning home. After his aggitation/worry finally ended...part of which was due to him exhausting himself, he was back to "normal"...thankfully. That night, after I went to bed, I chalked it up to him over worrying due to all the problems he had getting up here...and his age too. I knew then it probably would be the last time he's be able to make it up here on his own...just didn't realize how much his health was declining til now.
Before I bring you to the current status, I just want to mention a few other things...
My sister has made herself POA...which makes sense since she is 20 miles from him. Since he has been in the hospital, I have been treated like a second class citizen related to my receiving info of dad's health. The hospital...and now the nursing home he is currently in for a temp status for the next 2-3 weeks while they monitor his progress...will only give me the bare minimum of his health info. They said it's up to my sister to relate the info to me since she is POA...AGH!
Well, that's all fine and dandy if she wasn't a "toxic" sister. I trust her as far as I can throw her. She is an evil manipulator. I could go on and on about her, but this forum isn't about her issues...it's about my concern about our dad. Ok, almost done...
Since she plays head games with me on the phone, and can't believe a word she says when she does call, I'm limited to what I think is true or false. She tells others...like dad's pastor different things and makes me out to be the "bad" daughter trying to create problems for dad...which is all part of the manipulating my sister has me fall for her mind games and pushing my buttons.
I am concerned for dad's welfare!
Getting back to where I was...
Just before dad left here in September after his wonderful visit, my husband bought him an early Christmas present of a new phone for the hearing impared. Thankfully, with my husband's help, he was able to convince my dad that it would also benefit him to have this phone too so he could also hear better and we could enjoy talking with each other more...YAY!
After he got back home, it took til nearly Thanksgiving for him to finally get a neighbor to put his new phone in...completely forgetting all we said. Again, I just chalked it up to his stubborness, independance and him not liking anyone to tell him what to do...big sigh.
So since then, it had been wonderful talking with him on the phone...WooHoo!...Until about a month ago. There was 2 devastating events for him. He was told that his driver's licence was going to be taken away and one of his best friends, my Godmother, just passed away. For the next 2 weeks he had a hard time handling anything...telling me he couldn't sleep and was repeating everything on the phone over and over.
Two weeks ago my sister called to let me know dad was in the hospital. she described the last day with him. She was following him to a restaurant and he was all over the road. When she mentioned that to him, dad seemed fine driving after that when she followed him home. During the next hour, she described him as having hallucinations...seeing ants all over the place and walking as if he was drunk. He also was going from talking in the present to as if he was back in the 40's. My sister got him in the car and drove him to the hospital. He refused to go into the emergency room, so my sister had to drive him back to his home. As he was then walking around the house, he collasped in the kitchen and banged his head...at which point then my sister was then able to call an ambulance. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, my dad stood in place, while bleeding profusely from his head...and counting his change in his pocket over and over!!! OMG!!!
So after the hospital regulated his severe low sodium, he now is what I would consider to be between level 5 and 6 of the AD stages. I'm devastated! I can't do anything up here in Nebraska to help him. My sister is now in control of everything. I learned today I don't have any say or rights...even though I'm also his daughter.
My main concern again is my dad and his care. Another point I want to make is that before dad left here in September, I wanted to make sure that he had a living will/trust set up incase anything happened. Dad would tell me often during the past several years that my sister kept trying to get him to live with her. He doesn't want to...and for good reason. One of my sister's daughters lives with her...is an alcohalic (according to dad and friends of the family), which is why my sister is taking care of her 2 grandchildren...because her daughter can't take care of herself! In addition, one of the grandchildren has severe ADD and another associated mental disorder. So, I find it upsurd that my sister would even consider taking in dad into her care. Dad would tell me on the phone how it would be very upsetting to him to be around the disabled grandchild. So now my sister wants both dad with his AD and her grandchild with AD in the same house with her alcohalic daughter?????
The last time my sister and I talked on the phone today, she was over at my dad's with him! The hospital gave him the afternoon to go back home, water his plants and grab a few things he wanted. I could hear his aggitation in the background. My sister told me that for the 1st 2 weeks after he gets out of the hospital, she will live with him in his home. Dad lives in a retirement community which only allows others to live there for a max of 2 weeks, otherwise that get thrown out. In addition, my sister has a dog, and dog's aren't allowed...so she makes her own rules. She also said that she will be having her daughter move out of her house with her grandchildren so dad can move in without a problem.
Well, one might consider that to be admirable, she is also of coarse POA, but what kind of a situation is that? To have her alcohaulic daughter to take care of her children again? And the trust I have for my sister is about nil to none, do I really believe she won't put her daughter and her children in a motel til things "settle" with dad and the transition from the nursing home...then bring them back home...all then living in a very sick, disfunctional enviornment???
I know from what my sister told me, that her alcohaulic daughter has only a hairdressing job. How can she take care of 2 kids, in her condition, pay rent in an apt at best, and look out for them properly for the length of time dad might need full care...could be up to 10 years.
Back to what happened today...
I mentioned to my sister today after she insisted that sh'll be taking care of dad somehow, that dad had a living trust/will made out around October after he left here...and that if he could no longer take care of himself in his own home with inhome care, that he wanted to be in a Veteran's home. She said oh, really?...and then handed the phone to dad.
Since dad was so aggitated that I was able to hear him in the background, he was yelling at me when he got on the phone. His only concern was watering his plants and making sure he got back to the hospital ontime. I tried to tell him to make sure he is happy and told him that my sister is still trying to get him to live with her. I told him to please make sure you tell her about your living will/trust. Oh boy, did he get angry with me...Don't talk to me about that! I had to let it go...there seemed to be no point...he wasn't in his right mind. At that point...I just told him I love him and hope he gets better soon. He said he loves me too.
I'm sorry this was so dragged out, but it's the full picture. I guess my hands are tied and there is nothing I can do. I think $$$ is the driving force of my sister not putting him in a home. He could go through all of his assets in just a few short years.
I feel like a lost puppy not knowing what to do or if there is anything I can do...it's an aweful feeling. I can only pray my dad gets the best care and he is happy...and his wishes will be/are being fulfilled.
I know I'm not the only one in a disfunctional family with sibling issues which only add problems to the care of a family member with AD...
Can anyone give me any advice as to what if anything I can do?
I can't control my sister, I can't control my dad...so I just let go of everything and pray? Is that it?
Here with a heavy heart...
Post Edited (Susan1977) : 2/20/2010 8:07:43 PM (GMT-7)