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I am Sad... I am Angry... I Don't Know What I Should Do

HostTracy

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The past few days have been tense. My Dad and my Stepmom hold secrets. During this time when we all feel so lost and vulnerable and want/need transparency. When my Dad was in the hospital (Vanderbilt) and was told for the 2nd time "You have cancer" we were all (including all the Specialist and Doctors) so happy to hear "It's not metastasized lung cancer... It is altogether a different cancer". That is HOPE. Just that knowledge. My sister was at the hospital a lot. Not me, I was sick with strep throat and strokey as I call it. It's an hour drive. I'm glad I didn't go... I didn't know I had strep throat when he went to the ER. Vanderbilt is the most specialized hospital we have in Nashville. It's a research hospital and a University hospital. Vanderbilt University is known for their Med program and Vanderbilt Hospital is state of the art. Daddy's Oncologist team came up with a protocol they felt would give my Dad the best chances. He could even go to Spring Hill and get his treatments. It is just 30 minutes away. He had said he wanted to go back to the local cancer center which is not affiliated with Vanderbilt. My sister was so upset...she got into an argument with my Dad and he promised her he would go through Vanderbilt. (BTW I didn't know any of this happened for quite some time after he had been home). Daddy lied to my sister that night to stop the argument intending on going to the place locally all along. Janice my stepmom held his lie secret. I'm oblivious... It came to my attention one day when a therapist came and mentioned the local facility. I stayed at my moms for a few days and I talked to her about Daddy going to the local place that I thought he was going to the Vanderbilt facility in Spring Hill. My mom said he is he promised Tammy (my sister) and at that moment I realized I knew the lie I just didn't know it was a lie until right then. I stopped talking. I talked then with my Dad and Stepmom and asked them some hard questions. They told me and told me to not say anything to Tammy. 😞 This scenario is horrible for me. So my dad had his 2nd round of chemo this week and it has hit him hard! Then today we had the main OT come back for a reevaluation because my dad fell day before yesterday. Janice woke me up at 5 am and said you need to come help me. I went to the bathroom and Daddy was on the floor and couldn't get up and Janice couldn't get him up. He was sitting in a large area of liquid (urine) and his feet were slipping. I grabbed towels and a non slip rug so he could get his feet steady and then together it took me and my Stepmom like 20 minutes to get him up. He is on constant oxygen and had not taken it to the restroom. So I ran quickly and got his portable oxygen machine. We got him back to bed using a walker and he layed down and went to sleep. 😐 Then last night he was in the bathroom again without his oxygen and his O2 was so low that he couldn't think straight. He was going to fall and my Stepmom called me to the restroom. I said hold him if you can and I ran and got his portable oxygen device again. He kept saying I don't need that oxygen..when I got back to the restroom we got him onto the toilet and my Stepmom told me he still had to go. I by that time realized I was standing in a pool of urine. I had to help get his undies down because he couldn't and Janice couldn't. (BTW I'm completely OK with having had to help my dad get down to his birthday suit. He is my dad and I would only choose to help him. I don't think he remembers or he would be really bothered by it. I'm glad he isn't upset). Today while the OT was there I sat in the same room. He told her yes he fell because he feels weak but his air (oxygen) has been fine. I am very aware that this is not true and my Stepmom just said nothing so I told her the truth. She explained to my dad that he has to use the walker and his oxygen right now for his own safety. He started to argue but I said "Daddy do you want me to put the really long tubing on your oxygen machine?". He said he didn't like it because he gets tangled up in it. So I suggested that he take his portable oxygen device with him to bed each night it was light and that way he could easily switch cannulas when he needed to use the restroom. He could hang it on the walker and no long tubing would get wound around his legs. He said yeah I can do that. My stepmom then said "Well I haven't ever seen you get wrapped up or tripped by the tubing". He told her he has he just hasn't told her. She was looking at me or sorta glaring at me. I felt like she was angry at me...even though Daddy agreed with my idea. She then said well ill take that other walker and put it in the bedroom. The walker she is speaking of had been hers during her hyperparathyroid issue and after removal of 3 parathyroid lobes. She fell with that walker and it was really bent up. I had fixed it at the time for her she did not want to get another. I told her Daddy didn't need to use that walker. She said well so and so gave me that other walker your dad's been using. I then said well let's order Daddy his own. I'm thinking... 2 walkers in great shape one for each room. His insurance will cover it he has not had one ordered for him yet. She argued with me that no so and so had already given him a walker. I then just said "That walker that had been bent does not need to be used period. Daddy will have to put all his weight on it at some moments and it wouldn't be safe". I also walked back to the bedroom with my stepmom and said we have to clear this whole path from your bedroom to the bathroom to his chair. It has to be safe not a trip hazard. His bed only has like 7-8 inches from his side to the shelf on his side and past that is his big oxygen machine and then all sorts of stuff on the floor. (Remember - hoarder/collector) and the hallway has stuff on both sides. As you go into the kitchen there are cabinets and shelves with hundreds of cookbooks and glassware. It's very narrow in that area. I think Daddy had to turn himself and the walker sideways. I made a comment about what I felt we needed to do. She was coming unglued...yelling everything is fine. Then she said "I'll move the furniture". I told her she was in no shape to move big furniture period that I would get with Tammy and we would come up with a plan. At that moment she just taunted me that she was too going to move it that she had moved a lot of furniture. I just said not this time Janice. I had to go run errands. I also had to go to my sister's office and talk with her about what was going on. (BTW I told my sister what the lie was and she had said something to my stepmom yesterday. I didn't even get my foot in the door before both my dad and stepmom bombarded me with questions. Tammy and I g ad agreed not to say anything about me telling her... I have to live there. She didn't tell them they just naturally assumed. I played dumb and after about 10 minutes my dad said OK I believe you. So yeah its been a rough week). I talked with my sister about everything. I know that home health will evaluate that he is in a safe environment and that includes his ability to be free of trip hazards. If they don't comply, the risk that my Dad can be removed from an unsafe environment and put in a nursing home is high. I have also been worried about when I move out which should be this month. Will my stepmom have the physical or mental capacity to handle a fall like the other morning? Will it trigger in her to call 911? Will she just be there running around thinking "I don't know what to do"? Then tonight after my dad went to bed I sat down to talk with Janice. It turned into something really negative. I can't write anymore, I'm exhausted. Plus I have written a book. to be continued... 



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I can't sleep. Am I behaving wrongly to my dad and stepmom? My stepmom told me she wished things were just him and her with no kids involved. I love them both. 

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Oh Tracy.

You are in such a predicament. 

Here we are, excited for your upcoming move and now all this to deal with...

I really feel for you.

I have no advice, no suggestions...just love, hugs and prayers.

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Tracy :

 

Usually when person is sick they are most self centered person, cause they are just thinking about themselves & how illness has all messed up  their life. So you should not take anything your dad or stepmom says right now personally, right now they just need love & support from their family no lectures or advises. If they chose not to tell you something , you got to be bigger person & forgive them. let them be at-least in control of what little they are able to control right now. These are strictly my own viewpoints, please forgive me if I stepped out of line.

 

Asha

 

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Thank you Janelle. Thank you Asha...no worries at all and no toes stepped on. This is not anything I have been through before. I'm in a total different place in the scenario. Trust me I am trying so hard to pull from my own memories so I can be supportive. It kinda is yucky that I have a lot of memory loss but not total. So thank you... Any thoughts are welcome. ❤️

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It all sounds very trying Tracy. It sounds to me like you need to get both your Dad and your stepmom emergency alert pendants that they wear all the time and then they can get help whenever they need and you can feel more comfortable about moving to your own home.   https://www.choice.com.au/electronics-and-technology/gadgets/tech-gadgets/buying-guides/personal-alarms

Some of these can also double as a very simple mobile phone. I 'm sure they exist where you are.   But do remember they are both adults and you can't try and run their lives any more than they should be trying to run yours. 💖

 

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I agree Heather. I will tell you that my dad and stepmom are very old school and my daddy is plain hardheaded. It won't just be suggesting it will be convincing and it won't be easy. My dad has told me, "Do not talk to your sister or tell her anything about any of this.". I can't be in this place and I told my stepmom I cannot do what they are telling me to do. She is Daddy's daughter, my sister, and her step daughter...and all the lies and secrets hurt her and me. I am completely in agreement with you. It would make me feel better. My stepmom takes these suggestions as saying she is incapable and she feels threatened. 

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Oh yes, Like cats you can suggest but until it is their idea it won't happen.  I  hope that you can suggest it to them, so that they can see the use. It is not that they are incapable its about speed of response and ease of mind for everyone. Maybe ask your stepmom what she would have done to get help if you had not been in the house when your dad fell. After all that will soon be the reality. At the moment she can't call for help and stay with him while she calls. The modern alarms can sense when the wearer falls and call help automatically. Who they call is completely programmable, first call could even be her, and the programming is done by the company so you/they don't have to stress about that bit, you just say what you want to happen and provide the phone numbers.

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