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You scratch my back....

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by downndirty, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. downndirty

    downndirty
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    So, a few days before Christmas my sister forwarded me an email from my mom's lung specialist with details about her upcoming surgery. Said email said things like 8-10 day hospital stay and 6-8 week recovery. The surgery and recovery has been an absolute shit storm (imagine the first 48 hours of a fucking lung surgery with no pain meds,two opportunistic infections one of them MRSA, pneumonia and the doctor prescribed her OTC Tylenol for pain while her ribs grew back together).

    I got the email and decided to help my mom recover from what is the most monumental surgery anyone in my family has survived, thinking it would be a tidy winter break. It wasn't. I had to stop school and quit my job in Boston because her recovery got off track (see MRSA and pain management). I have spent the last 6 weeks as the world's most awkward male nurse. At her house, no reliable phone signal, no cable, no internet....just me, her and the dog (and a pile of books). She's been in excruciating pain, and as near death as I can imagine her being. I can't leave her alone, because if anything were to happen (like violent nausea-a side effect of antibiotics powerful enough to kill MRSA) she would have an open chest wound and she can't physically dress, shower or prepare food, much less drive the 30 minutes to a hospital. She may have to seek counselling after the pain she's been in, crying and coughing up blood, vomiting....This has been a true nightmare that I wouldn't wish on Hitler or Kelly Ripa.

    Focus: What's the worst thing you have done for someone? What have you done for family?
    Alt-focus: Dealing with parent's failing health
     
  2. Juice

    Juice
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    Moderately Gender Fluid

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    Having to help take care of my sister during chemo, both times she got sick, was a pretty brutal experience. The worst was helping her around her hospital room during her stem cell transplant. To see her so weak and frail was pretty devastating. Vomiting, wails of constant pain, delusional outbursts, etc. Shes doing well now, but it was a pretty dark time.

    Bump.
     
  3. toddamus

    toddamus
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    The afternoon when things hit the fan with my twin brother, there are some things I wish I could unsee, and there were some things I had to do that still mess with me. What I'm alluding to is pretty much was his brain tumor had grown to such a size that is caused him lose control of everything....

    Kind of a dark thread, surprised it got bumped
     
  4. Trickysista

    Trickysista
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    Disturbed

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    When my grandmother was dying from cancer, she wanted to die in her home, so they set up a hospital bed for her and a morphine drip. Before she became really out of it, I would have to watch her when my mom went to work, so I would help her to and from the bathroom. She was so weak, she couldn't do anything for herself, so I also had to change her diaper and pretty much anything else you could imagine being involved with going to the bathroom.

    It was the most disgusting thing I've ever had to do, but I just kept telling myself that she helped take care of me for so many years, it was THE LEAST I could do for her.

    I also had to help my mom change her dressings after her breast cancer surgery...but I was in 7th grade and didn't really understand the seriousness of the disease. Blood doesn't really bother me, so that wasn't that big of a deal. It was just weird to me to see her so weak.
     
  5. Kubla Kahn

    Kubla Kahn
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    Quite the uplifting thread.

    My dad died of cancer and we went through all the hardship. Two incidents stick out in my mind. One is when he fell off his hospice bed one morning before I went to school. I wasn't strong enough to lift him back up, he was passed out and basically deadweight (ha-chachacha), so my mom had to call the paramedics to our house to lift him back in. The other was when he was doped up something fierce watching TV on our couch. Out of nowhere he started mumbling about someone passing the corn as if we were at a family picnic or something and then he spilled some water he had in his hand, he was super out of it. I looked at my mom who was at our kitchen counter opening the mail and didn't even look up, she just said, "Yeah he's just hallucinating don't worry he does it all the time." Kind of freaked me out.


    And now back to the dick jokes!
     
  6. toytoy88

    toytoy88
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    Alone in the dark, drooling on himself

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    Worst thing? I think the 16 months I took care of my aunt was probably the noblest thing I've ever done.

    I never got a full nights sleep because she would need to pee 2-3 times a night. She'd start screaming my name and I'd stumble to her room, pick her up and carry her to the portable commode. Every night. At least once a night she wouldn't make it to the commode and I'd have to change her diaper. I was working a full time job at the time. Her son was supposed to take care of nights but he is an alcoholic, he dropped her a few times in the middle of the night and hollered at me to come pick her up and patch up her wounds. So I just dealt with it.

    Her oldest son lived 10 minutes away and he'd stop by about twice a month. The moment he saw something needed to be done...like changing her diaper, he'd bail.

    As she got worse, she lost control of her bowels. By that time she was only shitting once a week or so, and the doctor had me pumping her full of stool softeners to reduce the pain. She would be sticking her fingers up her ass trying to dig the shit out. Eventually everything would let go and there would be shit everywhere. All over herself and the bed. I got to clean that...all up her back, halfway up her front and down to her ankles. Try doing that with just wipes and a bucket and washcloth, it's a real challenge.

    I had to feed her like a child, lifting every spoon full to her mouth and holding her glass while putting a straw in her mouth.

    Then there was the fact that she was always uncomfortable. "Put my feet up", 2 minutes later, "Put my feet down." And then there were the horrible delusions she was dealing with.

    One night she went through some horror of having a baby, then some people came in and killed the baby. She was inconsolable as I tried to explain to her that nothing like that had happened and that before anyone got to her they'd have to go through me first.

    I don't regret a moment of taking care of her and dealing with my seriously fucked up family members that I'd never had to deal with before. If I hadn't been there she would've passed a year before she did, those idiots couldn't have kept a cockroach alive.

    I hate to say it, but when she did pass...peacefully in her sleep...I was relieved. And I'm sure she was too. It was a horrible, undignified 16 months for her. And then I found out her son was sucking down the morphine I was given to ease her pain. Who does that shit? Apparently the people I'm related to.

    And then I moved and left no forwarding contact information.
     
  7. Nettdata

    Nettdata
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    I'm sure some of you will remember my bi-polar, schizo-affective ex-wife and some of those stories, so I won't go into them here.


    But, 6 years or so ago my dad had bypass surgery, so I took a working vacation for about 2 months to help him recover at home. I was in the last few months of thrashing on a major video game project, but I headed from Vancouver to London and worked remotely 10-12 hours a day while looking after my dad. It was really hard, but thanks to a really understanding group of guys on my team we pulled it off. Mom was busy working during the day to support them, and I was relegated with the tasks of doing things like help him shower, shit, shave, dress, etc.

    It's amazing how fast modesty and embarrassment goes out the window in that kind of a situation.

    Anyway, he recovered to the point that he could again look after himself, so I headed back out to the West Coast to finish off that project, and back into the house I hadn't seen in over 2 months.

    Ever since that surgery, though, he was a bit off mentally. Couldn't put my finger on it, and kind of chalked it up to "this close to death" life reevaluation type stuff, but that wasn't it.

    About 3 years ago I got a call from Mom, who was sobbing, and saying she couldn't take it any more. Dad was being emotionally and verbally abusive, he was hating everything in the world, and he was lashing out at anything and everything, especially himself. There was no sign, at all, of the happy, caring, solid guy that used to be my Dad. I could tell a little bit over the phone, but I quickly learned that it was a Jekyll and Hyde type thing. I knew, first hand, how people with mental health issues can get really good at acting in front of company.

    Anyway, Mom couldn't handle it any more, and didn't know what to do, wanted a divorce, but not, and was just messed up. If she divorced him, he wouldn't be able to look after himself, and would have to go into a home, and it was all kinds of depressing. At that point I realized that she needed local help, and my sister wasn't able to provide it because her MS was starting to act up really, really badly.

    I then quit my job, sold all my shit, and drove out across the country and moved back in with the parents.

    It basically took over a year for my dad to come to grips with the fact that something was wrong (after more than a few ugly incidents), but I basically did all I could during that time to help them out... all the cooking, cleaning, home repair, ran errands, etc., all while biting my tongue and putting up with his shit. My Mom was incredibly grateful and thankful. He eventually saw a shrink, and the following week, after taking a quarter of a pill every day of what he calls his "happy pills", he was again back to the guy we all knew and loved. It was really amazing to see the stigma that mental health had with him... "I'M NOT CRAZY" was his fearful headspace almost constantly, until he was browbeat into getting help. Once he did, everything was fine.

    But I had basically hit the reset button on my life... sold off my race car, my other cars, all my furniture, etc. All I had left fit into a small storage locker. I had moved out of the region where all my work contacts and support systems were, and as a result I was unemployed for almost 3 years, except for the occasional little contract here and there... but I had no idea if I was going to stay in Ontario or move back to BC, or what my job prospects were. I was way overqualified for any job that was available locally, and nobody would hire me because they knew it was a temp gig until something better came along.

    It was "fun", to say the least, but hey, that's what family does.

    No regrets, just stories.
     
  8. Mastro

    Mastro
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    Focus (I'll keep this brief as it spans just under 15 years):

    2001: Brother expelled from school for dealing drugs. Begins using hard drugs (meth-amphetamines, speed, heroin).

    2004: Brother officially diagnosed with psychosis, schizophrenia. Becomes increasingly violent. I live with him and parents to assist with care, medication and outbursts.

    2007: Mother diagnosed with cancer. Brother becomes too violent to live with / parents can't handle mother's treatment and stress. I move my brother to a country town and manage him remotely while assisting parents (still living with them).

    2013 (shit hits the fan, hence length):
    Wednesday 23rd October: Father visits hospital for intestinal surgery to remove polyps.
    Thursday 24th October: Mother visits hospital to check on a potential new treatment for her cancer (different hospital).
    Wednesday 30th October (evening): Doctors say my mother has weeks to live.
    Thursday 31st October (afternoon): Mother dies from liver failure. Non-responsive, so dad never got to say goodbye even though I got him to her hospital.
    Friday 1st November (night): Father has emergency surgery, put into intensive care due to going septic, kidneys and liver failing. No one let me know (after my mother died, I ensured I was down as his emergency contact), so the following morning I walked into his hospital room before meeting the funeral directors for his input. Bed made, none of his belongings were there. Needless to say I have no idea how long passed before a nurse spotted me and asked what was wrong.
    Father spends 2 weeks in intensive care, 2 months total in hospital. I run my fathers company, plan mums funeral, manage dads healthcare and brother. Father requires stoma bag (to shit in) for 6 months post hospital, requires help to change bags / clean shit / bed / most household duties.

    Now:
    I currently live with my father still (convinced him to retire) to keep him company, and have taken over my brother completely (my father is not allowed to speak to him other than through my phone with my approval). But things are at least a lot better than they were, and dad has gotten much better since.

    EDIT: I thought it might be prudent to mention I'm 27.
     
  9. ghettoastronaut

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  10. The Village Idiot

    The Village Idiot
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    Porn Worthy, Bitches

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    My last year of law school, my parents called and let me know that he had cancer. At the time, I thought the right thing to do was move back home and help care for him.

    This decision had a lot of very significant, and seeming irreversible, consequences that are with me to this day.

    The first year and a half, my dad did radiation, surgery and chemo. By and large, it was fairly ok, he didn't get sick. The last year and a half? Awful. I'd say the last year of his life was spent on the couch requiring round the clock care. He didn't have health insurance. So we did it. I had taken a job out of law school based on the hourly billable requirement, because I had a sick family member to care for.

    My dad was on pain medication for the last year - and wasn't lucid for most of it. I did have to tell him that he was going to die, no one else wanted to tell him.

    I also had to be the one to pull the plug.

    But it didn't end there. Because my mom is essentially a shut in, and my dad left nothing behind except a lot of debt, he had made me promise I'd care for my mom when he was gone. For 7 years I supported her financially until all my savings and money were gone. I put myself in a horrible position. Because the job I took was based on hours, I ended up doing Environmental law, which died a miserable death in 2008.

    While I don't doubt taking care of a loved one who is sick is the right thing, making sure you take care of yourself is the right thing too. Sadly, I learned this lesson 12 years too late.