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How Do You Folks Deal With Sick Parents?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by WillPlay4Food, Aug 11, 2004.

  1. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Like the topic says, how do you deal with sick parents? My mom has Parkinson's disease and has probably had a stroke. She's pretty weak and shaky physically. Even worse, she'll get 1/2 a thought out and her face will go blank and she'll have forgotten what she was saying. If I can pick enough information from the 3 or 4 words she said before losing her train of thought then I can help her get back to her thought. If not, then it's just lost forever.

    I guess I don't know how to act around her. I want to be as normal as I can, but it's tough not to be affected by all the twitching caused by Parkinson's. Also, we were looking at the vegetable garden last night, and she fell, snapping a wooden plank that was holding down some black earth covering we use to keep weeds from growing. Luckily she snapped the wood and not her hip.

    Anyway, whenever I'm close to her, I'm always on edge so I can catch her if she falls. She pretty much refuses to use a walker or any other helper device but she wants to be independent, so she's always falling (my dad got her one of those life alerts after an incident last week).

    Tuesday night has become my dinner with my parents night. I have to go because I want to be with her as much as possible before she loses all ability to walk and talk. But, I always leave very sad as I watch her condition deteriorate. How do you folks deal with this?
  2. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!

    Just read this, & find myself wanting to say something magical that'll make everything come out great. I'm truly sorry, but nothing is coming to mind.

    I've dealt with a semi-similar w/ both of my parents, yet, during that time, I never found a great way to deal. The only solace I found was, when thier suffering was ultimately relieved.

    Be strong, & remember the good.
  3. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN
    my dad has been dying since 4 days before my graduation. they gave him 6 months to live....

    I GRADUATED IN 1996!!!

    Spend quality time with them and most of all dont treat them differently that you would have when they were healthy. thats the only advice i can give other than look for support in friends and other family and good luck.
  4. I basically echo what McHack & Jon said.

    This is one of those situations in life that doesn't come with instructions. (as most of life doesn't)

    When my mother was dying of cancer, and I was taking care of her as much as I could, I realized our roles were reversed: she was the baby and I was the adult.

    Just be there for her as much as you can. What to do will come to you as you go along.

    Sorry to hear about this. :(

  5. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    This is one of the most difficult things for anyone. My Father is bed-ridden, frail as balsa wood, has suffered several strokes, and now suffers from dementia. The worst part is dealing with the reactions from my brother and sisters. They avoid dealing with him at all costs and seem to think that I can do whatever needs to be done. The key is to be strong. They cared for you when you were helpless, and now it's time to do the same for them. Find any source of happiness that reconnects you to them and hold on to it for all it's worth. You care. You are a good person.
  6. Tom Crofts

    Tom Crofts

    Mar 15, 2001
    I'm having the same thing at the moment with my Dad, he's just waking up after he was knocked off his motorbike about eight weeks ago. He has some brain damage, but it's impossible to tell how severe at the moment because the waking up process is very slow. I try to treat him normally, just tell him what's going on in our lives, joke with him and stuff, but the whole time I feel like I want to cry, I feel so sorry for him and so helpless, because this is the guy who's cared for me since I was born and has helped me so much in so many ways and now he's just lying there unable to do anything for himself.
  7. yeah, it sounds like you are doing the right thing, remember, she took care of you for 18 years (assuming that you are over 18)! anyways, i'd say spend as much time as you can with her.
    just don't be down about it. i have spent time volunteering at a nursing home before, and these people have it bad. they can't see, hear,walk, barely talk, they can't remember anything, but they love company. the nurses/attendents tell us (the volunteers) that they have never seen these people smile before, but when they had our company, they lit up like a lightbulb. thats why i'd say spend time with your mother and father, and stay patient with them, even when they can't remember what they were just saying.
    you've got my support!

  8. Don't "deal with" your parents, just simply be the son they know you to be. They will be able to innately sense when something is "off" about you, and the energy you'd spend isn't worth the burden.

    Simply be there and share your time together as if there wasn't any problem. Don't live in the future, enjoy the now, as it is your only constant. If something comes up, get thru it, and let it pass...

    My Mum was diagnosed with MS when I was 16...I'm 33 now. She has her bad days, and we just treat them like when I have a bad day. Hers being worse by way of definition of course, but still just a "bad day"...and I can't remember the last time it didn't feel like a day went by in a blur.

    So yeah. be there for her, and be real. If you feel a bit overwhelmed by the moment where you are having trouble dealing with it, and are in her presence, tell her a joke...it'll help you both.

    Take care with that.
  9. Humblerumble


    Feb 22, 2004
    A little over two years ago my Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was originally given 6 - 9 months, but actually lived about 6 weeks. My parents had been divorced for years and Dad lived alone. He didn't want to go to a nursing home to die, so me and my two brothers did hospice care for him. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I tried to keep cheerful, but honest, like some of the other guys said they know you too well to fake them out. Say what you need to say so you'll have no regrets, you'll be glad that you did. I feel that in some ways it was a blessing as we got to rally around my Dad and make our last days with him the priority, and say goodbye. I feel sorry for some folks who don't get that opportunity. I'll keep you in my prayers. God Bless.
  10. AB53211


    Apr 15, 2004
    Move them in with you. When my brother got sick, he moved in with us, now he is doing better and he move out last year. He'll probuly be back. wish you and them the best of luck.
  11. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    My parents are in the process of selling their house so they can move back to Maine. This way my mom will be close to her family. Her family can look after her better than I ever could.

    Unfortunately this means that at some point soon I'll be back to barely seeing her again.

    Mon Rominee,

    Maybe "deal with" wasn't the best choice of words. How about care for, or support or something like that. Just wanting some words of wisdom I guess.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts.
  12. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    I disagree... If there are kids involved, watching Grandma deteriorate is cruel to them. My grandma passed away last december after 10 or so years with Alzhiemers... My dad stopped taking us to see her when I was 11, maybe 12. One part of me wishes I had seen her more, but I am also glad that I remember her relatively healthy, not a stick figure.

    My cousins, on the other hand, made weekly visits and they watched her deteriorate... So now they kinda have mental scars from seeing all that.

    If there are kids involved, they don't need to see that.
  13. Of course I knew your phrase "deal with" wasn't with the intent it implied, in fact, my initial post (for some reason, it wouldn't post, I had to go back later and re-type....) I made comment of that. I knew you didn't mean it that way, sorry bout that...

    Any which way, I wish for you and yours the best in this situation, and in general.
  14. d00d, tough luck. I can't give you advice, being at my young age, but I can wish you and yours well.

    It's just one of life's many experiences.
  15. I suppose all I can say, after my little stint volunteering at a hospital over summer, is to find something positive in it all. When I saw all the patients who were bed-ridden, unable to speak, or had other similar problems, I looked at them, and then looked into myself to see if there was anything I could do to help.

    Of course, this situation is quite different since for you it's family, and not a stranger you've never met before, so I guess all I can really say is "be there."