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A Mother in Denial - Trying to help my father

tinydancer
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi everyone, I just now got back to the board after my mother's vacation. Dad is in stage IV NSC Lung CA with metastasis to bone/spine. Mom took a vacation and returned last week. I had to hospitalize dad during this time, as he was choking and unable to swallow. They are still trying to figure out what's going on with his throat, but he's home now. Since mom's been back, and while she was gone by cell phone, no matter what I do it isn't enough. She wants me to stay 24 hours and dad is stable for right now. She refused to call hospice, so I did it. I do plan to stay when hospice advises this. She's been very mean to my dad. She told him the other day she would put him in a nursing home, knowing he wants to stay home. I told her I won't allow that to happen and that I'd take him. She yelled at him for soiling his bed one night. I'm in tears writing this. I think this is a horrible way to treat someone who's dying. When I discussed it with her, she told me I need to stay there and take care of him because she won't. I have a family and I have a chronic illness myself and as it is I am there all day, except for night time. She won't change dressings or do his tube feedings, so I do that and she won't even give him pain medicine. I hired a home health nurse to come in a few days a week to help me. Does anyone have any advice? Mom is in total denial. She won't even look at the feeding tube or discuss dad's diagnosis. It's getting worse and I feel so overwhelmed.

Hugs

TD

nottus62's picture
nottus62
Posts: 7
Joined: Apr 2002

TD, you might check in with the hospital and ask for some type of counselor. I know that my family had a session with a counselor and it helped them. Hang in there, hopefully she will come around soon.

Hugs back at you,
Eddie

tinydancer
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi Eddie,

Thanks for your reply. So far mom has refused a counselor and dad has also, but thank you for the suggestion.

Hugs,

TD

crtsang
Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2000

As you know, you're in an especially difficult position, but it's also clear that you'e a godsend to your father. Hiring a home health aide was a very good idea, and I'm so glad to hear that you did.
Your mother is beyond your help. Keep focusing on what you need, emotionally and otherwise, to care for your father. Whatever you do to make it easier on yourself will also make it easier on him. With your mom...accept that you can't force or push her out of denial. Go for damage control.
I think I'm not telling you anything new, only encouraging you to keep doing what you have been. Except maybe this: forgive yourself for not being able to do everything. No one could. I think you're already being wonderful.
If you're not already getting it, consider counseling just for yourself. You need and deserve all the support you can get.

nixie
Posts: 6
Joined: May 2002

I'm sorry I don't have experience in this area, but it just sounds like you are doing all the right things and getting some good advice from others here on the board. Our prayers are with you. I've always said daughters are just wonderful things to have. Take care of yourself as much as possible!

VET75
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2010

Put your father in hospice by doctors recommendation and visit your father as often as possible as this is the best anyone could do...If your father refuses then push on your mother until she says yes....You are not a full time nurse or should you be expected to be one....

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1612
Joined: Aug 2009

I can relate to your mom's fear, anger, and sadness, but I can't relate to her behavior. I lost my husband after a 6 year battle with colon cancer. I was his primary caregiver, and although I was often worn out and emotional, I saw being with him and caring for him a privilege as well as my job as his wife. I'm wondering what kind of a relationship your parents had before his illness. In any event, you can't change or be responsible for your mother's attitude or behavior. All you can do is change how you respond and are affected by it. It sounds like you are doing the right things. You might want to consider adding more hours of home health care. Give yourself a break both mentally and physically. In the end, you may need to put yout father into some type of a hospice care facility both for his sake and yours. Tell him you are overwhelmed and need help. Hopefully, your mother will come around, but don't count on it. Do what needs to be done to care for yourself and your family and don't waste your time on the guilt trip your mom is trying to send you on. You are doing the best you can in a very difficult situation. Hang in there and take care, Fay

Mommy2Clara
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2010

TD,

I can so relate to what you are dealing with. Since my original diagnosis 8 years ago my mother has been in denial and continues to be still to this day, even after letting her know it had advanced into luekemia and that i only had a few weeks prognosis, she still won't step up to the plate. I have tried everything from a family psychiatrist to the doctors telling her after several runs I have had to the ER. She refuses to hear or accept the word cancer. All i get is take a pill and you will feel better soon. It has gone on so long and as my health continued to decline, that I had to leave home and move to my best friends out of state in order to have someone to care for me. My only prayer is that she comes to face reality before its to late for us to say our peace. I'm afraid for her what she will go thru when reality hits, which I'm afraid will be once its too late and I am not here anymore. Please just hang in there and leave the door of communication open. I hope for you just like I do for my mom, that she will soon come around and be a support for you and your dad.

Please hang in there
God Bless
Hugs
Tracy

millymolly1
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2010

I don't really know what to say, only that I feel for you and can understand how you must be feeling. My father has been in hospital for 10 weeks now, undergoing chemo for lymphoma. My mother is a control freak (ex primary school teacher)who also suffers from anxiety disorder and has been more of a problem than he has...yesterday when he uttered a small complaint about something she shouted 'is this what I have to look forward to when you come home?!'. I am fast losing my patience with her and am now dreading taking her to see Dad every day. It seems that she wants it all to be about her rather than him.

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1612
Joined: Aug 2009

Double post

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1612
Joined: Aug 2009

Your mother is scared. She may not show that, but she is. Having been there, I can understand a little where she is coming from. Both of your parents need your support right now. I can't even begin to tell you how important that support is. You don't say how old your mother is, but that can have an effect, too. What is important to understand is that your mother is having to face her greatest fear, that she may have to go on without your father. Even if his prognosis is good, she is faced with his mortality. She now understands that she could lose him. That is really scary. My husband often told me that my job as caregiver and, eventually, as the one left behind, was harder then his job.I don't know that that is true, but watching him sick, hurting, and bravely fighting cancer was very hard. I would have changed places with him at any time. You dad's cancer is about your mom, too. It is also about you. Maybe you need to talk to your mom about how she is feeling. She may need a little pampering right now. Fay

P.S. I don't know where you found this thread, but I almost missed it. Don't be afraid to start a new thread. This one is a little out of date.

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