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Having a little internal struggle with myself...

Ashleylouu's picture
Ashleylouu
Posts: 25
Joined: Dec 2012

I'm 22 and I'm pretty much my moms only caregiver. I DO have 3 other siblings, but 1 is in NJ with no intention of coming to help, 1 is in NY with no intention of coming to help, and the other is in FL and just doesn't want to help, however she HAS visited once. My fiance has been fantastic and doing the most he can, but he has a full time job he just can't afford to continue missing, as I have put my job on hold for now. Let me first say I adore my mom, she's my absolute best friend and we've always been SO close. I moved to Florida from New Jersey before she even got sick because I wanted to be close to her, and it worked out great since my fiance is in the pest control business. I don't mind being so busy helping her, and Andrew (fiance) is completely understanding about it. It's only been a short time now, but she just had her laryngectomy and she'll be coming home tomorrow so I know this is where things get tough. I've said it a million times, I would rather it be me taking care of her than anyone. BUT...

My father has been in and out of jail A LOT over the last 3 years because he's a drug addict. Prior to that, he was in and out of rehab. He recently returned home (the 7th) and was clean, as far as I know, for 6-7 months. He seems to be genuinely caring for my mom and doesn't want anything to happen to her... BUT HE'S DRIVING ME NUTS! Before he came home, we set things up so I would 'legally' be the one to care for my mom, she would live at my house during recovery/treatment/etc, and they hospitals and doctors all know to come to me for questions, info, or anything they need. But now he's home and it seems like he's just getting in my way. He WON'T listen to me, at least not entirely, and my mom DOES want him around to support her as long as he's sober and doing what he should be doing, and so far, yeah he is. But, she entrusted me with her bank account, money, bills and everything else... he thinks it should be him. "He's not a little kid." But then he'll say "fine I understand, I have to earn trust back." And I told him we'll talk about the possibility a little later. He says mom is his number one priority... but then he argued with me about where she should stay. SHE wants to be at my house. It's bigger with no stairs, the bedroom she'd be using as a bathroom in it with no door and it's a few feet away, and I only have 1 little cat who doesn't jump on anyone, and she's friendly. Mom has 3 rowdy dogs and 2 cats that LOVE to climb on her. It's just NOT quiet there, and it's not a good place to be after recently having such a serious surgery. HE has even agreed that I'm right, but still insists he wants her to come home. Right now, we're at an agreement that she'll stay with me "for a bit." But we'll see, I know she wants to be with me for a very long time. Furthermore, I'm MUCH close to her doctors and hospital- a 5-10 minute drive max. AND she won't be able to drive herself, and he doesn't have a license, what if something happens? He finally started agreeing, but I can tell he doesn't really mean it. On top of that, I'm having to fight with him to quit smoking. I understand you can't force anyone, I myself quit well over a year ago, but I DON'T want it in my house, car or near mom. And she even said he stinks of it and she wants the smell no where around her. He half-agreed to this, but again, does he mean it?

It's so hard to tell if he's true about this or anything, or if it's all a show. Even when I was 1,000 miles away I was the one taking better care of her than him. I've been here since the beginning... how can he think he can just jump in and take over?! It's so frustrating! I don't want to hurt him, because if he REALLY wants to be clean, happy and have his family... I want that too. But I'm afraid to let my guard down, because what if it's all crap? I can deal with him annoying me, but I don't want my mother getting hurt over this, physically or otherwise. My fiance is kind of in the middle trying to make everyone happy and settle any disagreements. I have it on paper, legal paper, what my mom wants and he knows it, I just would rather not have to use it. UGH. I'm happy he gets to see my mom, and I know seeing him healthy puts a smile on her face and she needs that now... but I just want the best for her. This whole situation is just way too confusing for me... And here I thought the suction thing for my mom would be the most confusing thing I'd have to do in the next few days!

Not sure if anyone has been through anything similar, but what would you do in my place? What is the right thing to do to keep my mom safe, happy, and healthy but not push away my dad from seeing her or repairing his relationships?

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1616
Joined: Aug 2009

Your mom and dad's relationship is not your responsibility. Taking care of your mom since that is what she wants is your responsibility. You are also able to set rules for your home like no smoking in the house. You dad obviously has an addictive personality. Let's face it, smoking sounds like the least of his problems. He is trying to stay clean. From your experience with him, that may not last. Again, not your responsibility. You and your mom need to present a united front. Both you and your dad need to do what she wants. If your mom decides, at some point, that she wants to go home, she has that right. It may not be the ideal situation from your point of view, but it doesn't sound like she is mentally incompetent. It is her life and she gets to make choices. That doesn't make things easy. Caregiving never is. When you add in dealing with relatives, it gets even harder. You have good reasons for  your concerns and feelings. One thing I learned from caregiving, though, was that there are often things we can't control. It can be very frustrating. 

This is a good place to come and vent. You are dealing with a lot right now. I am glad your fiancé is there for support. Just try to remember to take care of yourself and your relationships. Fay

Ladylacy
Posts: 491
Joined: Apr 2012

My husband had a laryngectomy in 2011.  At that time we were told to stay awake from those that smoke because the smoke will go directly into his lungs from people too close to him smoking.  We have 4 sons, 2 and their spouses smoke.  We told them they could smoke outside the house period and they have honored that.  Your father needs to honor that also.  In fact your father needs to honor your mother's wishes and yours and if he can't tell him to stay away. 

Being a caregiver, I know how hard it is.  I have had absolutely no help for the last 2 1/2 years.  It is up to me to make sure I keep track of all doctor appointments, etc., to deal with insurance, to deal with bills, etc.  It takes a lot out of you but unlike me you are young and while hard you can do it.  Just remember to take care of yourself and try not to let things get you down. 

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