- 6 years ago
- Wedding: June 2014
Ugh, I’ve been struggling with feelings about my parents for months and I always find a way to avoid talking about it with people close to me and it seems like I don’t know anyone who’s had similar problems with their parents, maybe the bees will be different.
Maybe I should set the stage a little:
My parents are, as of right now, 51 (dad) and 46 (mom). My mom was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the early two thousands and chronic medical illnesses, both of which she has taken a lot of medications for over the years (along with other “mental” illnesses such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc).
Of my parents combined 7 children all live in different states than my parents other than my younger sisters (16 and 13) and now myself.
My Fiance and I, both college students(we’re relatively young), moved back in with my parents at the end of 2011 due to financial issues/transferring schools abruptly and not having time to sort out living situation during our move back.
So.. in June or May of last year my dad had a heart attack. My Fiance drove him to the hospital (my mom had taken her medications and was incapable of driving), he did not want an ambulance (i regret agreeing to let him get out of the ambulance). I wouldn’t believe he was having a heart attack until I found out the next morning that it was definitely a heart attack. He went into surgery, had stints put in, and was released from the hospital 3 days later. My fiance and I haven’t been able to bring ourselves to move out since this happened.
He was in rehab for several months, which was great because his health was a lot better and he was consistently losing weight.
Recently, I am always catching him eating fast food, fried crap, burgers, and stuff that he is strictly not supposed to be eating. He has stopped losing weight, is no longer in rehab, and doesn’t engage in much physical activity (he works with computers from home) and now I am terrified that he could have another heart attack. I ask myself “I had no way of knowing that he would have a heart attack then, is he in any better condition now? Is taking any better care of himself?” I feel that the answer is no. My sisters are too young to take care of him, my other siblings live out of state, so essentially I feel that I bare the full responsibility of making sure that he’s taking care of himself and I can’t help but feel that I’m failing right now.
Now for my mom:
Over the last couple of months my mom has… “gone of the deep end” is the only way I know how to put it. Shortly after my dad had a heart attack, about a month, my sister(one that lives out of state) had a health scare which required a deeply invasive surgery which very nearly killed her. Once the scare was over and my sister fully recovered my mom “joked” that it was time for people to start taking care of her not the other way around. Though it seemed like she was joking, her actions did not support that. She has been.. scarily “gone.” I mean that she seems drunk or catatonic most of the time- she stumbles around, slurs her words, acts senile almost (foregetting things she just said or things she’s done). That is if she ever ventures to leave her bedroom. That doesn’t happen a lot. She has left the house only to go to her doctor or her psychiatrist. She doesn’t get groceries, she doesn’t talk to people, she doesn’t cook for herself or my sisters. Sometimes she acts sort of normal (ie, my uncle came to visit and we all went out to eat, she came with me to a bridal show), but it doesn’t happen a lot.
I think that all the medications shes been on have just caused her to really lose her presence altogether. She swears shes been backing off on how much meds she’s been taking but its really not showing. I hope that some of that was brought on by the fact that she, as long as the rest of the household, has been fighting off mono for a few months.
Recently she slipped getting out of the bath and suffered from a serious concussion. Of course the entire experience was frightening and only made worse by the fact that my dad doesn’t handle emergencies well and was freaking out. I only had long enough to make sure that she was going to be brought to the emergency room before I had to go to work, i am just thankful my sisters weren’t there.
That was just a few days before valentines day (i remember because of the long and vivid nightmare I had about her hurting herself when my Fiance and I spent the night an hour away in the hotel we intend to get married in). Since then she has been even less present seeming and I am scared of leaving her home alone, especially because her bedroom is on the second floor. Everytime I hear a thump I flip out.
On top of that, I know her doctor has upped the dosage of the pain meds and other types of meds (clonipin) she has been taking due to her “chronic” back pain.
I have been begging her to consult with another doctor because I honestly believe there are real solutions to her problem. I experienced some back pain for several months and went to her doctor he said “oh, its probably just a little pain, things like this last no longer than 6-8 weeks” (at this point I had been experiencing it for about 4 months). I think the guy has no idea what he’s talking about. If a doctor tells me I’ll have chronic pain forever and that i just need to keep coming back for regular appointments, i freaking get a second opinion (i did btw when i went, and it helped).
In any case, my mom is not my mom anymore, if i can say that without sounding childish. She seems to have lost her mind, her body, in a sense, and just given up on like.. living all together. Her mom (morbidly obese and suffering from many many illnesses) suffered a heart attack at the age of 60 and passed and my mom is now convinced that she and all of her sibling will drop dead any day now (she specifically is by anyone else’s regard in perfect health, ideal weight, no physical illnesses). At dinner the other night I made some sort of comment about “when you’re 60” and she responded with “i don’t think that will happen.” Not intending to be funny.
She’s not trying to take care of herself, my dad, or my younger sisters. My dad’s too busy thinking about my sisters and my mom and not spending anytime taking care of himself, on top of his full time job.
I feel like I’m left with the slack. The seemingly endless slack.
I just don’t know what to do, I feel like the only people who can help my parents are them. But they don’t seem to know or care that that’s the case. Specifically in my mom’s case since, as she said, its her turn to be taken care of. I guess in the end I don’t have a question, I just needed to share these fears and frustrations with someone.