Need help finding balance...

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I have been assisting my 86 year old father for several years. I am the only child that lives close to him. My sister lives an hour away and my brothers live in other states. He has recently had a health crisis and been in the hospital for a week and a half. There is a possibility he has prostate cancer that has spread to the bone but we have to wait several days for that test. My brother came for a few days and has flown home. My dad's wife takes short visits and my sister comes a couple times a week. There expectation is that someone (me) will be with him most of his day in the hospital. He often cries and it has been scary for him. However, I need to go to work and I have two kids at home (they are in college). I apologize, I'm sure I'm rambling. Im emotionally and physically exhausted. Depending on what happens this week, he will be sent to rehab. Is it wrong for someone not to be with him all the time while he is at hospital and rehab? What do I do when he cries and I know he doesn't want me to go? I am either with him or feel guilty for not being with him. Thanks for any advice.


PPhoooey on their expectation. You go to work. You take care of yourself first.
You pass chores on to the college kids. You make sure the MD treats Dad's depression with medication. You should have no guilt. He is a grown man and does not need you there constantly. In rehab he will have a roommate to talk to.
Pam nailed it. Don't do a number on yourself. Not only shouldn't you be with him all the time, but you are doing him a disservice if you ARE. He's being taken good care of...he's safe...his rehab needs to be the center of his universe right now -- not you.

You're a loving daughter. Now love him enough to let him become all he can.
Actually, though it can be a plus in acute care to have someone there to advocate for anyone who really can't advocate for themselves, there are times that having someone with you in rehab can be a hindrance, because the goal is to see what you can learn or re-learn to do for yourself. Popping in at varied, less predictable times can be a good way to keep tabs on what's happening, and still keep your sanity and your job. Don't try to do something you can't do. There may be crises when you really do have to be there for him; as you pointed out, it could eventually end up with hospice care, and you may want to save the serious time away from work for those kinds of times. True, the time you spend with him will no doubt mean a great deal to him and to you, now and in the future, but it does not have to be all day every day at this point.
PS - They made me do an FMLA form for my mom when things started to get bad, but I ended up just going back and forth and getting coverage for a few occasions and never used it. I know what it is to feel torn though. I had to be at work for part of the time my mom was in hospice, and I was very blessed that husband and son stepped to the plate and stayed with mom during those times.
Thank you so much. He is in the hospital until Wednesday when he will go to inpatient rehab. It is a great program here. I told him I had to work this week and he said he knew I was busy but it is nice to have someone here even if he is sleeping. My brother texted me and told me to make sure my dads wife was here when I am working. I'm just going to have to buck up and do what I need to do.
Thankfully my sister is going to help me navigate setting boundaries here. She is the next closest and understands the need to work. I really appreciate learning from the experience here. I never thought of my presence being a hindrance but it makes sense.

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