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Well, I've gotten some news about Dad's health, and his financial issues in the past week. First off, Dad has two more areas of skin cancer that will have to be dealt with separately. One will require plastic surgery according to his doctor. He's already had cancer three times in the past, and one of the surgery's was very difficult. He's very unhappy. I spoke with legal aid. The woman I spoke to was surprised the hospital didn't just accept what he had been paying. She suggested he file for financial assistance and ask that all the medical bills be forgiven because he has no assets, like a house, or insurance, etc. She also said that he is entitled to spend his income on food basically "as he sees fit" since he cannot cook. She said a $50- $60 daily allowance for meals would be in the range of the local per/ diem businesses allow. She also said that I am under no obligation to cook for him / try to get him the lowest priced meals if the savings are just going to go to creditors... kind of a moot point, because if he eats $50 a day at restaurants, he won't have money for *anything* else. Oh, and best of all, my younger brother the parasite wrote again. He wants to stop and see dad -"before he goes" - before he takes his in-laws to Hawaii for the holidays. I'm still thinking of responses that use words without four letters in them...

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LadyMiller - sorry to hear about your mom. My dad is a handful, but it sounds like your mom makes him look like amateur hour.

We don't have Krogers here, I'm afraid. Although I remember them from up north.

Dad used to like Marie Calender's lasagna, ans sweet and sour chicken. But after a caretaker made a snide remark to him about how sad it was to see a senior citizen being "forced" to eat "TV dinners" - that was the end of that.

He cannot cook at all, and I prefer that he doesn't handle knives without supervision. When he first came home from the hospital he tried to microwave some cookies - in the package - while his caregiver was in the restroom. It caught fire. He's much more aware now, but he is still spooked by almost setting the kitchen on fire.
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Thanks all!

To anyone who didn't follow my writing, this was simply a follow up to the questions I posed earlier.

I don't think MOW will deliver out here, but I will ask. As I stated elsewhere, Dad won't eat the food from the senior center program, so even if they deliver, he may not eat it. He's gotten fussy in the past few months.

Also, someone recommended chinese food. I took him yesterday and he loved it, so thank you! It was cheaper than the places he usually likes, so that helps. He was even talking about it to the nurse when I took to him to the hospital this morning because of a bad nosebleed ( I posted that elsewhere). So thanks again for the idea.

As regards the four letter words for my brother, I haven't used them, but probably no longer have the vocabulary for anything better. I'm afraid that after having Dad for 19 years, and my mother for five years - after he was paid to take care of them, and the rest of got nothing towards their care, I'm simply at a loss when he says "tough, too bad". Yes, and in retrospect, I feel pretty stupid too!
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Oh, the four letter word should be "cash". Sonny Boy has money for Hawaii, he should have money for "family". Who knows? He may never want another visit if you strong arm him for cash.
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Eating Well meals can be obtained in the frozen food section at Kroger. They are delicious. I add a scoop of cottage cheese and I'm good to go. Mom likes Lean Cuisine too. I usually give mom dessert (Marie Calendar's is a Godsend.) with it. Honey nut cheerios in the morning. Water, sugar free pop and milk. Fruit sends her internal system haywire (most unpleasant). I give her vitamin c instead. Her doctors have approved this food for her. It is healthy and easy. I'm recovering from cancer myself and standing on my feet preparing meals was too much for me. It is probably a lot for you too. Instead of restaurants, (where mom throws a fit) I roll down her window and do a quick drive through the park with a stop through the Dairy Queen drive through afterward for a small blizzard ice cream for her. She was so unpleasant when we let her out once at the park, a man at the next picnic table grabbed his crockpot and RAN to his car. Her therapists and doctors are thrilled with my care. I had to come up with something easy and entertaining. The doctors put her on Namenda and Seroquel for her unpleasantness, to put it kindly. (She made the staff at Olive Garden cry. Huge tips solved that. Never again.) Her towels were threadbare. I bought some new ones. She kept badgering me from the back seat about if the store gave me the towels for FREE. She was so out of control, I had to pull over three times I was crying so hard, I couldn't see to drive. (It was a 15 minute drive.) Thank God the medicine has helped her attitude. She is 88 years old. She just had surgery on her neck for basal cell cancer. Dr. Stitle (Indiana's top 100 docs) will have to go back in and get the rest of it in January. Mom did very well. I have a strong POA. I can do anything I want. I chose for the doctor to not tell mom about the cancer. Mom's dementia is bad and she would go to pieces and it would cut her life span. No way. A friend of ours had cancer surgery on his face and did very well with his surgery at age 82. This is completely your call. Everybody is different. A second opinion never hurts. Hope things go better for you.
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If have neighborly senior services . in some places they deliver the MOW. They will pick up and some have day care but have to have Rx for it . They are picked up have late bfast and lunch see movie play games inbetween. To keep those active that need assistance etc...
If he likes go out The VFW or Am Legion or Am Vet Centers Eagles club also they actually her have center Am Legion has pool sauna etc..
They have home made meals and give veterans discounts. Maybe he likes to see families. There are family centers they are like clubhouse Am Vet, F. Legion , VFW. Have bingo etc and raffles tickets etc...
Little diff from old farts sitting over a beer bit....ng about life. If that what he doesn"t like.
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It sounds like the skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma. Unless the lesions are bleeding, painful or causing a problem with eyesight, leave them alone. Dermatologists love doing skin cancer surgeries because they make lotsa $$$ from them. Basal cell carcinoma is a very slow growing cancer, and in a 90 year old, it is not a very big deal.

Doesn't your father have Medicare? (I am assuming he is in the U.S.)
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I hate spell check😃
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Meals...does ur Dad go out for every meal? He can make a sandwich, can't he? Breakfast and dinner should be enough. He can get himself something in between. It shouldn't cost him $50 a day. Coupons! I love them. Senior and Vet discounts use them. I ask all the time. 10% is 10%. Some grocery stores have a hot bar. We have a local Pizza place that gives so much food fo one order, my husband and I split it. Some restaurants have mini meals (believe me they aren't mini). I'll give u an example:. Mom gets a liver dinner. She can have soup or salad, we get soup to go. The serving of liver is two decent size pieces. I put me aside. Two veg. sides. Dessert is to go. So Mom has soup and the dessert for lunch the next day. The liver has enough gravy I heat it up in the gray. If she had any veg. left I heat them up or just cook fresh ones. Two or three additional measles for $10.
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Erwin, my Aunt was on SSI and paying her hospital bill a little each month. This was a payment plan that the hospital set up and they still sent it to a lawyer for collection. My Aunt called him and he told her to just continue paying what she was to him. So, if the money owed goes to collection, will it really hurt ur Dads credit. Is he going to buy a car, take out a loan or buy a house. Collection agencies will work with you but watch, some can be nasty and that is against the law. Check out on the internet: FTCs fair debt collection practices Act of 1977. May have been updated since I worked. The laws are very strick with Collection agencies. Collectors for a private company (like I was) laws are a little more lenient. Just tell the hospital your father can only afford what he is giving otherwise he won't be able to feed himself. And remember...they cannot threaten to go after you.
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Because you must tip!!!!
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Unfortunately I am shocked every time I go in a restaurant lately - the prices seem to jump daily. A standard 3-egg plate with meat now costs almost $11. Hard to get out of a restaurant for less than $20, but still, $50 daily does seem unnecessarily high. dinner and lunch for $40 plus $10 for breakfast is easily achieved, and could be economized maybe down to $30 or $40 a day. Good to stay at home sometimes, so if available, MOW sounds good too!
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So what is your question? Having lived on Oahu, I can tell you the rainy season starts in Nov. to about Jan., so your brother and in-laws might have a rainy vacation and might get mugged in the process (they really hate mainlanders). As far as your father's meals, he could get Meals-on-Wheels which are delivered daily for about $7.50. I don't think I could spend $50 a day at a restaurant unless there is alcohol involved. That is a LOT of food. I think I would get another professional legal opinion of your father's income status. FYI - anyone who just uses four-letter words doesn't have the vocabulary to express themselves intelligently. Try feeling words...Merry Christmas!
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GardenArtist - don't be sorry. It is what it is. I think there is some of that - maybe a lot of that - involved in his behavior. The problem with him is that too many things make him lose his cool. The doctor, screw ups by nurses, therapists, anyone in general.

I hadn't thought of the idea he was using food as a means of asserting control on something, but I've suspected for a while it was a means of dealing with his frustration. You've given me another avenue to explore, thank you.
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Erwin, sorry to conclude this but I think it's something you may already realize. Your father is being stubborn and contentious, taking out his frustration or anger about his condition and channeling it towards other people and things (food, especially).

Perhaps he feels that food is the one thing he can control, i.e., to eat or not to eat. So he focuses on this and makes it an issue, enhancing his control as his life slowly slips into area he can't control.

Since he's "better" with other vets, check with the American Legion and VFW; they may have events, meetings or luncheons he could attend.

Maybe someone could even recruit him to help plan the 2017 parades in which they participate. That would give him some bonding time, a sense of contribution to society, and of course some companions.

Otherwise, I think at this point I would just politely but bluntly tell him that you're doing all you can to help him and can't do anything more, nor can you bring him happiness or contentment. Then leave the room and let him think about it.
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GardenArtist, thanks for all your thoughts.

I have taken Dad to the senior center here once a few months back. He hated it. They do have meals which he says are worse than my cooking - which he says should be used to poison enemies...

He only liked one meal they ever had there - Swedish Meatballs - and they only have that every few months. He hates going there regardless. Dad does not really complain to strangers at all, and he says that is all anyone ever does there. It depresses him.

He will complain to me, because I'm family, and therefore privileged to hear all of his jeremiads. But around anyone else, he just gets grouchy. Unless they are polite, and respectful women. In that case, he usually will be the same.

But if they are loud, rude, pushy, or mean, look out. He has told more than person off, and he is really brusque.

I've never seen a veteran's meeting area at any local restaurant. Of course, * I * rarely go to any. I do care about my budget! I will ask, though. He is better around other vets.
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Another thought: one of the restaurants we go to has a Veteran's Corner, with logos of all the services. The owner told me a group of Veterans meets there on a regular basis. I don't know how you'd find a restaurant that does as this one does, but it's a consideration if your father is a Veteran.
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Erwin, thanks for the update and responses.

As to meals, what about meals at a Senior Center? When I've gone to pick up meals for my father b/c we weren't available during delivery time, I see seniors sitting chatting well after the meal is over.

There's a piano in the dining room; I don't know if anyone plays it (I'm tempted every time I see it). There are also other activities. E.g., a Thanksgiving dinner, Veterans' Day luncheon and a Christmas luncheon will be held.

There's a holiday greens sale, a crafts sale (some items donated, some made by seniors), so there's more opportunity for socialization.
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Just some quick answers as I go through all the ideas I've been getting - THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU. That can not be SAID ENOUGH!!!

1) I called the doctor, and surprisingly got a call back. He is concerned because the one cancer is "pretty large" and the other is on dad's face. He suggested a second opinion, but said they will "certainly agree with me." I'm going to ask dad what he wants to do - 2nd opinion, or ?

2) Dad's mood is not bad when he isn't interacting with doctors, billing departments, etc. If the manure hurricane ever slows down, I think he'll be fine. He was even joking when my brother wrote ("I guess he needs more money"), although my brother is a very sore subject with him. He told me last night how much he resents the way he treated our mom, and that he wants to demand that he changes his last name...
I told him not to get into a peeing contest with a skunk. My life is so much better when I don't have to deal with him, on top of all the other issues.

3) As far as the legal advice goes, her main issue was that she felt that dad had been making a "reasonable effort" to pay his bills with the hospital. She said that if they didn't want to agree to accept what he was paying without threats, then asking for financial assistance - or actually, in this case forgiveness of the remainder of the debt - is a reasonable step.

She pointed out two things - More than 80% of their billed charges have been paid already. She says these bills are all open to negotiation on final amounts billed to patients. She suggested they might agree to a much lower bill to settle the account, or simply forgive it outright once they see dad has no assets - "and it gets through to them that there is no more money." She thought that was the main issue.

4) As regards meals, regardless of what happens, I am still trying to get dad to realize that while restaurants are convenient, they aren't the best way to spend what money he does have. I think he - A) Is desperate to get out, and sees this as an excuse to do it B) Hates my cooking, which is not unreasonable since I can't cook worth spit C) Wants to feel "normal" and going out to eat lets him feel that way when he sees everyone else eating out with their families.

Going to the restaurant is one of the few things that really cheers dad up, I'm afraid. On days that I put my foot down, and refuse to take him, or let him take the d*mn taxi - the other bane of my existence - he often won't even get out of bed. I've been trying to get him interested in hobbies again, but aside from taking a few pictures, and buying him a digital watch to play with (don't even ask), he really just wants to go out.
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Erwin, a few thoughts....

1. Skin cancer. See if you can clarify the doctor's "concerns", by asking what stage the cancer is. Plastic surgery would raise a big red flag with me; that would be an ordeal for anyone, let alone a 90 year old.

2. Your father's "very unhappy". Beyond critical medical issues, it's been my experience that the mood of a parent affects so much - his/her outlook, determination, acceptance of assistance...and more. So focus on that and set aside the cancer issue for awhile. If you can keep his mood more positive, he hopefully would be in a more congenial mood to address this.

3. Is the doctor who diagnosed the cancer an oncologist? If not, consider seeing one when you feel your father's up to it. This is too much of a specialty to rely on a PCP or other general doctor.

4. Legal Aid advice. The recommendation sounds like that person was recommending filing for bankruptcy. If so, you might want to think about the effect that would have not only on his credit rating, but on the effect on future medical providers. If he shows he's trying to pay down the debt, that's different from reflecting that he's trying to get it completely wiped out.

5. Research to see if you can find a Hill-Burton hospital in your area (sorry, I don't recall whether you're in an urban or rural area). HB hospitals were built with funds from the Hill-Burton act, and are required to accept indigent patients. Google "Hill-Burton hospitals". The first hit is a list of HB hospitals. See if there's one near you. Sometimes Catholic hospitals are HB hospitals and accept indigent patients.

6. Meals. I don't recall if you've contacted MOW or if your father won't eat them. Schwann's is a home delivery service that my sister used when she was first diagnosed with cancer. As I recall, the costs were higher than grocery store bought food, but if memory serves me right, the food was very good, and diversified.

Your profile doesn't enable seeing your answers, so w/o searching, I don't specifically recall all the details of your earlier post or whether I suggested some frozen meals. There are a few lines that are fairly decent - not overly spicy or salty, although most frozen meals do have more sodium than freshly cooked foods chosen for less salt, sugar and preservatives.
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I agree with Barb if it is a basal cell carcinoma unless it is in a sensitive area, such as around the eye, or is spreading faster than normal. Some of them grow so slowly that they aren't really a consideration when someone is old and in poor health. Basal cell doesn't metastasize. It only spreads locally. This is why I asked what kind it was.

Of course, what your father wants to do is also important. Some people totally freak out that they have a cancer that is not being treated.
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Thank you for your answers. I think they are pushing surgery down the road.
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Erwin, unless it is melanoma, i wouldn't do surgery for skin cancer. Basal cell or squamous cell are " concerning" in a younger person. Not so much in a 90 year old.

Useful questions for doctors--"what is the downside if we do not treat this?".

" what would you do if this was YOUR FATHER? ".
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Hi JessieBelle, Dad will be 90 in January. The doctor says it is not the extremely deadly sort that spreads, but he is "still concerned about it." That does not tell me that much.

As far as my brother goes, I have no problem ignoring him - he's forgotten around here - except for the fact that he keeps writing letters demanding that I invite him, and when I don't, he whines to everyone we know how much he misses "his family."

When we still on talking terms he came out with this same line of horse-hockey at a Christmas party and I burst out laughing right in front of everyone. I only put up with him for our mother's sake. Now that she's gone, as far as I'm concerned, so is he.

I just wish he'd STAY gone :)
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Erwin, how old is your dad and what type of skin cancer is it?

I wouldn't let Brother bother me much. I have two brothers who are getting great enjoyment out of their lives. Even though I see and talk with them amiably, they are still nearly invisible to me. There's not much that feeling bad about them will do. At least since your brother will be in Hawaii, he won't be bothering you. There's always a bright side to things.
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