I'm gonna say the thing you're not supposed to say....How much longer is this going to last?

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...How much longer is this going to last? Don't get me wrong. I must love my Dad on some level (although growing up with his Narcissistic ways wasn't a bed of roses and my definition of "love" has never been accurate), but sometimes I just want to REST.

Of my dad's multiple children (that didn't die from drugs, alcohol or suicide) from multiple wives, I am the ONLY one who really has anything to do with him. Being the youngest girl I got stuck with caring for him (legally blind) and the women he has beaten since I was six years old.

I tried my hardest to "escape" by going to college and moving away, but our nauseating codependent relationship has continued on WAY past the expiration date. Thankfully, I have found a 12 step codependent program that has been a tremendous help, but sometimes...

The latest drama is his ongoing obsession with HIS BOWELS!!! For the past couple of weeks the battle between his dementia and his bowels are more than I can take. Because I'm not at the AL, I'm not sure if he's constipated or if he's got diarrhea. He says his bottom hurts but again, I can't pin down if it's because he's already "gone" and can't remember and keeps trying to go and forcing it or ... who knows?

Does dementia produce an urge to go?

After hearing about it (and not being able to get an appointment with the VA for two weeks--which I have to take a day off work and drive AN HOUR both ways to take him to) for a week, I finally gave him a suppository. Since then, he wants one EVERY DAY!!!

The man hardly eats, and even when he does, fiber is not on the list. He refuses any supplements that could possibly help him and he's still convinced that I'm the only one who can fly in and save the day. The AL staff constantly has to remind him that they are NOT doctors nor can they give him any medicines outside of the 22 pills that he takes daily.

It's SO frustrating!! Sometimes I can't help but wonder how much longer he (and selfishly... I) have to continue to suffer.

22 pills PLUS oxygen 24/7? Daddy can barely see (been legally blind since I was born) He can't hear well but refuses a hearing aid. He can't breathe because he smoked like a chimney for years (yet he apologizes for "being sick"... he brought that on on himself), He can't walk very far without being out of breath due to his COPD, his blood pressure is high, his anxiety level (and mine) is through the roof, and he has dementia, and now he can't SH*T!!! He is MISERABLE (and so am I).

So, modern medicine... is it FAIR to keep someone in a semi-healthy state with pills just to make more money ($5,000 a month for AL alone... let's not talk about the supplies, etc.)?? I often wonder if nature would have already taken its course if Dad wasn't on all the meds.

He's in pain a lot, he's afraid, he's confused... Then I feel guilty for getting agitated with him or even sometimes wishing that his battle would end.

I dunno... I guess I'm just overwhelmed


I'm glad you are dealing with your co-dependency. That sounds healthy.

It really sounds like your father needs more care than the AL can provide. Are you considering moving him to a nursing home? Then they could deal with the bowel issues, suppositories, etc.

I think under the circumstances, disregarding the co-dependency, your role should be as an occasional visitor and as an advocate to see that staff is providing appropriate care. I think you could do that if the facility he is in actually can care for all his needs.

Hugs to you. This is hard!
Ask his dr about ordering a daily dosage of miralax. The staff can mix it in the water he takes his pills with. It's tasteless. It is a laxative but not harsh. He can't see it in the glass of water. Can he get home health to visit him in the Al? The dr can order this also. An exray can show if he is impacted which, again, the dr can order. If he is, it can make him very uncomfortable. Hopefully that appointment will come through soon.
Tinyblu, I've asked myself the same question for a long time now. The pills for bp and the other medications can feel like we're just propping them up against the wall and making them live after their bodies and minds have already given up. I know that we don't have a choice of how long they will be with us, but it is cruel the way it is now.

I think Jeanne gave some good advice on checking on him and visiting occasionally. Responding to all the sensations would be very difficult, since you're not living with him now. I know you feel under a lot of pressure. I do wish we knew where the end points were. I guess we just have to try to keep our sanity until we get to them. If you're like me, it seems like the end point is near, but it keeps moving farther down the road as the years go by. We can't live our lives like we're in crisis all the time. The end point may still be far away and we have to live until we get there.

My mother doesn't know the difference between when she is full from eating and when she is constipated. Really, I've never seen her constipated, but she claims she is a lot, particularly after she had a full meal. I think older people with dementia can get their sensations crossed. A full stomach can be confused with stuffiness from constipation.
Now that is strange. The second and third paragraphs in the message above turned themselves around. I don't know what I did when I submitted. Mysterious thing from the twilight zone. Anyway... if you read the last paragraph before the second one, it will make more sense.
Thanks Jeanne. He's on Miralax as needed, but I will try to get the doctor to change it to a daily dose (it is the VA... the doctor won't even sign a form without booking an appointment which is normally weeks out--that's all we can afford)

Thanks for not throwing stones!!

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