WARNING: Not So Nice Thing to Say

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I've been struggling the past few days with sheer exhaustion. Between the two jobs and never feeling like I have any "me" time, I've been a cranky mess. Yesterday I took the day off to take Dad to two doctor's appointments, and it's the same old thing... he's getting sicker, add more pills, repeat. Then I got a sad call from an ex boyfriend who informed me that his mom passes away from a heart attack. As I tried to console him, I couldn't help but think how lucky he was to not have to be a caregiver. How terrible is that? I've had a few friends whose parents had the same lifestyle as my Dad that have passed away and I get ... jealous? It's not that I don't intrinsicly love my Dad. I just hate to see him in his current state. He can't see, he can hardly hear, he can't breathe, he can't remember things, and most of the time he can't even poop on a regular basis. The smallest things tire him out and when he realizes that he's forgotten something simple, he has a panic attack. How miserable! Granted, he's been a jerk most of my life, but he used to be strong. Now there's this shell of a man that used to be my Dad that just continues to thrive on ... (another bad thought coming) at an ENORMOUS expense! Here's the thing. I have it pretty easy. Dad is in a facility. Lots of folks must keep their loved ones at home and take care of spouses and kids. Here I am whining about visiting the ALF a couple of times a week. Caregiving has made me a horrible person. I don't want to get old. Seriously... as I look at the folks in the ALF, I often think "God, please take me before I end up in THAT state" I don't want to be some miracle of modern medicine that lives to a ripe old age if I'm seriously incapacitated. This is a disgusting side of me. It's not like I'm willing the man to die (or am I?), but in the spirit of honesty, life would be a lot easier once the end happens. I REPEAT... I'M A TERRIBLE PERSON!!!!

18 Comments

NO, you are not. I feel the same way!
If your are a horrible person for thinking those thoughts....then, nearly every single caregiver here is in that same basket with you.

I do not have it anywhere near as bad as most people who post here, but I think those same thoughts.

I wonder if Mom would really want to live on like this .... if she was really cognizant of all this. I wonder if my entire senior life will be consumed by taking care of her. Would she out live me? Wow...that is a depressing thought!

So..read here for a while, you will discover you are very far from alone. What you are experiencing is pretty normal.
You are not alone.
Tinyblu, you are not a terrible person. You are a human person. You sound like me and a thousand other people on this forum. If you asked anyone at random if they would want to live this way, they would say absolutely not! These are not the good years for your dad. But he did have good years. Sounds like he had many, many good years. So don't stress over your VALID and HUMAN feelings. They are normal. In a way, you are grieving over losing the dad you knew. And you are grieving the life you had before he was so needy. Did your dad have this kind of stress when he was your age? Did he care for someone in this state? Chances are probably not. Someone else here told me that medical science is allowing people to live far beyond natural death. Their bodies and their minds wear out but chemicals and machines keep them going. I don't know all the answers. But I know that you are not a terrible person. YOU ARE NOT. We have all been there and said the same things.
You are not a terrible person. Your feelings are normal. I would question the person who looks at their loved one who can't see, can't hear, can't breathe, can't poop and say "I hope s/he lives this way for decades more to come." Anyone with any love in their heart would want that misery to end.
Tinyblu...

Every so often, I get brochures and emails and so on from dementia support organisations - Alz Soc., of course, but several others too.

Or there'll be some GreatAndGood person on the radio, lobbying for - well, you know the type. Magic Formula research. Better Funding For Tena Pads. The Here's Hoping! campaign (I made that up, sorry).

There was one in particular, a leaflet called "Living Well With Dementia", though, which I didn't make up. Say what? For every Mr Gibbs (Jeanne's husband, who after all had her on his side), there must be a hundred people who are living in dread and pain with dementia. What's the good part of that?

And I can, alone in private, get driven to physical violence by this kind of bull. I shout, and throw things. I particularly *despise* (as in, long to throttle) beautiful mellow-voiced highly-salaried ladies banging on about the positives as if, if you really really really care hard enough, dementia is nothing more than a wonderful sunset journey.

I want these people rounded up and obliged to work a minimum of 2 days a week in a memory care unit. And no slacking in the activities room, either. Understaffed night shifts with the screamers and biters, that's what they need.

I wouldn't have gone so far as to say to your ex "Lucky break!" or anything crass like that. But when my dad died very suddenly, a wise friend of my mother's said to me: "better for him. Worse for you." Which was some kind of comfort. Your ex's mother will never know suffering again.

You're being realistic. What's happening to your father is horrible. What's happening to the people around him is worse. You wish it weren't happening, for all kinds of perfectly good reasons. The only upside is that he's not having to do it alone.
Tiny; I think these thoughts every day. My boss lost both of her parents when they were in their 70s; she tells her siblings at least once a week how they "dodged a bullet"--the one that most of us here are dealing with.

Get hold of a book called "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?" by Roz Chast. It will make you laugh and cry at the same time. Don't drink anything while you're reading it or you will be snorting wine or cola through your nose. She hits all of the high points of the trip we are all taking down dementia lane.

Be well sweetheart. Please take care of yourself.
Tinyblu..thank you for posting this and thank you to those who responded. I have often felt this way with my dad. I know I am not a bad person but have felt this way many times. It's good to know this is truly a human and real emotion.
With ya. And I had it easy compared to many of you. My mom was not a (deliberate) jerk; not a toileting disaster; etc.

But in the thick of it, I envied anyone who had lost both parents. The longer ago, the better.

Oh, to not have the constant worries. To not get those phone calls. To not watch my own life slip away while helping someone else live theirs. To not hear a constant stream of "why don't you..." from the peanut gallery.

In the context of my own family, I am the elder-care pioneer. My parents did not endure protracted deterioration (and bizarro-world "independence") with any of their parents. This was foreign territory for me. And it wore me down.

My caregiving stint is in the rear-view mirror now. Time has not smoothed all of the rough edges. Perhaps it never will.

The past is behind me. As for the future....the thought of my own (someday) feeble, irrational old age fills me with despair.
Dear tinyblu,

We can all identify with so much of what you are writing about. There is so much stress on your shoulders. Its only natural to feel the way you do when you are working two jobs and caring for an elderly parent. Its certainly not easy. Year after year it would wear any one down.

Please know you are not a terrible person. Only human. The raw emotions all us caregivers go through is overwhelming. I hope you can take a step back and try to find a better balance for yourself. Must take care of yourself as well.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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