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I am the full time caretaker for my father-in-law.Due to dysfunctional family issues, he has little contact with his two daughters and my husband works.
My fil has severe emphysema/copd and is an alcoholic. He also tells a lot of "white lies" and according to my husband has done so his entire life. It is very difficult and frustrating to try to figure out if the man is lying again or if there is some dementia.
Currently, he is on home anitbiotic iv fussion for a severe lung infection. I believe he has had for a while due to the fact he never finishes his antibiotics when prescribed. Now, I attend to his every need; medication, meals, laundry, errands, etc., He does seem to be getting a lot better,as he is not coughing and hacking as much. When I make a comment that he seems to be doing better, he denies it. When I try to offer a suggestion, such as raising the head of his bed to help with breathing and sleeping, he says it will not work. When I offer to make him a high protien breakfast to help give him energy, he says that will not work....the list is endless.Absolutely nothing I suggest to help him feel better, is taken into account.
I am beginning to strongly resent him. I don't know if he is using his disease to manipulate my sympathy or drive me crazy. I swear, I think he just likes to argue. When everything seems to be going good for him, he blurts out that he cannot breathe and I might need to call 911 in a " little bit." To just "wait".
I am a trained EMT and still read and refresh my skills when I can, so I am very well aware of when he is really in respiratory distress.
Lately, that's all my husband and I talk about ( his father ). It's as if our lives revolve around him.
Normally, I am a very caring and thoughtful person. Lately, I feel as if my stomach is in knots, lots of headaches and sleeping poorly most nights. I know the reason is anger turned inwards.
How do I cope with this? Am I expierencing burn-out?
I do a lot of gardening, exercise and eat right, so I think I am on the right path physically.....mentally, I don't know.

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You are, in my opinion, experiencing burnout. Your life revolves around your father-in-law and he knows how to manipulate you.
It seems to me that it would be far better to move him to assisted living (if he's healthy enough) or to a nursing home if AL is out of the question.
You and your husband could visit and care for him, but you would also have a life of your own. As it is, you are a 24/7 caregiver to a man with at best a difficult personality. You didn't say if his alcoholism is "active" in that he's still drinking, but that certainly can be part of the picture. Alcoholism is a disease, as is possible dementia.
There is a limit to what you can do. Your headaches and other physical symptoms are good clues that this is taking too much out of you. Since there is so much dysfunction in your husband's family, this seems to be up to you two. Please talk with him about moving his father into care before you end up with severe health problems.
Good luck,
Carol
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Thanks to all for your advice. Yesterday, I did nothing, other than give him his meds., and it felt great! I did not even bother to sit with him and listen to his complaints, although he tried to get me to. He even offered to let me watch Dr. Oz, which he never does ( tv stays on 24 hour western channel). I had a nap, watched some tv in my room and stayed in my pjs, all day. I never do that.
Later, before bedtime, my husband gave me a massage, as well as a gift of three Ray Charles's cd collection!!!
My fil still drinks alcohol and will not go into assisted living. We have tried to discuss end of life issues and he wants full life support, til the end.
This morning he begins complaining about the pain in his stomach he has everynight. No kidding, I replied....you drink whiskey with mountain dew on top of cipro and an iv antibiotic. Of course, he denies that is the reason. So, I very calmly told him that I did not want to have a discussion about that. The end!!! Felt great.
Not to blame everything on my fil, I have to let go of the control issues I have. I can only provide limited support and that is it. If he does not want to listen to the advice of his doctors, then there is little I can do. I did tell him, when he pulled the 911 trick again, that I would call 911 if I thought he needs it. I also told him, that if he is able to speak in full sentences without running out of breath, he is fine. When he complains about the meds., he has to take, I just tell him if he does not comply, he will go into the hospital.
Again, thanks to all.
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Grey- I am in the same boat with my mother. She has always been difficult but now with lung cancer and Alzheimers everything is magnified. She also takes me for granted and rejects any ideas I have to make her more comfortable/healthy. I'm sure this is some kind of attempt at manipulation (in addition to the obvious attempts at manipulation). I think for them being uncooperative and difficult is how they try to get attention. Imagine if you offered something healthy to them and they said "yes that sounds good, thanks"- that would be the end of the interaction. They dont want this, they want to be continually fussed over. I think they're afraid that if they say "hey that protein drink was great, I feel pretty good" that you might continue to help them and eventually leave/pay less attention because they got "better". It's ridiculous, I know, but I think they hold on to their ailments as insurance that someone will be there for them in this awful time in their lives.

I'm not justifying this behavior, believe me, I have a ton of resentment also. The way I deal with it is to be as objective as I can with my mother. I take care of all of her basic needs, and I do it well, but I will not be her friend and most of the time will not even have a conversation with her if I can help it, because it will be about her and her suffering. It's a crappy way to live but it's the best I can do to save myself.
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I feel for you and can say I have done it and been there, I dont have all the answer's and have my FIL at home until April 1st and then he is going to assisted living and that might not be for everyone, I did resent him and It is very true your lives do revolved around him, I finally told my husband we eat, sleep, drink and talk about your dad. I did get very sick and still get the headaches, try hot baths or hot tub, they do help. I will keep you in my prayers and take some time away with your husband (find someone to watch him a friend or church member) Just get some away time for both of you. Stay strong.....
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dgrey63, you know I think if I were in your position, next time he plays the 'I'm sicker then you think and may call 911' card, I'd ask him if he thinks he'd be more comfortable in a nursing home? My hope would be that he will stop complaining and be a little more grateful. I don't know, what do you think?
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I think that Carol's suggestion that it is time to consider long term placement is on the mark. Until that happens, absolutely arrange respite care. You have to get away from that situation regularly. Use FIL's funds to pay for this. If he has no funds, apply for Medicare. In fact, in the likely event that he doesn't have enough funds to pay for long-term care the rest of his life, start the application process as soon as possible. Set some "no-talk-of-Dad" to be with your husband.

And a reality check on your resentment -- "white lies" are to protect other people's feelings. "That is a nice haircut," or "Oh I don't think anyone noticed that stain on your tie" are white lies. Lies used to manipulate others are not "white" and excusing them that way is a kind of denial. Dismissing all caring suggestions is disrespectful. Being unappreciative is annoying to say the least. Your resentment is not without justification. Of course, he may not be mentally healthy enough to make significant behavior changes. Another reason to consider long-term care.

While you are still doing the day-to-day caring, try not to care so much! Do your best, and let it go. And I suggest not consulting him so much. Raise the head of his bed. If he objects, say, "I want you to try this for 3 nights to see if it makes a difference." Occassionally make him something to eat that you think would be good for him (without giving that as a reason.) If he doesn't eat it, so be it.

You can only do what you can do and what he'll let you do. Do not take on personal responsibility for his well-being. Do your best. That is all any of us can do.
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your approach is too passive. you should say " you want some french toast M - F ? if not dont feed that f***** for about ten days and he'll eat cat food. be damn glad to git that too. he'll say " this is really delicious, got any more? my, if you can train an animal surely you can train an old man. god, why do i bother?
youre welcome.
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dgrey63, That is great! Keep it up! To stop enabling someone's self-destructive behavior in the name of "caring" has got to take effort and strength. I'm so glad you have done this.

Keep in mind that while he can say he refuses to consider LTC, you have some options, too. You can decide that he can no longer live with you. I know you do not want to get that drastic, but keep in mind it is a possibility. This is not a court-mandated in-house arrest you are serving. You ultimately have the upper hand. Whether or not you use it is up to you, but just knowing you have it may help you maintain the strength to do what needs to be done while he lives with you.

Please come back periodically and let us know how this plays out.
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I too have resentment toward my MIL and tend to take it out on my husband, which I know is totally unfair. He travels for his job, so is not home for 1-2 days a week. My MIL has diabetes, mild alheizheimers, mild dementia and DRINKS 2-3 glasses EVERY evening of Jack Daniels and water. When my husband (whom does not drink at all) is not home she starts her drinking as early as 4-430 pm and continues til about 1130pm. When he is home she waits til at least 6-7pm then just goes downstairs and stays downstairs drinking. She cant get up early enough to have breakfast by even 9am, says she just feels lighted headed due to her ailments and sinus problems...funny she does not have that when she has a light drinking evening. She lies to the dr and says she only has 1 drink an evening. She also says she is 81 years old and shd be able to live her life the way she wants as long as she sits downstairs and not bother anybody. Problem is....she sits downstairs and says mean things and thinks I cant hear her. Her personality changes when she starts drinking...first drink or two shes tolerable then after those she becomes just an old drunk. She too has become the only topic my husband and I argue about. AL is not an option and my sister in laws live in 1600 miles away. Im actually getting to the point where I really dont love her let alone even like her anymore.
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guamgal, I too have that feeling when I get so frustrated with the parents. Doesn't matter if mom is bedridden, can't talk or move. It's feelings of frustration, and not having a life. I gave up my dream of traveling. I gave up travelling. I gave up eating out for dinner or lunch cuz I can't find a sitter. It just sooo sucks! I try not to think about it because then I go into depression, etc... I just go with the flow..and vent, vent and more vent on this site! The people here gives me more encouragement and advice than family could.

If you want help with an answer, post your own question. On the above, click Caregiver Support and Ask a Question. Hopefully someone will be able to help you. I have no experience with family and drinking. Alzheimer - yes...but...not the combination. Take care!
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