ligiamcothren Asked September 2010

How do I deal with being in a constant state of fear that my father is dying?

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My dad has always been a complainer. For the last 8 years he has told me daily that he is dieing. Whenever he had any pain it was always the worse pain possible. Now he has stage IV colon cancer and the chances that he will die soon are very real. His constant complaints put me in a perpetual fear that he is dieing. I am constantly taking him to the doctor or the hospital for his aliments. So far his cancer has not grown and the pains he suffers are typical pains of aging and immobility. He recently fell and hurt himself so now he spends most of his days in bed. His pain started in his hip and now the pain has moved to his knees. I just don't understand this pain because tomorrow it may be in his back or foot or anywhere else. I don't know how to help him.
To further add to my stress when he finally decides to sit with us in the family room . He sits and chants "Oh my god". The stress of caring for him and constantly worrying that he is in pain/dieing is too much for me. I have spoken to him and asked him not to chant but it doesn't help. I have also asked him to only tell me he is in sever pain when it is truly bad because otherwise I won't know what to do.
He also says he does not sleep at all at night. I don't want to give him sleep meds because it causes confusion and I think he must exaggerate when he says he doesn't sleep at all because when I check on him he is always sleeping.
His constant complaints are wearing on me to the point that I've had to start taking anti-depressants. I just don't know how to cope.

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I think a good way to be both nice to yourself and deal with this fear is to find a competent therapist because you very well might also be dealing with the undercurrents of some strong unseen family dynamics that are functioning like a rip tide in your life right now.
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toadballet1 Sep 2010
I can hear the stress pouring out of your every word. You sound just like I did when I found this forum. One thing I discovered, with the help of many here, is that I was "overdoing" for my Mom. In essence she became "spoiled" and thought I should be there for her every whim. Now, I do what she needs first and her "wants" come when I have time.
Your situation is far more stressful because of your father's diagnosis. However, it sounds as though the cancer is not spreading rapidly and he is at least hit a plateau.
Can you get him involved in any activity? even small things, like helping you with some household progect? When my Mom has too much time on her hands, she "self diagnoses."
I agree with not wanting to give him heavy duty sleep meds...the side effects are not worth it. Have you tried OTC remedies like Excedrin PM etc. They work well for Mom. Or, with his doctor's okay, a small glass of red wine at night? He may be sleep deprived too.
When my Mom was in rehab the docs always asked her how intense her pain was on a scale from 1 to 10. This gets the patient thinking in more "concrete" terms about their pain and gave the doctors a more accurate guage.
Now, for you: You NEED to get some time away. Can your family pitch in and give you a chance to do something for yourself? If not, hire a paid caregiver to come in once a week. It is also good for your father to have someone else to interact with. My mother's caregiver is older, so they seem to have a lot more to talk about.
If your father is, indeed, in the end stages of his life, hospice can be a Godsend. However, get a referral from a friend or someone you trust. Not all hospices are alike.
Lastly, be kind to yourself. Death is an inevitablity for all of us. You cannot control when your father passes, so let nature take its course and just do what you can as his loving daughter.
Good luck..keep in touch...and take care of yourself...at the end of the day only you can preserve your own health.
Lilli
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lach61 Sep 2010
You shouldn't have had to get to the point of taking anti-depressants, but I don't need to tell you that. I would tell him to quit the chanting, because if he doesn't you'll have to call '911'
to come and take him to the hospital. Maybe that will stop him. ...but after you do, be extra vigilent about seeing what he does. He may end up by causing harm to himself or your house. Maybe you could take him to the doctor and have them run some tests. They even want him to go to the hospital for the tests. If they rule out what you might be thinking of, it may put your mind at ease. Is there a Hospice near you? If you don't know, you could probably get on the internet and research. You may want to talk to Hospice before you think about calling the doctor. Good luck.
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