I just joined this site because I am having conflicting feelings caring for my father. He has been living with me for 1-1/2 yrs and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January. I left my full time job of 22 yrs to stay home and care for him and I am increasingly finding this more difficult with cancer progressing and issues I have to deal with on a daily basis. Just need someone to share.
The conflict I always had was loving my father a lot, but not loving caregiving. I wanted him to be well taken care of, but it was hard.
I have hospice care coming in everyday (nurse) for him, he has cancer, on pain pump and every other medication possible to help him through this difficult time. I massage his legs, hands, feet everynight and he does get plenty of hugs and kisses daily along with his favorite Dunkin coffee every day, sometimes 3 times a day and I give him the freedom to smoke, which is all he has to enjoy. I am pretty sure you misunderstand my conflict. but thanks for sharing.
Another possibility is that he is in pain. As most people know from experience, no one is happy or nice when they are in pain. He may have a small but steady level of discomfort, not quite enough to report, but enough to keep him discontented. Discuss these possibilities with his doctors, or better yet, hospice!
After addressing both of these concerns, it may be that he is unhappy to be old and dying. You can't jolly someone out of that. Try agreeing with him that his life isn't very much fun anymore. That kind of sympathy can go a long way to making him feel understood.
Can you adopt an outlook of compassion and sorrow, and acceptance of his fate? His situation isn't good, but it happens to a million people a year. It's the inevitable result of having been born. You should be sad for him, and sad for the loss of him, but still happy that you are alive and healthy. If being miserable yourself would relieve his pain, then go ahead, but your misery doesn't help him at all. It just drains away your energy.
Tell him you love him. Hug and kiss and touch him. Massage his hands and feet. Bring him tasty treats, even if he doesn't eat them. Reminisce about the old days. Look sad and hold his hand while he complains. Be happy in your heart that you have a father to love, who will live in your heart forever.
If it is best, put him into a NH or hospice. Then you can be free from his physical care, and free to love him and comfort him.
I choose this vocation (not a 'job' .. it's part of what I am), and I'm here to say, 24 hours a day, SEVEN days a week .. that's 8736 hours, non-stop, without vacations or holidays .. is impossible to maintain and remain a healthy, mindful, stable adult.
There are workarounds: assistance from agencies for home health, volunteers from church groups, VA groups and benefits, almost every county in the US has some kind of program to provide respite for at home caregivers. And, while the family member may have promised to take the burden of care, I'd be willing to bet, no one =at least at first= imagines the toll it takes on the caregiver to do so long term and alone. SOMETHING will break.
As has been said countless times and throughout this site: the first thing to take care of is YOU. If you're not fit and capable, what will happen to your loved one? I realize dad may not seem to like it, even vociferously rail against it, but get some MORE help in the house. "Dad .. I can't keep doing this alone, all the time. I promised I'd be here, and THIS is the price we have to pay. We have to open the door for someone else to help. Otherwise, I'll die before you do. Not kidding, here. She'll be here tomorrow for 2 hours, so I can go (fill in the blank for time for YOU). We all want for your life to be as comfortable and comforting as possible, and this is what it's going to take." Then DO it. You'll just have to learn to ignore the snarling.
If you doubt this is as critical as I say .. read some more of the caregiver stories here. I know I sound blunt. It's not an accident. If you don't wake up now and take care of YOU ... there may not be much left of you at the end of this journey.
Take care .. and blessings.