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Where do I start? My dad became disabled last July with transverse myelitis. He recovered somewhat aside from a wobbly gait at times and poor strength in one arm. I have never read where this condition causes mental confusion and STUPOR. After my concerns and those of family members, I investigated and found his wife is giving him sleeping pills when he wakes up in the morning and also early evening. I confronted her and she told me that a doctor prescribed it that way. I managed to remove it from two morning doses and my dad was completely different. He washed a car, took out the trash, and worked in the yard. I demanded she stop and she refuses. Last week, he fell in the yard and hit his head on a brick. In the last 108 days, she has filled prescriptions that include a total of 210 sleeping pills and 180 Prozac. He is diabetic and she is giving him seroquel twice a day which renders him comatose and probably very high sugar as she no longer gives him his metformin. My dad told me to back off and thinks I overreacted. He is pretty much at her mercy 24/7. The two days that she didn't get morning sleeping pills in him, I felt like I had my dad's back. But I can see he won't be living in 6 months. I know the moment I report, she will block me from ever seeing my dad again. Where do I start? She has POA, the doctors won't speak to me, she has sold all his jewelry, put everything in her name. It's pretty clear she is planning for her future without him. Open to advice. I am not wealthy and I don't have deep pockets. Thanks in advance . :°(

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Since dad told you to "back off," it may be best or this could go real bad very quickly.  He's obviously not unhappy.  Maybe this is the path he's chosen, and he chooses to be with her and for her to help him as she is.  Maybe he told her to sell his jewelry or maybe she needed to sell it to help pay expenses.  And maybe he told her to put all in her name cause he loves her and maybe to thank her for sticking with him and helping him or to make sure she's cared for if he's gone. 

It's unfortunate, but being out of the loop often happens with step parents. 

Maybe she's having trouble (little dementia?), and forgets how many pills or which pills she's given him?  Maybe she needs someone to help her with this. 

You might want to ask her if there's anything you can do to help, and start doing those things.  Do they need any money?  Lots of people say no; you have to hand them the money ~ if you have any extra, even $10, $20.  And/or you could just pay for some things to be done.  You might offer to take him off her hands a few days by taking him to your home?  come over and do things needed?  wash their car/s or take them to be washed .. serviced, stay (babysit) with him ..give him what he needs.. so she can go out? and give her a break, .. laundry, cooking (or bring meals), house & yard help, pick up prescriptions?  groceries? order groceries?  ride to drs? dds?  Do they need garbage service to pick up garbage at the door? You could set that up for them.  Pay/write their bills?  Help with banking?  She may need help and feel she has no one to help her care for him or too uncomfortable or embarrassed to ask, or not realize she really needs help, too.  People often don't ask for help when they really do need and welcome help.  She may be very overwhelmed with his care and trying to care for herself, too. 

As you said, you don't want to give her an excuse to spite you by blocking contact and creating a more strained relationship with her.  On the other hand, she is taking care of him, though it may not be how you think is best or even is best; she's at least there and helping him so he's fed and not in squalor. 

I'd work on trying to help her care for him without interfering, unless it becomes obvious they both need care and then you'll need to work on getting care for both of them.  She may be more open with you if you address her needs.

Good luck.
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Abbot311 May 26, 2020
Thank you. I think I sent you a separate message. Please see above.

Oh yes . I pay for groceries, bills, anything he wants or needs. But not now. The minute I asked her to explain what she was doing, the class came out and she has not spoken to me since. That is far better than being used. She doesn't see me as "willing to do anything" to see my dad while she drugs him. I said it was wrong and she has a real problem with that. So. We have a problem here. Now that I have the list of drugs.. I had no idea how big the problem was but am glad I now know. :-(
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The doctor that prescribed the meds can’t talk to you but you can certainly communicate with him/her. Call or write and relate what you told here, using only the factual things you’ve witnessed with your dad and not being critical of step mom. The doctor should be informed on what’s going on with the meds and the overuse, that’s a big deal now in the medical community.
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Abbot311 May 26, 2020
Thank you. Yes. My sister and I called her. The SM has dropped her POA on all the docs so they won't speak to us.

Last month she filled 30 sleeping pills at Wal-Mart and the next day she filled 60 more, same doc, different script. Why they did that.

I removed them from his morning meds and remarkably, it's not easy to know he has anything medically wrong. He's walking every night and is no longer in a stupor during the day. He says he feels the best he has felt in 6 months and it shows. Was a temporary fix.
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Report this to (APS) Adult Protective Services.   You can ask them to keep the report anonymous, but she will know it was you...who else would know that she gives him sleeping pills multiple times a day.  You are definitely between a rock and a hard place.  When there are step-parents involved, you as the child are pretty much out of the picture with the decision making unless he had paperwork in place that says otherwise.  I am sorry you are going through this, but I'm not sure how you are going to save your dad from himself.
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Abbot311 May 26, 2020
Thank you.
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UPDATE TO ABOVE.

Thank you so much for all the input and suggestions. Just suffice to say, I have followed all of them in the process. I am too kind hearted and was probably too willing to do whatever was needed. All that did was teach her that she could use me. She still won't give up control.

Here is the latest:Thank you. Yes. My sister and I called the MD. The SM has dropped her POA on all the docs so they won't speak to us but we documented and sent everything to her.

Last month his wife filled 30 sleeping pills at Wal-Mart and the next day she filled 60 more, same doc, different script. Why they did that... We got the records. My sister calls it chemical restraint. She actually fills 5 types of antidepressants/ssris.

I snuck in and removed them all from his morning meds and remarkably, it's not easy to now know he has anything medically wrong. He's walking every night and is no longer in a stupor during the day. He says he feels the best he has felt in 6 months and it shows. Was a temporary fix but I needed this relief.

My dad has NO clue why he is suddenly doing so well. The wife is pissed but there are so many pills, she hasn't figured out the sleeping pills have been removed. We are going to take further action. But the stress and worry, I am taking a breath and just enjoying the relief of having these few weeks where he is doing and feeling great. I realize that we still have to do more...
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You need to contact your local Adult Protective Services. They are an organization if an adult is being abused they will take action or in the least be able to guide you depending on the situation.
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Abbot311 May 26, 2020
Ok thank you
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Dads Doctor would be very interested to hear of the abuse of the medicine. An immediate thing he could do, without involving you, is regulate the prescription. He could write the sleeping medicine prescription for 30 pills only, with no refills. There would no extras to give him during the day, and she would need a new refill every month.

The Doctor can’t reveal details about your Dad, but he should always be open to hearing from family if there are problems. Call him ASAP. Good luck.
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Abbot311 May 26, 2020
You know that saying "birds of a feather flock together?"

The doctor is the one over prescribing. And I dont doubt she will be investigated when I finish and file a report with the medical board.
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Is he home bound at all? This is a technical term for if he only leaves the house to go to doctor visits, haircuts. If so he may be eligible for a visiting nurse. I would write the doctor as suggested above and ask the doc to request a visiting nurse for his diabetes, pain assessment and some medication monitoring and teaching. The nurse goes in once or a few times a week depending upon the needs of the patient. The nurse assesses the meds your father is on, can make recommendations to the doc and can assess if he is being safely cared for. The doc doesn’t have to say it was requested by you, the doc can recommend it after the next time he sees your father. This way any monitoring or observations are made by an unrelated party.
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Shane1124 May 16, 2020
Great idea after Covid subsides. Home care is overwhelmed right now (I am a RN case manager and know this for a fact).
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Find out how many doctors are giving those meds. Also how many pharmacies are dispensing them. If it is one doctor and one pharmacy - start with the doctor and explain the situation.
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lovemysons May 20, 2020
In my state all the pharmacies are connected and they regulate how many pills one receives, and when you can get a prescription even if you go to different doctors or pharmacies. Too bad you don't have this.
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Contact your local sheriff's department, file a report, and adult protective services regarding your concerns.
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Abbot311 May 26, 2020
Okay .

Thank you

Please see my update above.
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Honestly, my best advice to you is to befriend your stepmom and at least try to come off as being helpful and willing to step in and step UP to help with anything they might need in or around the house. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar...isn't that how the saying goes? Do you have a valid license for your backseat driving skill set? It can be easy (when you're not the primary caregiver) to stand back and judge/criticize.

If you continue with the he said/she said accusations, you're not going to get very far, and you're guaranteed to further alienate yourself from your stepmom AND your Dad. You have the choice, going forward, as to how you're going to proceed. You can make it ugly, or try the best you can to play nice. Ball's in your court.
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Abbot311 May 26, 2020
Please see my update above. Thank you for the input.

We will do more. There are no accusations here. There is NO good reason for a 76 year old man who was 100 % healthy 6 months ago, to now be on 5 different ssris and 6 gabapentin a day. We have the records now. It's a miracle she hasn't already caused him to OD.

I am glad he feels great now, realize that removing all the daily sleeping pills is a temporary fix, I just needed a day without worry. More to come...
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