I asked my brother for help. He lives away and takes no active role in caring for my 95-year-old father. Background: my dad isn't doing too badly as he's mentally fine and is physically impaired only by hearing loss and an arthritic leg. But that changed recently after having surgery to remove a tumour from his bladder...and subsequently had four trips to the emergency room for minor complications. I was with him each time and was the go to person for all the nursing appointments etc. that had to be made during this period. I found this really stressful as I knew each time he insisted we go to emergency that it would be a very very long wait since his condition really was not of that caliber. The last time was eight hours through the night and when that was over, I was at the end of my rope. On top of this, my dad and I have a very troubled history and sometimes I truly resent being his caregiver. He lives in his own apartment and manages quite well and sometimes I wonder why I do as much as I do? Then I think the answer to that is his neediness. He wants people to pay attention to him but makes no real effort to make friends. He lives in a senior community and has every opportunity to do so. So I feel guilty if I'm not seeing him often enough. Following the last session at emergency, I contacted my brother asking for help because I couldn't do this alone and he came back with every excuse imaginable and it just seemed he was washing his hands of us. Well I thought the only way he could be of any help then would be financially and since I was doing all the work possibly he could send me money which I could use to either provide the services for my dad myself or hire outside services. Well, the answer I got from my brother was so nasty and so hostile that it shut me right down. I was stunned and replied civilly but got another very nasty message...so I told him I would no longer open any mail from him.
I went to spend the weekend with my friend, a fellow that lives some distance away. It was beautiful, calming, and truly a mental health break for me. When I was on the road for home, about five minutes, I got a call on my car phone from the on call nurse saying that dad insisted on going again to emergency. Again it was something not serious but in his mind he needed to be attended to. I was angry and upset as I realize that my life wasn't my own. And, how long was this going to go on? The upshot of this call was that I refused to take him to emergency and if he wanted to go he should get a cab. I explained to him that I did not feel that it was worthy of sitting in an emergency room for up to eight hours for something that may sort itself out overnight, which it did. I followed this up with a message to my dad that I was going to avail myself of services for him by people who could put it away at the end of the day because it was just a job. I told him I wouldn't abandon him but that I could no longer be providing the sort of care he demanded. He is suggesting now that I won't be able to live with myself once he's gone if I treat him this way.
Even after a lifetime of troubles with him, how do I stay strong and not allow him to pressure and manipulate me? I feel I want to just disappear, run away...and free myself from this debilitating anxiety.