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Hi all, I am new here. My father has been in the hospital with many health problems for over two weeks now. To list the most severe, end-stage renal disease and a CHF exacerbation. He has been struggling with diabetes for years, and is currently on a ventilator and CTT dialysis in ICU.


A week ago, I dropped everything and went to see him. He is in Florida, while I am 3,200+ miles away in the Pacific Northwest. The ~6,500 mile round trip, on top of the stress, took nearly everything out of me. I stayed in a hotel near his hospital, because his home situation is... less than ideal.


For the past several years, my father has had a live-in relationship with a woman. To put it politely, she has a very extensive history with law enforcement and openly admits to being an active drug addict. The entire family has pleaded with him to move back out west (he does not have any other family in Florida, but moved there to retire with his wife who passed over a decade ago) - but to no avail. I personally got him very close to moving in with my husband and myself a few times, but he backed out last minute each time. He told me this woman has "dangerous friends." I told him we could still extract him diplomatically, and that there are all kinds of resources for seniors to help him.. but he refused every time.


This woman has already stolen from him since he's been in the hospital. When the stolen card was shut off, she launched a hateful, ugly tirade on everyone in the family, trying threats, intimidation, sob stories, screaming... anything she could try to get someone to pick up funding her habits (it did not work). She has had almost no concern for my father through all of this, but has only gone on and on about how she deserves to never have to work again because she was there for him when he needed an ambulance.


I am completely mentally and emotionally exhausted, and absolutely torn apart that I have so little power to help from so far away. If this were different, if my dad didn't have violent junkies living in his home, deeply embedded in every facet of his life, if he had let us help him any of the dozens of times we tried over the last several years, none of this would be happening. I could stay in his house and be there with him at the hospital every day. I want desperately to go there, but in ICU, visitors are only allowed for a period of 10-20 minutes at a time. The nurse told me that while he is sedated, all I will end up doing is sitting worrying in a hotel room for most of the day (as I did while I was there last week) because I would not be allowed to sit at his bedside like I could in a regular room.


Please, anyone with any resources, advice, or guidance, please let me know what I can do. I don't know how to help.

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[3rd Update]

I am celebrating a MASSIVE victory today. I was able to get the funeral home that is handling my father to pick up my mother's ashes. They are together now. Nothing sinister happened to my mother's ashes after all. I feel such relief it's overwhelming.
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Reply to Lynzaura
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GA, I think perhaps the ashes ate at dad's residence.

I think the idea of breaking this down into do-able steps is a good one.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Lynzaura, I'm so sorry to learn of your father's passing.  And it's so unfortunate that life is complicated by the predatory woman.

Perhaps putting each different problem or aspect into its own category and working on the issues one at a time will help relieve some of the overwhelming feeling.  I've been there (under much different circumstances, but separating issues, identifying potential solutions and roadblocks, does at least help the coping aspect.

I would agree with Barb as to the dog, remembering as well that the ASPCA is focused on animal protection.  

Can you contact the issuing authority for the death certificate and have it overnighted by FedEx?  It's expensive, but it will diminish the timeline.   When my parents and sister died, the funeral director made arrangements to get the death certificates.  I don't recall how long it was, but it was only a matter of a few days or less.

How is your father's post death preparation being handled?  In that area?  Who's selecting the funeral home?  They could expedite delivery by getting the certs from the county office for you.

I'm not sure if your mother is buried in Florida, or in the Pacific NW.   If the threats to your mother's ashes are credible, I would certainly contact the cemetery and alert them.   If "the woman" isn't in the same state though, I seriously doubt she would travel all across the US to do something nasty to your mother's burial plot or  coffin.

It's probably difficult to separate the threats from the practicality, but that could help limit the issues about which to be concerned.    I also wonder if you or any of the family have discussed restraining orders with a local law firm.  If not, you might want to consider it.    Attorneys locally often have relationships with law firms with similar practices out of state, or could create them to locate someone for you.

The threats she's making might qualify for a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order).

Did your father's attorney state that he really can't do ANYTHING w/o the death certificate?   They certainly could apply for a TRO.

 I am trying not to think about all the horrible things she said she would do to my mother's ashes, my father's dog, all his things... his car and home. All because she lost access to his bank account card. I am half a world away and no one can help me.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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I am so sorry for your loss.


Can you call Animal Protection in dad's town?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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[2nd Update]

Yesterday, my father passed away.

I am devastated, and I also have no clue how to handle the mess left behind with this awful woman. The death certificate will take about a week to even generate (before shipping thousands of miles), and I can't start anything until I have it. Meanwhile no one in his state can help me. The police also won't check on the property or the dog (they only do welfare checks on people).

I am so exhausted from grieving and notifying everyone in the family... my father's condition was up and down for weeks, and I feel like I've cried everything inside of me out. I am trying not to think about all the horrible things she said she would do to my mother's ashes, my father's dog, all his things... his car and home. All because she lost access to his bank account card. I am half a world away and no one can help me.

I contacted my dad's former attorney and they can't do anything without that death certificate either. I was up front with them about the woman living in his home and now I'm afraid they won't want to take his case..

Any guidance here is EXTREMELY helpful. Thank you.
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Reply to Lynzaura
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Most hospitals want to know who is someone's surrogate or health proxy. Call the ICU and ask the nurse who is listed as your dad's next of kin. That is the person the hospital would call were something to happen and a medical decision to be made. Hopefully, he listed you and your contact information.

Tell the nurse you want to speak to the case manager. This may be your opportunity to have him placed in a more appropriate setting such as longterm care, which would be better for him than living with a drug addict. See what help you can get for him through the case manager.

Once you get things squared away with your dad's discharge, you need to get durable power of attorney so that you can have the legal authority to handle his affairs i.e. selling his house to pay for his longterm care. If he refuses, there is nothing you can do unless you're willing to pay for guardianship, which is expensive and your dad could fight it if he's scared of that woman and her "dangerous friends".

This sounds like a very hard situation. I hope you'll keep us posted.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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[UPDATE]
I am trying to get in contact with a law firm that dealt with my parents' assets when my mother passed.

As for the roommate, the police and social services were involved when my father's card was stolen, however when they interviewed the roommate, and then my father, they came back and said they were 'on the same page,' so I'm not sure what I can do. My dad didn't want to take action at that time, and has since been in and out of ICU again, and is still quite critical.

Then, yesterday, roommate went to the hospital again in an attempt to see him. She was allowed in, but had a meltdown, hanging all over him and begging for money, doing her same old junkie-without-a-fix song and dance. No concern for him or his condition. She was upsetting my father so the nurses had her removed, and since this is the second major incident she caused, she has been permabanned from visiting him. My dad even asked them not to let her specifically come back again.

She then tried to see him today and was refused. She called me, expecting me to somehow allow her in, but I told her there is nothing I can do. Then she started screaming and crying and carrying on. All kinds of ugly things I won't repeat.

I am trying right now to focus on him, checking in routinely and hoping to have another conversation with him again. I am not sure I even want to pollute any future communications with my dad with any of that crap about her. His every moment is precious, and I hate that it has to be marred with this garbage. I am so torn apart by all of this, I wish I knew what the right thing to do is. I feel like I'm just trying to hold onto my dad's hand while fighting a raging sea. I wish he would just recover. I want him to get better and tell me it's okay. I just want my dad back.
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Reply to Lynzaura
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I assume you mean by proxy in your header that its Medical. Who was able to shut down the stolen card? Did you report it stolen so the Credit Card shut it down. I hope you asked for no replacement at this time.

I think it would be OK to call the Law Firm and make them aware of Dad. That you need to make sure that beside you there is a financial POA in place. And if not her, that person needs to be notified to freeze your Dads accts. Ask if you are the Executor because POAs stop at death. I think even if an Executor has been named in a Will Probate can override that if the person is not fit for the job.

If Dad improves, I don't think he will go home. He may need care in at least an AL. Hopefully he kept the house in his name, because his POA or even his lawyer maybe able to start eviction proceedings on her. Problem would be she may trash the house.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Lynzaura,  a few comments...  

1.  I think the nurse's observation might be, or not be, appropriate.  When my father was put into a medically induced coma, intubated, and transferred to ICU, he obviously wasn't able to communicate, but I felt it was important to visit regularly.   So I did.

He was connected to a monitoring machine, the name of which I can't remember now, that reflected brain activity.   I had brought a hymnal from his church, sang his favorite songs, and held his hand.    And I watched the brain monitor, as did an ICU nurse, who observed that despite being in a coma, he was responding to me.  (Or it could just be he didn't like the way I sang!)   She felt though that coming to visit was worthwhile.  

There was never any question of my not being allowed to sit by his bedside.

2.   Your father's estate.    This seems rather insensitive, but it's not intended to be.   Does he have assets, significant or otherwise?  If so, you could try legal intervention, by reporting the drug abuse to the police, by finding a local attorney to evict the junkies, although that won't happen overnight.   If evicted, or even if they're in jail, I believe they could be served with a TRO, a restraining order to prevent them from  returning.  

You could then follow up on guardianship as FunkyGrandma suggests.  

I frankly don't understand how this motley crew of junkies could be tolerated, not subjected to police involvement, and allowed to perpetuate what apparently is elder abuse.  

3.  A major consideration though is whether or not your father would be angry at you for taking steps against this woman and her junkie friends.   If it negatively affects what relationship you have, would it be worth it?

4.   Another question is would his current and following health issues support or compound the emotional issues, and a long term return to the Pacific NW?
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Is anyone in the family your fathers POA? If not, it may be time to apply through the courts for guardianship for him. It can be rather expensive, but it will allow you to take the actions to not only protect your father, but also proceed with whatever you would deem appropriate for his care, including where he should live. To me at this point, it sounds like it would be worth whatever it costs to get him out of the situation he currently is in. You definitely want to be talking to a lawyer.
Also you should be going to the hospital to see your father, even if it's only for 10-20 minutes, as he needs to know that there is someone out there that cares, as I'm sure his drug addict girlfriend isn't stopping by. You don't want to be so close, yet so far away. Go see your father. it will make you and he feel much better. I wish you and your father well.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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Is your father suffering from dementia? Does this woman have POA? Who is the hospital using as current health care proxy? Your father may well be looking now at end of life issues. You have already visited. You have offered help and your father has chosen this woman, who apparently HAS been his caretaker for a while? I don't see that you can do anything while your father is in charge of his decisions, and in all truth, even if you CAN and are given guardianship, you can only likely place him on palliative care where he currently lives. A move cross country is too late, and you do have your own life. Your Dad has had a life and has made his own decisions for his life, and it does seem he is currently at end of life. He may or may not have a will and or instructions somewhere; it is unlikely you could know with his uncooperative companion. She has likely had him already do paperwork putting him in charge both now and after his death. Going there to try to implement any changes would require your actually being there, seeing lawyer. I would frankly visit when I can (you have done that) and keep in touch. It is sad that there is not at least SOME members of the family in that area of the country but I agree with you, that your presence there will not make a particle of difference in any of this.
As I said, your father has had his life and made his decisions. They are what they are. You have your own life, have TRIED to intervene and it has not worked. I wouldn't intervene at this point; I cannot see that it would accomplish anything. You have visited. I don't see what else you can do. If you are contacted by medical for decisions I would tell them you have no advanced directives, no POA for health care, and that he and his companion have basically be incommunicado with the family. You DO say you want desperately to go there. If this is the case you can go, get guardianship on temporary status with help of hospital social worker and get dad in safe placement, but you currently have utterly no idea what documents he has signed giving others these powers, and are unlikely to find out. I think it would be an exercise in futility, very costly, and perhaps even dangerous if you are dealing with junkies. You can also speak to Adult Protective in the area.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Lynzaura Jun 20, 2021
Thank you for your thoughtful reply, AlvaDeer.

My father does in fact have a law firm in posession of his will and living will, from the mid-00s. I have not discussed the documents with this firm, because I had been assuming he would bounce back and recover (they are looking to extubate him tomorrow, and his vitals are stable). I didn't think it would be appropriate, and I wasn't sure if they could even disclose without POA (not sure if I have that?)... they are the same firm that dealt with my mother's passing over a decade ago. So, unless there are newer documents with some other agency, I would assume the arrangements would be the same as they were then. I don't know, nor do I know how to find out.
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