Dealing with a sick parent.... Ideas ...

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2013
Dealing with a sick parent.... Ideas ...
Sun, 11-10-2013 - 12:29am

Hi. I want to know how the family can make my dad better and lift his spirit these days.  Sorry  a little long.  My dad had been undergoing a radiotherapy treatment for 6 weeks in a  row and 3 chimiotherapy sessions during those 6 weeks,  as he was found a small tumor like 2 months ago  on one of his tonsils he is shy one week to finish all the treatment. He never got surgery first as it was not necessary the doctor told himfor this kind of tumors. My dad now is in the patients shoes as he is a doctor but now he is dealing as a patient. I heard that most doctors are the worse patients. Unfortunately my dad is one of them. My dad has always been a very negative and tragic person, he always sees negative things in everything, he cant see some things are good. The thing is that since his treatment started  he knew before hand (as a frien of him went thru the same thing and had the same tumor many years ago) that was going to endure excruciating pain due to the treatment like 2 weeks after the treatment began.

Well indeed it happened. His pain was so much that he end up not eating at all, not even water he could swallow due to the pain in the throat but because he need to be fed and he needs to stay strong for the treatment and for the chimio sessions, the dcotor decided he was going to be fed by a nasal tube that goes directly thru his stomach as he really could not swallow anything. The thing is that now he is been fed by the tube until the treatment ends. For the moment he is only had been fed with serum and lENSURE.

Because I work and so does my sister we cant really ask for days off at work to stay with my dad. My sister is married and Im not married but I cant ask for like a week or so off I had to work. We have a brother who is not working so he has  been theh man in the house since the treatment started, taking my dad to all his radio and chimo sessions every single day. he was the one who was taught by the dietician how to feed my dad with the nasal tube.  My mom also works  but she always come early from work.. We have a lady who also helps in the house so she also  helps my dad in what my brother tells her to help as my brother is the one leading the thing at home. The bad thing is that since my dad needs to be fed by the nose, there is a schedule  at home we need to follow in order to feed him starting at 6am and finishing at 10pm so u can imagine how stressful and tiring for everyone specially my brother. is the situation.

Not only my dad has to be fed with Ensure and serum but he also has to make several mouth washes and gargles also during the whole day everyday, because due to the radiotherapy  as the treatment aims at his throat, not in other part of the body. He developed some mouth lesions and ulcers (that is like normal side effects of people undergoing radiotherapy specially in that particular area) that prevenedt him from eating (another reason for the feeding tube) and also because those ulcers were one of the reasons for the excruciating pain.

.As I was saying all this treatmentghad made my dad very depressed and he stil is very depressed . Me, my mom my sisters and my brother had tried to cheer him up telling him positive things like he is doing ok, the doctors had not said otherway. that this will be over soon, that hang on, that we know is painful but in order to recover he has to go thru those painful moments and also we have told him time flies fast and soon the treatment is over. He watches TV at home, news etc, my uncle comes to visit him often at home and he alos tell him positive thngs. But  it is hard to lift my dad spirit, he still depressed and he has been behaving like a baby in the sense of that he does not wnt to be left alone. He has said he is afraid that he is not going to make it so he gets more depressed thnking about that. For example today my brother wanted to go out at nite with his friends to relieve some stress as he has been under a lot of it since he is the one in charge of my dad (feeding him taking him to the sessions, getti g up early to feed him). He told my dad he was going to go out. My dad refuse for h im to go out as he told my brother that he was afraid and he is suffering that please do not go out. My brother I guess needed to distract a little for a couple of hours as he is not sleeping lately for my dad condition as he has to get up at 610am to feed my dad the first food of the day.  I mean during the weekdays I work like I said and I get up early but to get ready to go to work as I dont hae my own car I have to take buses.,.

My brother told him that nothing will happen to him and that his treatment so far is going ok. He insists and that my brother do not go out. But he at the end went out I think he needed that for a bit. I mean my dad was not going ot be left alone as my mom and myself were home. But I gues my dad has relied so much on my brother since the treatment started as  my brother is th ene with the responsabiliy so far that  I think my dad believes that things can go for the worse if my brother is not at home. We are all grown up kids but my dad still see us as little kids and treat us like that..  On the weekends I always have my aerobics sessions in the mornign nd part of the afternoon I feel good when I do them  as I relieve stress doing them and I distract a little bit also but now my brother asked me to stop doing ithem, so I can help my dad at home  and he told me that I only think of doing aerobics and I dont help dad as he has the most burden in the house for him. Should I stop assisting to my sessions? Should I feel bad for going to do aerobics instead of staying at home and be with my dad? I mean I only do aerobics Saturyda and Sunday for like 2 hrs  each those days,and after I finish them I go straight home.

My brother  has asked for help my sister and me to try to be in charge of dad that as he has became tired already. I mean my sister told our brother that she can ask for one day off at work but he cant ask for like 3 days off also my sister is married. Im not married but I also work and I could ask for a day off but not so many. My mom comes early from work during the week. and also we have the lady who help us in the house and she comes in the mroning and leave home mid evening everyday, and she offer to help as well, she is learing also how to feed my dad thru the tube.. Im a very private person and  I dont liek to share many personal things with my coworkers in fact at work noone knows about my dad being in this treatment as I havent told anyone about it, my sister on the other hand has told everyone at work about our dad condition and my sister was surprised I  havent told anyone at work  and she told me Is hould  be telling my coworkers about my dad condition  she enve got tiny upset about me not telling at work what is going on. I mean if I havent done it yet is becauseit is not of their business and I dont like to share these things of my dad condition with coworkers. I like to keep it to myself and only the people involved. In fact I never share too much info about myself or my  family  to my coworkers ether..

The thing is that since my dad has relied so much on my brother Im afraid he wont want another person to feed him or help him with his mouth washes that it is  not my brother as with him he feels comfortable. My dad does not mind the lady who help in the house help, he also feels comfortable a bit with her. But even at his current condition  my dad  being a doctor is like the worst patient h and even more cause he is a man, he nags, he complains, he wants things done in a certain way so at the house we have to have tolerance and a lot of patience!!! But sometiems we just cant,  

How can we cope with my dad under these circumstances like I said he is very depressed, nothing makes him smile or laugh at the moment not even watching a comedy on TV, he only thinks in negative things and the worst case scenario and that he wont succeed this he says, even if we have told him so many times do not think like that but he does not listen to what we said, he tries but he iremains the same he cant change his negative attitude, he is very negative. The treatment is shy 6 days to finish with the last session of radiotherapy and chimio session in the last day. Of course he will have to be fed by the nose after the treatment finish as his mouth ulcers and lesions have to heal first in order to start eating again thru the mouth that could take a couple of weeks and I know he will be feeling uncomfortable with this as he alrady is feeling uncomfortable not be able to eat normally and to do the mouth washes so I guess he will still feel depressed, he still will nag  and  still be negative and vulnerable until the moment he can eat with his mouth he will start to feel better mentally and internally I bet. also cause during this mouth issue and how uncomfortable he gets, it has been difficult for him to sleep properly during the nite.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-25-2013
Sun, 11-10-2013 - 8:23am

Hi. I am so sorry to hear that your family is going through a rough time. I can tell you from experience that caring for someone in your father's condition is not only physically but mentally exhausting. You and your sister need to pitch in more to help your brother no matter what you have to do in order to help.Just let your father know your brother is stepping out for a while and you are there for him. He will learn to accept it. He is probably scared and your brother is his comfort. Let your father know you will be there for him as well by actually being there for him.

Good luck

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2013
Sat, 11-16-2013 - 2:56pm

Hi Thanks for the input. I forgot to mention taht I  have another sister who does noty live with us and she really does not work so she can pitch in during the week as he is available most of the weekdays. She has been coming to help  my brother or the lady like twice a week and also on Sundays she come.

The treatment finsihes next week so hopefully his mouth lesions will start to heal little by little cause I believe that is wht it has made him so cranky so down and depressed, and so negative not been able to eat  by himself. and only by the help from others.

Sometimes he showers himself in the morning and my mom leave him the clothes in the bed for him to put himself the clothes on, but when his brother is the one there he likes my uncle to help him dress you know 2 males and myd ad is so like that he does not like a woman to be there to help.

That is the reason I havent helped that much cause my dd relies mostly on my brother and the lady who is helping in the house. My older sister comes every nite to talk to him and put him some special cream in the neck. I always tell him be positive eveything will be ok and stuff but my dad is like everything wont be ok and each time someoen ask hm how are u? He never answer well im improving, he always answer Im so so or im not ok. That is how my dad is so negative and things and his mood is never positive the more difficult for aperson to deal with a person like that and that is why sometime we may run out of patience. He cant speak but he chose not to talk and jut listen to people. He talks just a little bit. but when he does is to scold us or to command something. My dad is very stubborn Ihope that as soon his lesions starts to heal in his mouth he will feel better and not like he feels now that he is going to die. There is only left 2 radiotherapy and 1 chimio left, tehre could be some still side effects of coure but after all the treatment finish it has to start to heal  slowly.