I think I have totally had it!!

Avatar for goldie15
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
I think I have totally had it!!
Wed, 04-30-2003 - 9:30pm
My FIL is 72 years old and was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer last October.

My husband is one of 6 children. He is 3rd in line with 2 older sisters. Only 2, my husband and his younger brother do not live within a 10 minute drive. We live 6 hours away, his brother 6 hours away the other direction.

Here is the situation. Dad can no longer really take care of himself. He has been thru chemo now for over 5 months. I have since last October spent over 13 weeks taking care of him. I drive the 600 miles, stay for about 3 weeks,drive home and then do it again a week later. My Dh rarely goes but he does when his job permits it.

Here is what I am so angry about, My fil has never cared for me. He has never bothered to hide it from me, but he tells my Dh how great I am, then snickers as he walks away. Since his illness, he has become very nasty to me. He say anything he wants, and basically dares me to tell my DH. His favorite line is.Well, I am not saying she's lying BUT....and so it goes.

Now, my SIl wants me to come back and help again, I am so tired from all the traveling, tired of his nasty little digs, and too be blunt I have a life of my own and I am getting resentful. Only 2 of us (sil and me) take care of him. All his other kids call but never come around. One is a nurse and lives 5 minutes from Dad and she has been over once since October!!!

I feel so guilty....the man has cancer, but I have my family, kids, grandkids and a home to take care of. I am also getting angry with DH for allowing this to continue. I have tried to hire someone to come in daily to cook for him , clean and so on, but he does not want a stranger in his home.

Thanks for letting me vent. I am almost positive I will be on the road again soon.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 1:48am
You have no reason to feel guilty for feeling the way you do. I think you've gone far beyond the call of duty in caring for this man - 3 weeks away and 1 week at home, then back again?!?! Good grief! He's mean to you, and selfish. This man is reveling in the control he has over you, and even laughing about it!!! He's using his illness and advanced age to play on your sympathies. He is abusing you!

If he is unable to care for himself any longer, then his options are limited but he MUST make a choice, or the family must make the choice for him if he refuses to. This is a most difficult thing for families to do - I know, I've been there myself very recently with my own father. This sort of decision tears families apart, causes much grieving and tears (literally), and is almost NEVER an easy solution without feelings of remorse or guilt. It hurts, and it's going to hurt for a long time - no matter what decisions you make.

My best advice is to have a group discussion with your DH and his siblings - conference call on the phone, if they must - to discuss options. This must be a group decision or there will be hard feelings and misunderstandings. Then, one of you - or the whole group together - must approach Dad with his options.

One idea in the meantime: Arrange for in-home care at whatever level he needs, then BE there with him when the housekeeper or home health care nurse is scheduled to help him for the first few visits. If he becomes comfortable with the help they provide, it will be easier for him to allow this person (not a stranger anymore) into his home and you can go back to a somewhat-normal life with much less frequent visits. Stand your ground on this: You know this is what he needs, and you have every right to demand that he do it.

Is your FIL a veteran? If so, then contact the local Veteran's Administration - ask to speak to one of their social workers (important: SOCIAL workers - not one of the veteran's representatives. You will avoid a lot of red tape, unanswered phone calls, etc. if you go straight to the social worker him/herself. I found one for my dad in our city's Veterans Hospital.)

If he is not, then get in touch with Social Services in your father's county, Eldercare, or whatever senior citizen agency in his area - they will have a list of social services available in his area for senior citizens, who to contact, etc. You do NOT have to take care of this man all by yourself! There are many, many options available to help him - and many of these at no cost, or covered by Medicare insurance.

Good luck to you, Goldie! My goodness, what a thing to have to deal with at the same time as your son's predicament with his GF and her two destructive children! Reminds me of my fiance's favorite sayings, and I think you need to take this to heart: "You can't help others if don't take care of yourself first." Dear Goldie, your own health and well-being must come first. Don't neglect what's right for you and your DH while doing what's reasonable in helping others. (600 miles and 3weeks/mo away from home is NOT reasonable.)

Best of luck to you, Goldie, and may Heavenly Father bless you and give you the guidance you and your family need. You're going to need it.