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Caring From Afar (for a stubborn patient)

Meredith_PMMeredith_P Posts: 3
edited 01/13/2016 - 8:24 PM in Depression and Coping
My 60-something year old father just came home today from having ACDF (not sure how many discs were affected) and he's being ornery as hell. Now this is mostly because that's how he's always been, how his elderly parents always were, and as a family we've come to accept this. However, after just having spinal surgery I thought he'd be a little more cooperative (did I mention he quit smoking cold turkey after 50 years last week? Riiiiight.) He has little pain (hasn't taken any meds at all), a soft collar to limit mobility, a walker to aid in movement (which he treats as a race car to plow through the living room). He's not following doctors orders to eat puréed foods (although he is eating very small diced pieces and isn't having trouble swallowing so I don't know how much of an issue that is).

He's been dealing with the pain, numbness, tingling and subsequent falling for about 4 months and after an unsuccessful epidural we're hoping this helps get him back to a semi-normal life. My mother has been dealing with all of this since the beginning while also working retail and trying to keep the household together. My older sister lives nearby, but has her own life and family and can only help out so much. I live 5 hours away in Rhode Island along with my brother, who also has his own life and family. Fortunately I was able to take time off from my two jobs to be here post surgery and help my family, but I'm nervous about a few things.

1. That the surgery won't relieve the pain and numbness and he will continue to fall and pose a safety hazard.
2. That the above situation will add additional stress to my mom.
3. That my older sister who lives nearby will start to feel the stress too.
4. That all the above situations will force me to uproot my life in RI and move home to care for my dad/mom/sister.

My family means everything to me and I always said I would move home if something happened to them, but I'm having a hard time believing that time is now when I feel completely unprepared. I know my father would hate to have me move home only to take care of him (he's a pretty proud man who "doesn't need help") and it would be devastating to leave my life behind and start new again at this point in my life. And I know how incredibly selfish that sounds at I hate it.

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, but I'm just at a loss for words, thoughts, ideas. I just want life to get back to normal, for everyone. I'm not even looking for advice, I'm just curious to know if anyone else has any of these feelings.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz -Spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Or asserting a fading sense of independance.?
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • William Garza said:
    Or asserting a fading sense of independance.?

    Yes, definitely resisting a the fading sense of independence, but also stubborn. I just don't know how to help him realize things might be different for a while, if not forever, and he'll him accept this.
  • Sometimes a peer will get through..
    Yah...we know how it really is attitude.
    Its not an easy road being a dutiful child..letbalone one,willing to sacrifice all for someone who,seemingly wont understand.
    Make sure first though
    And its very important
    To not give your all..give it all away
    You must meep enough light for yourself to keep going..to keep being...you.
    Its ok
    Sacrifice is noble and worthy
    Also its debilitating after an extended period.
    The whole Family must participate in these golden,yet ornery years....All of them
    Outsiders will always have a bone to pick on your treatment of him..unless they are fully invested..a split based on hurt feelings will happen.

    Al must participate.
    One must lead.
    He will hopefully come,around,as time passes
    Its not losing independance
    Its saying yes to help that is the crux.
    Has to understand
    Has to agree..(hate my phone..couldnt autospell acquiesce..)
    One step
    One day
    At a time.
    We"ll be here for ya..dont be,afraid to holler K?
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

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