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To recap who I care for real quicky - I care for my Father who has terminal cancer -given 1 week to live 6 months yesterday and my Mother with acute schziophrenia - heart disease - breast cancer & arthritis.

Since August I have been using my friend who is a nurse to sit with my group a few hours a week while I either take a shower - run an errand or go/take someone to the Doctors. I had another helper privately for a few weeks who was stealing my Father's pain medication.

This week I had surgery to have a breast mass removed and thank goodness it came back benign. When trying to plan for the surgery I found a hired a companion service (as well as had some friends help out) for a few days while I couldn't lift. I started them the week before surgery. The one girl who comes is very nice - but she cannot lift my Father. The man weighs less than 100 pounds - and it really isn't that hard to do. She has assisted me in giving him a bath - but I can't really leave her alone with him because she cannot help him. The other girl seemed quite capable of helping him - lifting him - ect.

After my surgery this week I decided now that I am going to take 4 hours every Saturday for myself - something I haven't done for 2+ years. In 2004 I did manage to make it to a wedding and dinner twice out with a friend and that was it for social outings. So yesterday with great excitement I went out to brunch and decided to see a movie - something I haven't done in almost 3 years. It was raining outside so it was great for a matinee. Had an enjoyable brunch - then off to the movies. Well 1 hour into the movie the care-giver called and said my Father fell and that she cannot get him up. The movies is only 5 minutes from my house so I rush home to find him laying there. BOTH care-givers were given specific instructions NEVER to allow him to walk unassisted (meaning - hold under his arm pits behind him - while he is using his walker) - but she did not listen to this and said she allowed him to do this before and he was ok. That does NOT matter. I was very upset. He is laying on the floor - blood coming from his arm - hit his head and his spine hurt (that is one of the places he has the cancer) - I managed to lift him up to his walker (I am still not supposed to be lifting for a week up to the surgery - but started after 48 hours) -and got him in bed and gave him a pain pill and stopped the bleeding on his arm - he is on coumadin - so that was a tasks in itself.

He does not seem severely hurt just very sore. He is not quite himself today - but I have seen him like this before - without falling. This was my 1st social outing in almost 8 months and look what happened. How can I EVER feel comfortable to leave him again.

What REALLY bothers me more than anything is that these are trained professionals. I am a Mortgage Professional and very good @ my business. I am NOT a professional care-giver or health worker - but in 6 months I have NEVER had anything like this happen!!! I pay these people $23.00 an hour to let him fall.

So now I just sit here and think - ok I will continue to do this by myself and ONLY leave the house to run to the bank or go to the Doctor - something simple & easy and quick - and give them instructions NOT to let him move while I am gone.

Just when I decided to start getting a little piece of my life back - my first outing and boom. I am very disappointed & frustrated. But very lucky he did not break a hip or any other bones. It could have been worse - but still -

Thanks for listening

Janet
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Janet, Don't feel quilty about going out and enjoying yourself. The fall could have happened at any time. My FIL was recuperating from a broken hip and was well on his way to a full recovery. Two weeks ago my husband and I went away for a long weekend and left him at our home alone because he was totally capable of caring for himself. We came home Sunday afternoon. On Monday morning he was on his way to the bathroom and fell in the doorway of his room. I was in the next room and heard the thud as he hit the floor. I ran to see if I could help him but could only get him turned over, had to call the paramedics. He is also on coumadin so the bleeding was a big concern. My FIL was taken to a local hospital treated for a fractured shoulder and released. As the week went him he started to become weaker and unable to get himself out of bed. We ended up bringing him to the ER of another local hospital where he was admitted with sepsis, pneumonia and heart failure caused by internal bleeding from the fractured shoulder. He is now in a skilled nursing facility recovering from the fall and the complications.

Forgive the rambling here. Just wanted to say that no matter how careful you are, accidents can still happen. Please don't kick yourself for not being there. I was here and could do nothing to help except dial 911.

Mikki
Janet,

I'm so happy your surgery turned out in a positive manner.

Your story of substitute care aides, gives me pause to think about finding someone for my mom.

I have heard so many stories, some on this site, about people who steal things including medications.

The other matter is that you need to get out of the house and give yourself a breather - and what you DON'T need is to have to worry about people you hire to take care of your dad during your short respite.

I would assume that you will not be calling those two people back again. Perhaps the agency they work for should be notified; one doesn't know if they ignoring others' wishes also.

I'm not being much help, I suppose. It is only in the past few months that I've come to realize, that if I don't get my life back, I won't have one to live down the road. I am feeling your helplessness.

I did take my mom off her Coumadin, though. She was constantly bleeding through her veins, was all bruised and looked like she was being beat up. I'm giving her aspirin. The EKG she was given last week was better than last December, and her blood tests came out perfectly.

Does your nurse friend have someone she knows who could come in and assist so you can get out?

Let us know how you and your dad are holding up. I'll put a white light around you before I go to sleep tonight...
---Margie
Mikki & Margie -

Thanks so much for your responses!!! Mikki - sooooo sorry to hear about your FIL - boy what a time he has had!!!! My Father had broken both his shoulders (at seperate times) - when he was able to take care of himself - and from the coumadin - he did have issues. I did NOT feel any guilt - cause he was capable of caring for himself - therefore there was nothing I could have really done to prevent it!!!

My Father has to be on coumadin for aorta valve replacement he had in 1983. I took my Mother off of coumadin in 2003 after only being on a few months. The woman NEVER falls - and a month into taking the coumadin she falls - with an INR level of 7.5 - lucky for her she did not have a brain hemorage - its fun isn't it!!! I've had her on aspirin ever since.

As for finding someone thru my friend who is the nurse -the SCARY part about all that is she is the one who recomended the girl who was stealing my Father's pain meds. She worked w/ her at the hospital for 10 years - she won awards for outstanding service and look what she did. Now my friend REFUSES to recomend ANYONE - cause she CANNOT believe that it happened.

I still need to get out of the house to run errands (bank - pharmacy - doctors etc) - so I will still need a care-giver to come in - but I have decided I will only get them for 2 hours a week and have him stay in bed until I get back.

I have decided I will NOT even attempt a social outing for myself - how can I go out to have a good time - while I leave my Father lying in bed - can't do that!!!! Hey I hadn't been out socially since September so - I guess I can manage. Although (with the exception of the last week) - I had found myself becoming GRUMPIER and NASTIER than I used to be. Patience (except this past week) - has not been a virtue of mine. It does all get sooooooo overwhelming!!!!

Take care

Janet
Janet:
I am sorry you are having such a hard time getting a little time for yourself. I have to have someone with my husband 24-7 also. Since I am still working it is really a problem. My family,(brothers, sister and nephews) have been coming periodically and staying so I can go into the office once in a while. When I am home, I work on the computer. But you do need a life. One of the things that will happen, is that if something happens to your father you will have a very hard time trying to get your life back. My sister-in-law who took care of Phil's brother for 7 years, has anxiety attacks every time she goes out, since his brother died. You begin to lose your identity. That is why I am trying to keep my job. I am afraid I will not know what to do when this is over.
Please try to take care of yourself.
I will keep you in my prayers.
God Bless You
Jo

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