Dad is in and out of hospital, I am a carer by default, but.


This past year has been a difficult year, my mum died last summer and other family relatives have died since then. My dad is in his early 70s, his health has rapidly declined, and sometimes I am the only person who sees the worse of it. He has been in and out of hospital for the last three months, he has had 8 visits to A&E and 4 stays on hospital wards ranging from 4 weeks to three days. He is currently in hospital. My dad has very severe type 2 diabetes, he has insulin 3 times a day, and has to use 2 different types of insulin injections. He also takes a variety of medications. His blood sugars randomly spike and drop for no real reason. He is unable to really feel the signs of a hypo or a hyper coming on, like most people with diabetes and needs constant prompting to check his blood sugars. Me and my sister are able to see the quite obvious signs, but he is unable to put things together himself. Last week he decided to cancel carers who came and helped him 3 times a day with food and basic hygiene help, so I needed to then get them coming again! My sister has decided she needs to “look after herself”, which is fair as she works full time and had to take a month off work due to depression and stress, and has now all but given up helping dad, she believes I should do the same. But I dont want the house smelling like urine and him sleeping in dirty bed covers etc etc.

He has poor short term memory, has a tenancy to invent stories (although, I do not believe he realizes he is making things up, but rather, isn’t really sure what has happened, so tries really badly to mask it). He has to constantly check his pockets and bag as he can never remember where he has put things, oh and he has started developing an annoying habit of moving things for no reason and then accusing me or my sister or moving it.

What is rather annoying is my dad can mask it. He can hide things really well from medical professionals, when he really shouldn’t as he needs help. Take today, I went to hospital things morning before rushing off to work (Im working the ‘late shift’). He is sitting on his bed, fully clothed and looking rather happy. He can dress himself (slowly), the problem is, he didn’t change his wet underwear, didn’t have a wash and he his trousers have the faint, but obvious smell of urine. As he’s dressed, the HCA and nurses just assume he is fine, he tells them he doesn’t need help, and can cope by himself. Instead, I had to help change him and wash him, his pad was drenched in urine and should have been changed. My dad doesn’t seem to see that there is any issue that he is smelling like pee.

He agrees to everything the hospital staff say to him, he is polite and unless you really sit with him for a bit, you aren’t really going to know he is having major issues. Which is also one of the major reasons he has been back and forth from hospital so much! On Saturday just gone, the Doctor was wanting to discharge him, despite his blood sugars being really really high that morning (i’m talking about being over 30!). I had to step in and say it is really unsafe for her to discharge him until they can safely say his blood sugars are under control and if he is discharged and tomorrow morning they are at the same level, his district nurse would just send him right back to A&E. I am also tired of having to explain to doctors that my dads blood sugars spikes and lows are not down to the food he eats, as I have had to control all the food he eats, and I know he has a pretty healthy and diabetic friendly diet.

As no doctors seem to ever read his past history of recent admissions, or want to investigate his very wild blood sugar level swings any further then blaming his diet and slightly adjusting medications, he is in a continuous loop. Also it doesn’t help that my dad just agrees to whatever he is told by medical staff and never… and i mean never… tells them anything about what has been going on. It has been placed upon me to have to somehow work full time and relay all the information to doctors.

We have tried talking to dad about all the issues he has been having, yet he will either just agree with us to shut us up, or get angry and say we do not care about him. But it’s just an endless cycle, and I really am getting tired of it, because other than work and looking after him and cleaning up after him, I don’t have much of a life.

I know this sounds hard, but the only way dad is going to get the help he needs is to step back and refuse to help him any more. They need to find out the hard way that he isn’t capable of maintaining personal hygiene any more.

Wetting can be a sign of diabetes being out of control, have they even considered this? Don’t they realise what is happening? Have they investigated his incontinence?

Reading your post, I’m afraid that either sheltered housing or residential care is going to be the only possible alternative to home or hospital. How do you feel about this?

Hi Martyn,

I agree with BowlingBun- you need to stop doing things for him for at least half a week to show how the issues ‘build up’ when he doesn’t have you around to help (maybe use a little white lie to your dad so he feels like the situation is unavoidable- maybe work have asked you to go away somewhere for a couple of nights or something?). This will help the professionals get a true picture of what’s going on. It’s distressing in the short-term, but it will help in the long-term.
I think people have a really hard time admitting that they need help as they get older and their health declines- denial is a big factor, but it really doesn’t do them any favours because it causes more problems.
I wonder if it’s possible for you to book an appointment with your dad’s GP to discuss everything that has been happening (write down a list of everything beforehand so you know you’ve not forgotten anything). From there, the GP can look at the medical history etc. It’s worth a go :slight_smile:

It would be best if you went away on holiday for at least a week, ideally two, so everyone has a hard “Reality Check”.

The only way I got mum to have carers was to nearly die and have major surgery. She kept saying “I can manage…” even when it was obvious she couldn’t! Before my surgery I filled her fridge and freezer with food. After the surgery, the “emergency carers” had emptied the fridge (a few days before the long Christmas holiday) and hadn’t even been out to the freezer in the garage. When I asked who was supposed to do the shopping I was told “Not our job” and the GP was annoyed when I refused point blank to care for mum. I couldn’t care for myself, never mind mum, and my son with severe learning difficulties would be home for Christmas.
Finally mum went for a leg x ray. The reason she couldn’t bear any weight on her leg was because it was BROKEN!!!