Trying to cope with both parents in hospital

I am really struggling and just about had enough! Both my parents are in hospital. They both had falls a day apart. This happened a month ago and since then I have had to deal with visiting them both, Mum’s 90 Dad 94. They both were in same hospital then onto rehab but last weekend Mum got sent back to original hospital as wasn’t well then back to rehab .Now Dad not doing so well and he back in original hospital. I just feel i’m on a treadmill.I work and feel worn-out and stressed with all the hospital visiting! They keep taking one step forward and two back. I have been told that dad’s kidney function is not good or his liver function and heart not good either. They think he has some infection too. .i just don’t know how to go onat the moment. I am an only child, have husband and grown upchildren but feel that no one really gets how I feel. The only thing keeping me going is my 2yr old Grandson but even spending time with him is getting ruined because of constant worry about parents. I dread the phone ringing as don’t know what will happen next. I suffer with anxiety too and it’s go ne through the roof!!Not sure why I’m writing this but I just need to vent!! All I want is some normality in my Life!

Hi Nicola,
I am sorry to hear you are going through such a difficult time. I am an only child too, I have two grown up children and I work. My dad died 4 years ago, he was a full time carer to my mum who has been ill all my life. I have been doing all the shopping, washing cleaning etc for her as she wants to remain in her home, she has carers go in for an hour a day which she moans about constantly.
This week she was taken into hospital with suspected Sepsis, I was with her all night, we returned home the next day diagnosed with a chest infection. I couldn’t go to work that day, shattered and she needed me to look after her. I stayed for three nights but returned to work.
I am suffering from ill health due to stress, over the last 4 years I have been for CBT and psychotherapy to help me to set boundaries as my mum is very difficult.
This week I broke down at the doctors and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I have been put on antidepressants and anxiety meds, I just wondered if anxiety meds might be helpful to you too as they make you feel a little calmer. Take care x

So sorry you are having such a difficult time too.I an on a high dose of sertraline already mainly because 4 years ago dad broke hip then had heart attack and we were told he wouldn’t make it through the night. Mum also had her eye removed that year due to cancer. They been having carers 4 times a day till this happened. But I worry about them all the time they are a lovely couple and I hate that all this is happening to them. Life is cruel

Nicola - I feel for you! Bad enough to have one in hospital, let alone both and in different places!

I think it’s time for some ‘future planning’ though. What was their situation before they fell? Were they managing on their own in their own home, or with care-workers coming in, or you looking after them, or what?

And, more to the point now, could they EVER ‘go back’ to that?

You see, it could be that the time has come - even assuming your parents survive this current situation (and, sadly, that is something that you have to face, as I am sure you are - once one is 90 one is on ‘borrowed time’ so to speak) - for accepting that they CANNOT ‘go home’ again, and that at the very least some kind of permanent nursing care is going to be necessary?

Being an only child is hard, as there is no one to share with as you say.

What do you think is going to be the likely outcome from this current situation? I know it’s hard to ‘think ahead’ when you are in ‘crisis mode’ (as you currently are), but it’s essential.

Can you have a ‘frank’ discussion about both your parents with the medical doctors (Sadly, you are asking ‘How long do they have left’? it’s what it boils down to - they may not be able to answer accurately, however - so often the answer is ‘it depends’, but at least you will get their take on it). (As you have discovered, sometimes hospitalisation for one thing reveals all sorts of ‘other stuff’ going on, that hadn’t yet reached ‘crisis point’ but which will at some point)(or may, of course, be treatable).

Do, also, and I know this is hard (I’ve jut lost my own MIL at 94), bear in mind that the very elderly can sometimes ‘keep going and keep going and keep going’…until just ‘one thing’ happens to them (eg, a fall), and then, as if out of nowhere, they seem to go downhill very, very fast…and ‘the end’ almost races up to them. It’s as if the ‘one thing’ is a ‘trigger’ to signal to the body that really, it has had ‘enough’ and it is time to ‘throw in the towel’.

IF that is so, please do not be too dismayed. Both your parents really have had a very good ‘run for their money’, and - I shall speak frankly from my MIL’s experience - if they have reached this age, together, and without dementia (you don’t mention it so hopefully it’s not in the frame), they are ‘lucky’. My poor MIL, had she died at 89, would ‘only’ have had to have endured being a widow for 30 years, and not have the five miserable, wretched years of dementia ahead of her, finally killing her this autumn…NOT a good way to leave this world, sigh.

I dont’ say this to ‘depress’ you, but, hopefully, the very opposite…ie, that IF things are now starting to ‘close down’ for your parents, it is not necessarily ‘the worst thing’ for them, in that respect. Sad as it is, I know, alas, that ‘facing that’ has to be on your agenda now, and the MOST important thing is ensuring that whatever time they DO have left, is as ‘easy and enjoyable’ as possible for them. They must be missing each other - can they get together again somehow, even if that is ‘together in a nursing home’? I do hope so.

Nicola, things are only going to get worse for your parents until they pass away. They have had a good innings. IF possible, it is time for them to move into a nursing home which can meet all their needs.
Financially, is this possible?