Dear Jean :
I have a problem
with my father. Since he's a doctor, he won't listen to anybody about
health problems and doesn't want to go to the doctor for a check up.
He's having fatigue and high blood pressure. He won't listen to me
about eating the right food and exercising. Please give me some advice
on how to get them help. Good day and God bless you.
L., Jackson, Mississippi
Dear Francine :
Even though you
are an adult, it is very hard for a father to accept his ?little
girl's? opinion. In his eyes you are still the little girl he knew many
years ago. I had that problem too. It wasn't until Dad had several
strokes and was living more in the past than the present that he
completely accepted my opinion about what should be done.
For some reason,
we humans don't want to face things that are happening as we grow
older. We don't want it to happen to us. We tend to deny the fact that
our body is not functioning the way it always has, and getting a
physical makes us face that possibility. When we face that fact we also
face the fact that our lives might be coming close to an end, even
though it may be years away yet.
Why don't you call his doctor (or your doctor) and ask for
advice? They deal with people like your father every day. Is there a
relative, friend or someone your father respects that could talk with
him about getting a check-up? They will probably have more influence
than you. Just explain the situation and ask for their help in getting
your father to the doctor. You might also need to ask their help to get
your father to take his medicine or go into the hospital for tests.
Dear Jean :
It's nice to know
you are here when I need someone to talk too. I have been a caretaker
for two aging parents for the last three years. Sometimes the stress
becomes unbearable. My mother has Alzheimer's (HORRIBLE DISEASE) and my
father has heart problems and is losing his eyesight ? he's already
blind in one eye. Trying to keep their meds schedules is no easy task.
letting me vent a little this morning. It felt good and certainly is
better than crying.
I am finding it
harder and harder to face each day. Do you ever wonder if anyone's life
really matters? Like if Lincoln or Kennedy weren't born -- so what?
History would be different, that's all.
Sometimes it gets
me down, but having people caring (like you) helps immensely.
D., Tulsa, Oklahoma
Dear Alice :
Write any time
you want. I've been there and sometimes just talking to someone who
understands helps tremendously. And you're right -- it is better than
crying. We all have the same feelings you are experiencing when we are
caring for our loved ones, so you don't need to worry about you
feelings. They are normal!
There may be some
simple answers: Why don't you make a list of when your mother and
father should get each of their medicines? Make separate lists for each
day of the week, or put them in a day-by-day table form. When you give
the medicine, check it off. Make sure you keep a pencil or pen with the
list. This works very well. One time I forgot to check it off when I
gave a medicine, but I remembered that I gave it an hour later so I
marked it off then. Try not to do that because most of the time you
won't remember! This is the only way I could make sure I gave the right
medicine at the right time to each of my parents.
Alzheimer's disease and I agree: it is a horrible disease.
I'll sure be glad when they find a cure for it. Dad lost his sight in
one eye but the other one was fine. My daughter had heart problems when
she was born and open-heart surgery when she was 3 1/2. Now she is
living a normal life. I know how frightening these diseases are to live
with. Just take one day at a time and try not to worry about what might
happen in the future ? because it may not happen. Face each problem as
it presents itself.
You can write me
anytime you want. That's one of the reasons I'm here. I want to help
others with their family caregiving. If you can find a support group,
please talk to them also. If the stress and frustration become too
much, contact a counselor right away. There is nothing wrong with
talking to someone about the problems and frustrations of caregiving
and how it affects you. In fact, it will help.
Yes, Alice , I
have thought about whether a life matters. I have decided that it may
not matter to the whole world and it may not be in the history books,
but to the people we know, our family, friends, other people we
?accidentally? meet, etc., it does matter quite a lot and it affects
people in future generations. The movie shown every Christmas, It's a
Wonderful Life, with James Stewart is a poignant depiction of
what life would be like if one person had never been born. It shows how
important one person's life is to other people.
In your case, try
to remember all the people you have interacted with since you were born
(a tough task, I know). You might find that the movie shows only a
small portion of the people influenced by your own life. When I was 11
or 12, a new family moved to town for a couple of months. The girl who
was my age became my friend. When they moved away, she gave me a card
and present and told me how much my friendship meant to her. She said
that she normally couldn't make friends since they moved so often.
I'll never know
how much our encounter affected the rest of her life, but I feel sure
that it did affect it in a positive way ? and it made me feel good.