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Am I doing the right thing?

 
 
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 02:31 am
If this isn't the moral dilemma of the year...

I made the best decision for myself last year in leaving my husband and moving back home... to find out just a few days after that my mom has a malignant brain tumor. Because of which has caused her numerous hospital visits and accidental complications causing more surgeries. How long she has is completely up in the air, but we of course hope and pray for as much time as we can.

When I left my ex I never expected to be at my parents for very long before I picked myself back onto my feet. Over the past year I have been living here, a real series of unfortunate events. So many wrongs you would think I must be making them all up. My mom had brain surgery to remove the tumor but the part that was malignant is still to this day being treated with chemo. It's effected the side of her brain that controls her speech so listening to her speak is like looking at words on a scrabble board. It's very hard for me to say that I don't recognize her anymore... It's like I've forgotten her.
I haven't been able to express my emotions about my divorce because I’ve been all wrapped up in how I feel about my mom. I feel selfish to think about anyone else but I can't help that sometimes.

I try to be as strong as I can because my dad needs me. I’m asked to be here nearly all hours of the day because while I am gone my mom may either fall and break something, go into a seizure, or search the house for ANYTHING to self-medicate for depression.

One thing after another seems to find it’s way on our door step. My brother crashes his car and almost kills himself and his girlfriend who ended up losing her ear as a result of the crash. Last month my grandfather on my mom’s side passed away, which of coursed caused some more depression. She’s on so many pills now the pharmacy should start buying from us wholesale.

I kept telling my dad that since I wasn’t working, the money he was giving me was only stabilizing my debts but not digging me out. He told me that he couldn’t afford for me to go and bring in someone else to replace me while I went off and attempted to use my diploma for something besides a wall mount. Then he sits me down and tells me in complete secrecy that, because of the economy, the medical bills (though mostly covered by insurance) and credit cards have forced him to start on the road to filing bankruptcy. Which of course were the words of wisdom he spoke against all throughout my upbringing by explaining to us never to let things get that bad.

I feel like my list of responsibilities grows everyday and can change without notice. There are so many things I have to accomplish in the day that it’s hard to remember them all. The more responsibility put upon me means less attention to responsibilities not as fresh in my mind. And with that I am told everyday all the things I do wrong and all that I accomplished is always seen as payment for my room and board.

My dad can see that I am miserable, overloaded and over whelmed, and just not mentally equipped to understand how to deal with the situation professionally. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, I only do the things I’m told to do in each situation.

He decided, though he probably can’t afford it, to bring in someone to help. A professional lady who will care for my mom several day’s a week. He told me he did it to partially relieve me from my duties to the household. This means I can start looking for a job even though I know deep down my family wants me to dedicate my time to my mother until she either makes a recovery or, God forbid, passes away however long down the line.

So my moral dilemma is... do I stay or do I go?

Do I stay for an undetermined amount of time for as long as it takes and spend the rest of her days with her by learning everything there is to know about taking care of her

or

Do I hand the reigns over to the professionals, look for employment and housing, and send as much of my paychecks home as I can while paying off my student loan and getting the collectors off my back?

Not knowing how much time she has is what’s causing me not to be able to make this decision.
 
jespah
 
  3  
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 04:09 am
@kitkat bar,
Take the opportunity to work.

It is, essentially, being handed to you on a silver platter. So take it.

In the meantime, though, a few things.
1) You'll need to stay in the home at least for a while as you find a job and also get yourself on your feet financially. Job first, then apartment. It might be a year or so of steady working before you can really start actively looking for an apartment, so you should be set in terms of being able to be around.
2) While you're around, you're right, learn what you need to learn about caring for your mother. You are well aware of the financial situation so it's entirely possible that funds for the hired caregiver would dry up before you could move out, anyway. So learn while you can.
3) It'll be a somewhat better life for you, but not a fantastic one. Essentially what I am proposing is, you go out to work, you work, you come home, you're a part of the family and the dynamics and the caregiving scenario. A lot of work and not much less of a burden than you have now, but at least you will have the escape of work and the ability to answer back on any accusations that you're somehow not pulling your weight.
4) Making friends will also give you a support system and give you other perspectives. And, it will help if/when things really go South.
5) Working will also peel off some of the money going to you so that your father can use it for caregiving, so hopefully that arrangement would be able to last longer. Contribute to that if you can but don't feel obligated. It will be a help for you to be as financially self-sufficient as possible. Pay him back if you feel the need. But don't feel obligated to pay the caregiver's salary.

And, finally, look into social services. There may be ways to get your mother into some sort of program for caregiving that would be a bit less expensive, or perhaps get your father's debts at least partly forgiven. Call the hospital and doctors. They want some money. They don't want to be stuck with a bad debt and no one paying anything on it, so ask! Say, "this bill is for $70,000. We are having a rough time of it and can only pay $10,000 (say this if you can pay $20,000 -- you are negotiating here, so don't open high). Will you help us by putting us on some sort of plan?" And see what they say. They may want some proof, receipts, pay stubs, whatever. But they may very well forgive a part of the debt. They want something on the dollar. You talking to them and working with them means they get more than zero on the dollar, which in this economy should have them jumping for joy.

Best of luck to you and yours.
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 06:18 am
Listen to Jespah. She's a saint to have the patience to type it all out for you.
0 Replies
 
caribou
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 07:19 am
@jespah,
Listen to Jespah
0 Replies
 
islandgirl
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 08:49 am
@kitkat bar,
I feel for you Kitkat Bar,

I'm not sure if I am speaking out of line by mentioning the Hospice program. It seems that your mother is still being treated and thus you are still hoping to put her cancer into remission. I am only speaking of my own personal experience with my mother who had brain cancer. I only wish you the best in this delicate time in your life, but I thought that it was worth a mention.

My mother passed away from multiple brain tumors this past January. A wonderful and free rescource that we used was Hospice. These wonderful men and women came into our home free of charge and helped care for our mother. When my mom finally passed, we established a memorial fund for them.

You do have a full load in your life right now. Make sure that you take some time for yourself. I am a melancholy person by nature and I find that an hour a day of good vigorous excersize helps to keep depression at bay. Even before my mother passed I felt that I had lost her, I did most of my grieving for her as I slowly watched her slip away, it was almost a relief when she did pass, I knew that she was at peace. The one nice thing about brain cancer is that it is not painful, unlike the many other cancers that leave their victims in extreme pain.

0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 09:28 am
@kitkat bar,
I agree with Jespah.

Ultimately, your dad is responsible for your mother's care, not you.

On the other hand, if you are working then you should pay rent and assist with other expenses, like groceries.
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 11:03 am
@kitkat bar,
You poor thing, what a tough year. First off I could speak to reading your dad’s potential bankruptcy. It is actually quite common to go bankrupt do to medical bills. You can be the most financially responsible person and a serious illness will cause even some one who plans for a rainy day to go bankrupt " even those with “good” insurance. Almost all health insurance will require you to pay a portion of the medical bills which seems like a small percentage can be huge dollars when an illness requires lots of drugs, medical procedures and hospital stays.

I wonder, under the circumstances, is there any help that will not cost you or your family " what is covered under the insurance? Can you get a visiting nurse to come by for a couple of hours or part of the day? I would suggest checking with the insurance company or even talking with the doctor " they may be able to guide you available help that is of low cost.

I think you should go " you also need to take care of yourself. It doesn’t mean you are deserting them " just simply getting a job. You can still spend time with her when you are not working and help out. And you know what " it will make you a better daughter as you will be less stressed and more pleasant. If you continue this way, then you will get sick and then how is your family to cope?

I am confused because you say that you will leave…can’t you stay at the house still and find employment " live with them and so you can still be around when you are not working? It will save you money (no rent) and you can be around your mom.
0 Replies
 
Diane
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 05:23 pm
@kitkat bar,
Kit kat bar, I wish the best for you and your mother.

I will add my "listen to jespah" to all the others who know jespah for her intelligence and common sense.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 05:44 pm
Golly. Embarrassed
Diane
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 10:26 pm
@jespah,
Oh stop. You know it's true.
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2008 09:49 am
@jespah,
Listen to Diane about listening to Jespah. They are both smarties.

BBB
0 Replies
 
kitkat bar
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 12:06 am
@kitkat bar,
Thank you to all who have posted in response to my thread. Many of the things listed as advice I have already done or am doing right now which is great because that makes me feel I'm on the right track. The reason I feel I cannot work and live at home at the same time is because of what I achieved my degree in. I'm a theatre arts major and I need to be in Los Angeles which is nearly two hours away from my family.

We started the home care program where they send someone out to the house. So far so good. The only thing is is that we never know who we are going to get. A bit of good fortune though, my dad got promoted to vice president of the company he works for. That means he'll be making a little more and If I'm working to cover all of my expenses he may not have to file for bankruptsy.
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 11:08 am
@kitkat bar,
That's great! Oh yeah I had forgotten re theater arts. Would it be possible for you to do something transitional (yes, I know it's dull), to work in an office or the like for a while and continue to be in the area? I am talking about less than a year. Some work to get you out of the house and occupied and exposed to more people (and get some cash, let's be honest here), but still be close by in case of emergencies.
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hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 11:20 am
parents are supposed to feel bad about becoming a burden to their kids, but hey, lack of consideration for others and mismanagement of personal affairs are like two peas in a pod.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2008 07:48 am
@kitkat bar,
Good - I hope things work out well - but even being a couple of hours away - you could still come home on weekends or for a day - so you wouldn't be so called "deserting" them and you'd still be able to see your mom from time to time. It sounds like a good compromise.
mrhunt
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 05:07 am
@Linkat,
Im so sorry to hear about your situation....I was in a similar situation With my Parents Recently When my Mother Was On deaths Door In ICU Of the Hospital for Weeks....

I dont share The Working Or Housing issue but I Understand How incredibly difficult it can be to Say "Hey,Do i focus everything on My Parents problems Or Do i take care of myself?"

Im unfortunately still going through it and Theres No Easy Answer.....You definately need to care for yourself though by working and Whatnot....When it was happening to me i was working 85 Hour Weeks Just to avoid being Home and It Honestly Helped and made me happier because I Never Saw them for Weeks at a time With a schedual like that.Not saying to avoid them by working insane amounts though,that was just sorta how i coped.
0 Replies
 
 

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