Sandwich generation

  1. I have read about the sandwich generation but now I am living it. Some days I am just so tired that I feel like I can't function.
    My stepdad has diabetes, dx about 17-18 years ago. He has never been particularly compliant with his tx plans or diet and now it is coming back to haunt him, and me. I love this man as much as my real father, my parents have been married 22 years now. Since Oct. of last year he has had 3 surgeries, fem-pop bypass first, toes turning black in which two toes were amputated. Next surgery was for I &D of abcess inside the leg fem-pop was done on. Actually there were 4 separate areas of infection that needed clearing. His leg had blown up like a balloon and was edematous from his hip to his toes, beautiful bright red color. Third surgery was an amputation of the lower part of the foot for ongoing osteomylitis. If someone had listened to me the for the second surgery the third may well have been avoided. I have had to fight with doctors and rude and incompetant nurses until I absolutely blew me top one day at the hospital, and even I who doesn't have much problem saying what I think, was amazed at the stuff coming out of my mouth. Worked though. I am a wound nurse so I have been taking care of my dad's wounds literally since October. Needless to say they have been very slow healing. I know what products to use and progress has been steady, but slow. Down to the last two and hope to have them closed in a month. The insurance company won't cover the specialty dressing, I have been ordering and paying for them myself, except for some that a wonderful salesman from J and J gave me to trail for my dad and it is working better than anything we have done so far. Hugs for the J&J guy. My parents are now living on disability, no savings. They could not afford the cost of the dressings. Right now we are down to every other day dressings instead of daily, but sometimes I feel like I brought a patient home with me.
    In the last month my mom has been hospitalized twice. First time after passing blood rectally for several days, Chrons dx. This time after having heart symptoms that turned out to be a very bad gallbladder. Surgery yesterday, now in ICU because her COPD +Surgery=couldn't breathe well. At least she is in my hospital and I could pick the docs I wanted. Still in ICU at this time. Doing better.
    Oldest child going to college, moving in next week. I have about $3000 to pay by Sept. 3. I have that in savings, hope to do this without taking loans out, except for the student loans he is taking, but with having to help my parents too I don't know if that is possible. Some day's I can't wait until he is moved out, typical teenage stuff, other days I dread it so bad that it's hard not to cry. I still have two younger children at home who will need to be put through college too. Hubby is taking classes to be able to certify as an auto body mechanic.
    Working overtime all the time, I do wounds and infection control and have yet to convince my admin that I need at least a part time person to assist with the required documentation. I don't think I am much fun lately, always feel like I am so tired I could lay down on the floor and sleep wherever I am.
    If anyone else has experienced this could you please offer me some pointers? My ******* boss tells me to simply put limits on my parents demands for my time. OK, I'll just through them to the wolves. There is only my sister to help, she is not medical and has only recently managed to get her own life in order. She has been helpful with paperwork and some other things but there is so much she simply can't do. There is nobody else to help. I looked into getting someone who could help with housework and making meals occasionally but the cost is more than I can do right now with the money that is going out now.
    There are insurance issues with my parents. On Cobra from my dad's work, costs them over $800 a month, and bringing in only $1300. Thank God their place is paid for. Mom doesn't qualify for disability or SS until she is 62, only 58 almost 59. Because she didn't work, stayed home and took care of children and husband. When Cobra runs out will be able to pick up blue cross and blue shield, but that is not until Feb. and the burden of continuing the Cobra is heavy. Trying to get help elsewhere, but it has been a battle constantly. In April Medicare will kick in for dad, but not mom. And people wonder why I believe it is a sin that countries like India and Costa Rica have national healthcare and we don't. My dad has worked since he was a teen and this is what he has to show for it. The savings they had is long gone now with all the medical bills.
    When I am not working it is hard to do anything. I just want to have to do nothing but that is not an option.
    Thanks for listening. I just need to vent a bit.
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   DIPLOMATICRN4HIRE
    Vent away darling , You need it , you deserve it and if you ever need an ear to bend please free to hunt me down and bend away...
    You also deserve a full round of applause because you are doing the very best with what little you have and it seems to be working , your parents may be on the short end of the stick but they are alive and they are proud of you and your accomplishments and you have 3 children and one headed to college, those are enourmous steps in the right direction and you dear have held the door open for those steps to be taken... I stand up and applaude you for your accomplishments as a person and as a nurse and as a daughter , in a society that has developed the love them and leave them attitude its evident that you havent adopted that mentality . I again offer a bent ear to you any time or day
    Zoe
  4. by   Brownms46
    My Dear Lord ((((((((((((((((((rncountry)))))))))))))))))). I have wondered what had happened to your posting. Now I know..

    My heart cries out for you, and your parents. It's just not fair...that people should have to work all their lives...only to have insurance and medical bills take everything away from them. It is truly sad for me to read, just how tired you feel....constantly trying to be everything to everyone. You're surely carrying a very heavy load...

    I wish I or someone could do something to help you out, and give you a rest. I'm very sorry to hear your mom is in the hospital...but glad to hear she is where you can have more control over who cares for her.

    I pray that those who help you care for her, and your dad. I pray that the Lord will send you help, and that those who care for both your parents, will have the heart of a servant, and the compassion, and love of Christ for you all. I pray that the Lord sends you an answer as to how you can do all that you need to, and allow you to rest. I truly beleive the Lord can make a way of no way, and open doors, that no man can shut.

    My prayers will continue to be with you, and with your parents. Please feel free to vent anytime. You have more reason then anyone to do so! I couldn't even begin to imagine the burdens that you're carrying, and the strength that you have, that allows you to do so. I know the Lord will bless you, for you have honored your parents, and I believe he will honor you in return, with an answer to your prayers, and your cares...
  5. by   live4today
    Originally posted by Brownms46
    My Dear Lord ((((((((((((((((((rncountry)))))))))))))))))). I have wondered what had happened to your posting. Now I know..

    My heart cries out for you, and your parents. It's just not fair...that people should have to work all their lives...only to have insurance and medical bills take everything away from them. It is truly sad for me to read, just how tired you feel....constantly trying to be everything to everyone. You're surely carrying a very heavy load...

    I wish I or someone could do something to help you out, and give you a rest. I'm very sorry to hear your mom is in the hospital...but glad to hear she is where you can have more control over who cares for her.

    I pray that those who help you care for her, and your dad. I pray that the Lord will send you help, and that those who care for both your parents, will have the heart of a servant, and the compassion, and love of Christ for you all. I pray that the Lord sends you an answer as to how you can do all that you need to, and allow you to rest. I truly beleive the Lord can make a way of no way, and open doors, that no man can shut.

    My prayers will continue to be with you, and with your parents. Please feel free to vent anytime. You have more reason then anyone to do so! I couldn't even begin to imagine the burdens that you're carrying, and the strength that you have, that allows you to do so. I know the Lord will bless you, for you have honored your parents, and I believe he will honor you in return, with an answer to your prayers, and your cares...
    Amen, Brownie! I second these heartwarming thoughts to you rncountry. (((((((((((rncountry)))))))))) :kiss
  6. by   Aussienurse2
    My God!! Honey if you lived here I could point you in all sorts of directions...but you don't so I'll send you all my good karmic energy and happy thoughts! There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, Neitche always said that only by going through the most profound and intense pain can you fully appreciate the joy of living, you must be in for some pretty intense joy sometime babe!! Hang in there!!:kiss
  7. by   fergus51
    I have yet to experience this, but saw my mom suffer through it. All I can say is you ABSOLUTELY MUST take some time to yourself, at least once a day. I know it probably sounds impossible, but running yourself ragged will not improve matters. Even if you can only take 10 minutes in a hot bath TAKE IT!!! And do your best not to think about this whole mess. I tried to help my mom by buying her a massage during the mess with my grandparents, but she never even used it because she was too busy. Of course when she nearly had a nervous breakdown, she wasted way more time than a massage would have taken...

    And come here to vent anytime!
  8. by   stressedlpn
    been there and its true you have to take time for yourself somewhere along the way. my mom started getting sick when I was 16, for a year b-4 she died I had taken over everything including raising my 3 younger brothers, (the school even let me sighn their stuff) dad was no help, So I gave up my apt. and moved me and dgter back home to moms, it was so hard but worth it very much worth it. I would do it all again if I could. I would give anything to go back and spend one more hetic day wiht her. I coped by taking long hot baths at midnight,that was my time. At times I felt I could not make it another day but I did I relied on the Lords strenght and he gave me his courage. you are in my prayers keep the faith, love kelli
  9. by   Jenny P
    RNcountry, do take care of yourself too. If someone -ANYONE- asks what they can do for you, hand them a mop and broom and have them do your kitchen floor or vaccuum the carpets or do a load of laundry. Your kids can help with some of those chores too; or encourage one of them to learn to cook gourmet food for you. Have your sister make up and freeze a bunch of meals for your folks and also your family if you can get her to do that.
    That overwhelming fatigue is something you need to be very aware of; is it the beginning of depression? I'll keep you and yours in my prayers for now.
  10. by   oramar
    Oh my gosh, I feel for your poor dad and I feel for you to. Everything you said about the way healthcare is set up is true. All of us are one illness away from bankrupcy.
  11. by   mintyRN
    Bless your heart! You are doing a wonderful job in taking care of your parents, but I know it is so overwhelming. No true words of wisdom just support. I try to take it day by day and do what I can in those allotted hours. I take care of my grandmother (dementia and osteomyelitis). Like you I have no other help, everyone else in her family is deceased or physically unable. Some days I don't do so well and loose it, other days I feel like I did a good job. I just do the best I can and make sure her needs are met. I don't have the financial burdens you do, and I know they must weigh as equally heavy on you. Please try to take care of yourself, I know it is difficult! I switched to a lower stress job and that helped me a great deal. However, that may not be something you can feasibly do. My heart goes out to you. Take care.
  12. by   rncountry
    Thank you all! After I posted yesterday and hubby came home from work, he is working 6 days a week right now plus his school, he came in looking so tired but said "you and I are going out tonight!" And we did. Went out for dinner and headed to a little country bar, didn't do any dancing, but enjoyed the music and simply having time for ourselves.
    My daughter, who is 15, has been a wonderful help. She has watched my 6 year old through the summer so I didn't have to pay for child care, and has helped with cleaning, cooking and washing laundry. My oldest going to college has worked through the summer to help with the cost of college, he knows we will not be able to do it all for him. I don't think this is a bad thing, it makes him vested in his own education. He is going into journalism. Hope next summer he will be able to get an internship with Associated Press.
    I do the late night bath fairly frequently. And there was the day I came home from work and my oldest had made chicken cordon blue for dinner, French onion soup and fresh salad. The boy can really cook when he wants to. Hubby helps too, he's loading the dishwasher right now.
    Brownie, the biggest solace though is my faith. When things seem to be overwhelming I just take a little time and say a prayer, always make me feel better. My daughter is moving from one youth group to another. Going from rite-13 to Journey to Adulthood. There is a dinner and Eurcharist a couple weeks from now to celebrate that transisition, brings home the fact that it won't be long before she is going off to college too. She wants to be a professional photographer, the school she is looking at is in Santa Barbara CA. Board of Directors are people from National Geographic, Time and Newsweek. It will be the perfect school, but I hate that it is in California. And my little one, well he wants to be a shark scientist. Bless his heart.
    Anyway thanks to you all.
    Helen
  13. by   hoolahan
    {{{{{{{{Helen}}}}}}}}}}
    Please check with your local dept of aging. If all your parents have to live on is disablity, they should qualify for Medicaid, or other in-between programs, wher at least you could set them up with a homeaker. Meals on Wheels can help get them fed. If dad was on Medicaid, he could have his chronic wounds monitored by a nurse, which would help you somewhat. As for mom, be sure to have a visiting nurse come out upon discharge. NO reason for you to do it all when others are there, and your parenst qualify for it. Get a MSW referral from the Home health agency, they are usualy better at knowing what services are available in the community. But, my local dept of aging has a really great booklet with everything in it, transportation, homemaker and home health agencies, adult daYCARES, you name it, lots of good info in that booklet. Meanwhile, get your sister more involved, she can do more, it means you have to teach her to do the dressing, but she can learn it.

    God BLess you, and please try to find a little minute to take care of yourself too. :angel2:
  14. by   Brownms46
    ((((((((((((((((((Helen))))))))))))))

    I'm so very glad, that your and your hubby took time for yourselves. I was glad when I rose up, and saw these posts this morning. The pride you have in your family shines thru, and it's wonderful to read. May God continue to bless you, and yours..

    (((((((((((((((((mintyRN))))))))))))) My heart goes out to you, and others like you. I only was allowed to help my mom for a short time, before she passed...but I had plenty of help. I can't even imagine what it is like to have all the responsibility for a member fall squarely on my shoulders. I guess the Lord knows our strength, and what we are capable of doing. The word says, that he never puts more on us, then we can bear. And I claim that promise for all who read here

    Hoolahan....I agree. You have presented great information, and advice...as always..

    To all who are supportive, and who are in need of support...may you continue to be blessed...as you're truly a blessing.

    May the peace that passeth all understanding...be with you all today, and always....Amen

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