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Rusti

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What do you do with stubborn fathers whose thick-headedness is going to be the end of them?

Back in February my father suffered a nasty round of cellulitis - he was sick with something else Thursday and had a fever, we thought it was because of that. By Friday afternoon his leg was pretty painful so they went to the walk-in urgent care clinic where the doctor thought it might be a clot and squeezed around on his leg, snarked at him for not coming in earlier so she could have sent him to have an ultrasound of the leg, and also Rx'ed him some antibiotics. By Saturday afternoon he was in the ER and by that evening they'd gotten him a bed and he was on IV antibiotics and painkillers. He was released the Wednesday after that, still painful, with some sulpha antibiotics that made him break out in spots a couple days later.

The leg has not been quite the same since, not painful, but always seemed to be sort of quick to swell. Last night it was hurting him again, as in, flared up within an hour or two. He's a small business owner and has recently been through the stress of a sales tax audit, so the stress may have had something to do with it.

What does he do? In spite of mine and my mother's insisting he get in the truck and we'll take him to the doctor? Digs out the sulpha drugs that made him spotted last time, goes "I'll only take it for a couple of days" downs a pill and goes to bed. I know my mother tried to talk him into going to the doctor again this morning, but nope, he went on to work. He'll be 62 in December, has already had one heart attack 15 years ago (Yes, he was 46, cripes). My mother goes with him to every doctor's appointment she can because he doesn't ask questions and doesn't tell the doctor important stuff. We had to tell the ER doctor that he smokes, for crying out loud.

And he has learned nothing. He was afraid enough after his heart attack that he was 'good' for the rest of the summer. Walked every day, ate his vegetables and lost over 30 pounds. He was in So. Much. Pain. with his leg that the hospital had a fall risk bracelet on him (that he ignored). I'm afraid that in a couple of days he'll be back in the bloody hospital, doing his own little brand of yelping trying to get out of bed to go to the bathroom.

What do you all do when you have a father you'd like to beat around the head, cry at, cuss at and scream at even when you know he'll a) just be confused that you're crying (and then be upset because he's confused), b) think it's hilarious that his daughter just cussed him out or c) be completely hacked off that his daughter just cussed him out?
 

DeeAnna

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What do I do about a person like this? Not much. When I was in a bad place something like yours, a wise woman told me to focus less on the other person who was troubling me and focus more on myself. I'll pass her advice on to you --

Get a copy of "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie and/or "The Dance of Deception" by Harriet Lerner (or whatever the popular equivalents are nowadays) and read it. In a nutshell, it might be a good thing to change the dance you're dancing with your dad, because it's not working. He won't change just because you want him to, but YOU can change. And maybe you changing yourself will help him get out of his stuck place and think more constructively about his life. Or maybe it won't. But you can learn to be okay with whatever he chooses for himself. Maybe not happy, but okay.
 
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nsmar4211

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I don't have any advice for you but I can offer my empathy!

Older adults that are stubborn are a royal pita....just remember though that he makes his own choices. Having someone go to all his appointments is a great idea-I had to recently do the same thing myself so that nothing would get left out (because on top of being stubborn, they go deaf!).

*hugs*
 

navigator9

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As painful as it is sometimes, we can't change anyone but ourselves. I think Dee gave you some good advice. Hoping that he gets well...in spite of himself. All the best to you and your mom.
 

snappyllama

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It's awful to watch the ones we love not take care of themselves. And like Deanna said, there's nothing you can do for them after a certain point. Just take care of yourself.

<hugs>
 

Susie

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Speaking as a nurse, as well as the daughter of one of those parents, do what DeeAnna said. You can't fix him. You tell him the long term consequences of his choices (die of anaphylaxic shock in the case of taking antibiotics he is allergic to, for pity's sake!), then step back. He has the choice to make.

Do throw away or at least remove from his home, any medications he is allergic to, and clean out those medicine cabinets of anything expired. You can't make him do what he should, but at least you can remove what will harm him.
 

Ruthie

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You already have the good advice, so here is another hug! Went through that with my dad, and he had colon cancer. It isn't easy to watch, but adults, even stubborn adults like me, can make our own choices. Focus on enjoying the things you can enjoy with him. Someday those moments will be precious.
 

Susie

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You already have the good advice, so here is another hug! Went through that with my dad, and he had colon cancer. It isn't easy to watch, but adults, even stubborn adults like me, can make our own choices. Focus on enjoying the things you can enjoy with him. Someday those moments will be precious.
Gosh, that is the best way, ever, to say that! May I quote you?
 

Dahila

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That's typical man. You can not do anything, maybe to spend sometime with him without focusing on his health. It works with my DH, I seem not to care and he is spite goes to doc. So what was it? Obviously not clot. From your post I concluded that they actually have no idea what is going on. I hope your dad is not diabetic
Hugs hugs, ..........
 

Rusti

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That's typical man. You can not do anything, maybe to spend sometime with him without focusing on his health. It works with my DH, I seem not to care and he is spite goes to doc. So what was it? Obviously not clot. From your post I concluded that they actually have no idea what is going on. I hope your dad is not diabetic
Hugs hugs, ..........
Oh, no, not a clot, cellulitis. It turned a lovely angry red and encompassed his whole lower leg below the knee.

And he's not diabetic...at least, not yet. I'm sure that's coming for him like a freight train though unless he makes some pretty drastic changes pretty soon, which is unlikely, the buttmunch. He'll end up like a distant cousin of mine's mother - totally miserable, but also totally unwilling to do the things (Like not eat no-bake cookies) that would make him less miserable. I guess for some folks they don't get tired of feeling sorry for themselves.
 

lenarenee

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Another possibility that may or may not help. Write a letter. Right now he's used to you and your mom "harping" at him (that is not meant in a derogatory way). In a letter, tell him how you feel as he chooses to ignore his health needs. Explain how it affects you, your life, your mother's life, and how you worry that you may have to bury him a decade+ before necessary. That you'll be cheated out of the years he could have been around.

People that like, reading a heartfelt letter in private when they're guard is down can be more emotionally affected.

I also agree with many others. You and your mom are trying to make him act responsibly, and if that stops he may be forced into acting personally responsible.
 

Steve85569

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You already have the good advice, so here is another hug! Went through that with my dad, and he had colon cancer. It isn't easy to watch, but adults, even stubborn adults like me, can make our own choices. Focus on enjoying the things you can enjoy with him. Someday those moments will be precious.
^^^ THAT!!!

It's much better than anything I could have said. All our parents have passed now. We could not stop any of them from making their own choices along the way BUT we could enjoy the time they had left to be who they always were. I fought Mom for a while before I realized that her sweets were one of the last things she had left to enjoy. Then I started calling and making sure she had sweets.
Enjoy what you can of your father. He will be gone too soon.

Hugs and empathy for you from me. I do know what you are going through.

I am old enough that I have an advanced healthcare directive and my will made out and filed.

ENJOY TODAY.
It may be all there is left.

Steve
 

Ivanstein

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Being a thick headed father, I can say there is quite a social expectation for us to endure all without flinching.

So, good luck.
 

Susie

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I created a living will when I worked my first shift in ICU. There is no way I want that done to me!
 

Rusti

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I created a living will when I worked my first shift in ICU. There is no way I want that done to me!
Want what done to you? There's a difference between being frustrated when he won't go to the doctor over something totally treatable and not knowing when to let go/pull the plug/whatever. We were perfectly happy to honor the DNR my grandmother wanted.
 

cmzaha

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Well, I am one of those stubborn 68 year olds and I do not plan on changing anytime soon. If my girls wrote me a letter telling me I was doing things wrong they would be wearing the letter. At my age I can make whatever choice I want. If I get miserable enough I go to the doctor, but as little as possible. As I tell my girls until they are supporting me, or I have lost ability to take care of myself don't preach to me. Just makes me more stubborn. Don't preach just enjoy your parents.
 

earlene

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I agree whole-heartedly with the advice to enjoy what time you have left with your father, but also with your mother.

It's a lesson I learned when my second husband died suddenly.

Both my parents are gone now, and although I often wish they were still alive so I could ask them about this or that, I am truly grateful for the time we had together.

I am not saying this will kill your Dad, but I do recognize that you fear it may. As others have said, he is an adult (of sound mind) and has a right to choose his own path, even if you and his wife don't approve. So nurture your mother and try to find the humor in the situation so you all can laugh once in a while. I think it would do you all some good. Maybe even rent some comedies from RedBox (or the library) and watch them together.

Lighten the mood when you can.
 

Rusti

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Thanks Earlene. It's not that I expect this specific issue to kill him, and I'm not particularly afraid of that, it's just that he was hospitalized so recently for four days with the exact same issue because he brushed it off for one day too long and it was severe.

There are a lot of things I just roll my eyes at but sometimes the desire to punt him around the house is strong. I mean, I am his child, I can be just as pig-headed. ;P
 

TBandCW

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Lots of wisdom to be found in this thread. Lost my mom, omg just realized, 2 yrs ago today! She was very difficult in the end too. I think this thread will get some thinking and some good will come of it. Thanks again for all the good folks here!
 

Ruthie

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Gosh, that is the best way, ever, to say that! May I quote you?
of course.

I also wanted to add, be happy that "HE" is still with you. Caretakers of those with Alzheimer's would give anything for the interactions you still are able to have.
 

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