Just WHO is the Parent Here?

My father is the worst patient.

In the past few days, he has pulled out IVs, tried to get out of bed, and has been snippy and outright grumpy. He has argued with staff, snapped at us family and has been generally a pain in the ass. I’ve gotten rolled eyes, hand gestures, and grunts.

And if that’s me, I would hate to see what my mother has put up with.

Now, part of it could be the medication. And, it was a major surgery. He is also experiencing the withdrawal from nicotine. But, mainly, he hates hospitals and will do anything to get the hell out of there.

My father harbors resentment towards the medical field. Preventive care is not a phrase I have ever heard uttered from my dad’s lips. Doctors just tell him what to do, but not necessarily because it’s the best thing. He knows himself and ain’t no whippersnapper with a degree will tell him otherwise.

Hospitals “kill” people, even though he has seen me after two C-Sections and is aware of Mayita’s MRSA issue.

Believe me, over the years, I have slowly come to discover my father’s hatred. It’s just become worse over the past year. He got himself into a car accident (allegedly the sun “got in his eyes”) he refused medical treament. For goodness sake he was disoriented and the airbag deployed, but no dice. It was over a month later that he finally saw his primary care doctor and still refused to follow his orders.

It takes so much cajoling and prodding to get him to get a test done. This whole thing last October required so much talking from us daughters and his lovely wife that I was drained afterwards.  Even then, he was combative and had to be restrained while in his bed. Dad even discharged himself early, against orders, because of “something wrong with the water pump at the farm.” I wish I were kidding.

I’m glad that he listened to us and accepted the first available date for the Whipple procedure (originally he felt the 13th was superstitious even though it wasn’t even a Friday).  But, otherwise, it’s been difficult to reason with him. Because of his breathing issues, he needs a respiratory therapist and do exercises. Well, he bitches and moans about that. He wants food (ha), but kvetches about the feeding tube.

And all he wants to do is get up and move but after major surgery, you know what will happen when he tries to stand on his own. He’s still in ICU and won’t move until his O2 levels improve. But if you’re not taken the exercises seriously, how ARE you going to leave?

I have tried to be nice. I have put myself between Dad and staff, like Switzerland of the hospital. But even so, I have resorted to “Mom” mode like I have with my own kids. I have shaken my finger, changed my tone, and given the “Evil Eye”.  He is not taken my change of personality happily.

I have to not take it personally but it’s hard. When your own parent chastises you for trying to help them, how can you not?


About OneLoCoMommy

I live in Northern Virginia and and I look like the stereotypical suburban mom, for better or for worse. My son plays baseball and takes karate (albeit adaptive). My daughter is a gymnastics diva but rolls with the boys in T-ball. I've been a Room Mom and Playdate Coordinator. I work full-time, try to work out, and love my Book Club. However, I also blog on my experiences on our ASD, SPD and ADHD journey while trying to be a better parent advocate. All in a life's work.
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6 Responses to Just WHO is the Parent Here?

  1. Lisa says:

    It is incredibly difficult to parent a parent. This brings back some raw memories from Summer 2010. I had sisters, too, but being the oldest, I just became the one in charge..and it was so exhausting. I hope your dad improves enough to get home…it is easier when they are home.. hugs and positive thoughts coming your way.


    • OneLoCoMommy says:

      I’m technically the oldest as well (my older half-sister is through my mom’s first marriage). I’m struggling to balance being a good daughter and making sure he gets what he needs. And yes, when they don’t behave I feel like putting him in timeout. 😉


  2. I’ve been going through this the past few months with my own dad. He had a head injury that resulted in TBI, and a whole slew of med issues (DVT, renal failure and more) and has been in & out of the hospital.The worst part is that he worked in hospitals for 40 years and hated being condescended to as a patient by the nurses and therapists. His attitude was downright mean at times. I also was a referee between dad & the staff. I was mortified at times.
    As soon as he got home he tried to go about regular life, ignoring medical advice, doing what he wanted. I have yelled at him, scolded him, reminded him of the risks ’til I am blue in the face. The thing that I have found that works is to remind him of all the things he has to stay strong for, he is close to his grandkids and I remind him that he wants to be able to fish in a few weeks with the boys, he wants to be able to go to a ballgame again someday. I’ve gotten the eye rolls and grunts, but talking about sticking around for the kids seems to work. He had to wear thromboguards on his legs 24/7 at home in the beginning. He said they were killing him. I looked at him and said, “No, they are keeping you alive. Take them off and you can forget about going to the lake this summer.” I never thought I would be his caretaker (or his jailor as he says) but it happened. The role reversal is eerie. How did we get here? My sisters are on the West coast, we are on the East. He always listens to them but they are not the ones here every day. I wish it was them and not me.
    Do what you have to do. Treat him like a child if he acts like a child. He KNOWS why you are doing it and he KNOWS that you love him.
    The upside for me (it took me a long time to find one), this is the most time I’ve spent more time with my dad since I was a teenager. We’ve bonded by being thrown together. I think someday I’ll be grateful for this time.
    Good luck to you, prayers for your father. I hope he improves. Remember to take a little time every week and do something for YOU. You have to stay strong.


    • OneLoCoMommy says:

      Thank you for your wonderful words and emphasizing with what I’m going through. I’m glad I’m not alone in dealing with parents like this!

      Yes, I constantly remind him about his adorable grandkids. Each day this week I have sent a picture to my cousin so she can show him on her smartphone. Just a way to let him know what he needs to get better for. 🙂


  3. Oh girl. This has to be so hard. But I know you are just trying to help him as much as you can. Hang in there. xo


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