Friday, October 21, 2005

Pre-emptive Euthanasia, anyone?

I made some phone calls yesterday morning about my father. Found out about the District Nurse who can come around to do an assessment as to what kind of care he needs and how bad the incontinence is and such. Then rang my mother to have a chat about it and find out if she was aware of the smell in the house the other day.

Go on. Guess how well it went.

Yep. Insert previous wailing banshee episode here.

I started off by asking her if she noticed the smell of urine on Tuesday. Yes. She had. She's been spraying air freshener around the house until Wednesday night until she couldnt stand it anymore, then told dad he stank and to go and change and have a bath. Well, he changed his clothes but he didnt wash. So, she put up with this situation for THREE DAYS.

Me: Fairly obvious he has an incontinence problem.
Mother: Oh no. He'd just run out of underpants because I hadnt done any washing.
Me: Running out of jocks does not make the whole house reek of urine.
Mother: All men dribble a little bit.
Me: This is not a little bit of dribble. This is very clearly an incontinence issue.
Mother: Dont be stupid. He's not incontinent. He goes to the bathroom.
Me: How do you know? I rang up the Aged Care Assessment....
Mother: (crying and screaming) NO! Just leave me alone! There's nothing wrong with dad and I wont have people coming into the house to take over. Just leave me to deal with it in my own way.
Me: But your NOT dealing with it, your ignoring it. (Gratuitous use of the f-word) I'm not going to let dad live like this, in his own filth, without any help.
Mother: (still crying and screaming) You cant take over. Just leave us alone. There's nothing wrong with him.
Me: (More use of the f-word and hang up.)

So I rang dad's specialist, who wants dad to see his GP to check it isnt something simple like an infection which has precipitated the incontinence. But he also believes that my mother needs to be assessed as she's more than likely not competant to make any decisions and that if she continues in refusing assessment or treatment for dad then I will have to apply for Enduring Power of Guardianship. At the moment, both she and I have dad's Medical Power of Attorney, with her as first Medical Agent and me as second. I discovered that if she refuses to act according to dad's wishes or in his best interests then I can override her decisions, which is obviously what is going to have to happen in the short term. But that of course means constant fights with her, probably to even get in the house in future.

In the immediate term, I made an appointment with the GP for Monday, at which I will not only get dad checked out but mention my mother's injuries and her mental state and see if anything can be done for her. I doubt it though. I had a long chat with a good friend of mine last night, who will go around to see them on the weekend. My mother likes N and since she is older than me and not her kid, we figure that mum is more likely to listen to what N has to say, even if it is exactly the same as what I've been saying to her.

I SO dont need this. My stress levels are through the roof. I woke up in the middle of the night last night bawling about this crap. Monkey Boy doesnt need it because he's now stressing out about how much its upsetting me and feels bad because he's on prac placement for 5 weeks and not around to help as backup. And Spudly sure as hell doesnt need all this adrenaline running through its system.


  1. Aaaargh! Panda, i am going through something very similar with my Grumpy Grandad. The denial, the fear and the enormous Everything Is Alright If We Just Don't Talk About It blinkers.

    I'm sorry. You certanly DON'T need the stress. i hope that your friend can help out.

  2. I don't know what to say.

    Well... I thought we were too young to be dealing with this sort of thing with our parents, that's all.

  3. Oh my God, Panda. The drama! The denial! It's like a bad soap opera!

    I know it's tough for you, but I'm glad you are doing what right for your dad and caring for his health. It's so hard when people refuse to use the resources that would help them greatly.

    Good luck, girl.

  4. You keep at it girl. You are doing the right thing no matter what you Mum thinks or says. Sounds like she is in serious denial about your dad and her own aging process.

    It's so hard when our folks crumble and you are brave to take it on so fully. Will continue to think good thoughts for you and your family.

  5. Panda... this is horrible beyond belief. And I'm glad to hear that questions are being raised about your mother's capacity to make proper judgements in this regard...

    I'm so incredibly sorry, I wish I could be there to help.

  6. Panda I don't know what to say. You are so strong to deal with this stress.

  7. I worry about the bub when I get stressed up at work. I really hope your dad gets sorted. My mum-in-law is mentally ill and she is a bloody handful. Give me a classroom of kids anytime, so I empathise.
    My husband is super-busy at work at the moment as well. Lots of trips 'up North'. I just hope he's not doing it when I an more pregnant.

  8. My parents are 70 and healthy and I worry abt them all the time. Which adds to my guilt for I am approaching the age they were when they had me and if I ever get pg I don't want my child/ren to worry the way I do. But I'm a worry wart so maybe not?

    This is heart-breaking, Panda. I am so sorry. Is there any way to speed things up? maybe if you tell The Powers That Be that you're pg? Do you think there is a chance your mother's had small strokes and it's not just denial? This is horrific, poor you. And your poor father...

    Do you know, I am not the least bit New-Agey but I have this personal theory that bad as stress may be, babies know far more than we think they do (medicine backs me up on this on a yearly basis w the new studies) and they know when the stress is other things-related or abt them (i.e., bcs they're not wanted). So I choose to think that Spudly is the one suffering the less of the two of you. Who knows, I may even be right!

    I am thinking adamant good thoughts, no one deserves this shit but surely not the gentle Panda.

  9. Oh my God, Panda. The drama! The denial! It's like a bad soap opera!

    I know it's tough for you, but I'm glad you are doing what right for your dad and caring for his health. It's so hard when people refuse to use the resources that would help them greatly.

    Good luck, girl.


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