My dad went into the hospital on election day. We had no idea that his subsequent stay in the rehab facility would become permanant. I still considered myself a caregiver as there was as much if not more to do as his advocate. And he still turned to me whenever he needed anything and I would make sure he got whatever he needed. I brought him treats, I had meals with him, and I visited him 4-5 times a week. I was the "established contact" as far as the facility was concerned. I was taking care of everything.
5 years ago when we realized that my dad couldn't live alone I went out and rented the first house I could find that was elder-friendly (step in shower, no stairs, etc). Financially my dad and I became roommates. Once we realized that he was never coming home I had to find a place to live and FAST. Medicare was going to drop my dad which meant that his income was going to go to the facility and not to the upkeep of the house I rented in which to care for my dad. So we had about 2 weeks in which to find a new place to live and move. And to make matters more complicated this was all during the holidays.
But we got it done. We got moved. I love our new apartment. We had to move outside of the city limits so now we're about 45 minutes away from the facility.
I was running on pure adreneline, pure stress, when it was brought to my attention that I had not turned in a form I was supposed to turn in a month prior. This was a mistake of epic proportions and is costing us dearly. This was also the turning point when I realized that I couldn't do it any longer. I couldn't continue to be caregiver and advocate and mother and employee. I broke down on the phone with my brother and he stepped in. And while the mistake I made was huge, my brother didn't blame me. It was a mistake after all and I could not have felt worse about it but it was a game-changer.
Every time I'd walk into the facility to see my dad I'd be accosted by various staff and business people asking me questions or needing something from me. A phone number, a signature, permission, copy of a document, etc. My brother took over all of that. He became the 'established contact' person but no one in this God-foresaken facilty communicates so I still get calls. I still get accosted the second I arrive or the second I try to leave. I just refer everyone to my brother. I'm not playing anymore. I visit. I do the laundry. I still bring my dad treats but I refuse to speak to anyone unless it regards my dad's health and even then I'm only partially paying attention.
I've become so depressed and so down on myself because of the mistake I made. I made it right, I backtracked and we're ok now (I hope) but I can't forgive myself. Everything I had shared with my brother up until that time is now questioned. My brother gets different answers than the one's I gave him and this infuriates me. I know what I've been told and it's not like I pulled information out of the air but the information my brother gets is different than the information I got. But my credibility is shot. I know for certain what the Dr. told me however this moron of a Dr. told my brother something completely different and because of this huge mistake I made it looks like I'm the one getting the information wrong but I'm not. I understood the Dr. perfectly.
I've lost my faith. I planned on going to Mass at the church in my new town but I had been crying a lot of the day and was too depressed to go. My nightly prayer consists of, "Please make it stop. Please make it stop. Please make it stop." Meaning the stress. Please make this unrelenting, crippling stress stop.
I know it's horrible but there have been times when I wished that my dad would pass away so all of this would stop. I'm so unhappy these days. My health has been affected. It's affected my relationship with my daughter. It'll probably be the end of my relationship with my brother.
I've worked harder advocating on my dad's behalf than I did as a hands on caregiver. It's been a full-time job. Neverending phone calls, gathering documents, finding out where to get other documents, insurance papers, trying to use my PoA and NO ONE wants to honor it! It's not like I'm trying to get money with the stupid thing. I tried to get the previous 3 months bank statements of my dad's and had to argue with the bank for over an hour and I had my PoA. But I'm done with all of it.
I don't give a damn that my brother has a full-time job and a wife and 3 kids. Let him deal with this crap from now on. I can't take it anymore. Just today, on my way out, I was button-holed by someone needing information and I told her (with some satisfaction) that I was no longer the responsible party, here's my brother's phone number, call him from now on.
And while my brother didn't complain he did tell me that he spent all morning on the phone getting this and that squared away. I said, "Did you get frustrated?" with a note of triumph in my voice and he said, "No, it was just a few phone calls." But I know it was NOT just a 'few phone calls'. It was the equivalent of trying to throw a wedding in 3 days and I know it! I've made those calls. I've tried to make those arrangements. It takes hours and hours to do a lot of this stuff.
So now I'm the weak one. "We'd better not bother her, she's close to cracking." What no one realizes is that I've already cracked. No one knows I cry everyday. No one knows I pray every night to make it go away. No one realizes the extent to which this has affected my health. I've barely been to my job in a week.
I hate that facility. I hate is so much. They take pretty good care of my dad but to me it's the source of misery, misunderstanding, miscommunication....I now walk through there with blinders on, ignoring anyone and everyone.
I was a hands-on caregiver for 5 years. I don't know how people do it longer. 5 years and I'm done. I'm a different person than I was even a month ago. My dad doesn't like that my brother has taken over. He wonders where I am all the time. He prefers me and I feel sorry for him that he's put his faith in me, the wrong person. He thinks I can do no wrong.