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Falling apart from pain and death in family

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Old 08-21-2004, 09:38 AM   #1
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ladybird988 HB Userladybird988 HB User
Falling apart from pain and death in family

I'm falling apart right now and need a little help as I"m home alone for the weekend (husband gone). I am recuperating from back surgery - still in pain - and now have the flu and a sinus infection. The sneezing is killing my back as is the stress. Between the two I feel like I'm dying. I made the mistake of having back surgery and staying home alone with no one to take care of me, except my husband at night and on weekends. It's just been too hard to do. If I do this again, I will hire a nurse.

I had already reached my limit from 3 years of back pain and wasn't sure I could go on another day. You know how you just get exhausted and reach your limit?

The doctor just called in antibiotics for me for the infection (which I get quite often) so that will help. - I hope. Frankly, I feel like i have nothing left in me to fight this with. The problem is, my stepmom is dying of leukemia and has stopped all blood transfusion and will be passing on any time now. They say she has hours or days left. All this happened when she just crashed last week and was rushed to the hospital. I just found out a few days ago, stressed and got sick.

Our family is small and my father needs me and I cannot drive nor ride the 2 1/2 hours down there (even 3 miles kills me). Plus, now I'm sick. He has a bad heart condition and is turning 80 on Tuesday. I feel horrible not being able to help him through this, nor be there for her. I am terribly afraid I will lose my father to a heart attack from all this stress. I haven't seen him in months due to him being unwell and me being unable to get to him. It's just a mess. I am trying to remain calm, rest and not stress out, but I feel like I have no immune system right now and am barely making it through each day. I take percocet still for pain but it has fried my brain and makes me depressed.

I have not told him how bad off I am as I don't want to worry him. He has his hands full and I didn't want to stress him out months ago either. This surgery may or may not have worked (7 weeks postop). I have kept this to myself not letting him know how bad my back is. The doctor says I may need a disk replacement. I am praying the butt pain will go away.

I have tried to reason this out. I wouldn't be any help to my dad anyways, just a hindrance right now, and he can't be around me because with this flu he'll pass the germs to her and it would kill her quicker. Lord.

The saddest thing about these back problems is missing out on family. I won't be able to make her funeral, nor see her before she dies. It's just killing me. I need to call her and say goodbye before it's too late and I can't stop crying! How on earth do I call her when I'm crying in a breakdown?? I feel like I am having a mental breakdown. This is just too much. She needs comfort and support right now. I have to call her today while she's conscious.

My father's health is so precarious right now and if he goes too I don't know what I'll do... and all because I haven't been able to see him due to this back. I honestly don't know what kind of a life this is. I am hanging in there giving myself time to heal from surgery, and praying through each day that the pain will stop, hanging in there with the pain, hoping life will get better, preparing for her death and hoping my father makes it through this. This is really one of those times to give it all over to God because I'm helpless to do anything.

I think I am taking this harder because I'm the sort to rush to help eveyone else and never ask for help myself, hence, HELP! Some words or advice please...somebody help me reason this through...

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Old 08-21-2004, 11:21 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 120
Re: Falling apart from pain and death in family

Dear Ladybird,
I am so sorry for the pain you are in, physical, mental, spiritual. You are not alone. We will listen and support you, as best we are able. Keep posting.
You mentioned how the pain meds are probably influincing your mind. You are right on trac there. Is your family doctor aware of all the stress you are in now? Take a deep breath, pray for guidance, and listen. You will be guided. Peace, MaryG

Old 08-21-2004, 03:26 PM   #3
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Stormy01 HB User
Re: Falling apart from pain and death in family

Wow hon, and I thought I was feeling bad. I so wish there was something I could do for you to help. I'd give anything to take your pain and sickness for a few days while you took care of business (as I'm still mobile.)

Do you have any brothers or any other family that could help wire up a web cam? You can rent laptops at places, or find one to borrow, (it's obvious you have ability to get online,) and get a web cam for yourself. Maybe you could borrow a computer or laptop somewhere so you could talk to your mom and see her too. I know it isn't like being there, but with you being ill, you don't want to be there to give her your germs, anyway.

First, you need to calm down. Take a valium if you have to. Get your doctor to give you some for this stressing out your doing. You won't help yourself or your mother and father if you stress yourself out and make yourself sicker.

Try to get the web cam set up so you can all talk. It's very easy using MSN's instant messenger or AOL or ICQ to make your own chatroom. You won't be there, but at least you can spend time and see your mom and dad as often as you all feel like it.

You need to stop worrying about your father. What will be will be. There isn't anything you can do to change it right now. You never said what kind of surgery you had, but drugging yourself into a stupor to get there wont help much either. The only thing you have left is the phone and I say USE IT. Don't wait and wait too long. I would feel so very awful if you didn't at least speak to her and reassure him.

Oh I am so very sorry for you. I'm sitting here bawling as I write this. The web cam is the only thing I can think of that might help you at least see her without making her ill. They'll have to know you had surgery. You can't hide that.

I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it ok. I know we all wish we could here on these boards. But you also have to take care of you. So get some valium, and try to find a way to talk to your mom and dad. We will be here for you. Please let us know how it goes.



Old 08-21-2004, 06:23 PM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Missouri
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carol632 HB User
Re: Falling apart from pain and death in family

Ladybird, I'm so sorry for this bad time you are having. Listen, do you have a good family doctor who would be willing to prescribe something for your depression and anxiety? I really think you need that kind of help right now, especially being alone with no one to comfort you.

Honey, there isn't anything else you can do about this situation. I am sure you are talking to your dad, and maybe you should tell him that you are ill right now...nothing for him to worry about, but that you have an infection and it is contagious. Then realize that you have always done your best, and you are doing so now. Your father cannot be exposed to anything, not with his heart as it is and so you are protecting him. I think you would feel better if he knew there was a good reason you aren't there....think about maybe telling him that there is no need for him to worry but that you have had surgery and cannot drive or ride in the car. Does he have other family that are there to support him thru this? There really is nothing more that you can do but let him know how much you love him and wish you could be there. He loves you, ladybird, and will understand. He is still your daddy and he would not want you to do something that could hurt you, right? Just as you would feel if the situation were reversed. Hang on to that thought.

Please post again and let us know how you are doing, will you? I'll be saying prayers for all of you.

2 lami's, 3 fusions
bone spur removal
cerv. fusion, 1 level
morphine pump

Old 08-21-2004, 06:47 PM   #5
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Jenna'sMom HB User
Re: Falling apart from pain and death in family

Carol is so right, and I know how you feel. My stepmom had a heart attack the week before I was scheduled for my surgery and didn't let me know until after I had mine. She and my dad live 6 hours away, and he's in bad shape too. Bad heart, etc.

To give you hope.........we talked by phone alot, and reassured each other. They were going to come to town for my surgery, and my dad felt bad he couldn't leave my stepmom. We've all made it through. I know your dad will understand why you can't be there when your stepmom passes. I'm so sorry for your pain and sadness.

Hugs and prayers,

APLIF T4-S1 on july 19, 2004
Harrington rod T5 - T12 1982

Old 08-21-2004, 09:13 PM   #6
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 408
standingman HB User
Re: Falling apart from pain and death in family

This to reinforce what Gale, Carol, and Julie have said. I could not attend my own brother's funeral because of my back. I wrote out what I wanted to say, and my niece read it for me. People going through hard times are usually especially aware that they are not alone in the world of hard times. It's when we're lucky enough to be healthy, wealthy, and intact that we forget how fragile life is; our own, and that of people close to us. Knowing about fragility can in itself can be a bond.

There is no way to make up for the frustration of not "being there" directly. But there are other ways, as others have said--phone calls, videocams, letters, and so on. Maybe the "in person" thing is a bit overrated. We who are here don't even know each other, and yet we help each other all the time, and share our stories, our pain, and our better days. You have already written a lot of what you feel, and what you'd want to say, to _us_. Maybe there is a way to write it to those who are closest to you as well, in a way that will be as "being there" as almost any other way.

Let us know; stay in touch,


Old 04-13-2005, 05:54 PM   #7
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: South Bend,IN
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Ellie15 HB User
Re: Falling apart from pain and death in family

Hello I'm Ellie I'm only 11 and when i was 8 i lost my only grandparents and it hurt too! if u dontmind talking id luv 2! bye

Old 04-13-2005, 06:00 PM   #8
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blossom64 HB User
Re: Falling apart from pain and death in family

Lady sorry to hear about all you are going through. Is there any way your husband can come home sooner? My husband travels alot for the military and I know what it's like to be home alone. It seems everything goes wrong when he leaves.

I don't know what to say except I will pray for you and hope that things turn around. *hugs* blossom

Old 04-13-2005, 09:01 PM   #9
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 83
NewLeaf HB User
Re: Falling apart from pain and death in family

Lady, I am so sorry that you are having such difficulties.. Lady do you have a minister or call someone thru the chapel at your hospital, call your nurse, just call!!! Let them know that you need help. I know that ladies from any of the churches or places will help you, just reach out and make that call. I was blessed that the women of my husbands church brought food, visited,called and came and helped pick up the house for weeks till I was able to get around... and call your doctor for something to help for your stress. Leaf

Old 04-13-2005, 09:17 PM   #10
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,291
Quietcook HB UserQuietcook HB User
Re: Falling apart from pain and death in family


I cry for you. This is very much in my place Nov 2003, and I send you my hugs. You have a lot on your plate and others have offered excellent suggestions re the video cam, calling your doctor, and may I add the suggestion you tape a sweet message to your step mom and to you dad that they can listen to instead of your phoning a long call. Make a short call and let them know you want to be there, but it is physically impossible. Your dad will have the tape as added support as he can listen to it over and over. You can tape it when you are calm, but the fact that they can hear your emotions are not bad.

Perhaps, if your step mom passes in a few days, could you have your dad come stay with you for a bit? You could help each other through this terrible time, and surely you would not be contagious by then as your doc is sending you something. You can support each other, and your dad could help you through the physical limits you have right now.

Please don't think I'm crazy. This is where I stood just over a year ago. I got a call from my mom's heart failure doc and he needed me to bring her to Nashville that day. Okay, got there and he dropped a bomb on us with news that she had to have 2 heart valves replaced immediately as she would not make it another 30 days. This was 2 days before Thanksgiving. She had been in extremely poor health the last few weeks but the other docs had repeatedly told us that valve replacement would gain her nothing. But, a test we had just gone through showed a dramatic change and now it was risk the valve replacements or be gone within a month. Okay, we agreed, go for it because she really wasn't enjoying the poor quality of life lately.

So, after planning on NO Thanksgiving because both of us were down, she wants our limited local family we have to come on Thursday. We manage with my not so expert cooking skills to pull a feast together, largely from our freezer, thank goodness. What a blessing that was, because the next evening, my brother (only sibling) suffered a massive aneurysm of the brain and was on life support as we had him rushed to Nashville. While rushing us all to Nashville to meet the life flight (sister-in-law can't hold it together and I have to), I'm also calling the children so they can come ASAP. In short order we're told that he is brain dead and only the machines are keeping his body functions. We all opt for donating his organs as he would have wanted it, and there I am calling my mother's heart failure doc in wee hrs to see if we need my brother's heart valves for our mother. I was crying so hard I know that the girl had a hard time getting it straight. Then the doc calls me back at the hospital and I learn that our idiot hospital here had done CPR too hard and even if he had survived the ruptured vessel in his brain, they had ruined his heart. He was a little guy and the local idiots had destroyed his heart!!

To shorten it, mother was scheduled for pre-opt tests on her heart early Monday, and we proceeded with that. I feel I cannot stand to lose them both!!! The tests go fine and he asks about our arrangements which are only 3 days away (we had to wait for them to harvest organs, bone and skin and too we didn't want his service on her birthday in 2 days) so he sets the surgery for a few days after. She was in CCCU for two weeks, then had heart surgery again early Jan and Feb 04. Now, you would never know she had been through all that.

What happened? I had to go through surgery Jul 04, Oct 04 and then the 10 level fusion in Dec. I really needed her to help me instead of me doing all the taking care, but I was worried it would be too much on her. We still take care of one another, as I research, arrange and go with her to all medical appointments, ask the questions and see that meds and oxygen are what they need to be. But, the fact that she was desperately needed has made amazing changes. Even her heart doc and the family doc have noted that she has made even more tremendous strides and they both feel that the fact I got down and she had to be a bit stronger helped her through the grieving which she didn't have time to do because of her surgery, and gave her a new purpose to focus on again.

This is a terrible period for you and I do understand how upsetting when we cannot be with our family at the moment we feel we need to. Certainly, anyone who says it isn't going to be rough, either hasn't been in such a situation or perhaps they are not from a family who is close knit. But, we do what we physically and emotionally can do, and you must tend to your physical healing of that back as it will affect the rest of your and your family's life. Neither your step mom nor dad would want you to destroy the work and make the pain and suffering for nothing. It appears you all are close and being so, they truly do understand and are most likely just as concerned they cannot be with you as well. You can improvise and do what is doable, but look ahead. If you can get your dad to come spend some time with you if your step mom passes, then whether a couple of weeks or longer it can be a healing time for your both, and can serve you both physically and emotionally for the hours you will have together.

Honey, you will be in all our prayers and you know that we are here if you need some broad shoulders. Call your doctor and then see what is doable for you and yours. Please let us know how you are doing.

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