Sunday, March 25, 2007

DEAR DEBBY - 3/25/07

Dear Debby,

I have the responsibility of caring for my elderly father. He suffers from lung cancer, congestive heart failure and poor circulation because of diabetes. His prognosis is not good and recently I had to arrange for hospice. My problem is my brother and sister. Both are giving me grief that I am trying to rush daddy to his grave. Neither has stepped up to help me but they both question every decision I have had to make. Currently, daddy is kept medicated to keep him comfortable. My sister has called everyone in the family to tell them I am keeping him drugged to destroy the last few months he may have. I'm emotionally exhausted and tired of fighting with my family. I love my father and I don't know what to do. Can you give me some words of wisdom or help?

First, my hats off to your for stepping up to the plate as you have. I know from personal experience that caring for an elderly family member with no support takes a lot out of you so I applaud all your efforts.

Your father is in a hospice program because his doctor has assessed that his condition is terminal. Hospice assures that the time he has left will be spent as comfortably as possible which is what you and his care providers are doing. If you talk with the hospice staff they will advise you and your family during this difficult time. Please tell them the pressure you are under so that you and your siblings can receive some much-needed counseling and support. Hospice can help all of you through this transition. You have my sympathy.

Dear Debby,

Joe and I have been married for six years now. We have two daughters, ages three and five. I am a stay-at-home mom and Joe works hard to support us. For the most part he has been a good husband and father. My problem is that he takes his frustrations out on me. He has never hit me but he calls me foul names and sometimes talks to me like I'm trash. It hurts my feelings but Joe says this is normal in a relationship and I should just get over it. But I can't and when it happens I don't want to have anything to do with him. What should I do?

Tell Joe to get a clue. There is nothing normal about any man calling you foul names and disrespecting you. NOTHING. Joe needs to understand that not only is his behavior unacceptable, but that it will not be tolerated. Then you need to stand your ground. Joe may very well work hard to support you, but your job is twice what his is any day of the week. If you can't do it for yourself, then darn well do it for your daughters. The first man a little girl falls in love with is her father. She will measure every man who comes into her life by the standards he set. Make sure he's setting some good standards for them to compare. If they are witnessing daddy's bad behavior and you allow them to believe that it's okay, then they will think that any man can treat them badly and get away with it.

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