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Sometimes it's hard to be a daughter

I'm gradually finding out that there is actually a knack to walking in boots that are too big. My foot ends some 4 or 5 centimetres from the toe of my boot, which means I have very little control over the pointy bit...and also, there's too much room in the boot itself, the leather not encasing the foot snugly, which creates an imbalance. Note to self: buy thicker socks. And put some more cotton wool in.

Meanwhile, I'm still worried about my Dad. We moved him into his new quarters in the home a week and a half ago, and already he's managed to set fire to his carpet by dropping his cigarette several times. But the more immediate problem I'm facing is: what to do about the cat?

During the last 3 years, while he was living in the sheltered housing project, the nurse that came by every morning to give him his medication also had taken it upon herself to make coffee and set out food for the cat. Consequently, Dad got into the habit of letting everything be done for him by strangers and won't do anything for himself anymore - which is one of the reasons we couldn't let him stay in the flat by himself. He's convinced himself that he cannot do things anymore, and gets mad when you suggest he try. Quite infuriating...

In the home, the carers are not supposed to take care of such little things as making coffee or feeding cats, so before we moved him I made sure he understood that the cat would be there on sufferance, and that if he couldn't take care of her, she'd have to go. The poor little moggie is 15 years old and has been with Dad for the last 10 years, and he says he's crazy about her. However, since the move, she has only had 2 feeds: the first, the day of the move when I set out her water and kitty nosh, and the second, 2 days ago when my mother dropped in for a visit.

So, I had another word with Dad and explained once again how the cat was his responsibility and that if he couldn't bring himself to feed her regularly, I would have no other option but to take her away next time I came to visit. Dad just sat and stared out the window, giving no indication that he heeded me in any way.

I'm scared of what I will find when I go over there tomorrow. I know Dad's going to kick up a storm when I take his cat away, but what am I supposed to do? I can't stand by and let him starve the poor thing, can I? And I'm not going to start coming round every evening after work to feed her! I know that's what he wants me to do, but he can jolly well forget it.


( 10 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Nov. 7th, 2003 07:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, boy, that's a tough situation. On one hand, you don't want the cat to suffer, but on the other, she's only one of the few joys left in his life.

Is your dad perhaps too depressed or confused to remember to feed the cat? Or maybe he is indeed trying to manipulate you into visiting regularly to feed her; not because he's too lazy but because he's lonely. If so, all the lectures in the world aren't going to help.

Have you mentioned your dilemma to his caretakers? Maybe one is a cat lover and would be willing to feed kitty. Failing that, perhaps a small bribe might do the trick.


Nov. 8th, 2003 05:51 am (UTC)
To be honest, I think my dad's been in a more or less permanent state of depression at least since the death of his partner 3,5 years ago; although I'm sure he'd lost the will to make merry a long time before that. He suffered his first stroke in 1996, and his second in 2000 shortly after the funeral, and he's sort of given up after that. But he's only 74 and even if he has a few handicaps now, there's no reason for him to be so down in the dumps all the time that he won't bestir himself. The problem with Dad, is that he's got a stubborn streak a mile wide, and won't hear of therapy or accept any outside help.

Today, Dad's television went on the blink; I've just bought him a new one that will be delivered and set up for him in a couple of hours (the people in the shop were most helpful when I told them it was for an old man who had very little else in his life that he enjoyed as much as watching telly). When I arrived to check on the cat situation this morning, he had set out some nibblies and water for her, and he's adamant he's going to take care of her from now on, so I've decided to give it another week.
I spoke to Dhip, his personal carer, and she had already noticed that he wasn't interested in doing certain things; she said would keep an eye on the cat, but didn't want to step in just now. Fingers crossed, Dad will keep his word this time.
Nov. 8th, 2003 12:45 pm (UTC)
Glad to hear he's perked up a bit.

::crosses fingers::
Nov. 9th, 2003 05:05 pm (UTC)
It's good of you to look after your dad and his cat. It's tough having aging parents.

BTW, how's your mom doing?
Nov. 18th, 2003 12:11 am (UTC)
I think Mum's starting to find out that things will have to get a whole lot worse before they'll start to get better -- I spoke to her last night and she fully admitted she was exhausted after her first full day of tailored therapy. They've agreed on a plan for her treatment and they expect it will take at least a year of full-on therapy for her to...get rid of all her baggage and get back into the swing of things, I suppose. I'm really not too sure about the particulars at the moment.
They'd also like a few more sessions with me and my sister sitting in, she said. We'll just have to see how it goes!
Nov. 18th, 2003 02:50 am (UTC)
I am filled with admiration of all of you. (I think participating in someone's therapy is kind of tiring, but ultimately worth it.) Have you heard of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)? (Sorry -- might have to click through an ad to view that link.)

EMDR's been very effective with DH's war trauma.
Nov. 18th, 2003 02:56 am (UTC)
No, I hadn't heard about EMDR before...Thanks for the link; I'm certainly interested in finding out more about it. Maybe I can discuss it with her therapists...
Nov. 18th, 2003 03:55 am (UTC)
This will sound like a quick fix or voodoo, but it's REALLY effective. It's kind of astonishing how well and how quickly it's worked for DH. Take care.

Good luck!
Nov. 16th, 2003 06:03 pm (UTC)
Randomly reading journals
Hello I was randomly reading journals, came across yours and thought of a suggestion. Maybe you can have the care taker just remind your dad to feed the cat. I work with the elderly and well sometimes they are just plain forgetful about things and if he had someone takng care of everything before then it will be even harder for him to remember. Maybe he just needs reminded on a daily basis.
Nov. 18th, 2003 12:24 am (UTC)
Re: Randomly reading journals
Thanks for your suggestion. Although in the case of my Dad, it wasn't the reminding that was the problem, but the actual getting off his backside to do it ;-) -- he's a character, really, but he seems to be trying now, anyway. Fingers crossed, he'll soon get into the habit of setting out her food and drink, and I won't have to make alternate arrangements for his moggie.
( 10 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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