hello - this was posted in the pre-nursing student forum, since I am a student but I'm posting here since this aspect of nursing is applicable to my dad's situation...any advice or ideas are appreciated and thank you in advance for reading.
My dad's bleed was in his temporal lobe (specifically the thalamus, right side and spread into his occipital lobe - it was very large).
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This is a long post, but I'm feeling very stressed and overwhelmed and perhaps someone has been in a similar situation and can offer some advice - I'm about at my wits end. Also thinking of posting this in a neuro section or ICU section in the nursing boards for other input...anyway, here goes.
My dad had a hemmorhagic stroke last week (he's only 56) due to an AVM (arterio venus malformation - congenital problem where an arteriole goes directly into a veinule instead of through a capillary first - it happened to be in his brain - he could have more, not sure...he could have another stroke, not sure). He had emergency surgery to evacuate the blood and repair the vessel - he was in the ICU for about a week and is currently on the floor and will either be coming home this weekend or perhaps going to rehab, not sure yet.
My dad also has early onset Alzheimer's disease (most likely - definitive diagnosis cannot be made until autopsy...my family is in a longitudinal study with the Univ of Indiana - many confirmed cases of AD in our family and my dad is the 4th or 5th generation so most likely that is what it is, though). At this point, it is early in the disease so his main symptoms are forgetfulness, losing things frequently and word finding difficulties. The stroke and the AD are unrelated.
My dad has come through the ordeal so far with very good physical function. He does now have an impaired visual field so he can not drive anymore - he was having trouble with his legs buckling today so now they may send him to rehab but that is uncertain - we may know more tomorrow.
His main problem is in cognitive function...he is so very, very, very confused. Nobody knows if he will regain his "normal" function - it's almost like this stroke pushed the AD back like 5 years or something (having gone through this with aunts/uncles and my grandmother and having a former job as a psychometrist, I'm pretty familiar with AD and it's progression). At this point, my dad cannot be home alone. As I stated before, my dad is 56 and my mom is 54 - my dad was on long term disability (he was no longer able to perform his job as a research chemist with his short term memory problems) and my mom was not planning on retiring until 60.
Everything is very unknown right now, but at the same time my mom and I are trying to make plans...we have to deal with this somehow and we need some sort of plan so that he does not hurt or endanger himself. We have looked into an aid, adult day cares - things like that (it's very tough to think of adult day care for a man who is 56 and who is also very smart and has an incredible long-term memory - he was telling the nurses at the hospital all about the drugs he was receiving in ICU - they were amazed) -...we don't want to demean him in any way.
My parents have saved well their entire life, they have money to pay for care, thank goodness, but at the same time there is a finite amount of money and the type of care my dad needs could easily deplete their funds in a matter of 5-10 years. My mom has a meeting with a lawyer next week to discuss estate planning and we also have to call their financial planner (one of the 50 million phone calls to make).
I know this is a lot of background...sorry for that. I currently live 1.5 hours away from my family. I work 40 hours/week and I am currently taking my last 2 pre-reqs for nursing school (micro & A&P II). I am accepted and should start nursing school this summer. My teachers all know what is going on - I am currently a 4.0 student and I wanted them to know what was up, not for special treatment, but just so they would understand why my grades might suddenly fall from high As to maybe Bs or Cs (egads, I can't think of that).
I just don't know what to do...I don't know what the extend of responsibility is to my family right now. I have tremendous guilt that I'm not there all the time. I want to help my mom but at the same time I have a house and school / work 1.5 hours away from them. I am visiting my family every chance I get at this point - I am a walking zombie - I fell asleep on the couch while studying tonight. I feel like I am being pulled in 50 directions...part of me thinks I should give up on nursing school maybe for a year but then part of me wants to keep going and stay the course...I've waited a long time for this.
I feel so selfish right now, but sometimes I think I could be more helpful to my parents as an RN both financially and with regard to knowledge base. I just don't know what to do or if there is a right answer. Also, so much is unknown right now - we may not know the full extent of the damange the stroke caused to my dad for months. I am slated to drop to 36 hours/week at work once nursing school starts but between my work schedule and clinical I don't even know that I will have a day off to physically go see my parents once nursing school starts.
My life and my family's life has been turned around and inside out by this...I have siblings but I am the oldest and both of them are a little on the irresponsible side at times. I know that ultimately I have to decide what to do since I am the one that has to live with my decision...I feel so sad right now and very uncertain about the future.
Thanks for "listening" and if you can think of any additional resources or ideas I'd appreciate it. We are currently working closely with a social worker at the hospital and with the Alzheimer's association for ideas, too.