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Need some advice 
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Post Need some advice
So this is a long, fucked up story that I'll try and make concise, but I'm kind of at my wit's end so if you've got some/any insight feel free to throw it out there.

My dad is 56.
He had a couple rounds of throat cancer, last time about 8 years back, which left him unable to take food/drink orally, has to eat through a tube in his stomach. Pretty bad quality of life. Left him disfigured, cannot be understood well when speaking, etc. During the course of all this, my step mother decided she'd had enough and bolted.
Has had many surgeries and lives with a lot of pain, which ultimately led to him having to retire from work, go on SS disability and become addicted to oxycontin which he is apparently taking in ever-greater quantities, leading to many successive hospitalizations and other, subsequent health issues.
So my dad was renting a place, but about a year ago decided to move full time out to his house boat, which you're technically not supposed to do, but he figured he could get away with it.
Here recently, he's had to be taken away from the place by ambulance and helicopter due complications with pneumonia, taking a bunch of painkillers, etc. And the people who run the marina called me today to say come pick him up, they're kicking him out of his place. He's got a friend who is going to allow him to move, for I assume only a short period. After that?
He needs to be, I dunno, committed to a nursing home or drug rehab facility, but there's no way in hell he's going to do it. Won't even talk about it. Which i kind of understand as he is only 56, and of sound mind besides the painkillers, which he does actually need. He's stubborn which has kept him alive, but so far as I can tell he has no real motivation to want to improve or change his trajectory. Just thinks he'll be fine.

Also to make things worse he either has no or very bad health insurance, depending on which hospital I've had to go pick him up from, so Im not totally sure I could place him even if he agreed to it.
I looked into medicare/medicaid but due to the fact that he just went on disability, he has to wait minimum 2 years before he can be added to medicare, so it's insurance purgatory.

I have 7 aunt/uncles, 4 brothers, none of which seem all too interested in doing much about this, although they're all nice enough people. I'm not broke, but I obviously cannot afford to pay for that kind of thing out of pocket either. He has some income from SS, but is otherwise basically destitute, no assets, no plan. And it's not like he's elderly or on death's door or anything. But I find myself managing this situation.... I have no idea wtf to do. Im 35. I have two young boys and will not be having my dad live with me and exposing them to this mess.

Any thoughts?

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All misspellings and grammatical errors courtesy of my iPhone 4.


Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:13 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:22 pm
Posts: 18612
Post Re: Need some advice
Burly, my friend...

I want to give this some thought before I respond

Tomorrow I get back from an extended trip with my disabled son...I want to think this over and perhaps call a friend who's been involved in addiction services...

I have had 10 years experience dealing with the Feds, state and private organizations, so you are heading into a time-consuming, frustrating process/ordeal

At least he is through the arduous Fed procedure...each state treats the Medicaid limbo differently...but I have received very valuable assistance/advice from many individuals in the systems, so try to get appointments with high level, competent managers before you proceed

I have a lot of respect for your heart and intelligence

Your father is obviously in a great deal of pain and denial...but he may want help (deep down)

There's help out there and you are doing the right thing, reaching out

PS...didn't intend to suggest your family is just "heading into" the process--obviously you all are well down the rapids...just meant there are more bends in the river...but again, there are many people out there that can help if you get on the bank and network

Peace and best wishes


Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:45 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:53 pm
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Post Re: Need some advice
Really sorry to hear this Burly, I wish you the best with a very difficult situation. I've had to deal with something vaguely similar, but not as rough as you seem to have it, with my Dad. He lives alone and is a severe alcoholic, and nearly died from DT's a few years ago when he tried to cut back because "his liver hurt when he drank". While in the hospital, the doctors there urged me to have him placed into a rehab facility against his will, they said I could do it because he was incapacitated. I didn't, knowing he'd never speak to me again, and I look back and still don't know if I made the right decision or not. It'll kill him one day, but for now he's still trucking along at 70 and trying to just maintain his habit.

My daughter is grown now so I've considered bringing him into my home, but he's been on his own a long time and really just wants to stay that way - he's always been a loner and is happy that way.

So for right or wrong, I've decided that I'm in no position to force anything on him that he doesn't want. He's a grown man of sound mind, he can make his own choices. Might sound cheesy, but I always remember this line from Jimi Hendrix - "I'm the one that's gonna have to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to."

Anyhow I doubt it's helpful but thought I'd share in case it does help in some way. You have a good heart, just trust that and do what you think is right and remember that there's likely no great outcome no matter what you decide to do.


Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:19 am
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All Pro Performer

Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:03 pm
Posts: 3993
Post Re: Need some advice
Oh man burl...that's a tough one. Sorry to hear you and your dad are having to go thru all of this. Dang...he's still pretty young too really...and like you said...not a great quality of life. It's hard to tell anybody what they should or shouldn't do...not our place and we have zero idea what's best for you...or your situation. See what Gib comes up with since he's worked this red tape before. I honestly can't imagine. My heart goes out to both you and your dad...again...I can't imagine.

I'm gonna throw this out there also...and I know most (on here anyway probably wouldn't think about it)...but don't underestimate a "gofundme" type deal for him for assisted care (which honestly sounds like what he needs right now). I'm just trying to put myself in your situation and think of things I'd might consider. But I agree not exposing your young guys to this right now...that's a tough one. Hang in there bud....


Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:06 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:12 pm
Posts: 1851
Post Re: Need some advice
Burl wrote:
So this is a long, fucked up story that I'll try and make concise, but I'm kind of at my wit's end so if you've got some/any insight feel free to throw it out there.

My dad is 56.
He had a couple rounds of throat cancer, last time about 8 years back, which left him unable to take food/drink orally, has to eat through a tube in his stomach. Pretty bad quality of life. Left him disfigured, cannot be understood well when speaking, etc. During the course of all this, my step mother decided she'd had enough and bolted.
Has had many surgeries and lives with a lot of pain, which ultimately led to him having to retire from work, go on SS disability and become addicted to oxycontin which he is apparently taking in ever-greater quantities, leading to many successive hospitalizations and other, subsequent health issues.
So my dad was renting a place, but about a year ago decided to move full time out to his house boat, which you're technically not supposed to do, but he figured he could get away with it.
Here recently, he's had to be taken away from the place by ambulance and helicopter due complications with pneumonia, taking a bunch of painkillers, etc. And the people who run the marina called me today to say come pick him up, they're kicking him out of his place. He's got a friend who is going to allow him to move, for I assume only a short period. After that?
He needs to be, I dunno, committed to a nursing home or drug rehab facility, but there's no way in hell he's going to do it. Won't even talk about it. Which i kind of understand as he is only 56, and of sound mind besides the painkillers, which he does actually need. He's stubborn which has kept him alive, but so far as I can tell he has no real motivation to want to improve or change his trajectory. Just thinks he'll be fine.

Also to make things worse he either has no or very bad health insurance, depending on which hospital I've had to go pick him up from, so Im not totally sure I could place him even if he agreed to it.
I looked into medicare/medicaid but due to the fact that he just went on disability, he has to wait minimum 2 years before he can be added to medicare, so it's insurance purgatory.

I have 7 aunt/uncles, 4 brothers, none of which seem all too interested in doing much about this, although they're all nice enough people. I'm not broke, but I obviously cannot afford to pay for that kind of thing out of pocket either. He has some income from SS, but is otherwise basically destitute, no assets, no plan. And it's not like he's elderly or on death's door or anything. But I find myself managing this situation.... I have no idea wtf to do. Im 35. I have two young boys and will not be having my dad live with me and exposing them to this mess.

Any thoughts?


There are consultants, usually lawyers who specialize in this sort of thing. I know from experience that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security disability are a minefield.
Find the guy with a map.


Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:48 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:22 pm
Posts: 18612
Post Re: Need some advice
ok...i haven't sufficiently thought this out, but i decided to respond quickly before i talk with my addiction services friend bc your dad's situation can change for the worse at any time

first off, Dave gave great general advice that u need a game plan so u don't waste time and money down the road...but paying a lawyer is expensive, which is why i didn't do it myself...when i go on trips, i mostly disperse camp bc A) i love it B) we don't have a lot of money ...lol

lawyers are mostly necessary if a person is rejected for Medicare...estate planning etc...and your dad already has SS payments and is awaiting his Medicare coverage...why it takes 2 fucking years is beyond me...in the interim, he needs to be case-managed by Medicaid, which is state-run, but subsidized by the Feds...even when he eventually gets on Medicare, he will likely need Medicaid to cover prescriptions bc he lacks the funds to pay for a supplemental policy...right now, he needs total Medicaid coverage, and btw, the state might also offer him assistance with housing, food "stamps", energy asst.

anyway, i found this on the net

https://www.benefits.gov/benefits/benefit-details/1346

go to an office IN PERSON, explain the basic situation and ask your contact person what their advice would be, culminating in this question: "Who's the most expert person that you know that can help us devise a plan for this situation that assists with all his needs?" Then go to that person and go through the same info exchange process...i would even ask them whom they would contact that is most expert...eventually, u will find someone that can efficiently direct your paths and help negotiate the bureaucracy to get him a variety of types of assistance. My contact person has a computer program that takes input and spits out optimal Medicaid coverage options, which she went over with me in detail. Took a half hour.

years ago, CT had a case management system, where a Social Services worker had a client assignment folder. This was much better, bc they eventually knew their client and could adjust and customize quickly as the situation changed. Now, for various reasons, they dumped the old system, so every time i go there, i get a new person, and have to waste time going over the whole story again. Don't know what TN is like, so follow my suggestion above until u get someone that strikes you as being competent and caring...they will likely give u a backdoor phone number so u can call them without going through the INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING state assistance phone system.

this person will also likely make suggestions for private sector assistance options: non-profits, local hospitals that offer free services (after application)

but, if u noticed on the link, Medicaid offers substance abuse and counseling services if he decides up the road to get help with his addictions and underlying problems

also, you are a covered state employee, right? state workers look after other state workers better than Joe Public, esp officers...so they will be more inclined to go the extra yard...i would also schedule an appt with your own health coverage specialist for advice on his situation that impacts yours, going through the same process to find the right handler...that way, u have 2 channels working very soon...you could very legitimately use your own union sick time for appointments since it impacts your situation...that way, your supervisor must grant you time off to do your work on both fronts

one thing at a time....he needs assistance with food, shelter, medical immediately, so contact the state to see what's offered...they might also give u a referral for free legal advice if needed

as far as his mental disposition...obviously, he is in a lot of physical and emotional pain...he likely feels bitter and lacks trust on many fronts...his own body turned on itself with recurrent cancer...it might come back again...his wife, family members and friends have scattered, so he feels abandoned and worthless

he is putting on a front, but there is a lot of emotional pain along with the physical...so the painkillers give him some vital peace even if they are slowing eroding his judgment and self-worth...not to mention potentially ODing

often times, people say..."Let's have an intervention!" well, those seldom work bc they are ambushes, and not many if any valuable people would show up for your dad's that he would listen to...you might be one of the few people he trusts to talk with...my suggestion, if he is able to walk ok, is to go on a walk, and primarily LISTEN to his concerns, asking him a lot of gentle questions...AVOID confrontation...try to find out where he's at...something about a walk is magical...when u sit and talk--you are physically opposing each other--instead of walking along the same path towards mutually acceptable solutions

but u are his son, so that is loaded...he needs professional help from a person that is on the sidelines so to speak

i would also PM Aussie who knows a lot about therapy...much more than i do...he spoke of the importance of a "therapeutic alliance"...in other words, eventually finding your dad a therapist he can trust to talk with...this isn't that easy though, and often requires persistence before the right person is found....so good luck there...ask a lot of questions with your contact person to find this person

your dad is middle-aged...4 years younger than i am...he is in bad shape, but maybe, with better medical support, he can recover somewhat and find enjoyment in life again...

he has some positives outside himself...a good son... 2 grandsons to watch grow up if he gets his act together

in my mind, a person has triangular needs: physical, mental/emotional, spiritual...your dad needs healing on all 3 levels...so all 3 need to be addressed in ways HE CAN ACCEPT

so read through this, and let us know how things are transpiring, and i will give my 2 cents...i will contact my friend soon


Last edited by Gibron on Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:35 am, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:54 am
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Posts: 4620
Post Re: Need some advice
Ok, thanks for everyone's thoughts so far.

I will update this somewhat, but I can't really commit to giving some kind of play-by-play of this ordeal. It's already more than I want out there.

A lot of new information has come to light here recently that Im still digesting. I feel compelled to just either wash my hands of the whole thing or at least present the ultimatum that he actively seek some kind of help or I will no longer be assisting him.
That is the easy move, for me, but I've learned enough by this point in my life to know that the easy decision is almost never the right one.

He's currently in the hospital, which is where he needs to be. If/when he is discharged, giving him a place to go only worsens or prolongs the issue(s). Am I wrong to want him to feel so out of options that he has no choice but to seek help?
FYI, he's not in any mood to be speaking with me as I had to call police to have him removed from a residence that wasn't his.

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All misspellings and grammatical errors courtesy of my iPhone 4.


Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:14 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:22 pm
Posts: 18612
Post Re: Need some advice
you have made it plain that you want privacy, so i certainly don't want to infringe on your boundaries by asking personal questions

it's VERY tough for a family member to help another family member when they are drug dependent

you did what he immediately needed, but his durable needs remain...

i might swing by the hospital and try to explain your side (for what u recently did) if he is willing to listen..but i would avoid ultimatums...try to restore some semblance of trust

if it goes ok, then i would develop those channels i spoke of...and if he is willing to listen later on, provide him with some options for independent living...shelter, food and medical assistance

that's about all you can do since u don't want him involved with your immediate family bc of his addiction and denial


Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:19 pm
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