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My name is Kerri, I'm 30 years old. This past March my father had his second stroke at 60 years old right in the middle of battling cancer. It left him very weak and with mental deficits. My mother quit her job to become his primary caregiver. My mother and I have always been close my entire life. More like best friends than anything else. She is the strongest person I know and spent her life taking care of everyone else. I never made a decision without her advice.
A month after my father's stroke, at 57 my mother had one herself. She spent days in the ICU and underwent an 8 hour brain surgery. During the surgery she had a massive heart attack and thankfully they were able to bring her back. They discovered she had a heart condition we didn't know about. She spent the next few days trying to hang on. All her ribs were broken from CPR and she was having issues breathing as well as seizures. All of this was during the start of covid so I had to rely on the occasional doctors call for information. I don't remember ever being so scared in my life all while being thrown in to taking care of my father 24/7.
Now it's 7 months later and she is still at a rehab facility. She is now paralyzed on her left side and has lost most vision in her left eye. They diagnosed her with a rare condition called Moya Moya disease which caused the stroke. She also now has a pacemaker. She is set to be released to home to live with me and my father. I plan to be their primary caretaker for as long as I can. She has had such an awful year and she was given a second chance at life. She loves telling everyone how she remembers when she died and her mother came to her and told her "to get the hell up". Both my parents are young and I cannot stomach the thought of putting either of them into long term care. I feel I have to at least give it a try.
I have handicap-proofed my home as much as I can and have set up a bedroom for my mother on the first floor. I have taken temporary leave from my job while I get her settled and I figure I will go from there. Unfortunately there isn't much family around to help. I only have one sibling and she has decided it's too much for her to handle. My parents do not have much left anymore in terms of finances as most of it has gone to medical bills during my father's illnesses so hiring 24/7 in home care isn't possible.
All of the therapists and social workers I've talked to over the last few months keep telling me it will be too much for me to do but I cannot let her spend what time she has left in a facility especially in these times of covid. I don't think I've ever felt so alone and scared. Nobody seems to understand the emotional torment of this situation...any advice would be appreciated.
JamesPL, November 29, 2020 9:33am EST
I admire you for trying to take this on. It is an extremely difficult task but you already know that. 24/7 home care by professionals may not be possible but perhaps an occasional visit could help you along with some help from your sibling. You can't do this all alone and trying to do so will cause you to burn out. It is critical for you to find some time for yourself. Have you looked into any kind of aid or government assistance? Perhaps you could also speak to a financial counselor to help you manage some of the costs. Be persistant in your research to try and find any potential solution.
I wish you well during this very difficult time.
AHAASAKatie, November 30, 2020 9:24am EST
Good morning, I am so sorry that your family has been through so much in the last year. It is a great deal to have to manage. I can share what we have on Help and Support for families after a stroke. We also have our Stroke Family Warmline. The Warmline connects stroke survivors and their families with an ASA team member who can provide support, helpful information or just a listening ear. Call our Stroke Family Warmline at 1-888-4-STROKE (1-888-478-7653).
Please know that we are here for you, throughout this journey. Best Katie