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Is He Unthankful Or Just Depressed?

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  • Is He Unthankful Or Just Depressed?

    I haven't been here for a while (since I brought my brother to his home out of nursing home - 8-2-07) He'd been in nursing home for 3 years post injury. I vowed to get him out of that hell hole and made good on my promise of 3 years with the aid of our state medicaid waiver program for sitters in the home. People screaming from the sidelines that I was "making a BIG mistake - he was too sick to come home) Medicaid pays for 14 hours a day (7am-9pm) personal and companion care for him 7 days a week. I have taken their system and implemented our mother, cousin, former aides, and nephew into the "paid sitter" category. It's almost too sweet to have my 70 year old mother paid for sitting with her son. She's never had a job, always a housewife and raised 6 of us kids.

    Had to work out some kinks early on in this new arrangement (like culling out the sitters the state was sending him that were very uneducation on tending to a quad), but I think I've finally made it a very comfortable situation for him. He has good, familiar sitters round the clock (I pay for a sitter 9pm-7am). I monitor everything from sitter schedules, state paperwork, medications, transportation to and from ER's during the night, doctor's visits, the works AND hold a full time job of my own. It has certainly taken it's toll on me, but the rewards have been worth it. He's been a better person the last 5 months and his temperment has improved and he doesn't pitch fits and curse people out like he did in nursing home. I though I'd made the perfect decision......................but....

    Moreso in the last two weeks (since holidays), he's been sitting around "thinking". He's commented that his sitters don't ever do anything for him (they wait on him hand and foot - all the way down to the bowel program), he never gets to go anywhere or do anything he used to do(I have two used vans sitting in his yard ready to take him anywhere his sitters can drive him). Even commented that he at least got to go somewhere every now and then when he was in the nursing home. (this is VERY untrue - they never included a quad in their outings - only took him to the doctor and griped about that). He's also saying at least he had somebody to talk to in nursing home. He "feels like a prisoner in his own home" are his words. He's started feuding with the home health nurses and I'm getting calls telling me they don't have to take the disrespect they're getting. He's an ex-druggie and I think he wants his old way of life back and obviously can't have it due to state workers and family in his home. I also think he's got his hands on some "stuff" over the past 5 months and wants more of it and can't get it as often as he wants to due to the constant supervision in his home. He's pining for his old way of life pre SCI, which is ultimately what led to his SCI in the first place. You'd think he'd hate it, but he craves the effects of a "high" constantly.

    My question to you guys is this, when does a sister quit trying to help her brother have some kind of life after paralysis? When do I quit driving this roller coaster we've been on for 3 1/2 years and let HIM drive it to his demise? I realize I can't implement my life style on him and don't try to. I'm now having to run interference for him with doctors and nursing staff again due to his mouthiness coming back. Also can't give him any money because of what he'd try to buy with it. He constantly gripes about not having any money for himself (even though I provide EVERYTHING he wants or needs - from cigarrettes, groceries, gas, money to eat out, beer, etc.) He's currently wanting $100/month for himself (and he does get $1700/month - it takes all of it and more to pay his sitter bill, utilities and groceries). Do I give it to him, let him buy his stuff with it, get caught and go to jail again? Or do I protect him from his ignorant self? I think he's nuts and driving me there. He IS spoiled, I've created a monster I guess.

    Any input would be appreciated......

  • #2
    I would think about finding him a detox program to be honest if he is still smoking and drinking and wanting drugs, he needs to dry out completely and get a grasp of reality. that is my opinion.

    it also sounds that he is ungratefull for all that you have done to help him out. have you sat him down and explain the bills to him?


    • #3
      I am guessing that while your brother was in the nursing home all of his mental efforts were put into the thoughts of getting out of it. That is SO understandable, as they are often a little bit of hell here on earth. Now that he is finally out the reality of his disability might be hitting him particularly hard, almost for the first time, since now there is time to grieve and be frustrated and not be able to banish it behind the hopes of being sprung from the nursing home. I am sure he does not really want to go back there, and I can understand why his comments lately are feeling very personal to you and dismissive of all the work you have put into him having some quality of life. I think a professional therapist/counsellor might be a good idea if you can get him to agree to it. He needs a place to grieve, to cry, to vent, and to be able to freely admit that his life is not what he wants it to be, despite your best efforts, and to have the person listening not take it personally, as you would. You said he was a druggie before this happened, so it may be a longstanding problem that has little to do with his disability, but certainly people who are depressed tend to turn to anything they can find that will bring them a moments worth of comfort, even if, ultimately, the choice is not a healthy one. I do think that his request to have some money of his own without having to ask for it is reasonable. It would be very hard to be a grown adult and have to ask for everything, no matter how generous you are in taking care of his needs. If he blows it on drugs then it is his tough luck, as a set amount per month will be gone and that is the end of it. If he manages it responsibly, then he might feel better about himself. Heaven knows I would! Good luck. I hope you get a lot more feedback.


      • #4
        I would sit down with him and discuss his finances. It is his money and his care. If he wants $100 pocket money each month, he has to find a way to do it. If it is giving up a few hours of sitters, spending less on groceries, or whatever. Let it be his decision how to find that $100.


        • #5
          Sounds as though you're correct in thinking that his return home has 'triggered' a desire to go back to his old lifestyle. All of this behavior sounds to me like typical alcoholic/drug dependent behavior. My suggestion would be to contact AA/NA, and Al-Anon for yourself, to help you understand the issues and get support for both yourself and your brother. Even if he's not actively drinking or using, the behaviors are certainly typical for dependent behavior.

          Good luck - and pat yourself on the back for doing such an absolutely excellent job with your brother!!!


          • #6
            AA/NA might also be good for helping him feel part of something? They will definitely be good for giving him the hookup on more drugs if he's so inclined. Those programs are great for easing loneliness and isolation, besides their obvious purpose.

            I don't envy you. God forbid I be responsible for my brother and his vices...

            If you plan to continue helping an addict, Al-Anon is the bare minimum you need to schedule for yourself.
            Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?


            • #7
              Vickie, you have sacrificed your life to help him out. Not many would do that!

              you have done more for him than most would have. I'd set down and tell him what and how far you will go and if it's not enough then he'll have to go right back. you must be a very good lady!


              • #8
                Vickie, I've followed your story ever since you started posting on here.......

                ........ you have gone above and beyond the call and nobody could ask any more of you.

                I think it's time to cut him adrift, if he goes back to his old life and self destructs, so be it, you can do no more.


                • #9
                  Vickie, can you be my sister?

                  I agree with the others, if he wants pocket money, he should do the budgetting himself.


                  • #10
                    Everyone has good points...You have a HUGE job you've undertaken with your brother...I do understand him wanting to have cash to have on hand, even if you do think/know/assume what he wants it for...I agree with the suggestions of showing him the budget/etc and seeing where the $comes from, but I also agree that he shouldn't have to ask for cash every time he wants/needs it...It makes one feel like a child asking mom & dad for permission to do everything & it sucks. He's an adult and should be responsible for his spending(even if it's not responsible &/or legal spending, he's responsible for it)...I also would recommend you try to find an SCI support group for him in your area. He probably DOES need to be around other people, I bet he is bored out of his mind...I know that I get bored at home and I've got the ability and freedom to come/go myself as I wish when I wish...He probably didn't realize just how much companionship he got from the others at the nursing home, even if he didn't spend a lot of time with he's feeling a bit isolated and lonely. It's not surprising or unusual. If the only outings he's going on are necesary ones, he may not feel like he's going anywhere, I know I get that feeling...If all I do is go to the grocery store & dr's I feel like I'm trapped at home...Try to get him to the movies, a museum, some event that he's interested in...see if there's somethign he'd be interested in volunteering for...the more active he is the less he's going to feel isolated, alone or bored. He also needs to get some outpatient PT going on...It's been far too long since he's had any physical therapy...This will help him get stronger and more independant too...Once this happens you won't need to be paying for people to stay with him 24hrs/day...
                    L-1 inc 11/24/03

                    "My Give-a-Damn's Busted"......


                    • #11
                      SoFla--it's not his money that is in question, it's hers. He spends the $1700 he takes in, plus the additional money his sister chips in, and wants an additional $100 a month allowance on top of that.

                      Vickie, I really commend you on your patience, loyalty and generousity to your brother. It is too bad that he is unable to demonstrate appreciation for all that you have undertaken and all that you continue to do for your brother.

                      You really need to let him know that he needs to start taking more responsibility for his life. That should start with his finances.

                      From what I understand from your posts, Vickie, you are already subsidizing his finances and he wants the money he receives from assistance, the additional money out of your pocket to cover his expenses, and an additional $100. It is not unreasonable for him to want pocket money (in addition to someone supplying his cigarettes, alcohol, gas, eating-out expenses)--it is unreason for him to expect you to provide it. By continuing to support him, you are enabling him to continue living without taking financial responsibility for his life.

                      I would urge you to reconsider your actions. Even if drugs were not in the picture, it is unrealistic for you to provide for his every want for the rest of his life. And especially because drugs may be a factor--unless you are extremely wealthy (and even if you were) he could very likely drain you of ever penny without ever satisfying his "high."


                      • #12
                        Thanks For Input Everyone

                        I thank you all for the much needed input. I knew I could depend on ya'll to help me out here.

                        1. I have already tried to get him to go to a detox unit, NOPE.
                        2. I have already scheduled him with a counselor - went 2 times and figured he knew MORE than the counselor and he was wasting his time on it. She sounded too much like ME. Didn't agree with him on everything he said to her.
                        3. He would be insulted if I tried to take him to an AA/NA meeting, but I will try to find time to attend one myself, we do have them locally.
                        4. I will give him the $100/month he's asking for because ultimately I can see where he'd want his own money. I was more worried about him winding up in jail over what he BOUGHT with the money than the giving it to him. If he winds up in jail, so be it.
                        5. He's been wanting "water therapy". I think they have a pool 25 miles north of here that he might could get in for that. He's always wanted to get in the water, says he thinks he can move his legs more freely there, though he's never been in water post injury. I really believe he could stand on his one good leg if he could get in an upright position every now and then. We don't have a standing board (I've wished for one on more than one occasion). He's always in a sitting position or laying position.

                        Ultimately, I think a lot of my problem is that I have finally "run out of gas" where he is concerned. I'm so tired, physically and mentally, that I have let some things go that I once was on top of. I would like to wake up one morning and not have to focus my entire day around him and his activities and lack thereof.

                        He does have two good used vans sitting in his front yard to go in. I have offered to put gas in them, let the sitters take him fishing or hunting or to movies. Arranged a trip like this a time or two, he never made it. Says he doesn't WANT to go with state sitters, wants to go with his friends. Well, his friends shy away from him because they don't understand the paralysis factor and are afraid to take him with them anywhere because they don't know how to tend to him (I guess). They don't come around needless to say. The few that DO come around, usually don't make the second trip because he wants them to help him get the "stuff" and they are afraid it will hurt him, he winds up getting mad at them and cursing them, they leave and don't come back.

                        I am going to give him a little rope here and see if he takes it and runs. Will let ya'll know the outcome later down the line.

                        Thanks again for the input! Several of you gave me a "pat on the back" that I guess I needed worse than I thought. Though family often gives me those, it means a lot for others to say it - it helps. Thank you so much.



                        • #13
                          I Second That, Dan!


                          I agree with everything that Dan has said and will also suggest that you give up on taking your brother to the AA meetings... you need to step into the Al-Anon rooms and enjoy listening for awhile. The Al-Anon room will help you get strong with the support that you need in your life. If your brother has any kids, they need the Alateen groups! (I'm a 95 Graduate)

                          Bless your heart for caring so much about him, but he needs to face the facts of life some time. No time like the present!

                          Last edited by Swampfox; 01-14-2008, 07:15 PM.


                          • #14
                            Thanks Swampy

                            I Will Go To Al-anon As Soon As I Can Muster Up The Time And Energy To Do So.

                            My Brother Is 48 Years Old, His Only Daughter Is Pushing 30 And Already Has A 4 Year Old Child (his Grandchild). She Communicates By Letter And Phone, Has Come To See Him About Three Times In Three Years. She Is Content To Stay Away (in Oklahoma) And Let Me Take Care Of Her Dad, Which Is Fine As Long As She Keeps Her Input To Herself. She Did Actually Tell Me About His Drug Problem Early On In All This, Although I Believed Her, Didn't Realize How Serious It Really Was. He Worships The Ground She Walks On And Loves His Grandchild Dearly. I Have Shipped Christmas Presents To Oklahoma Every Year Since He's Been Paralyzed. I Have Never Cared Much For Her Based On Her Treatment To Her Dad Her Whole Life (the Mother Deserted Them Both Right After She Was Born - He Raised Her). She's Selfish And Cares Only For Herself, Not A Trait I Like.

                            Anyway, Thanks For Your Input.


                            • #15
                              Vickie, I have a similar situation in my family. Can you look at your niece from another viewpoint? Perhaps what you see as selfish, is her attempt to protect herself, and her child, from her druggie dad.

                              My nieces were raised by my brother. Although he worshiped the ground they walk on, their alcoholic father would get verbally abusive when drunk, which was all the time.

                              I urge you to find the time and energy to attend a few meetings. It will give you some insight into your niece's seemingly selfish behavior.