Father-in-law injured

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Larry F, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    My father-in-law is a lot like like my late father. They were both tech guys who learned on the job. My dad was an instrument technician in breeder reactors and my wife's dad installed clean rooms in hospitals and research facilities around the world. Neither went to college but were good with their hands and 3-d thinking with equations.

    My wife's parents have suffered a series of health setbacks that have placed them in an assisted care facility set up like an apartment. They hate it. They loved their house. They don't know their new neighbors well and think that they are not liked. The place has a woodshop, which holds great appeal for her dad, but he says that guys there didn't seem to want him in there. Well, finally he did get in to use it, but he suffered a terrible accident right away. He was working with a table saw, something he has done for 50-60 years, when something happened and it bit his left hand. He lost three fingers between the thumb and pinky. Apparently there was enough damage to prevent re-attachment of the fingers.

    He's 80 and has always been the fix it guy around the house, and now he has lost his kingdom and now his pride. The fingers are not going to be the problem. His pride has taken such a terrible hit today. He already hated the place and now this. The facility itself is regarded as the best in Albuquerque. His wife is slipping day by day into dementia and he is burdened with bathing her and keeping her on the right meds. His love for her is a wonder to see, yet he himself is getting more depressed and feeling his powers diminish. This event is going to have a huge impact on him. My wife, who is out of town on business, says that she or I would just kind of buck up and say, well, too bad, need to make some adjustments. But he is in a much more precarious frame of mind and is going to be devastated.

    Any ideas for making him feel better? He's one of those Indiana farm boy, WWII, build a life from scratch kind of guys.
  2. piece of ash

    piece of ash Friend of Leo's

    Dec 29, 2010
    Sugar Land, TX
    Nothing you can do... just hang out... and do things the proper won't let him do... like get ****faced.
  3. 1962guitargeek

    1962guitargeek Friend of Leo's

    Oct 9, 2008
    eastern n.c.
    That's a terrible situation.

    I'm truly sorry for him...
  4. Racer5

    Racer5 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Dec 27, 2010
    San Antonio, TX
    Find out what music the man likes, and if he can still drink, get him some music and some booze. They fix everything, and if you're in that deep, well, they probably can't hurt.
  5. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

    Dec 8, 2010
    Up North
    Here is an idea: Get some counseling.
    For you, your wife and, your father-in-law.

    This isn't going to get any better from here on in.
    Not for you, your wife, or your in-laws.
    Talking frankly, openly and, often will go a long way to giving him peace of mind.

    Your father-in-law isn't Superman. Never was. Just a great, fantastic person who always found a way.
    He needs real help like never before coping with how things are un-folding.

    Your Father-in-law is a man who cared about those closest to him with every fiber of his being. In short order his wife simply won't be the woman he knew.
    This is going to be a game-changer, be ready.

    My father went the way of Dementia. Imagine the Human Brain as an instruction Manual on how to run a human body. Imagine a page being chosen at random and torn out every day. One day there won't be enough instructions to keep the heart going.
    Been there, saw it happen.

    Nothing like not being recognized by your own Father!

    Find out everything you can about obtaining Medical Power of Attorney, Advance Medical Directives, etc.

    Seeing you putting your best foot forward and thinking ahead may be the best thing you can do for him.

    - S T

    PS, I see you live quite a distance from them.
    Do they have any relatives that live close enough to check-in on them?
  6. Norton72

    Norton72 Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 14, 2011
    Burton, Texas
    This is a very sad thing to hear, especially to a man like that. I know what you're talking about, and I don't have a clue as to what to tell you to make things better. Talk to him and listen to him. Ask him questions, ask him for advice. Make him feel useful, that's what he needs.
  7. ScatMan

    ScatMan Friend of Leo's

    Jul 7, 2008
    Maybe remind him that he still has an important purpose in life and a duty to take care of his bride.

    My dad was WWII generation too; purpose, promise and duty gave him reasons to carry on throughout his life..

    I saw him take care of my mom during her last eight years of Alzheimer's: bathing her, cleaning her, setting his alarm to get up in the middle of the night to turn her; putting chicken, vegetables and fruits in a blender and then feeding her the mixture through a large syringe.

    To him; "I take you to be my wife through sickness and in health" was a lifetime commitment, a duty, and finally, a purpose.

    I think when some people are reminded of their purpose, their worth, and how much they are needed, they will buck up and get on with it.
  8. henkka

    henkka TDPRI Member

    Aug 29, 2010
    Get a simple home theater system and some of their favourite films. Watching films at home is something them could both do, and the electronics involved might be rewarding technical aspect to master.

    Just an idea. Hope everything works out; and remember, good people get their reward sooner or later.

  9. tboy

    tboy Friend of Leo's

    Dec 13, 2007
    Chicago Area
    Sucks. Same thing happened to my next door neighbor. His wife had heart disease and he took care of her all day long, then he fell off a ladder and hurt is back.

    We took soup over, shoveled his drive, brought the garbage cans up, did what we could to help with her; all the little stuff that you normally take for granted, but becomes a burden in times like those. I think it helped a lot and freed him up to do what he could still do for her.
  10. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    Thanks, guys. This all helps.

    I am starting to better understand the phrase, "Getting old isn't for sissies."
  11. e-merlin

    e-merlin Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 13, 2004
    Garden City, KS
    I have no advice for the situation, but I do offer my sincere best wishes and prayers that you and your family keep up the strength to deal with this.
  12. stantheman

    stantheman Doctor of Teleocity

    Jun 10, 2003
    White Mountains
    Larry...Geez...that's a hard hit to take.
    All my Prayers and Good Thoughts being sent continuously.
    Anything i can do on this end pm me - no problemo.
  13. bingy

    bingy Friend of Leo's

    Aug 26, 2007
    Champlain Valley, VT, USA
    For the child, it is important to remember that the parents are in control of their own destiny and deserve freedom of choice to the last possible moment.

    I know it is a very sad situation and I sympathize.
  14. bender-freak

    bender-freak Friend of Leo's

    Aug 2, 2003
    springfield, missouri
    the only thing i can add to what has already been said is this. i am going thru the same thing with my mother AND my wife's mother. my mother has Alzheimer's, lives 3 miles away from me, i am over there several times daily to see to her meds and meals. wife's mother lives about 10 away, doesn't have Alzheimer's, but has other health problems. we do our best with both of them, but we are NOT professional care-givers.

    my mother and wife's mother have always been very independent and both are having a LOT of trouble accepting that some things they can NO LONGER DO for themselves, but they are both very resistant to any help/advice. in their own minds they are still just as capable as ever, but sadly, they aren't....

    it is very frustrating for the wife and i, but i do my best to not lose my temper or become too critical about things. sometimes, we both fail....we're HUMAN...

    i pray for patience a LOT, try to understand, try to do what i can......but i know the day is coming i won't be able to help, as i have my own health problems going on, and my wife had a stroke herslef just this past late summer/early fall.

    as someone above said, your f.i.l. is NOT Superman....neither are you....don't be too hard on yourself....

    good luck and well wishes..
  15. ADinNYC

    ADinNYC Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jan 2, 2010
    New York City
    Oh no...so sorry Larry.

    Nothing you can do except continue being the great son-in-law you are.
  16. camatillo

    camatillo Tele-Meister

    Jan 30, 2010
    At the Shore
    First off let me say I'm sorry for your families loss. I work every day in an Assisted living facility with an Alzheimer's wing. Each day I see people challenged by what most of us take for granted. It is very hard for people to accept new limitations. Your father-in-law will need to go through the same steps of grieving that one would experience as if they lost a loved one. His skill and fix anything attitude is as important to his character as anything else he treasures in life. A very important piece of his identity has been stolen from him. There is one thing I can tell you from my experience in this business is that the faster he can resume some part of his manual hand skills the better off he will be. He will have limitations to be sure but whatever he can do to resume some part of his previous activities will help him regain his feelings of being a whole person again. The more active he can be the better. I hope this doesn't sound like I am glossing over his loss and counseling by a professional right now would be the best bet. I am sure the facility where they live has a full time physical therapy department. They can help him too. If he can get back into the shop that would be good also. I truly wish you the best of outcomes in this difficult time for your family. ~~~ Jim
  17. allen st. john

    allen st. john Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    I hope your wife was just making a flip remark.

    Your FIL is losing the love of his life, living somewhere he feels unwelcome, and he just cut off three of his fingers.

    I'd be pretty depressed if that happened to me, and I think any reasonable person would be. It's not like he's complaining about the food or losing at shuffleboard.

    I think that recognizing that--rather than expecting that he should "adjust" or "buck up"--is an important starting point. This is a grieving process for the life he's lived for 60 years which is slipping away.

    Of course, my best wishes to you and your wife and your in-laws.

    FWIW, the facility should have a table saw equipped with a Saw Stop, and at least his fingers would have been preserved.
    Watch this video, and forward it along to the director, and maybe another injury can be averted.

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  18. Coop47

    Coop47 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 10, 2009
    Dealing with similar issues here Larry. Wish I had some good advice for you, but I'm just trying to be loving, patient, available and respectful as best I can. Best of luck to you and your family.
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