1. seymour

    seymour Registered User

    Oct 15, 2007
    This is my first attempt to tell my story and i am a new member so please if anyone reads this please don't judge me, well here goes, i have known my father in law for 25 years we worked together about 20 years ago until he was made redundant at 60, he was a fit and healthy and proud man. He enjoyed the birth of his 2 wonderful grand children and saw them grow up to high school age then tradgedy struck he was diagnosed with small cell cancer of the lung and was given 2 months top to survive he had the option to die or try extensive chemo and radio therapy which he did, i never missed a chemo session even after i'd been on nights i would grab an hour and take him to get his treatment at our fantastic national health hospital.

    Moving on to after his treatment and his regular check ups again none of them missed until 5 years later he was given the all clear the cancer had gone! left him with one lung and breathing problems but he was alive.

    Not long after i noticed a difference in him that concerned me, initially i thought it was the radio therapy he had had to his brain which was the strongest dose you could give anybody, i discussed my concerns with our local GP explaining the changes in his behaviour and his memory issues, this was ignored and put down to age and the chemo/radio therapy treatment.

    I accepted this for a while until i heard a broadcast on Radio 1 about a news reporter and her experience of her father being diagnosed with alzheimers it was a moving but comical look into the disease.

    Alarm bells started ringing in my head because his behaviour was just the same, i again confronted our GP and he did some basic memory tests which i couldn't attend, he was passed and sent away, at the time my mother in law was not well either so i was worrying about her.

    Sorry if i'm going on but i need to get this out, just lately he is getting worse to the point where i am considering taking his car keys off him because every time he goes out he gets lost and brings the car back with another bump or scrape he wont go to doctors with me for more tests and he wont give up the car. My mother in law is at desperate measures now as mentioned she is not well and has lost her hearing just about and finds it really hard to cope, i try to do what i can for them but with work issues i'm finding it hard.

    On another issue their daughter and i have just seperated after 21 years of marrige to compound matters and she isn't making the time to help me with their support and other issues.

    i have not gone into too much detail about his condition as i find it really hard to talk about, this is my first attempt but from the stories i've read i can understand what every one else is going through and most stories seem the same but there seems to be the support there that i feel i need to help me through this tough time in my life, but not as tough as what my dear father and mother in laws are going through, i would like some response to my story an dany advice as to what i can do next and if there is any help i can get to get some definate diagnoses of his condition, whether it be alzheimers or dementia or just plain old age he is 77 by the way.

    Thank you for letting me tell my story, look forward to any supportive responses that may help me.

    Many thanks

  2. cat lover

    cat lover Registered User

    Oct 24, 2007
    Hi Seymour,
    Poor you, sounds like you are having a tough time. It never rains but it pours!
    You sound like a very caring person. They are lucky to have you.
    Firstly, speaking from experience - don't let the break up of your relationship with their daughter stop you from seeing them, it can become bitter, but they need you. Time is a great healer in that department.
    As for getting a diagnosis, it took us 2 years to get the doctors to take notice. After insisting, we got an assessment done by the Elderly Mental Health team. Basically it's just a questionairre. From that they can categorise the dementia and offer to monitor him and/or prescribe medication and support.
    My Dad's early signs were his dangerous driving, Mum refused to go out with him!His spacial awareness was impaired and his distance judgement. It was one of the hardest things, to get him to give up the car. He resented us for it but had to accept there was a problem when faced with the damage he had caused.
    Denial is tricky to deal with. It causes confrontation which is what they don't like, perhaps the GP could speak gently to him?
    Other symptoms were poor memory of present & future but impecable memories of the past. Poor hygiene and self-neglect. Difficulty with speech, he can't remember the correct words for what he wants to say, he uses similar and sometimes totally wrong words, we laugh and play the "animal, vegetable or mineral" game to make light of it, but it can be distressing.
    Sorry, this is more like an essay!
    Anyway, keep making a nuisance of yourself with the Authorities to get some help. Afterall, it's only because you care.:)
  3. seymour

    seymour Registered User

    Oct 15, 2007
    Thanks for the response, didn't expect one so early after posting it in the middle of the night, you have been a great help, i will persue this with the authorities and the more i read the more i'm convinced he has alzheimers or dementia, we still laugh about his little driving detours and i know he knows i care but it breaks my heart to see him this way, as you say in your reply they lose self respect, i'm going ot babble on now but when i first met him he always wore a shirt and tie and he was a proud man and i was sat watching him the other day with remenants of his tea down his mucky old t shirt and he looked so distant, i see them both at least every other day and i cut his hair for him when needed but i want to do more he his as much as a father to me as my own and it rips me apart seeing him this way especially getting through cancer which i thought was the worst disease but this is much worse it totally robs you of your dignity, i'm filling up now, thank you once again for your sincere response i know now with this suport network i can get advice and help when ever day and night, this certainly restores my faith in caring people, thank you once again.

    yours sincerely

    Seymour :)
  4. cris

    cris Registered User

    Aug 23, 2006
    Hi Seymore. I too had difficulties with our GP. After 2 years and he was not "listening" I was in in the surgery with my wife, and had pre-arranged for 1 of our daughters to phone, which she did, voiced her concerns, and then he gave me the name of a specialist.
    I paid private for the first consulatation and a test for confirmation. With this info our GP had to then refer us.
    I don't suppose this helps you much, other than telling you, that we all seem to have problems with GP's not understanding symptoms.
  5. seymour

    seymour Registered User

    Oct 15, 2007
    Hi Cris,

    No this is a big help really, i could go down this route of a private consultation, i will do any thing just to give him a chance to restore some dignity in his life he doesn't deserve to go out this way, i will not give up on him, after the care we recieved from the cancer care clinic, it does leave me astounded at the lack of support i am trying to get now, it seems like oh he's had a good life he's 77 not much point in trying to help him now.

    Thank for that, cant believe at this time of the day i'm getting great advice, i should have done this years ago.


    Seymour :)
  6. Taffy

    Taffy Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
    Hello Seymour, welcome to TP.

    I hope that you find all the answers you seek along with the support you need to get you through these difficult times.

    This is such a pity for you, your parent-in-laws are so fortunate to have you in their corner. I am not from the UK so I know others can advise more wisely on the appropriate path for you to take.

    I just basically wanted to let you know I admire you for your loyalty and hope that things work out well for you. Take Care Taffy.
  7. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello Seymour, so sorry to hear about your troubles but so pleased you decided to tell your story.

    The first thing I would ask you to do is to keep a diary of changes in your FIL`s behaviours. Then if you do approach his GP, everything you are worried about will be written down, with times and dates, and give an accurate account.

    Although you are not next of kin, and not even a blood relation, I`m sure your MIL will be grateful for any help you offer, and she will probably be prepared to see their GP with you, to give you permission to discuss FIL`s condition.

    I`m afraid we have to persevere in order to be listened to, and not fobbed off with talk of `old age`.

    Please update us when you decide what action to take.

    Take care xx
  8. Devonmaid

    Devonmaid Registered User

    Sep 23, 2007
    Dartmoor Devon
    Hello there, I cant really add anything but wanted to say that the writing down of behaviour patterns is really good advice . We were told for ages that my Mum was just a bit vague and forgettful , that it was " to be expected at her age " etc so yes, persevere , You sound like a very caring person and I wish you all the best.
  9. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    Hello Seymour and welcome to TP,

    The advice you've been given so far is good. We had a lot of trouble getting mum diagnosed and had to do as Sylvia has suggested and take in a list of behavioural concerns.

    If you decide to make a list of eveything, I'd also ask your MIL for input as you can bet your bottom dollar there's more to it than you're seeing - it certainly was that way with our mum. However, prepare yourself that she may be reluctant - my dad certainly saw it as a betrayal of my mum, not to mention the fear of losing your life's partner clouding his judgement.

    I would insist on a referral to a consultant as to be honest when my mum knows she's going for what I call "a quick twenty questions" with the GP she puts on the performance of a life time. When she had a more lengthy and indepth referral she couldn't keep the performance up throughout the whole thing. From other things I've read here on TP that's true for a lot of people.

    The driving issue is another one that's been discussed on here a lot. We've had a heck of a time getting mum to stop driving - it's the last real bit of independence so your FIL may be very reluctant to give up. We only got mum to stop after diagnosis by telling her the insurance company wouldn't cover her. A huge lie but what else can you do? If you disabled his car would he be able to arrange for it to be repaired?

    I'm sorry this has happened - especially as you're going through an emotional upheavel yourself. Try and stay on as good terms as possible with your wife and then you can continue to have the relationship with your mother and father in law - you seem like a strong, resourceful and caring person and if the worst is true they're going to need you.

    I wish you well in the difficult times ahead of you and hope you find TP as supportive and helpful as I have.
  10. seymour

    seymour Registered User

    Oct 15, 2007
    what can i say i am truley touched by all your responses, things are amicable between my wife and i, but my in laws or sometimes i joke and say 'my outlaws' are 100% behind me, i am as much of a son to them and not your normal son in law, i shall take stock of all the support and advice, certainly keeping a diary, never thought of that but once again to every one who has taken time to reply from the bottom of my heart thak you very much and if it's ok i can keep you all posted as to how i get on, it is amazing how i feel this mornining after a long night shift to know that i am not alone.

    thank you everyone

    seymour :)
  11. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    No Seymour, you are not alone.

    I don`t think anyone can appreciate TP until they`ve had cause to benefit from it.

    Please do let us know how things go. That`s the bst way to learn, from the experiences of others who know where you`re coming from.

    Take care

    Love xx
  12. christine_batch

    christine_batch Registered User

    Jul 31, 2007
    Dear Seymour, Welcome to Talking Point. There always seems to be someone 24/7. I really feel for you but the advice given i.e. keeping a diary, pestering the authorities really helps. My husband was disagnoised at 58. The driving with Peter was herrendous. Stop on green and proceed on red. After diagnoises he was unable to drive. In May this year Peter was placed in a E.M.I. unit. If you are able to arrange for a private assessment it would be more helpful for your father in law. I have read so many stories of the long waits people have had. Fortunately, from the day I took Peter to the G.P. and him seeing specialist, tests at Oxford, diagnoised all was done in a week. It can be done if one is luck enough to see the right Doctors'. I wish you all the best and as for your point of him being your father in law, my four children from a previous marriage have a closer bond to Peter than his natural children (who I think have disappeared of the face of this earth) nothing from them for 5 years. So blood relationships doesn't always mean you are close. You sound a very loving and caring person. I wish you all the best. God Bless. Christine
  13. cariad

    cariad Registered User

    Sep 29, 2007
    Hi Seymour, your FIL is lucky to have you as his 'son' for that is what you will always be! Have you voiced your concerns to your MIL? would she be happy for you to intervene? If so, book an appointment with youe FIL's G.P and explain the situation. It may be best to go without your FIL the first time. Explain that your FIL is having memory lapses, is neglecting personal hygeine and is distant. As for 'passing' the memory test, not all dementias start with poor memory. FTD (a dementia) does not usually present with memory problems at first (but there can be memory impairment). My mam sometimes knows the date and month and other times doesn't. Don't be fobbed off. Ask the Dr to refer to a geriatric psychiatrist and a neurologist so that you can get a diagnosis. It might also be an idea to write the symptoms down for the Dr.

    Good luck and keep us updated. We are all here to help each other,
    Berni x
  14. seymour

    seymour Registered User

    Oct 15, 2007
    Thanks again for the advice, i have spoken to my MIL and she is happy for me to do whatever i can to try and ease both their pains, i was advised to take my MIL with me but i do feel iwould be better on my own, would the GP mind me doing this, this is where i feel worried about don't want to feel i am waisting the GP's time, you go through so many emotions don't you think, my main aim is to stay positive and focussed.

    many thanks again

    seymour :)
  15. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Dear Seymour

    If you go to see your FIL`s GP alone, it might be best to take a letter with you from your MIL, either giving the GP permission to discuss your FIL`s condition with you, or asking him/her to discuss his condition with you.

    The GP would be within his right to refuse, as you are not next of kin.

    Good luck xx
  16. christine_batch

    christine_batch Registered User

    Jul 31, 2007
    Just a thought - I seem to be full of those to-day.

    Hello Seymour,
    I went to see the Doctor about Peter but a took a list with me, it really did help.
    Being quite truthful, I ended up in tears but the Doctor was brilliant. I do wish you the very best. Christine
  17. 1234

    1234 Registered User

    Sep 21, 2005
    yorkshire lass up at this hour

    Welcome to TP Seymour, just wanted to say if i can be of any assistance I live in Bradford , west yorkshire so may be in your neck of the woods, have been dealing with this cruel illness for my husband now for 4 years so may be able to offer you some local knowledge of services available, take all the help offered it took me many years to accept i needed help take care pam
  18. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    Dear Seymour

    I can only say what a caring man you appear to be. Don't take it all on yourself, you can't solve every aspect of this illness on your own. Get onto the GP and the Psychiatrist.

    Don't forget to claim Attendance Allowance and Council Tax Disregard - that might be bottom of your list at the moment, but every little helps.

    Hope you are feeling more under control before too long.

    Best wishes


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