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October 15, 2002

Other Social Issues

Question from the Pacific Northwest, USA:

I am 46 years old, retired on disability for diabetes and neuropathy, and have a good income from my pension and social security, but my two teenage daughters age are feeling very "caught up " in my illness. My 14 year old can't understand why I have to take an enormous amounts of medications to try to stabilize my health problems. I can't change that, and I won't ever get any better. I may stabilize, but I might get worse. My daughters feel my depression is rubbing off them and that I need to "start doing something to make myself happy". In actuality, however, some days I can't even get out of bed. I used to do things with my girls all the time, but now I can't even drive because of the opiates I have to take for pain around the clock. I don't know how to talk to them anymore, I feel I have put a crimp in their lives, and I don't want them to feel depressed because I am. I am at my wits' end and am ready to go live with my mother in another state. She has offered for me to live there for awhile, but I know I need to be close to my wife and kids. I just feel I'm a burden and not understood or appreciated. I love my kids and love to be with them, but they don' t understand me so I thought a peer support group in a like situation would be the best thing. Is there a support group for kids who have disabled parents with constant pain?

Answer:

I suggest you look for a good pain center near you. Perhaps they can help you with your medication, give you physical therapy to help you become more mobile, and hopefully provide psychological support for you and your family. The more you are inactive, the worse your condition may become. You need help to be as “active” as your condition will allow you to be. I’d focus your goals for “activity” on family activities.

TGL
Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

Sounds like some family counseling would be very helpful. Your own doctor may also know of some support groups and counselors. A good therapist will help you explain some of this situation to the rest of your family, allow them to express their own worries and concerns and also help you express your own frustrations with the situation.

SB