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What if the patient refuses help


KatieB

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(I posted part of this in my update in the spirituality forum, but I wanted to post it here to see if anyone else has ever experienced this.)

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My brother was sent home from the hospital last night. HIs counts are still low (still vomitting) and according to him, he isn't out of the woods yet.

I didn't talk to him tonight, my mom did.

I think it is clear now that my brother does not want my help. When I speak to him, he keeps the conversation on how he is feeling and avoids answering me directly about where he is living now and where he is getting treatment so that I can help. I’ve waited for at least a MONTH for his medical information and other details and it is clear to me now he is not sending it to me and wishes to handle this on his own.

I had my mom call and speak with him tonight and she spoke directly to him about us wanting to help him, but that he needed to cooperate. She told him that I had at least three volunteers in NYC who were willing to help in someway and what I needed was his address and treatment facility. She also told him that I have one volunteer who said she’d pick up his meds, groceries, and whatever else he might need during his treatments.

He flatly refused any and all help- saying he could "handle" it all himself.

He has an attitude that he doesn't "need" anyone’s help and that he can do this alone....yet he calls when he is so sick and being admitted to the hospital and he sounds just terrible.

How are we supposed to deal and help him if he doesn't give an inch....and isn't it alittle hypocritical to say you don't want help, yet call and reveal how dire your situation is and how alone you are and feel? (those calls tear us up inside and we want to help so badly)

I get almost angry about this because of what it doesn't to my mom, how helpless it makes us all feel.

I know the cards are his, and it is his choice how he deals with his illness and his life, but on one hand he is reaching out to us, and the other hand he is being so absolutely stubborn it is ridiculous.

Anyone else out there have to deal with something like this?

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Hi Katie.

It sounds as if he wants just to be heard. He wants to tell someone (his mom and sister) that he is sick. It sounds as if he just wants you to listen to him right now. He doesn't want action. He just wants some sympathy and empathy. He doesn't want to FEEL alone, even though he is. He wants you to tell him that he will get through this and what a brave guy he is.

This is what I think anyway.

He wants emotional support, not physical support.

He needs a listener not an advisor.

Something you can say that may be helpful to him would be... "gee, you are sooo far away, I wish there were some way I could help you...." (not that you are going to or anything)

or

"Can you think of anything that I can do to help you?"

(not that you are expecting to help him or anything)

Betcha that he will say no.

He is just scared.

Turn it over to God, Katie. Put him in God's hands. That is where he is ultimately anyway.

Cindi o'h

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I think that Cindi is on the money and maybe he's scared too.

The last person who had cancer, your Dad, didn't survive. Could it be that as long as he doesn't let you or your Mom into his world it's not confirmed that he is so sick.

This way he also in control - of you, your Mom, his illness and everything else. Maybe this is the only way he knows how to deal with it at this point.

Stay strong, you're in my thoughts.

Geri

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Katie,

I know this must be so very hard on you and your mom. It sounds like to me that he is used to being independent and hasn't accepted the fact that he does need help. Maybe he just fears losing control of his life . I would have no idea how you can handle this except to keep in touch with him and let him know there are people near that can help him if he needs it. Tell him to let you know if he would like for you to have them help . Make him the one in charge of the situation. Not knowing your brother, I really don't know if this is the situation. I just know how the men in my life react when their independence his threatened. Good luck and God bless you and yours, Katie.

Love,

Sue

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It's tough. I'd try giving all the information to him - like, how to contact those sho volunteer to help (if it's okay with them). Also, he may be more willing to accept "professional" help, so look for a home nursing/hospice organization. Depending on his insurance, he may qualify for help simply because he is battling cancer (this is the case for my mom), regardless of the prognosis. We never would have been able to get my Mom to accept help if it was only through a traditional hospice.

Just to give you an idea, the organization helping us is www.hhcri.org

There must be an organization with a similar program near your brother. Find the program, and give him the info. It may help him feel more in control if the caregivers are not connected with you. Sounds like he wants control, even if he needs help.

Ultimately, you cannot help someone who will not cooperate with your efforts. That's awfully hard to swallow, but it's true. Prayers for your brother, and you and your mom, too.

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Katie,

Mark was doing the same thing for a while too. He did not want to sit in the chemo room for treatment, he said those people made him so depressed. he did not want to face the fact he had cancer. He would not join a support group either, said he didn't need one. I guess it is very hard to accept especially when you already lost a loved one to cancer. He does not want to see the writing on the wall, yet he wants you and your mom to know it's there..The only thing you can do is offer your support and let him know you are there in any way he needs you..Hopefully, he will come around and reach out..

He will be in my prayers, and your family as well..

Donna

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I'm sure this must be so painful for you not be able to help your brother. You have offered help and he has refused there is not much more you can do, but drive yourself crazy with worry. Maybe your brother wants to protect you and your Mom from the pain he saw you go through when your Dad was sick. Then he gets scared when he feels so miserable and calls for support. Thank God he has you to call when he needs you. He knows you will be there for him when he is ready for help. Take care of yourself.

Denise

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Katie,

What a difficult and sad situation for your brother and those of you who love him.

I agree with what the others have said. I will add that it may all come down to a question of control. Your brother can't control the disease or how sick it makes him, but he is exerting control (such as it is) over his treatment and the rest of his life.

Just keep being there for him, the way you always have been. Stay strong.

Kel

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this is so hard, Katie. I've never been in the situation so I don't want to dole out advice. I just feel for you, I really do. I guess the calls ARE the help he wants right now, and that's it. must be so difficult to respect that, I know I would be pushing my family member to cop to needing help. does he have a friend you can reach out to, as an emissary? even if the friend isn't equipped to help him, he may be able to convince your brother to accept help from family, or us NY'ers.

I'll keep all of you in my prayers.

xoxo

amie

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Katie, I know this must be so very hard for you. Here you are, helping people all over the country (and world) with all you do for LCSC, and your hands are tied when it comes to your own brother. How frustrated you must be. After losing your dad, your brother may have well given up before he even gets started. I think you should try and keep the lines of communication open, just in case God changes your brothers mind for him! Although your brother is scared and in pain, he should be showing some consideration for you and your mother! I'm saying prayers for your family!

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Katie,

Is this "I don't need anyone" attitude a new way of reacting to stress or a life-long thing with your brother? I'm assuming he's always been kind of the loner of the family.

If it's the way he's always been, then I'd go with Cindi's comments. The kind of "help" he needs may be very different than the kind of "help" you've become accustomed to giving. You ARE helping every time you're there to listen when he calls.

I worked as a crisis counselor for years (psychology was my field of study) and it is always so frustrating to know someone's situation could be improved so easily but they seem to refuse the help you offer. I had to learn that, if they came back to talk to me, they were doing all they were capable of at the time to help themselves. You know the old saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

It's probably even MORE frustrating for YOU because you have so many resources to offer. You help "strangers" every day with the same problems, but it feels like your own brother won't let you help him! Got to drive you up the wall!

I wonder if you gave him someone's phone number in New York (one of the volunteers) if he would contact them on his own at some point? Maybe he needs to be in control of who helps and how much and when. He doesn't have to give his location or phone number in return until he's ready. That way he can start to build a relationship with those people on his own terms without feeling they have his number and will enter his space when they feel like it. Just having the numbers and names may help him get a grip on the fact that he need not go through this alone if he chooses not to at some point.

Don't know. Hope there's something in this long-winded post that helps you deal with this. Sending caring thoughts and strength,

Leslie

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Thank you everyone. You all have helped me so much today to understand where his head might be with all of this.

He has always been independant to a fault, not needed anyone and making himself the one that people go to for money, help, advice, etc... so this must be very hard for him.

The little sister in me wants to hit him on the head for being a brat. :x That little sister thinks he is being selfish to call and lay it on my mom (all of us) and leave us hanging with worry and sadness and utterly helpless to help him.

The rational adult inside of me knows that what he must just need right now is an ear, some emotional support and encouragement- and that HE wants to handle everything else (even though we SEE he cannot, we have to let him do it his way)

Thanks a bunch guys. As always, you are my heros.

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Katie,

The reason this is all so hard is because you ALL love one another.

One point I haven't seen mentioned is that sometimes very independent people feel compelled to prepare those they love with the fact that they might not make it through the latest crisis. I have had several terminally ill relatives do this. It wasn't to make us feel bad that they called. They were trying to give me a 'heads up'. They thought they were doing a good thing...taking care of me so the news wouldn't be such a shock when it finally happened. (I don't care how well prepared I am, when I lose someone I love I am shocked and upset. Period.)

I am so sorry you are all facing this most difficult situation. Sending prayers, Dear Ones.

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Katie,

Brian and I are offering tons of love and support from here.

This family you started is incredible. Everyone is so concerned and so smart and so willing to help and to carry part of the hurt.

I know you ache over this. I only can imagine how your mother feels.

We have your brother in our prayers and trust Our God to hold him closely.

Much love

Pat and Brian

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Katie,

So sorry I didn't respond to this sooner.... I just saw the post this minute.

I think what is most frustrating for you is that you are a "fixer".... you want to know what the problem is .... so therefore, you can "fix it"... I am the same way. It frustrates me to no end to not be able to make things OKAY. Your brother sounds like a fairly independant young man, who maybe does not want to rely on his sister and Mom. A male thing ya know?? I am just pulling at straws here. The main thing is to keep letting him know you are there for him (which I know you already do) and accept his non-acceptance for help. Someone before me said supply him with the names and numbers of people in his area that are willing to give him a hand and then let him make the call... I think that is definetely good advice. As always Katie, I am praying for you. Love, Sharon

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Hi Katie,

My Mom was very similiar...if we asked her anything she would refuse. The only way to help her was to just do it . Even the nurses joked that they knew what the answer would be if they asked if she wanted anything...No to everything. So, we pretty much had to guess what was good and best for her. In my Moms case I think she didnt want to put anyone out as she was very independent. Maybe your brother feels that way...knows he needs it but wont ask. Anyway it sometimes made things a lot harder then they would have been if she would have cooperated more. Hope you are able to get thru to him...Janet

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