What it feels like when your parent becomes ill

I wanted to write about what it feels like when your parent becomes ill.

I hate being a grown-up sometimes.

My Dad was due to set off on holiday to France on Tuesday but my brother who he was going on with was hospitalized with a gall bladder issue. My Dad stayed in my brother’s house instead of coming home here so that he could do visits to him in hospital.

It seems in the last few days Dad has got progressively more ill. He is not a man who seeks help from others so it has taken time for us to realise this. He came back here today and my husband took him to hospital where they sat for hours to get some attention (so much for our delightful NHS!).

Dad has jaundice and the hospital took blood tests. They said they would telephone if there was a major concern and we had that call about half a hour ago. My dear Dad is on his way to being admitted in the big city hospital with my lovely (why don’t I remember that often enough) husband driving him there.

Dad is clearly ill, lacking in appetite and just weak and a little confused too I think. He is 85 so every little illness is a total worry and this doesn’t look like a small one.

I can’t think what I can do to make things better and I hate that feeling. Half of me is relieved that the medics are much better placed to help him and can at least ensure he gets some nourishment.

And the nursing sister who phoned me had the same tone of voice as the Marie Curie nurse who answered the phone the night mum died.

So I am scared. I wish the lovely idyllic time we have had here was not coming to an end.

There is too much going on for this mere woman’s brain to deal with.

I am trying to work out what I could have and could do better.

I am so bloody useless and that is what it feels like when your parent becomes ill.

At times like these, it is important to take care of your own mental wellbeing so you can care for those you love better.

Originally posted 2012-07-28 19:40:34.

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.


  • reusegirl

    Oh Kate, you poor thing! This is just a little note to say to you hold on in there. Holding everyone else up, holding everyone together, keeping the home fires burning, staying strong even when you feel like you ‘re falling apart that’s not useless that’s amazing!!!
    Hope you’re Dad makes a swift recovery x

  • S j Thurley

    Your poor darling . Don’t ever think you are useless. Sending you big hugs and a special one for your lovely dad. Xxxxxxx

    • Violets Diary

      I’ve read a few of your blog posts & not commented on many, & don’t really know you, but I know that you definitely aren’t useless. Tired & worried, with too much going on may be, but not useless. Thinking of you & hope your dad gets better soon. Take care cx

  • Bizzy Mum

    You are not useless at all- from what I can see you are an incredibly compassionate, kind, caring lady who needs to give herself a big hug! I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad and hoping the doctor’s can get to the bottom of things quickly and effectively *hug*

  • Emily

    KAte sorry you are going through this. I know you only through your blog and I am ‘across the pond’ however, you are far from useless. Your witty blog always brightens my day when I have a moment to stop in. Chin up, you & yours are in my prayers!

  • Chloe

    Kate, sending you all our love & strength. It’s hard in these circumstances to feel useful but your Dad is in the right place to get what he needs. I do so hope he makes a good recovery. My Grandfather (who is like a father to me) is 85 & is often ill so I can relate to the worry you feel. If you need anything I am nearish by. much love x

  • Glenys

    Kate, you are not useless. Just mentally prepare yourself. My mum (83) has Parkinsons & has started with Dementia. I live next door to her so every time I go in I have to prepare myself for what I may find. You wouldn’t want your dad to suffer & I don’t mean to sound callous, but we all have to die at some point.

  • The Rambling Pages

    No Not useless at all, but sometimes things are out of our control. I hope now your Dad is being treated that he is doing a little better, and you are going a little easier on yourself xx

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