Living with a disabled parent

Nicole Modders

In July of 2010, my dad underwent a serious surgery on his back that was supposed to fix the mild pain he had lived with ever since he was young. But the surgery served no benefits, so exactly a year later, in 2011, he went back in to try a new type of surgery that was supposed to fix his back problems. But once again, there were no benefits. In fact, this last surgery took his once mild pain to severe pain, and five years later he is still living with immense pain.

  A lot has changed for my family in those five years. I was only nine when he went into his first surgery, and as a nine-year-old it was hard for me to realize the full extent of how much it would affect my whole family.

  Before his surgery, my dad was a very active person; every year he would join his work’s softball team and I remember going to almost every single game for years. So that first summer after his surgery, it was strange to see him not join the team, or any year to come for that matter. Little did we know, softball wasn’t the only thing my dad wasn’t going to return to.

  In February 2012, it had been months since my dad had returned to work, and after speaking with his doctor and company it became official that my dad was not going to be returning to his job as a factory worker at Woodward. He was physically incapable of working such a physically demanding job anymore. This had a huge impact on my family financially because, at the time, my mom was only working half time at the same factory my dad had worked at, and with that one paycheck they had two children to support, bills to pay, and medical expenses that they needed to take care of. At the time my dad was also not receiving social security money as he had only just left his job and had yet to file for it. One part-time job was not going to be enough to support a family. A few months after my dad had to leave his job, my mom started working full time.

  For me, personally, it was a stressful time, but since I was so young I didn’t realize why. All I knew was that everyone around me was stressed out for unknown reasons, which caused me to be stressed as well. This was also the same year I left my elementary school, Eagle Crest, to go to Harbor Lights Middle School where I knew  no one. This change, along with all the other changes that were occurring in my life at the same time, made me incredibly anxious all the time.

  Now that it’s 2016 a lot has improved since 2012, but there are still many issues now that have not been solved, and most likely never will, so we have just accepted it and moved on. My dad still does not work, and it has been decided that he will never work again as he was officially put on disability in 2012. But due to him now being on disability, that means my family is now supported by social security along with my mom’s still full-time job. His pain, however, has not gotten any better. He is still in pain 24/7 and some days he can hardly get out of bed. It´s still hard for my family to see someone who used to be so active and energetic not be able to physically do the things that he loves anymore.

 Over the years it has gotten better, but often  he is not able to even go places with us anymore as his pain restricts him from leaving the house on most days, and often times if he does go places with us he will regret it as his pain will become increasingly worse in the days to follow. An example of this was on his birthday earlier this year. His birthday fell on a day where his back pain was unbearable, and we ended up having to wait a few days before bringing him out to dinner otherwise he would spend his whole birthday meal in pain. It´s hard to see because we can tell he wants to go on family outings but he just can’t.

  On the positive side of things, he is now able to walk around the house without a drastic amount of pain, and our four pets have someone to take care of them during the day, before my mom and I get home from work and school.

  Although the journey has been hard, as I’ve grown older it’s gotten easier for both me and my family. Life is certainly far from how it was before my dad’s surgery, but my family has learned to adjust to our new lives and go on with life, because in the end my family is still together and that’s what matters.