Wednesday, October 26, 2011
My mother really wants to be 60 again, with the freedom that good health, good vision, and driving where you want when you want gives you. None of us can grant her wish.
So she’s stuck with being 89, legally blind, needing more and more help from others. She fights ferociously against anyone who tries to help her deal with her limitations. It’s as if when you try to help her with her limitations, you assume the responsibility of causing those limitations.
Since I have been the Number One helper, I’m Public Enemy Number One. The more my sons step in to help – both me and her – the higher they get on that Public Enemy list.
God and the Universe have sent us a remarkable Home Health Care Nurse who has been able to talk her way in the door. She has hit upon the management method of giving my mother CHOICES in her care, to address her fear of losing control. So they have reached an agreement that Home Health care can visit twice a week. They observe while they are there and gradually try to be allowed to do a little more each time.
I’m doing all the behind-the-scenes paperwork, talking to doctors, pharmacists, filling out Medicaid re-certifications, etc. etc. The nurse is working on my mother constantly changing doctors because “that doctor” caused all her problems. No one can convince her she did not even meet “that doctor” until she began having those problems.
My son told my mother, in plain simple language, that if she didn’t let her family help her the State would step in and decide where and how she would live, instead of people who love her. It didn’t seem to sink in at the time, but maybe she is slowly allowing that thought to take hold.
What upsets me the most, are the horrible things she’s said to my sons. They have been the most wonderful grandsons she could have. Almost everything she owns was given to her by them: two a/c window units, ceiling fans, flat screen tvs, washing machine, dinette set. A year and ago they both took off work for a week to get her moved in here. One owns his own business and the other is a federal agent who flew here to Texas from Denver to help move her. She’s never had to pay a cable bill or a phone bill, either. They won’t even tell me what she’s said because they say it would “make you ill, Mom.”
The last time I saw her, I thought she would hit me, so I left. I mean, what do you do when an 89 year old woman strikes you? So my sons and I have decided that I will no longer have ANY contact with her. And it’s really upsetting her. She NEEDS someone to abuse, to yell at, to humiliate in public, and I’ve resigned. She’s having her neighbors call me now, telling me what she “wants”. I’m thanking them and then ignoring it all.
If she needs contact from us, my son will go. I think it’s pretty frustrating for her not to be able to tell me what she’s unhappy about, or how I’m the cause of all her ills.
During this time since her fall, I’ve hand-fed her when she couldn’t feed herself, helped her dress, made all the arrangements I could so her stay in the hospital (4 days) and the nursing home (10 days) and her return home, would be as nice as possible. I had her apartment cleaned, too. Rotten food in the fridge and pantry. Dead gnats in the fridge and freezer. (How does THAT happen?) Enough to get her evicted. And continued with all the paperwork, etc, I’ve always done.
And she hates me more than anyone.
It's not that I miss the wonderful, loving mother she once was, because she has always been the way she is now, except that now she is even worse.
I’ve decided to be an advocate for mySELF now. So I’m resigning my position as an advocate for her.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Thank you all again for the many good thoughts and words of kindness during the Troubles with my Mother, after her fall, which I now believe was due to her blood pressure dropping drastically and causing her to pass out. The same thing happened the next two days in a row, but I was there to catch her and call 911. (See my previous blog about that.)
She finally agreed to a two week stay in a nursing home so her medication could be changed and evaluated and so she could get some physical therapy and instruction on how to prevent falls, etc.
Of course, she changes her mind about that every day or so and tries to walk out. She does that because – she wants some chicken soup and doesn’t get it fast enough, she doesn’t have the right clothes, she doesn’t like her bed, a noise woke her in the night, someone stole her suitcase with all her clothes, etc. etc. etc. (We found the suitcase where she had left it after she rolled it down the hall and hid it behind a sofa.)
Yes, she’s spoiled. When you have an 89 year old, almost blind Mother/Grandmother who was never a good communicator anyway, and who throws a tantrum if she doesn’t get her way, you tend to do what she wants ASAP to keep her from getting so upset she hurts herself. When she’s in a hospital or facility, she thinks they will all grant her every wish instantly, too, and when it doesn’t happen, she gets very difficult, to put it nicely. My son has taken all the night time calls from the nursing home. I get the day shift.
Finally, they have put her in Lockdown, which sounds ominous, but is actually just another wing of the facility, just as nice, even more spacious, but all the outer doors are locked, so no one can “walk to the store to get her own soup.” It’s sort of an Alternative School for Seniors, lol.
I’ve spent days, literally, on the phone trying to straighten out a mix up in Ortho appointments for her broken wrist. Finally, I have a list of her new medication so we can adjust what she has when she returns home. She still moans and rolls her eyes when I mention Home Health care returning, and NO ONE has told her we had her apartment cleaned, because none of us are brave enough, yet.
The Bottom Line – She is physically safe in the nursing home but not happy. If she is not happy – NO ONE IS HAPPY – I guarantee it! She is happy at home, but not always so safe and resents and refuses help. Those are our options.
Her family medicine doctor told me yesterday that many people with elderly parents find themselves in this same situation. He said “You can only do the best you can and stand-by and pray for the best.” My own doctor told me the same thing but added “And when the worst happens, remember not to blame yourself.”
So those are our choices during the Troubles, which are sure to continue the rest of her life. Neither choice makes me feel good or happy or confident I’m doing the right thing.
The worst part of it all, for me, is her verbal abuse of me, (which is nothing new) and my sons and certainly any staff that tries to help her. I have to tell you now, my mother has always been difficult and I was fortunate to have been raised by many aunts, uncles and grandmas in my youth. Still, she is my mother. I am her only child. We are stuck with each other. I give thanks daily for my two wonderful sons who help me, and her, so much!
And also for my Spark Friends!
God Bless the Caregivers.
Saturday, October 08, 2011
Thank you all for your concerns about my mother and myself. This blog is for everyone I haven’t had time to answer.
Wednesday, my mother fell while crossing the street by her apartment, going to the Senior Center for exercise. My mother will be 89 October 26. She needed stitches in her face, which looks like someone beat her with a 2 x 4, and has a broken right wrist. Yes, she’s right handed. She’s also legally blind and has all the usual issues you have when you’re that old – high BP, diabetic, irregular heart beat and mild heart problems.
I spent 8 hrs in the ER with her, watching her being sewed up and having her wrist bone set. (Don’t ever watch a bone being set if you can avoid it.) She refused to be admitted. She NEVER needs any help – just ask her. The ER doc talked her into spending one night and then the hospital wouldn’t admit her because they didn’t think she needed 24 hour observation. I would love to post a photo of her taken in the ER but I think it would be too upsetting for many people to see her face.
I took her home with me. Checked on her every 30 min or so all night. Still, I missed her slide to the floor, where I found her at 3 am. She couldn’t get on her hands and knees to pull up because of her broken arm. (And she’s looking up at me saying “I don’t need any help.”) I put my back brace on and gave one try and stopped and called my son who was there in 20 min. He got her up and spent 2 hrs talking to her about learning to ACCEPT HELP in order to continue living independently.
About 9:30 am she was sitting on my sofa while I put her things in my car so we could go back to her apartment and meet the Home Health Care R.N. When I came back in she was slumped over and limp and could barely speak, but she was saying “I’m OK”. I called 911. Her BP was 70/55. She refused transport. Her BP came back up and she was herself again. They told me to take her to her doctor. I did. Change in BP meds and the doctor ORDERED her to have home health come in and monitor her daily. Long argument about that, again.
She did spend the night in her apartment. I was there until late, her friend came over at 7 am and Home Health came in at 9. I showed up at 9:30 with groceries, etc. She was talking to me and to the nurse, BP was good, nurse walked out the door. Then my mother slumped over like the day before. I ran out to the street and called the nurse back. She saw mother and told me to call 911 and tell them her BP was 50/30. Back to the ER and this time she couldn’t resist because she was unconscious and then she was admitted.
Lack of sleep was the thing that weakened me most and made my body hurt. Bad back and bad hip like to be in their own comfortable environment or they complain. A day in the ER is hard. But she’s feeling just fine in between these episodes. The second time I did see one side of her face twitching and reported that to the ER. Testing continues.
I had promised to feed cats for a friend while she went on vacation, so I’m trying to work that in every day. My son, an investigator, is in court every day. Also, Joe, usually my backup and first line support, hurt his back and is walking bent over, his truck was in the shop and I had to help him get back and pick it up. He said he was happy I could work him in, lol. Life’s been a little busy lately.
Monday, September 26, 2011
I've been wanting to do this for at least ten years -
I want to have a large Post-It pad printed up with the same thing on every sticky little page:
PARKING FOR DUMMIES available at your local library!
Try to act like you aren't the ONLY person on earth, just for today, OK?
Have you seen any windshields you'd like to stick THAT on?
Thursday, September 22, 2011
If you’re not playing the numbers game, your best bet is to play it!
I’m talking about HEALTH numbers. Yours. You know, blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate, and last, but never least, the number of minutes you spend exercising every day.
You can buy what you need to measure blood sugar and blood pressure at most grocery stores and drug stores. Many of these same places will check your cholesterol once a month for less than most insurance co-pays for a doctor’s visit.
I’m not suggesting that you skip regular check-ups at your doctor’s office, where you’ll get much more detailed reports and some good advice. I’m just saying you can keep up with your numbers much more closely by using these other methods between doctor visits.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with the experts, who frequently don’t agree with each other, about what your numbers should be. You always know which direction your numbers should be heading, don’t you? Up? or down? That’s what you can monitor.
We get on that scale constantly to monitor every little ounce fluctuation. Well, testing your own blood sugar two hours after an unusually decadent meal can be a real motivator to eat your greens and pass up the cake and ice cream!
I’ve inherited “the blood work of Wonder Woman” as my doctor calls it, but so did my mother years ago and now she has diabetes and high blood pressure, so I keep an eye on mine. Typically these both get more troublesome as we age. It’s a shocker to see usually good blood sugar elevate if I throw caution to the wind for a week. (Not to mention seeing my weight shoot up like I’m being fattened for market, lol.)
So, I’m urging everyone to keep a close watch on your numbers, especially if you’re struggling with weight, inactivity, age, stress, sleep deficit, massive multi-tasking – Oh you know – LIFE!
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