Thursday, May 03, 2012
Trying to deal with my mom's illness is like battling with an invisible ghost. You know it's there, but you can't see it or tackle it... not that I've ever battled with a ghost, mind you.
Yesterday was another not so great day. The really horrible part is that my mom's alzheimers is still relatively mild to moderate. That means she's aware of what's going on but she can't control it. And I love her, I really do, but sometimes I don't know if her behaviour is all due to her illness or whether the illness has just magnified her natural selfish, stubborn self?
I know, I know... what a horrible person am I!? But it's so hard. She complains constantly. She is always in need of something. I mean, she just has to mention something and it's done, it's bought, it's fixed, but there is always something else that needs looking after. And when she can't find something new, she starts over with an old item. Yesterday it was her humidifier. Now she's been complaining for months on and off. And since it's still cold, her furnace is still on. We've had at least 3 people to look at it since January and all tell us, it's fine, no problem. I don't even have a humidifer on my furnace and I don't notice a problem. But she does. Can't sleep, throat dry and raw, etc. Doctor looked at her and no health issue, so she's determined it's the humidifier.
Yesterday she started again. She wanted my b-in-l to take a look, but honestly, he works and has all kinds of other committments so my sister told her he was busy. (he already looked at it once and had a friend who's a furnace guy take a look.) So she called me all upset. I went over and what do I know about humidifers? Absolutely nothing. It looked find to me. It's not very old, maybe 5 - 6 years. So I called the heating company who agreed to send someone to take a look but it's $100 just for looking and then whatever else. I put her on a maintenance contract for her furnace which was new last year, but not the humidifier. So, I say ok, as long as someone comes and my mom is satisfied.
He came and in the end it was $178 to learn, it was working fine. In fact the guy said, before even walking into the house that did we know that we don't use humidifers in the warmer weather. I told him yes I knew but could he just humour us... ok, did we know there'd be a charge? Yes I knew.
As I wrote out the cheque to him, I just experienced this wave of hopelessness. I didn't know what to do because for my mom, this didn't resolve anything. In her mind that thing is still not working and I know that in a week, or a month, she'll be back at me about it. It's just so hopeless, I started crying. I was so embarassed in front of the repair guy. He felt bad too. when he left I really started bawling. then my mom got all upset... I mean she knows but she says she can't help herself... whatever it is is stronger than her.
Sometimes I think she has so many needs because she's lonely or just a little frightened to be on her own. But I've offered to sell my place and move in with her for as long as she is at home. Or that she sell her place and move in with me although this isn't a great idea because my townhouse is 4 story with lots of stairs. But in the end she refuses all offers. I even offered going over to stay with her a couple of nights a week, again, no go. In her mind she says she doesn't want to have me tied down to taking care of her. and it doesn't matter when I tell her it's worst, not knowing when she'll call or what's happening, etc. But you can't reason with her. But I got her to agree yesterday that we can't have two homes. I just can't deal with it.
On Monday we have a social worker coming and we're going to complete an application for long term care for her. We (my sister, mom and I) decided that we should do this now, because there is a 2 year waiting list for the better facilities and the way mom's going I doubt we've got two more years.
I hate this. I've done everything within my power to delay this inevitable outcome. But it's time. And that is worst than anything. For the longest time I kept thinking I could deal with it. I address all setbacks as problems that needed to be solved. That's what I've always done... I solve problems. But this is one problem I can't solve... there is no solution. No matter how hard I try this will never get better or at least stay the same.
It is an invisible ghost that only gets stronger and causes more damage the harder I try to fight it. I know I'm not a failure... but I feel like one... and worst I feel like an unnatural daughter... who is filled with self pity. I feel sorry for myself for having to live this life and I feel like I should feel more for my mom. I do feel for my mom, but she can't feel for me. It seems like she only recognizes her own needs, wants... it's the illness right?