May Results, Worried about Mom
Monday, June 02, 2014
May was a pretty good month for me. I lost 4 pounds. I mostly met my goals: I exercised daily, increased hiking mileage, ate fairly well, stretched at least 4 times a week, controlled snacking (with the exception of the past 5 days when I was visiting mom). I limited sugar-free energy sodas (I drank 3 last month, which is down from 30-50 per month in March). I feel good that I didn’t relapse on the soda, and I met my goals for most of the month. It’s not great that I relapsed into emotional eating when visiting mom, but I am not going to beat myself up for a short term lapse. I’m forgiving myself and moving on, and celebrating an overall good month.
I have been visiting mom for the past 5 days and I did not eat well or exercise as much while there. On her 95th birthday, she had a stream of visitors and well wishers – 20-25 of her friends stopped by. I purchased cupcakes (her favorites) but she could not eat even a mouthful. For the remainder of my visit, I did a bedside vigil. She was very weak and sleepy. She slept through most of my visit. However she perked up and stayed awake again when son-in-law and her granddaughter came on the weekend; we brought brunch but she did not eat anything. She has stopped eating and only drinks a few sips of ginger ale. The hospice RN said that may occur at the end of life. She gets nauseated and can’t swallow her pills. They are sending a specialist doctor who will look at her throat and investigate mom's problems swallowing.
I feel very torn about flying home to return to work. I asked the hospice nurse if I needed to stay and he told me I should go; that I may need to return later. So I came home but she was in tears when I left.
It has become very clear to my brother and me that my older sister does not plan to return early from Mexico even if mom is dying or dies. Older sister lives closest to mom and has done the bulk of visiting; she is the medical advisor and has control of mom’s finances. I know sister must feel she needs time off (this has been going on for over 2 years, and it is mom's 4th time in hospice care). Nevertheless, mom feels abandoned. I live 550 miles away. I will try to make another trip in two weeks (my older brother from Arizona will flying in at the end of week). It is a financial drain to go; hotels in Palo Alto/Menlo Park are VERY expensive, but I need to dip into savings and just do it. My younger sister CAN’T come because of the blood clots.
I do not want my mom to be sad and lonely at the end. Even though she feels forgotten by her friends, LOTS of them visit, even when it is difficult for them due to mobility/balance problems. They wheel themselves in on wheelchairs or use their walkers. She is just asleep and doesn't know they are there.
Member Comments About This Blog Post
I noticed your comment on Claire's hiking blog from this week that I have only just caught up on...and it rang a few bells with me.
My grandmother had dementia and she had trouble swallowing tablets and stopped eating towards the end, as others have related too. It is understandable that she sleeps a lot, though hard for those who visit her with her also feeling abandoned. I agree that this is part of the condition, so please don't feel guilty about this. You are doing all you can, especially with a lot of miles to cover and the cost involved. It is hard when living such a distance away- and working - I was also living a fair distance from my home state when my grandmother went through the initial to middle stages of dementia, which put a great deal of pressure on my Mum.
It is great that your brother and you are coordinating visits, which is all you can do...and also that your mother had a lot of people around her for her 95th birthday. I think the suggestion of thinking of happy memories to counteract what is happening now is a great idea. I hope you can find a way that helps you get through this time.
Sending warm thoughts and prayers your way for you, your mother and family.
1052 days ago
I'm so sorry that you are distressed about leaving your mother alone. You are doing everything you can, and more than most people are able to do.
It does sound as if your mother is nearing the end of her life, but she has rallied three times before and may surprise everyone by doing it again.
It's wonderful that so many of her friends and family visited on her birthday, and that you were there to share it with her.
Be gentle with yourself. You are a wonderful, loving daughter and your mother values the time she has with you.
1061 days ago
My heart is going out to you.
1062 days ago
So sorry to hear about your mothers condition. It is difficult watching our parents go through decline, When they live away from your home base, it can surely put a strain on your pocket book with needing lodging and food, along with travel expenses to pay.
Congrats on having a good month of staying on track in the month of May, and the four pounds lost.
1062 days ago
Comment edited on: 6/2/2014 11:09:40 PM
1063 days ago
It's common with dementia patients to feel abandoned and forgotten, even when they're not. It's part of the disease. They can no longer process certain things correctly.
So don't take that guilt trip on yourself.
You and your brother and her lovely, very special friends can only do so much, and you are all doing what you can do.
Concentrate on what you're capable of doing, and let go of the rest. I was holding my sister's hand when she passed in hospice. so I understand the very real need to be there even if they don't know you, and the need (at least on our part) for them to not be alone when they go through the door of this world into the next. But I was also NOT working at that time, it was at the beginning of my desert of unemployment. All of that said to say this: While I will always be profoundly grateful I was there, I simply would not have been, if I'd been working. That's just a fact of life.
There were many family situations that were extremely hurtful, and intensely painful at that time. At the very WORST possible time. (WHY do they do that??) So just put blinders on, pretend you are a horse and you're putting on your blinders, and ONLY look at what is in YOUR power and control, what YOU are capable of doing, and let go of the rest. The rest is not in your control to begin with, anyway; so let go of it, concentrate on what you CAN do, turn away mentally and emotionally from the rest. You are already doing that with multiple visits and dipping into savings and coordinating with your brother. Turn away from the rest. You are only one person, you have no control over others, and you are doing what you can.
Acceptance doesn't mean you approve, condone, give in, or that it's okay with you. Acceptance simply means you acknowledge the reality of what is. There are things you can change and have control over, and there are things you cannot. Acceptance is not good or bad: acceptance simply means you accept the current reality. Acceptance saves your sanity.
My sister also couldn't swallow at the end, and had to take morphine in liquid form b/c of it. For ea memory you have of your mom like that, intentionally concentrate and slowly, emotionally savor, 3 other good memories of her. Do this every time. After a few months, I think it took about 7 months with me, I had trained my mind to remember the good with ea memory that came up. The sorrow doesn't pass, but it honors them to remember the good, and helps your mind and emotions to remember the good.
1063 days ago
We tended my brother-in-law at home at the end of his life. He essentially raised my husband who was 20 years younger. It was difficult, but in some ways easier than hospice care. We did have a visiting nurse and cleaning help for his room and him. He, too, did not eat as he neared the end. And the nurse told us that it was very common for this to occur. You are being a very loving daughter during a very difficult time.
1063 days ago
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