Monday, September 29, 2008


If I thought just screaming would make a difference...I'd do it and you'd hear my scream reverberating off the mountains.

I am overwhelmed.

I am afraid...but trying real hard not to be.

I am frustrated.

I am exasperated.

And I am angry. Because I am angry...

I feel guilt.

The anger is partly from fear..exasperation... and frustration. I want to talk about it...but I can't.. not here anyway... not yet anyway.

I wish I knew someone going through these things.

Early this evening I got a call from a local police officer who stated he was calling from my mother's apartment. He told me that the paramedics and first aid squad were there as well.
And he told me that she was coming around but refusing to go to the hospital.

When the woman who was delivering her medicine didn't get an answer from my mother, she got the building mgr who lives across the hall from her. They had a difficult time rousing her and felt her pulse was barely there and so called the emergency services. The police officer didn't feel a strong one either.

It turns out that my mother hadn't eaten since morning and she stated it was because she was so tired. I had spoken with her around noon and she mentioned being tired... but I wasn't concerned any more than I usually am.

That being said... it seems I am constantly concerned... like the kinds of feelings you get when you feel a foreboding about something... which is not the norm for me.

They felt it happened because she had a drop in blood sugar and so someone made her a peanut butter sandwich and she rallied back after eating that.

I said I would be right over, but I discussed it with my husband and we agreed she should go to the hospital. So I called back and spoke with the same officer, told him I thought they should transport her up to the hospital to be checked out because it didn't make sense that would happen. She just had a good physical last week, labs came back good except her magnesium was low. Her A-1c was 5.5. I was concerned about change in mental status that caused her not to eat. She said she was tired and she did tell me she was tired today and she was sleeping when son and I went over Friday night.

The officer told her I wanted to speak with her and as soon as she got on the phone, she immediately and defiantly stated "I'm NOT going to the HOSPITAL!" I asked to talk with the officer and he said he was sorry they can't kidnap her, had her sign a refusing treatment form but he thought she was doing better. I knew they couldn't force her... I was just frustrated.

I am so overwhelmed with the complications-frustrations connected to my mother that I feel like I have a paralysis of my thought processes as they pertain to sensory overload. There is so much to deal with that I am not mentioning here.

So I tried to assess what happened when I got there and she just told me she was tired and not hungry. I reminded her that she should be eating 6 small meals a day. Discussed that she needed a better system for tracking her meds. Her neighbor went back to her apt. to get an extra pill box she had. I tried this a couple of years ago and my mother refused to use it. She agreed to this...I guess because both ladies said they used them. I will type up a daily medication sheet for her to check off in conjunction with her meds. I did that once before but she stopped doing that. She is good about taking her medication but I have relayed changes to her in how much coumadin or magnesium and she sometimes mixes it up. Although...her coumadin levels were perfect as of last week.

My mother has been and is resistent to my doing things for her. She is letting me control her money and pay her bills and I have her in the green. She is starting to let us take her garbage and recycling out...but there is so much more.

I also observed that she could hardly raise herself up from her sofa. She does not seem to have much strength or stamina. My husband thinks she should be in a nursing home, but her doctor agreed with me that it would be counterproductive to her well being (emotionally) to be placed in one. I struggle with it because I am concerned about her physical safety, yet she very much has her faculties... aside from mixing some things up.

The doctor wrote an order for her to get a hospital bed. That is a great idea. She refused. Finally today and tonight...i again made the case for the bed and then tonight in exasperation said... "'s your choice Mom. Dr and I are trying to assist you in living independently and you need help with certain things now. So you here...or live in a nursing home. your choice Mom." She reluctantly agreed.

I KNOW it must be so hard to see your body fail you and have to give up certain things or accept what you perceive as interference vs help from someone. I am trying to be respectful of these things. I just know it can't keep going on this way.

I am also going to find out about a trial meals on wheels. She resists it but even her friends suggested she give it a chance. And I am going to find out about a visiting homemaker on top of my going there.

I will call her doctor tomorrow. I am wondering if the a-fib could be causing the extreme fatigue she seems to be experiencing. ?

My mother is a good person... but she is not an easy person and resists things like even me dusting or cleaning because she doesn't want me touching/moving her things. (here is where I get very overwhelmed because there is so much to do and she won't let me) She won't allow me to do anything without getting frustrated and angry.

Personally...I would be grateful if someone cared enough to help or want to help. And I admit...I snapped at her when she accused me of snooping through her medications. I blurted out..."Do you think this is FUN for me? Do you really think I am just being nosy?!" She said no. I am not proud of that. I am not. I was trying to straighten her medication area, toss out empty med bottles and loading her new pill box.

I kept trying to tell myself..."Step back from this. Look at this as if she were a pt." But it is so hard because of all the emotion, oil and vinegar personalities and our mother- daughter history together... and even through all that... I do love her... she is and always will be my mother.

And how do people do it?

How do they make the decision their parents should be in a nursing home?

Some families prepare and work these things out ahead of time but I am guessing most do not.

The thought of having to do that is heart wrenching to me.

The ED doc thought she should have 24/7 care of a nursing home in case she fell... being on coumadin...she could bleed out.

The PCP...agrees with wouldn't be good for her. She would be devastated with worry and a broken heart over her cats. She is a loner and would not fair well if she had a roommate.

But am I letting emotion cloud my better judgment?

I have to try these things first.

What do other people do?

What would you do?

I hope God will give me the strength and wisdom to best help my mother. And I want to experience joy around her... not argue over every little thing I try to do. I love her. I wish we could have healing in our relationship... that we could just "be" together.


Elaine said...

Oh Seaspray, this is such a hard time for you. I can feel your pain (you expressed it so well) but I have to agree that as long as your mother can make decisions for herself she has the right to remain in her own home for as long as she chooses.

Clever bit of blackmail over the hospital bed.

It might show a way to progress. Keep trying to make changes slowly (sudden ones are hard to cope with) and you can always use the same blackmail again if it doesn't work.

I am still a lot fitter than your mother, but I can understand what she is feeling as I expect it could be not far to long down the road for me. I already "had" to move here. I said it was a bitch, didn't I but it is a bitch for the family too.

The very best wishes . My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Evangeline said...

I have lived this trough my father experience, i saw him go throughout what you are describing with my grandma. It wasn't easy, i even caught him crying once so much it was overwhelming him. But he never gave up on her, and then, one day she saw it, she thanked him and blessed him. then she passed away, and i know that if he hadn't tried his best, he would have been filled with guilt after her passing away.
you know, we don't always let our parents take care of us when we are young, so if your mom isn't easy sometimes, just try to think that you probably gave her some headaches too :)
In my country, we say that your kids will treat you the same way you treated your parents. so the good thing is that you know someone will take care of you in old age. I know that talking about it isn't as being in the situation, i know it must be hard on you, but i wish my words can help.

Jenster said...

Oh gosh. I have no advice at all. Except please don't feel guilty at all. People in your mother's situation can be so incredibly stubborn and you have to be firm sometimes to get them to see what's right. I think you're handling the situation very well.

I dread the idea of ever putting my folks in a nursing home, too. I so wish they could afford to go into a retirement community with assisted living available to them. But it's not a possibility right now.

Be thankful you're able to be a daughter for her in whatever capacity. I think you're doing a great job.

WhiteCoat said...

Remember that you never get dished out more than you can handle in life. Sometimes it may seem that way, but you can do it.
Keep your chin up.

SeaSpray said...

Dear blogging friends-thank u much 4 your support& encouragement. I will comment/update asap. :)

Sage said...

I can remember when my grandfather, who was diabetic, became more disabled and needed more care. It wasn't possible for mum to do do it as she was working full time, and he had a range of carers and meals on wheels but he was very good at arguing with them and mum over the small things as it was the only power he had in his control.

Not easy and sometimes you have to stand back and see it from a different angle to see a different picture.


SnowLite said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SeaSpray said...

You are right Sage and thank you for the hugs. It's heart wrenching and all the more difficult when you are trying to offer help that is met with resistance. :)

Elaine... The blackmail does give me some leverage. :) You are right about sudden changes. i did get away with throwing out a lot while she was sleeping last night and she didn't seem to notice this morning. :)

Evangeline-you are so right about what you say. I do feel concern about guilt but I also know that how mixed up our relationship was for a couple of years and once she sent me to live with her brother...we grew even farther apart...but they gave me a good home. i resented her greatly for not trying to keep me and sending away. I realized early on she gave me a gift because it was the best thing that could have happened given the circumstances. And it was a sacrifice and hurt her I am sure,,,but she must've been relieved too because she didn't have good coping skills to raise and up and coming teenager. And oil and vinegar don't mix anyway. Sad though. i do know we love each other but except for when I was little...have ben estranged and or straining in the relationship. Admittedly...the straining part may more be me. I tried. I try. Long story. But we do love each other.

I totally can truly love someone but the chemistry is off and so hard to stay around them.

I you treat kids..will usually come back around to you.

I made choices to be totally different and much more patient and loving with mine.

I can appreciate your father's feeling overwhelmed and crying.

WhiteCoat... I agree with you and do think we can handle what we are given but human nature to balk at first and have to wonder.

I guess we are all meant to have various training grounds to serve a higher purpose down the road.

In the end it our actions that we choose to handle these things.

Hi Jen-stubborn with a capital "S"! But things are looking up a bit.

Hard not to feel guilt though. I wish we had room to take her in but we do not and so I am doing everything possible to keep her out of a nursing home.

Thanks for your comments everyone. they helped perk me up! :)

Chrysalis Angel said...

Seaspray, I'm sorry you're going through this. This is a very hard stage in life. It does sound like she needs more supervision. I feel for the spot you are in.

I took in my grandmother in, who was suffering from early Alzheimer's, and it was not as easy as looking after someone and helping them from time to time, while I worked a full time job. It was heart breaking. They won't eat, because it just takes effort and they don't want to be bothered. Maybe you can try giving her some Ensure for some nutrition. The pill boxes and lists will still be difficult for her to follow on her own.

You will know what you need to do. I know you want to keep her independent for as long as possible, but be careful because they just aren't as safe when it comes to cooking or anything. Meals on Wheels is a very good program to look into, as well as extra help in the home. It is a very hard thing you are having to face. Wish I could be of help to you. (((hugs)))

SeaSpray said...

Thanks for the hugs Angel. :) Things are moving along for the better so far and I will post about it soon.

Yes the doctor did mention ensure or slim fast if she feels she can't eat.

She is being more cooperative and seems to be doing better. i feel some hope.

getting her a hospital bed too and she agreed to meals on wheels and have that appointment in a little while.

If I ever have to make the nursing home will be the toughest one I have ever had to make and maybe by then I will have come up with another alternative.

I worry about what would happen to her sweet cats. We can't take them because our shepherd would never tolerate them. He seems to have a low tolerance for other animals and barely tolerates our cat which was here before him.

mottsapplesauce said...

Seaspray--my heart goes out to you--- you wondered what other people do in this situation. Well, I'd like to think they are doing exactly what your doing, because you lover her & caer about her overall welfare (despite the oil & vinegar). There are so many out there who wouldn't even bother so I think what you are doing is exceptional, even though it's frustrating. Have you possibly checked into a home-health agency or even your local Area Agency on Aging? I don't know what funding sources your mom has but I know there are some agencies that offer companionship in a client's own home setting if it's within the budget. We have one here called Comfort Keepers. I have no idea of the costs are but it can't hurt to find out. Big hugs & best wishes Pat. Hang in there!

mottsapplesauce said...

Oops! Sorry for the typos!

peggy said...

i had no idea about this happening. is there anything we can do?

as someone who sees first hand the clash of your personalities, i think you're doing the best you can in this situation. you can't make her do anything she doesn't want to do. you shouldn't feel any guilt about that. just be there for her, check on her when you can, spend time with her however and whenever you can.

i'm sorry this is happening :(

SeaSpray said...

Thank you MottsA -I do love her.I have made my mistakes too,)I shut her out when I was younger-not out of meanness-because we weren't close),although understandable when you know the history. When someone is difficult, it complicates things. I can't imagine not helping her no matter how I feel although I have done my share of avoiding and fleeing but I am there too. I have always felt like her mother. She perceives me as lecturing her. Yesterday she told me I was HARPING on her..that I always harp. I was concerned because she takes 4 coumadin at nite and she had 1 in lunch and one in nite (in her pill box) and so that was wrong and what about the other 2 and did she take one in the morning? because I was trying to find out why she did that and cautioned her and wanted to clarify it with her...I was harping. Only this last week have things gotten really complicated and concerning.

There isn't any funding to pay for additional care in her apartment. I have get set up with meals on wheels and I have stepped up my presence.

I do have her on a grant for her Lifeline and some other things but unfortunately home care isn't one of them. But I am going to pursue that a bit further just in case.

Hugs received. :) you never have to apologize for typos with me. Ahem...may I refer you to my blogging to see why? ;)

SeaSpray said...

Hi Peggy- Thank you for your concern. Yes you do know, but the nursing home leverage is helping for the most part. It's not easy but I have made progress in her apartment and am looking at the whole thing a step at a time.

Today was a horrible day and I thought I was gonna loose her. She has rallied back a bit. I don't understand because all her labs are good.

I've got things set up, I am stepping it up and C & J are helping too.

I will let you know. Thanks. :)

mottsapplesauce said...

Seaspray, since there is no funding available for home care, I would still contact your local Area Agency on Aging. There may be someway they can help, even if they just offer guidance. Mom may feel like you are harping since, possibly, she doesn't want to be reminded that she may be doing something wrong, or pride may be keeping her from admitting she needs help. How long had she been independent prior to all this? This brings to mind my grandmother (mom's mom, who was a widow & on her own for 30 yrs before she broke her hip). She was so pround of her independence (and she didn't even DRIVE- she walked or relied on public transportation!).
Anyway, once she had to rely on family to do the littlest things, she was heartbroken. I can only imagine what a transition that must've been for her. Well, I commend you for your efforts, & hope you find some consolation knowing you can always come here & bend our ears, so to speak.

SeaSpray said...

Hi MottsA- Thank you for your suggestions and support.

I know it must be hard to lose the ability to do what you used to be able to do and even frightening. And even worse when your kids are becoming the parents.

But it is also complicated for many reasons.

I regret the wasted time.

I pray that we can have joy and peace in our relationship and be close again.