Friday, November 28, 2008

Living in Carol of the Bells!... and Reality Check With Mom

The Claymation Carol of the Bells is GREAT! If you didn't already...just turn my music off(In sidebar) by hitting the pause button. I really wish I could just find Christmas music that is mostly bells but have yet to find it.

I feel like I am living in Carol of the Bells! ( I love that song and wish I could find something with just bells) That is the pace of my life right now. There isn't enough time and I am not even working! I have important things to do in any one direction!! I am neglecting things in my personal life because other things take priority. Yes I am blogging at the moment... but that is therapy and it really helps to vent.

I go into the blogasphere and all the stress melts away. It is an ahhhhh.... moment to blog or read them. I am missing reading/commenting on my favorite blogs and will asap.

We are going to try taking in the older cat and are hoping that Bob will not be aggressive with him and that our cat will eventually accept him. he is a very sweet cat.

It is breaking my heart but we are probably going to have to have her other cat brought to the pound tomorrow morning knowing it is probably a death sentence. I have called all around and every no kill shelter is full. No friends or relatives can take her and it is just not doable to have 3 cats and a dog. I don't know how I am going to look at my mother again after this. :( We don't even want 2 cats but are trying to help. A 17 year old cat is certain to be put to sleep.

We need a miracle.

It did not go well bringing Mom out of the rehab yesterday. It was very difficult for her and us.

I realized a lot of things yesterday. I had a reality check. I thought I could saunter in there, whisk her out of there and the joy and excitement would inspire her to try harder in PT and she'd have a grand day too.

It seemed she was barely able to travel and while she sat at the table for the meal...she buried herself under a blanket because she was so cold and was ready to go back to the facility. It is so HOT in her room and the facility is warm that normal temperatures must seem frigid to her.

It was time consuming and difficult to get her to be weight bearing and I realized I could never do this alone. That saddened me greatly because I had high hopes of at least taking her out for lunch or bringing her home a couple of times a week. will have to be planned out and I will need assistance.

She also had to get changed again before even leaving the rehab yesterday. It was a production at best. Then younger son and I wheeled her out and brought the walker.

It is a scary thing when you look at a loved one's face...and see that same look you've seen on countless patients who are NOT doing well and are trying to just get by in a situation and to see them so weakened. When you realize that all the things that would've evoked a smile or a response didn't do any of that... that for really was just about collapsing into a chair and maybe dealing with their own realization that they can't do any of the things they thought or hoped they could.

It's scary, it hurts and it's frustrating as hell!

I confess that I may have been harsh at one point and I was intentionally. But I just want to say...there are two dynamics operating here. The first was the denial...which was shattered for good yesterday... I really was the last to see this. And the fear. The fear... causes me to be angry about it... because quite all SUCKS big time! I am sorry for being rude with that statement. You are reading raw emotion...for better or worse. I am coming to terms with it all. And let me tell you... I am ashamed to admit... that there were little signs I missed. But now that I look back over this past year... Oh my could I? It's not like I wasn't familiar with the elderly population and things that happen. But I really wasn't aware of certain things. The memory things should have been a red flag. But she was having good check ups and when I mentioned things... the doc didn't seem alarmed...until the ED doc this summer first suggested she be in a facility... which I adamantly disagreed with and her doc initially agreed with me. But unbeknownst to either of us...she was spiraling downward. Her labs were good!

Oh... I was harsh when I brought her back. We eventually got her out of the van. But then she stayed frozen in position and wasn't moving her feet back like she needed to to back into the wheelchair.

I did snap ( I should NOT have) "Mom! Your NOT an invalid! I KNOW you can DO this! Physical therapy said they have you walking 150 feet! Now try!" She did and got into the wheel chair!

I am wrestling with the idea that if you don't use it you WILL lose it! BUT... she IS weak! BUT... I know she is in that wheel chair most of the time and is having help with everything. I know she needs help... but that diesn't negate the fact that she isn't moving around enough. She gets stubborn and refuses... which then you can call her mental status into question.

So when we got her into her room...she needed to make the wheel chair switch into her own which is a better one. We got her standing up. I encouraged her and said's just a few steps and I know you can do this.

I'll be darned! She walked those few steps and got into her chair in no time! We both praised her for that.

And dinner was served.

We had to leave but when I turned back to say bye one more time...she wasn't even looking at us but was looking at the TV, eating her meal and looked as content as a clam on a shell. Well not that I would know a content clam if I saw one but you know what I mean.

So... I know she is where she needs to be. I hope we can still bring her out... especially for Christmas.

I am no longer concerned about her not being able to live independently... I am hoping I still have my mother around for a while.

I can't help wondering if she is losing her will...or does the body just get tired? Or both?

She did comment when she got back to her room, "Well..I don't think I should be leaving here for a while!" is that what she really wants or did she say it for our benefit, seeing how difficult it was. She probably hated the cold.

And was I wrong to be forceful about her not being an invalid? I would NEVER talk to a patient that way!

Now we need to finish the apartment by Sunday night!

I guess I am learning a lot of life lessons in this season of my life. We all are. And it's not like there haven't been other sickly relatives. When it is someone close... it is entirely different. You really do have to walk in the family's shoes to fully understand all the emotions and practicalities that have to be dealt with. Sure you can be empathetic. You intellectually know it is difficult. But I am telling you...when you go through it...I don't even know how to finish the sentence. It is what it is.

We got a lot done today. I came home to get a power nap but then I am going back.

This isn't a news flash or anything...but it hurts so much to go through someone's things and then to throw them out. There are things that could be given away or sold but there just isn't time. To think that someon'e life collections are just tossed... it doesn't seem right. It's like they say... you come into this world with nothing and you leave with nothing.

We can only hope that we will live on in a good way in the hearts of those we loved. That maybe they will have imparted wisdom, love and joy into our spirits and that they are all the better for having known us.

And hopefully we were the same for them. It doesn't always work out that way... but when it is a beautiful thing.

THAT is what is most important in the end.


Rositta said...

Many many cyber hugs for you. Your description of how you talked to your Mom about being able to do things is exactly the way I spoke to my Mom. Come on Mom, I'd say to her, just walk, it's good for you...shit I had many moments of guilt for it too but she tried, I know she did. She just simply didn't have the strength or will any more. My cleaning lady just told me last week that my Mom had been talking of dying for some time. Don't feel guilt, be good to yourself...ciao

SeaSpray said...

Rositta-Thank you so very much for sharing that with me and possibly others who need to know that they are not alone in these feelings and trials.

I can't help thinking that because she is now always sitting that she is getting weaker. But really...which came first. I saw she was slowing down. But it seemed that it was an immense decline from October 2nd to present. She rallied back a bit the 1st week in rehab and then start to refuse doing it and they felt they went as far as they could.

Thanks Rositta.

Take care. :)

Elaine said...

I have had to clear two houses (with my brother and sister). The first one was my aunt's and from her nursing home she sorted out who was to get what from her flat and told the three of us to take what we wanted and to give some to charity and the recycling facility.

Funnily, (no it was not funny) after it was all sorted to her satisfaction she just seemed to decide it was time to go and died shortly after.

Dealing with my father and his things echoed much ofwhat you are describing with your mother.

But we are all diffetent so I can't really understand.


mottsapplesauce said...

After reading your post SeaSpray I couldn't help but wonder if why this has been so heart-wrenching for you is partly due to your past
with your mom. Then, frustration reared it's head when your mom was sort of 'giving in', per se. You know the old saying goes," you can lead a horse to water"..... I pretty much dread this stage in life, because I saw how my mom & her siblings dealt with their mom when she came to this point in her life (Gramma was 92 & was full of vigor but then broke her hip that year- was 1996). Anyway, the LTCF just wasn't for her & she knew that in a strange way--that it wasn't meant to be. But mom & her siblings had no way to take care of her because she needed rehab & 24 hr supervision. Due to the hip Fx & the Dr's refusal to operate because of her age, blood clots eventually claimed her within a few months. Initially, I grieved the most--I was youngest grandchild. Everyone after me are
great-grandchildren. Afterward, I was thankful that she went the way she did--she was in no pain, & it was quick. However, I hope I never have to face this dilemma with my parents, but I give much credit to those like you who are dealing with it, despite the emotional rollercoaster. This may be a good time for you (& her) to
acquire some closure--maybe just say how sorry things were a long time ago (without bringing up details). Maybe she's harboring some guilt of her own & wants to forgive & be forgiven (if you haven't already done this). If I ever have to face this situation with my mother, because of our incredibly rocky relationship, that's probably what I see myself doing--coming to terms with all the past anguish. SeaSpray, although I only know about you from cyberspace, I believe whatever chains you are carrying with this whole situation will be broken, & given the positive person you are, you'll come to terms with your mom-daughter relationship & find ways to cherish whatever time you have left with her. Big hugs to you.

Chrysalis Angel said...

This was beautiful, Seaspray. "
We can only hope that we will live on in a good way in the hearts of those we loved. That maybe they will have imparted wisdom, love and joy into our spirits and that they are all the better for having known us."
That's exactly right.

Don't be hard on yourself during this, Seaspray. It is normal as the child of the parent experiencing this, to go in just the steps you are. It is a very, very hard thing to face. You are doing the best you know how, and have to hold on to that.

Our friend has a post up that made me giggle. You'll have to visit his latest post. I just love when he just happens to be there on duty still, and someone tries to pull something. Hope it brings a smile to your face too.

Medblog Addict said...

I wish I had some words of wisdom...

Just know that you and your Mom are in my thoughts and prayers.


mottsapplesauce said...

P.S. I also wanted you to know that it wasn't my intention to depress you with the story of my Grandmother, I just wanted to stress that I can empathize with your situation, since I saw what my own family had to deal with. Don't be too hard on yourself, this is no easy task for anyone. Oh & before I forget, Crongrats on the news of the baby-to-be! Godspeed to you all.

SeaSpray said...

Hi Elaine - I am sure you understand more than most who haven't been through it. I am sure it must've been much more difficult having to clear houses vs a little apartment.

The most difficult part was the emotional aspect because of our past. And the present wasn't/isn't easy either.

Hugs received and given back. :)

Hi MottsA - You are exactly right about it being more difficult because of our past relationship!

Just being in her apartment causes me pain because it reminds me of the most difficult years with her. And going through her things either evoked sadness for what could've been or mostly anger for some things she did that affected my family and me. I KNOW she never intended to hurt us but for some reason there was a disconnect with choices she made. It's too complicated to explain now.

But instead of going oooh remember when... it was and this reminds me of that and they weren't good memories. Plus my heart amidst the anger and frustration continually resurfacing...was simultaneously breaking for her.

And I feel guilt for mistakes I made and also for things I could've but didn't do.

Yet, I know in life that we react to circumstances..some of us better than others. I know I could've turned out mean and bitter but I didn't. I am a better mother because of what I didn't want to do..repeat mistakes. that being said... i do know she has always loved me but to quote her...we are oil and water. But for was more than that. I loved her but at a distance.

I was talking with someone today who didn't talk to her mother for 2 years because she had to break away from her mother's negative behavior.

And another person told me she didn't get along with her mother until about a month before she died. I guess it happens. It helped to hear their stories.

And I am sorry for what you all must've gone through with your grandmother and it is nice when someone can die peacefully... for everyone.

You didn't depress me at all with your story. I find that when people share their situations...that it is healing to be able to commiserate and realize your not alone in these situations. Now intellectually, I know this but self disclosure is healing. I think that is why blogging is least for me I find that to be so.

I did read these comments around 2 am Sunday morning, just after younger son and I got home from the apartment. I have to tell you that reading everyone's thoughtful comments really warmed my heart. I just didn't have the stamina/thought processes to write a decent comment. :)

I truly appreciated your thoughtful comment and so don't ever worry about hurting my feelings as I am not sensitive like that.

I guess I would tell you...if it is what you can to mend the rocky relationship...although... believe me...I KNOW that is easier said than done.

And some people wouldn't even bat an eyelash at the things I feel regret over. Some people would be harsh, etc.

I think I am just one of those sensitive souls who really takes it to heart if I think I hurt someone. That doesn't mean I'll stop.. but it bothers me. I guess there are different circumstances.

Anyway...she is moved out and into the place. We are dealing with it all here and I will have to weed things out again. But her apartment is emptied, cleaned and keys turned in.

I felt sad and sentimental because she lived there 20 years...but I feel even more relieved!

I have told her I was sorry for some things but have never said how hurt I was or ever pointed out the mistakes she made other than to point out how much of a firecracker temper she has. But I never mentioned the big things.

I know for proper healing you need to bring things out in the open but I think I would hurt her even more. In this case... better swept under the rug except that I do want to apologize again. She doesn't apologize..or rarely.

Through it all...we do love each other.

Thanks for the well wishes about the baby. :)

Hi Angel - I'm glad you liked that. it is so true and really the best we can hope for. Thanks for being understanding of the situation and the support you have given me...even last winter. i just didn't see it because I was caught up in the old tapes of past behaviors and didn't see the exacerbation...only EXASPERATION.

I have to catch up with everyone's blogs! Things will be settling now and hopefully back to normal..or even better.

Hi MA - I welcome any good thoughts and prayers and I'll even take more for my renal scan Wednesday. Thanks for your well wishes.

Cranberry Jo said...

Hi Pat,

I don't know if you'll ever see this. It looks like a long time since we've communicated. I've lost your email address. I'll look in that last emails I got from you know who. I miss her. It's been more than a year now. I have more perspective. A lot's happened since. I hope you are doing fine. Please write.
Mary Jo Jurista

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

Hi Cranberry Jo-It's good to hear from you!

I will e-mail when I can.

my e-mail is:

I wrote a post about our friend.

I look forward to corresponding with you Mary-Jo. I hope all is well with you and yours.

I miss her terribly.