I couldn't help her.

Sad-33February 6, 2013

My mom passed away last month. I was caregiver for her in her last days. She underwent surgery for her knee, got through it well. She went home the next day and I was left at her care for her remaining 12 days. The first days I thought I could handle it and she would be alright. I was still working, but not full time. Then when one week had passed, I came home after shopping and buying stuff she needed for her leg and she was sitting on the floor with a black eye, told me she had been there for an hour more less. That broke my heart. She had gotten up, she knew she shouldn't, but wanted to smoke without me seeing her.
Then I took free days at work to be with her all day.
On the day before she died, we went to see her doctor, it was all well with her leg, only that she wasn't eating, and he told me if she didn't start eating more, she'd have to be hospitalised. I wish I had told him to do it then and there.
The next day she passed. Turns out she had an ulcer we didn't know about, and a medication she was taking provoked a massive digestive hemmorage. At the moment I couldn't believe what happened, but in hindsight I started thinking and there where many signs that she wasn't well and I should have known! I won't go into details, but it strikes me as bizarre how in that moment I didn't realize she wasn't ok and called the paramedics right away. I feel guilty that I wasn't the capable caregiver she needed. That she went through so much suffering without me realizing.
If I had more common sense I could have saved her. She'd be alive today. I felt short in so many aspects that it adds to the sadness of losing her.
My only little consolation is that my mom knows I wouldn't hurt her and would give anything to go back to that day and be able to help her.
Thanks for reading, I just wanted to talk about it.

This post was edited by Sad-33 on Wed, Feb 6, 13 at 10:21

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I am so sorry for your loss. Please don't blame yourself for your Mom's death. She was under medical care, it was the medical professionals responsibility to explain any signs or symptoms to watch for that would indicate she was in trouble. You are not a professional. You did the best you could for her. As Ann Landers used to say, you may need professional help to deal with your grief. I am so sorry.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 3:07PM
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So sorry to hear that. My husband had several bleeding ulcers. His blood count was down to 6 when he had a stroke like problem. I didn't know there was anything wrong and I was with him every day. I think it was Exlon or something like that caused the ulcers. It was for Alzheimer's.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 4:49PM
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25 years after the fact I'm still regretting no being with my Mom when she died. I know I made a call based on the best info available, but somehow, what I know and what my heart feels don't agree.

So, I know it's not easy not to blame yourself with all the 'if onlys' that you can think of, but, always remember that you really did the best you could with the time you had and the info you were given.

My call name says it all. Those of us who care for disabled family know too well that they have minds of their own and do the darnedest things... like your Mom wanting a cigarette, and there isn't a whole lot we can do to stop them if they're determined enough. You did your best, and you just have to remember: there is no Wonder Woman. And, I'm truly sorry for the loss of your dear mother.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:40PM
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Thanks for your words.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:18AM
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I understand your sorrow and regret. I too, took care of my mother, who was 93 yrs old when she died. Many times I did not feel adequate to the task, but I cared for her with love and she knew it. Over the seven years she lived with us, she had slowly lost stability walking. I had to be next to her or behind her all the time. She knew she was never to get up to get anything or use her bedside commode unless someone was with her. She complained about feeling like a prisoner. We explained to her that she could have safety...or... freedom, but that that point in her life, not both at the same time.

One day, she opted to get up by herself, and even with her walker, fell forward and cracked a vertebra in her neck. While not life-threatening, it was painful. That however was not the thing that was the problem. The head jolt she suffered when she tucked her head with the fall, caused her to go into a severe dementia and physical decline .She died 4 1/2 months after her injury, in my arms. Before her mind was gone, she was able to let me know that she knew how much I had done for her. She knew I loved her.

No matter how much care and trying to keep her safe, she still made the decision to do things "her way." As caregivers we cannot wrap our loved ones in a bubble. We cannot make them do what is best for them ...or even understand why it is best for them. We cannot know everything a medical person might know. We CAN do the best we can, learning all that we can, and loving them as fully as we can...and much better than a professional" caregiver would. (Your mom's doctors even missed the signs of her illness.)

The attitude with which we care for them is important. I regret the times I wasn't as caring as I should have been or reacted badly. I think she understood it because having raised me, she knew what she had gone though as my mom. She knew she had not done it perfectly, just as I hadn't, but the love went both ways...even as we reversed roles.

Cherish the memories, the love, and what you learned from her. Caring for a loved one can be one of the hardest things we do in life, but in my case, and I hope in yours, one of the best and most important things. A time for growth and maturing. Walking in her shoes gave me a look toward my future, even as I now look at the past. For me, God used the time to draw me closer to Him, to refine me and trust Him, no matter what.

Take care...

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 11:40AM
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christmasbaby, you are right, it's just that it's hard not to think about the 'what if's'. I know it's irrational but I often wish I could go back in time, with the knowledge I have now. Mom's already gone but these thoughts sneak in my mind, that maybe if I had done things differently, she'd still be here.
I also feel that during these hard times, I'm just going to have to grow and mature, and I'm trying to get closer to the Lord, but it's just so so bittersweet, so hard to understand.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 4:41PM
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Unfortunately, situations happen.

My mother took care, a heroic effort best as she could, of her maternal aunt & uncle who had no kids themselves. The uncle had a stroke in 1994, mostly paralyzed on the left side. The aunt kept him at home, while deteriorating herself over the years. Mom tried and tried to help them, and get help for them, but Auntie was vehemently resistant. Finally for lack of any recourse, Mom got Adult Protective Services involved, which ultimately required that they be taken out of their home of 50 years in September 2003.

The first night in the nursing home in a room together, she got out of bed for the bathroom, against the protests of her husband ... fell and broke her hip. She died two weeks later. Mom was devastated and felt guilty for something completely out of her control. Leastwise such a tragedy happened at the facility. If at their home under the circumstances, no telling how long she would have laid there. Uncle wasn't able to use the phone and surely couldn't have left the house to find help.

He lived for 6 more years at the nursing home.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 5:11PM
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