Re- Need to vent-I'm so sad

goldenbuckeyeMay 5, 2006

Mom's knee is finally doing great after the surgery but she's still triping over her own foot. The DR said she would continue to fall if she didn't have the knee replacement but it seems that wasn't really the problem but at least now that she's over the terrible pain after the surgery she doesn't have the knee pain anymore. They think she's favored her right leg so long because of the knee pain that the muscles in her hip have atropied. She can't lift her right leg and when she walks she scuffs her foot along and sometimes her toes actually turn under and she's dragging the top of them on the floor. This is what's making her fall. If she really pays attention she can lift it enough to keep from falling but unless you're right there reminding her she doesn't lift it.

About 2 weeks ago the thearpist told her she could walk around in her room with her walker. She fell twice that day. The next day she drug her right foot so bad they were afraid to turn her loose. Her therapist told me instead of progressing she was actually going backwards. I thought maybe she was being manipulative because after she got over the severe pain she seemed to really like it there and I'm still not sure that isn't the case. She hasn't fell anymore since then. When she was in severe pain she sincerely wanted to come home but lately when she says she wants to come home she doesn't sound sincere. I'm sure a part of her does want to come home but she wants me to do everything for her like they do there and I can't. There's only one of me and my shift would never end.

She's started interacting with some of the people there, she gets lots of attention and she gets pie, cake, cookies, ice cream ect. 2 or 3 times a day instead of healthy snacks like fruit, yogurt and sugar free jello. She loves all this. I also gave her the unhealthy stuff 2 or 3 times a week but not 2 or 3 times a day. Anyway she likes that too and she likes being waited on. She doesn't have to do anything for herself anymore. She also discovered if she went to the diningroom at lunch time she could get more good stuff so she has them take her everyday now. I think she hits the salt shaker too and shouldn't because of the swelling. It doesn't do any good to tell her she shouldn't because she won't listen.

I've been waking up at 2:30 to 3:30 every morning for the last 2 weeks with her on my mind and can't get back to sleep. I think the community living is good for her and I know she likes the extra goodies and being waited on. The bottom line is I couldn't take care of her very long like she is if at all and I think overall she'll be happier in the nursing home. Also this one is the best one within at least 50 miles, maybe more and I can't pass up the chance to get her in there. If I brought her home she would have to go on a waiting list but since she's already in the building in rehab she goes to the top of the list. If I brought her home I might never be able to get her back in this one.

I started talking to her about it Monday and I started the paper work yesterday. At first her only comment was,"You don't want me." Of course that isn't true. She wants to stay in the room she's in because so far she hasn't had to share it with anyone but it's in the rehab side and she can't. It also has a big window overlooking the city pool which isn't open yet but she's been watching them work on it getting it ready to open. Yesterday she ask me if I was really going to put her in the nursing home and I told her I have to and explained why again and also told her I think she'll be happier there and why. She said the other side was for old folks and I told her she's old at 80. It's only 10 miles away so I can go see her often. I was bringing her laundry home doing it myself because I didn't want her name put on everything till yesterday. Yesterday I told them they could start doing it.

I know I'm doing what's best for all concerned but still it saddens me. Maybe deep down it even makes me feel like a failure but I know that's not true.

I also feel like she'll end up on insulin again but I couldn't give her the stuff like they do because I would have felt like I was poisoning her and in a way I would have been. I also know she won't live as long there because they can't give her the individual attention that I did but I'd rather have her live 6 months being happier than to live a year at home not so happy. Here I had her get her own water and drinks out of the frig and put her plate in the sink after dinner because she needed the exercise. She also had to walk 40 to 50 feet just to get from her room to the dining table.

To start with I was enjoying my freedom thinking it was only going to be for a short time but now after such a rigid schedule for over 3 years I feel at loose ends. It will take a little adjusting on my part. I'm sure I'll enjoy my freedom again after I get over this sadness.

For those of you who read my post about the 5 year property law; I don't think it matters because she was penalized when she first came to live with me for what they called an improper deed transfer. The deed was made in '96 but was recorded in '03 to me and my sister. She was denied home health for so many months till the value of the property was used up so I don't think they can penalize her twice. I guess I'll find out for sure next week. I didn't know the value so the social worker had to call the court house in AL to find out so everything has been done properly I think.

Well thanks everyone for listening and good luck to you all.

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..."but I'd rather have her live 6 months being happier than to live a year at home not so happy.
Keep that viewpoint of the situation. I think that most of us would rather have our goodie snacks than the healthy stuff at that age. Plus, as you say, she has the mental stimulation of being around others. It's hard to duplicate that in the average home.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 9:01AM
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Rosies - You can't feel like you are a failure. You have been kind and loving and have given up a good part of your adult life to care for her. I completely understand your feelings though, it is hard not to think that way, but you need to realize that she has needs that go beyond reasonable for a single person to handle. That is why these "good" skilled nursing facilities are so full! They are worth every penny - especially if she is meeting people and is being treated kindly.

I bet you are right on the money when you say that she is enjoying the attention and the pampering and treats. I agree with Agnes too that if she wants the treats and they make her happy, then at 80 and failing, why on earth should she be denied them?

Stay the course. 10 miles is the perfect distance for her needs and for your sanity.

Hugs -

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 6:38PM
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I sympathize, rosies.

You have not failed in any aspect, at all. You have done everything in your power to maintain your mother's health in the face of many obstacles. You must be very tired.

I'm in year 3 of caretaking, too. Mum is losing her mental faculties now. Short term memory is waning, though physically she is quite healthy and fit, despite a stroke in '04 (did the mental damage). She has gone from an independent old woman, to one that must be really "cared for"... I get her up in the morning, see that she dresses herself, washes her face, fixes her hair. I prepare her breakfast, helpmeet does lunch, we split dinner. I put her to bed, see that she takes her pills, schedule the "bath lady", all the things that you have to do for an elderly parent. It's really hard! and you lose your own freedom. I haven't been out for dinner with the helpmeet "on the spur of the moment" for over 2 months now. I can't visit a greenhouse/nursery after work... I have to go right home, make sure the urostomy pouch is emptied, she has a glass of water, and that the sign is on the toilet reminding her NOT to empty the pouch again until it's time for bed. From the time I wake up until I go to bed I think about Mum and the next "chore" on the list...

You have done as much as you can be expected to do. You've done it well, with love and commitment. It's OK to feel sad about what is changing in your life. But don't spend too much time feeling guilty even though it's part of the deal.

(Tell the facility you would rather not have them shove so much garbage food into your mother. You are paying them to take care of her and you have every right to expect them to follow your wishes with respect to diet!)

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 7:56AM
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Thanks to all of you for your support. Since I've made up my mind and started the paper work I've been sleeping a little better.

It helps that she's accepting it so well. It makes me know that's what she really wants if not you can believe I'd know it and everyone else too!

Chelone, After we saw it wasn't safe for Mom to be alone it was over a year before we left the house together because one of us had to always be here. It's just been in the last 6 to 8 months that we've gotten a full day to get away together. It's really good that your Mom is still physically able but still I know how demanding it is. I was starting to get caregivers burnout. As for the garbage food; that's one of the things she likes about being there. Some people eat to live but she lives to eat so since I'm not the one giving it to her I'm going to let it go because it makes her happy.

On another note; when Mom was taken 21 miles to rehab from the hospital by ambulance they charged $478.00. That's unreal! She has 2 doctors appointments next week at the hospital and rehab called and told me they had called Life (the same anbulance that took her there) to take her. I said no way. I'll take her myself. That would have been almost $1,000.00 for those 2 trips!

Again thanks to all of you for listening and for your support. I know I'm doing the right thing I just have to adjust.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 10:03AM
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Believe me when I tell you that the only enjoyment that a lot of the elderly have is eating what they want. We had two of the grandchildren over yesterday. I ate hot dogs with relish (horrors)potato chips (gasp) baked beans cooked with onions and bacon,(burp) and ice cream (FAT calories)It was heaven!! I haven't enjoyed such a fine meal in ages. There is NOOOO way that you can say that sticking to a diet is going to extend her life, and would she really want to?? Let her enjoy herself.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 10:31AM
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I discovered this morning that she went through her wallet and cut up all her credit cards... "I never use any of them!", but she does. She just doesn't remember...

Mercifully I had the folder with her Driver's license, Medicare card, SS card, and some other important things set aside...

I am a proponent of good diet for two simple reasons. Obesity will make physical recovery more difficult, and it contributes to the necessity of expensive drugs to "manage" conditions that can often be controlled with attention to diet; high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. There is more to life than food, but long term care facilities find food is easier to provide!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 11:28AM
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Rosie..I sure hope that your weekend went well and things are looking better for you and your mom. I think that sometimes the weekends are the worse as routine chores and work keep us busy the rest of the time.
The motto here is...Take it one day at a time.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 11:19AM
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