This one turned my day upside down

fairegoldMay 8, 2005

We went to Mother's for the Mother's Day buffet brunch today. I had flowers and a card, and my son had sent a card for Mother with baby pictures. My husband and I came into Mother's apartment, and she was pretty chipper. We used the wheelchair to get her down to the dining room, saw a lot of other nice people that I enjoy, had a nice lunch. When we were leaving her apt, I told her that I'd be there tomorrow for the LifeLine installation. and I'd have more info about the physical therapy. All's well.

My brother had called me earlier, and I told him to call Mother. He said, "Yes, Mother" in a sarcastic way, and that I've always bossed him around. I told him that the joke is getting pretty old. He said, don't bug me, Mother and I have a very special close relationship. I told him that if he is so f***** close to Mother, then he'd know how much she needs him right now. And I hung up on him. This is the single 53 yr old man who lives 500 miles away.

A little while after I got home, Mother called. She cried that she doesn't want me to do any of these things, she just wants to die, why can't she die right now. She said she can't say it when my husband is there, because it might upset him, and if she can't talk to me, who can she talk to? She doesn't want the assisted living, the LifeLine, the PT, the wheelchair, she just wants to be left alone to die.

I could feel all the air go out of me right then. Depression is contagious. The joy of my day was just sucked right out.

Tomorrow, I'm talking to the supervisor of assisted living, and I'll get info on a social worker.

Thanks for letting me cry on your collective shoulders. Otherwise, my Mother's Day was very nice. Hope your Mother's Day was lovely.

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When you were young and facing something unpleasant, did you ever just want to get it over with? Your mother is 95, and she knows that it won't be longer. So, with the pain, the inability to get around, do what she used to do, maybe it's only natural that she wants to get it over with. She's probably tired of wondering "WHEN." I can't pretend that I am going to live years and years more. I dread the waiting more than I dread death. Maybe your mother feels the same.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2005 at 9:48PM
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I just re-read my last post. It sounds a little harsh. I didn't mean it that way. I was just trying to give you a little insight into how her mind is working. I can tell you that living with pain is no fun.....especially if you are in a position where you lack something to keep you from thinking about it. Boredom for the previously active mind is depressing condition. Especially when the person knows that it is only going to get worse."Why can't I just die?" is an honest question.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2005 at 9:55PM
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Not harsh at all. Good points, and yes, I do understand. It may be that I am having my own bad day, and reaching a certain level of my own, which is why I'd like her to talk to someone else, such as a social worker.

And the problem today was that I was having such a nice day for a while.

When we talk about taking care of ourselves, the caregivers, we know that there is stress involved. We have recently seen some people move parents out of their own homes and into a care facility, and we know that they, the caregivers, are physically and mentally exhausted. I just never knew how caring for Mother 13 miles away in a retirement community would stress me out. With Mother, we are not dealing with someone bedridden or suffering dementia. There are days (forgive me for this) when I honestly wish she didn't know what's going on.

Mother has not yet (as of yesterday) received cards from my older two brothers. But this afternoon, one of them actually did call. I am still waiting to see if my younger brother, the one with the *special* closeness with Mother, calls sometime today. He did tell me that he ordered some fudge from a neighbor's kid to be sent to Mother someday.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2005 at 10:05PM
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Being caregivers, we naturally want to help and "fix" everything...sometimes there are things we just can't fix. It's difficult for us to just let things take their own course. I think we tend to project our feelings on the person we are caring for, and that just causes us more stress. Fairegold, I hope things will even out for you in the next few days...difficult situation for you.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 1:04AM
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Perhaps you could say something like, "Mom, I understand how you feel. It must be rough for you to live like this. But I love you and want you here to talk to me as long as you can. If it helps you to talk about dying, I'll listen." I think she may be looking for assurance that you really DO understand that she is having physical problems. If you try to keep her from talking about it, it's just going to make her fret more.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 8:06AM
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Trouble is, PB, that I have heard all the stories a thousand times in the past year, I've heard the "I want to die" stories many many many times. And my own blood pressure is a problem that I have. Yes, I tell her that I understand, etc etc etc. There is no shortage of this from me. Believe me! But now I want to try to see if there is any peer counseling available.

So where is the balance in my life, and how do I take care of myself? I see my own doc every two weeks or so, and have had miserable drug reactions to every BP medication I've tried so far, which lead to months of seeing the dermatologist and scarring from the blisters I got from some of the meds, but that's another story.

She knows that I know her problems, but she denies having physical problems, and she really is quite health other than the osteoporosis. Her denial to having physical limitations is what has lead me to this state today, since she tried to move furniture herself (not really, she would say, I was just shoving furniture around), and that's forced me to sign her up for assisted living, wheelchair escorts and LifeLine. She does not understand how much pain she would have if she broke a hip, and that would mean she would never walk again, too. She insists that she is just fine. But i know that I have to protect her, even from herself.

Sigh.... I'll report back after today and let you all know how it went!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 8:18AM
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Oh, dear!!! The first and foremost thing for you......and you know what it is....that's taking care of yourself. You really can't protect her from everything. If she falls, she falls. And she most likely will. Wearing yourself out, isn't going to protect her. You could be standing next to her, and she could fall and break a hip. Have you tried not seeing her so often? If you have a stroke, (and you could) you wouldn't be able to do anything for her. She would have to rely on those around her.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 8:58AM
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Fairegold, sorry I haven't been here for a few days: our DD took my girlfriend and I to Toronto for a Mother's Day weekend (my friend's two daughters live there), and we had a lovely time! I truly needed that!

About your dear Mother: my Mom said the same things to me many times, and I know how it just catches in our tummys and makes us feel so helpless. When she asked me why she isn't dead, yet, I said that it was for God to know that, and she should speak to Him in her prayers; that if it wasn't her time, yet, there was good reason for it: maybe we just still needed her with us. Fortunately (and I think you know what I mean, here), her dementia has progressed to the point where she can no longer form those thoughts let alone vocalize them. I believe that's a blessing in a very convoluted way...

I, too, suffer from high blood pressure, and just before Mom went into the NH, was put on another, a third medication to control it. I evidently wasn't handling things as well as I thought I was: my body was silently protesting the pressure I was in. Thank goodness I can tolerate those meds: in your situation it's much more imperative that you do something to control your BP if meds aren't the answer. It's easy for us to say "take care of yourself" but after being a care-giver for so long, we can only answer: How? You simply must find ways to bring your "fight or flight" BP down, and that may mean meditation using meditation tapes, listening to theraputic music (there are many out there), taking a yoga class, learning how to really breathe! There's nothing selfish about keeping yourself'll be of no use to your Mother if your own health is deteriorating. Please look into some venues for yourself, okay?

As for your youngest brother, pull away from that issue! It's his problem....he'll be the one who will feel the guilt of not doing more for her after she's passed (or he won't! But it's not your concern.) You can't take on the world's problems with your CAN be there for her...make sure things that you want in place are put into place no matter what she thinks. She's Mother is 91...they're tired. They may indicate one day that all they want it to die, yet the next day it'll be different. Don't swing emotionally from one extreme to another. Approach it more's not's life-saving for you! Smile and nod, then do what you feel is appropriate. As for falls, PeeBee is right. As usual ;-) My Mom fell in the first week she was in the NH, because she was using her walker, and my first reaction was guilt. Thank goodness for my friends here and at home, I was made to see that unless I stood by her side 24/7, there were no guarantees she wouldn't have fallen at home. She may fall. She may break something and end up in the hospital. She may pass away from it. Some do. But, Sweetie....if that's the way it may happen, then who are we to feel the need to control it all? We can't keep them with us forever. Something definitely WILL happen. The day, the manner of their passing is not for us to know. Just do the best you can without being SuperDaughter, and you will always know in your heart that you did the best you could.

As for anyone else's failures, they're not your concern. My brother and his family always felt that sending flowers on Mother's Day and her birthday, phoning her, etc was enough. And it was enough for Mom. Maybe I would have wished that even ONCE in 12 years they would have and your hubby need a break: we're coming up to care for Mom for a week (or even a weekend!), so you two can get away. In a perfect world, that would have been wonderful. But nothing and no one (even us!;-) is perfect, so we have to play the hand we're dealt and not worry about anyone else's cards.

Fairegold: relax. Please take tangible, positive steps to take a meditation class, or purchase CDs, or do whatever you need to do to recharge your batteries and take care of that BP problem. Close the door and do what YOU need to do for YOU. You still have a full life ahead of well.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 9:49AM
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Sometimes it is better NOT to talk to other siblings regarding visiting etc.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 7:37PM
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