Mother is just fading

fairegoldOctober 3, 2005

There's nothing new to report, but she's fading away right in front of my eyes.

Last March (maybe April?) she weighted 88 lb. In early July she was 82. By the time she moved into the nursing home, she was at 79. Then she started to gain a little and got stronger, and she was at about 82 when she moved back to her apt. in late August. Two weeks ago at a normal doctor appt, she was down to 78.1. Before May, she used a walker only sometimes. Now she can barely walk at all without it. When we had lunch today, I could just see that she's hardly trying to be social... she's barely there, so to speak. (No AD or dementia, tho.)

She wants me to give her a 'regular' day every week, but this is somehting that I refuse to do. Maybe I am stubborn, but my life has always been a little erratic. So one day I take a dog to the vet, or I have a dentist appt or run errands or have a repair or yardman at the house. And it is never the same day every week. Mother came from that era when she got her hair done every Friday, bridge was every Tuesday, Carpool was every Weds., etc. But I simply cannot do that.... life is more complicated than it was in the 50's!

Her community has a shuttle bus and takes people to appts several days a week. It turns out that she feels "stupid" getting onto the bus using the lift, and when she tried the steps into the bus, she slipped. I've told her that I can take her every so often, but not the same day of the week every two weeks. But I don't know how to address this with her right now. One of her friends said she'd do a little encouragement about the bus. Of course, she could get her hair done at the shop there in the community, but she long ago decided that she didn't like that. Sigh.

Anyway, it's minor fussing on my part. Thanks for letting me fuss!

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Unfortunately, they become just like stubborn, spoiled little children again without realizing the pressures they put on us. They don't even know they're 'mis-behaving' like a child would, by making such demands on our time. And it's not like there aren't plenty of other times we could take them, or be with them...but it just has to be THEIR way. our children, we have to maintain our positions in a caring and loving way. We weren't put on this earth to be taken advantage of, even by our Mothers, and if they realized what they were doing, I'm quite certain they wouldn't make those demands. Just as my Mother got accustomed to having a care-worker come in to give her showers (and grew to love her), your Mother will become accustomed to taking the bus if she wants her hair done at the same time each week or whatever.'ll be like nothing for her to do that.

It's difficult to adjust to all the changes going on with them, isn't it? almost need a flow-chart to get your bearings some days! haha! Anyway....just my two cents...been there, done that, and survived to talk about it....


    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 7:40PM
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Thanks, Linda. I've been feeling guilty all afternoon after I left Mother's today. But she was the one who was so stubborn about being independant for so long, and I do feel sorry for her.

But long experience (almost 58 yrs now) has taught me that if I give Mother an inch, she will take a mile. She tries to give me food at lunch to take home to my husband, for example. If I accepted one cookie, she'd start saving things up for me. So I never take anything at all. So I try to maintain my little space. But then it will backfire right in my space. When I moved her back into her apt after the nursing home, I said that I wouldn't be over to visit all weekend. She called Monday, upset about somehting saying that I had told her not to call me all weekend. Sigh. Every time I think i've got things under control, she flips me a new one.

But I honestly can't imagine that she'll last a lot longer. She's faded so much in the last few months.

So I feel guilty.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 8:04PM
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Fuss away if it helps you. There's no good solution that's going to satisfy her. One thing that you might want to try is to plan and give her the one day per week that she wants for three or four weeks. Then, find an excuse why you can't make it the next week or so. I know that might require your shuffling schedules, but she's weakening fast. In three weeks she may need returning to the NH. I really do understand what a problem this is for you, but three times may be all that's needed. Don't worry more than three weeks.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 8:19PM
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I had to laugh about her wanting you to take food to your husband. My mother was the same. She was forever bringing us whole wheat muffins which everyone hated. Every day, another bag full. Nothing and I do mean NOTHING could stop her. She had gotten it in her head that we loved the horrid things. I would refuse to take them, she just brought them back the next day.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 8:26PM
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Thanks, PB. One of the problems is that Mother wants Fridays. Fridays at 11 are when I have my support group, and I am not missing that for ANYTHING! Well, maybe---Friday is the one day that I might sneak away to go to a dog show within 100 miles. Next month, if all goes well, Jim and I are actually planning to go away for a couple of days, including Friday.

Mother says she wants a day a week, but in truth it is a Friday she wants.

The muffins sound awful..... LOL!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2005 at 1:09PM
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Oh, I had to smile about your Mom convoluting that weekend thing! LOL!! I'd taken to making notes for my Mom when she was still able to comprehend them...helped a bit.

As for getting away with your DH....just do it! ;-D I hope nothing interferes with your plans.

Keep on trucking, day at a time, inhale...exhale...;-) And no guilt, okay? We don't have time to beat ourselves up for things when we have our Mothers who do that for us!


    Bookmark   October 4, 2005 at 1:47PM
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You know, Fairegold, It IS hard to fit everything in....but it is not going to last forever. At 78 pounds, your time to be inconvenienced is limited...then YOU have a lifetime to remember. It is a matter of defining your priorities. When one is elderly and ill and 78 lbs, there is not much pleasure left. Think on it. Shalom Derry

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 4:47PM
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Good points, Derry, but I am convinced that I need to have a spine of my own. I've been dealing with Mother almost exclusively (my 3 brothers are the ones who must live with themselves after Mother dies) for almost 6 years, and I know her well, especially the give-an-inch/take-a-mile. If I don't make a few definitions about things that are important to me, like my Friday supoort group, she will push more for me to drop everything and come to her side every day. Been there, done that.

She's not ill, just incredibly frail. She lives in a community with about 150 other people, plus staff, yet she refuses to do anything more than say hello to people in the hallways. She does not want to have anything to do with activities, even if I offer to go with her to Bingo, for example.

During the week she was in the hospital and the 6 weeks in the nursing home, I was there everyday until the last few weeks when I did take a day or two off.

Yes, of course, I feel guilty. But I also know that I have to take care of myself a little bit, as well. And for me, that means not being a total pawn, but offering my time and help on my own terms/time, except of course in the case of an emergency.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 5:06PM
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Based on my own experience, I feel the thing you have to be comfortable with is that when all is said and done, and your mother is gone, will you have any regrets about how you handled this particular period of time? If the answer is no, then you're all set. If you have any smidgen of doubt that you might wish you'd done things differently, think on it again. Like Derry said, this time won't last forever although it may seem right now things will never be any different.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 8:01PM
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I understand, Fairegold...Derry

    Bookmark   October 6, 2005 at 11:13PM
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Thanks very much Derry.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 12:11AM
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Mum lives with us but I understand how it is to "draw a line in the sand". Mum is manipulative too. If I didn't require her to do certain things she wouldn't! and she routinely surprises me with her ability to "pull her own weight". But how far to push and how much to "require" is a delicate balancing act and it sometimes makes me question my own expectations... it's hard!

It's just easier for me than it is for you, my friend.

You're a good, faithful, loving daughter. You're doing a great job and there's nothing more you have to offer. Keep on being you. It's the best you are and the best you can offer.

It'll be OK.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 10:38PM
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Just checking in, how is your mom doing, and how are you doing?


    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 8:07AM
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Thanks for asking. SHe decided that she could ride the lift onto the bus after all, and it wasn't so bad. Score one little thing for me!

Yesterday I went over there for the flu shot. I had told her in advance that I would help her fill out the form, but before I got there she had tried to fill it out on her own and she had torn up 4 forms. But we both got out shots (altho the nurse had trouble finding enough muscle on Mother's arm.)

Afterwards we went to Denny's and she got a 1/2 Grand slam (they charge for a whole order, tho), but she balks at seeing a full plate, and then she complains. This was perfect for her, because she ate almost everything!

She's just fading out in many ways. She is up and dressed (not sure if she does it because of the aides or not) and at most meals every day, plus mass in the chapel several times a week. But she's just barely there. I think that she naps a lot. Shows little interest in TV most of the time, but she does look at the daily paper.

Thanks so much for asking.

We're just plodding along!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 10:56AM
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Hi Helene...thinking about you guys. Hope you all are "hanging in there". Derry

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 10:25PM
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Thanks, Derry. No changes. I don't know how her weight is, if she's holding steady or still losing. Her next MD appt is early December. I think that in many ways she could last a long time, but with the weight loss, I suspect that something else is going on and pulling her down.

But otherwise, things are fine.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 11:03PM
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