Go to the bathroom, get some water and feel free to read (LONG!)

berainMarch 17, 2004

Hi all.

Yes, its me. First of all  please donÂt faint. IÂm sorry I havenÂt been posting here lately. An occasional non-descript post at the KT  but thatÂs about it.

My days have been troublesome lately hard to know just where to start. But I do owe everyone an explanation. Gee  where to start family stuff first. No one here knows me yet  but IÂm the primary care-taker of my ailing mother. SheÂs only 68, but suffers from no less than four major ailments. From something called NPH (normal pressure hydrocephalous) to glaucoma and a corneal transplant, to high blood pressure to a mini-stroke. My other family is my brother and his family. Unfortunately, I only feel as though they suck the life out of me. Case in point  IÂm a den leader for their middle son  Adam. Wednesday nights are meeting nights and I usually come through their subdivision to get Adam, take him home to dinner, and then the meeting. IF IÂm lucky, one of them will attend and take him home. Communication has hallways been a problem  although I donÂt know why I have to tell/call/email both my brother and his wife just to make sure the message has a chance of getting through. Few weeks back, I was told I wouldnÂt have to get him as my SIL would drop him off that lasted 1 week. It adds about 25 minutes to my commute home.. puts me home at about 6:15 p.m.  make dinner  meeting starts at 7 rush rush rush. Few weeks ago  night before a large cub scout event for over 200 people (my brother is the pack master)  I offered to have dinner there for my brother  the remaining 2 nephews and their foreign exchange student. SIL and eldest nephew were off to a music competition. Through the grape vine of my mother  I get a call from SIL wondering why only brother, et. al are invited. Thought she had to drive to Timbuktu (please forgive me!) to music event. No  she didnÂt have to be there till 7:30 p.m. Order more food for take out, stop at grocery because sheÂs doing a semi-Atkins diet and pizza wonÂt do  pick up food, dog at groomers  and arrive home about 6:30. Make salad for SIL  all arrive  she eats in a hurry  because she has to leave ASAP (?) Thought that was the case before  hence the no dinner offer oh well. Off in a mad rush  advise her not to go a certain route as the traffic reports were horrible  highway shut down. Frantic call about 20 min. later  stopped dead on highway that was ill advised to take. Give alternates  voice frustration to brother and go about loading my truck with all the paraphernalia for a 200+ pinewood derby the next morning. Get to bed about 2 a.m. Up again at 6.

Next  case in point  One of many doctor appointments the following week for Mom. Includes 2 eye doctors  corneal specialist/surgeon and glaucoma specialist  they are ping-ponging over the risk of increased pressure vs. the integrity of the transplant  one set of drops upsets the apple cart of the other condition. I take copious notes at every appointment. (mind you this is over 18 months of visits). Glaucoma dr. isnÂt happy with pressure  contemplates more surgery in right eye after reviewing with cornea dr. which we see the next day. Next day at work  receive phone call from SIL  she has spoken to Mom who expresses her uneasiness about more surgery  and only to get the 3rd degree about surgery option nothing that I havenÂt already asked the dr.  but since itÂs only a possibility  will reassess in a month  have no clear answer to questions Hang up in total frustration that if she wants to know so many freakin details about the office visit  she could have gotten her _ _ _ to the eye doctor with us. DoesnÂt occur to her that I am at work!!! No wonder my mother doesnÂt like her to attend. (BTW  sheÂs a stay-at-home mother  no job  volunteer work only) I have to take time off of work (days too) to attend all these appointments.

Third case-in-point  last weekend. Another all day cub scout event  District Pinewood Derby  offered MomÂs services as babysitter for youngest 2 nephews  yes  itÂs a good idea  never informed that other plans were made. GRRRR. Spend all day at even  go out to dinner  hmmm  they never have cash  Mom and I usually kick in more than our share  never seem to get the change weÂre due coincidence? Next day  major project for work is due Monday  so spend Sunday working literally from 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a couple of arguments thrown in for good measure  to have Mom just leave me alone to work  shower at 5  no time for dinner  take Mom to orchestra concert  back home by 10:00 p.m. only to work till 2:30 a.m. Even lost it with long-distance boyfriend who graciously go online to check on me IÂm such a schmuck.

Work  well that stinks tooÂ. 70% decrease in staff over the last two years  and co-worker promoted to "manager"  only to annoy the remaining 2 people. "Kathy" has no clue  nor any desire  to understand what I do and how long it takes  let alone how it impacts the rest of the group and our goals. SheÂs a total  non-techie  with no desire to understand. Meanwhile  I get meaningless "quilting" projects dumped on me  and things like data analysis, programming, digitizing and all those other "techie" things go undone. Over the ½ wall all I hear is cursing and muttering  not exactly conducive to a data analysis environment. I think itÂs been about 2 weeks of constant bad moods  fights with her husband  arguments over daughterÂs private school teacher and complaining about having no money hmmm found out over the past few months  her parents have paid for their house, bought her a new car  and have been paying for private school tuition wonder where her salary goesÂ?? Was asked to help stuff envelopes the other night  meanwhile data project (major) is due  so I said "no". Well  sheÂs not speaking to me now  but the cursing continues. DonÂt get me wrong  I am certainly not a saint  but the language she has been using borders on harassment in the workplace. Coincidentally  her annual review form lies on my desk  just waiting for completion!

So, besides, the Mom, the SIL (and family) and co-worker I stare at a computer screen  play some games online  trying to find some motivation to pay the bills, organize the closet, do some laundry and figure out what IÂm going to do with the cub scouts tomorrow night. ItÂs about 1:15 a.m. and I find I could care less not really a good attitude is it? Just took two Advil  had dental work this morning and think about calling in "sick" tomorrow itÂs certainly a possibility! Then again  itÂs another day off Last year  between MomÂs two surgeries and a mini-stroke and all the interspersed doctor appointments in between  well it ate up any vacation time I had at allÂ. Wondering what a vacation feels like  itÂs been about 2 ½ years since I took a 5 day trip to visit a friend "back home"Â

IÂm finding myself snapping at my mother  who cannot help her conditions  which still frustrates me to no end. She does things she knows she shouldnÂt  like climb on a ladder to get the canning jars I need to make strawberry jam. This from a woman who should (but doesnÂt always use a walker or is in a wheel chair for longer trips). And she wonders why I get upset. I didnÂt plan on taking care of her  nor did I plan on my father dying 7 ½ years ago. Thought moving in together to save money was a good idea. Resentful? Yes I am. But IÂm feeling more guilty for feeling resentful. 40 years old and now giving up on the idea of marriage or children at all. BF in Denver is still officially "married"  and the divorce is taking a loooooooong time. Hmmm I waver between sympathy for him and wondering how much is truth or lies. HeÂs sympathic to me  and has said I can leave the situation at any time Not what either of us wants  but how much longer do I wait? Then again  what would I leave for? Some local guy (married/separated/has girlfriend) who cheats on me? (No  I didnÂt know it at the time.) Or another who hits me up for an "investment" in his company? Oh  the quality of men in Tampa.

Not sure if I should post all this  Spike might send me to Disney  btw  we were there for a few days in December. Highlight of my holidays SIL and Brother et. al  headed to Maryland  Mom and I celebrated alone. Mickey sure knows how to make one smile  it was a blast!

Sorry to vent  guess IÂll take my chances by posting thisÂthanks everyone for listening.


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It sure helps to vent, and what better place than here? You are trying so hard to be everything for everybody else that you've forgotten to look after yourself. Learn to say No now and then, and mean it. You might be a super woman, but Superwoman you aren't. So stop trying. Can you get occasional respite care for your mother? Try having a chat with the doctor, and the social worker at the hospital, or a local church or charity organisation. One day a week to yourself will be very rejuvenating for you. Pass the buck onto SIL if necessary. I have a friend who takes things on like you seem to, and people walk all over her with hobnailed boots. Now and then she remembers some good advice I gave her some time back - use the 'what if I were dead? ' tactic. In other words, if you got run over by a bus tomorrow, the world would still revolve, someone would step in to take over from you. They'd cope. So - sometimes, let 'em cope! Meantime, you need some free time, some space, and some freedom to live and breathe for yourself. You've earned that right.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2004 at 2:26AM
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Wow Barbara -- my heart goes out to you. Ditto what Daisy said. Maybe you could start by giving up the scouting activities. I'm sure you enjoy it, adore your nephews and are a wonderful influence on them, but it seems as if that might be the easiest thing to give up right now. Unless you're independently wealthy, you probably need the job and your mother does need you right now. If you're comfortable with sending SIL with your mother to her doctor's appointments, just tell her that you have a commitment at work and can't get time off. But, if you're like me, you'll want to be there to talk to the doctors and ask questions rather than relying on information from someone else. Maybe brother and SIL will step up to the plate if they have a little pressure put on them. In any case, you can't continue like this -- something has to give or you'll end up sick yourself. Take care and keep us posted.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2004 at 10:00AM
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Hi Barbara....as Janet said, WOW!....That is a lot for one person to take on. I agree with the advice above and to consider getting out of the scouting activities and also with trying to find a lifeline to help you get away at least one day a week...yes, you are liable to disappoint someone, but if you don't you are only disappointing yourself for not taking command of what you can control...spread the onus around....good luck to you and keep us filled in. You can vent here anytime!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2004 at 12:43PM
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You have alot! Is not some of your choosing? And now it does not work? I see that you are trying to please and make everyone elses life easier. You should be first.

As long as there is a doormat, it will be used. Stop pleasing and making up for others deficiencies.

People and relatives are DENSE, to what is going on. Ask for help.

If an activity no longer brings you enjoyment, or fits in your life at this time, reconsider. You can always be on the sidelines, or pick it up later.

Hoping you will find the right balance, peace and calm in your life.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2004 at 9:04PM
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Hello Barbara

Good advice from everyone here. Come vent anytime. Hope life eases up a little soon.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2004 at 10:15PM
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