Monday, April 24, 2017

{monday night}

*Hard to get motivated today.  Easy to fall into the trap of frustration.  The sweet aide got Mom bathed around noon, we fetched youngest son at work after feeding Mom some soup, bought a few groceries, ran into the Williams Sonoma outlet and I bought a new mug with a hummingbird on it (!)and came home.  Made homemade chicken and dumplings.  Not much in between those tasks.  Sometimes I feel unfocused, can't land.  Hold my breath a lot.  And school with the two girls is sometimes sketchy.  Not happy about that.  I begin tasks and set them aside, begin again and stop.  It's this way all day. 

*Middle daughter did a fast job of tidying the house this morning before Mom's aide came.  She has this energy like her dad.  She'll get a bug in her ear and go great guns in cleaning.  It's amazing and I'm so grateful.  I'm afraid I don't always tell her how wonderful it is to me, but it really is.  Today she did it and all I could find to say (after she cleaned out the fridge) was where was the rest of the soup I'd heated for Mom yesterday?  Yep, she'd tossed it, not knowing, but there I was griping.  Don't you hate that about yourself, when that happens?  Big mouth.  Shut up.  As soon as I asked her, I was shaking my head at myself, thinking...what is up with you?  Sweet girl cleaned out the fridge and all you can do is find fault.  Apologized to her.  Several times.  Who cares about the stupid soup?

*I tend to spend so much mental time in trying to cover all my tracks (not related to the soup story).  I try to make sure the kids all have enough attention, get taken where they want to go, and have personal time to unload and talk.  My mom is such an emotional drain, not to hit on her, but it's the truth. 

*Tight shoulders.  Make conscious effort to relax.  Deep breaths, when I remember. 

*When folks talk about caring for disabled elderly parents at their homes, they don't specifically address the mental issues the caregivers face.  I only thought about the physical challenges of lifting her to a sitting up position when she sits up in bed in the morning, or lifting her legs back into bed at night...maybe helping her to a standing position (which she does all by herself now, because we've sort of insisted she do that without help).  I didn't think about the kids feeling neglected or confused.  Didn't think of what would go through my mind when I'd see her sitting for such long periods of time staring at her hands.  How she'd be unable to read a book without making a huge effort to comprehend.  That folding clothes would be near impossible because she can't get her hands to make sense of a 3-dimensional object.  Lining up corners of non-square fabric is impossible for her.  Rectangles and squares are easy, but odd shapes leave her clueless to make sense of them.  It's amazing to watch, and I'm not laughing.  Brain injury is fascinating.  And I didn't overthink the possibility of such anger from all of us, her and us.

*She needs a more patient daughter.  One who'll engage with her and listen to her chatter.  I'm not that daughter.  I'm overloaded.  Glad I can offer her a home with safe walls and no dangers, but a bit sad I'm not able to be an emotional blessing to her.  I get so overcome.  It's all I can do to help her sit up on the mornings it's my turn and get her breakfast.  Then I have to rest my mind.  Grieving what isn't anymore. 

*Some days are confusing for my mom.  She'll be walking into the room with her walker and always has her face down.  Terrified of falling.  Her posture is in an L-shape now, and you can't get her to straighten up.  It's like her spine is fused into this shape.  Several times she tried to tell me something and got addled every time.  She'd mumble and babble and then shake her head and not be able to say what she had in her mind to say.  Those times let me know that her days are likely numbered.  Her brain fails her. 

*The nurse is supposed to come some morning this week (she usually comes on Wednesday mornings) with someone else to re-evaluate Mom's situation.  Seems every four weeks they're doing a once-over now.  Her care will reach an end sometime, and not sure if that's sooner than later.  Medicare and/or Medicaid will say, Nope.  Time's up.  The physical therapist, who just comes once a week, is a wash.  I enjoy him coming because he's such a stitch, but she doesn't do the work he asks her to do between-times.  He's wasting his time.  And the nurse....she's wonderful, but necessary?  The aide who bathes she's awesome.  Giving my mom a bath, which I have done many times, though not in a personal way if you know what I mean, is something I want to avoid.  I just can't.  We do need an aide.  And the hospital bed. 

*God has this.  We're not the first folks who have been in this situation and won't be the last. Nights are the hardest, the times I'm getting in the habit of beating up myself.  Why was I so impatient?  Why was my mom so fierce, so hard to get along with, so stubborn?  It's a process, and not a pretty one.

Taking a day trip with the girls later on in the week.  Oxford.  Time for some Faulkner.  Youngest son has a day off and will be in charge here.  He's looking forward to having the day to himself, with a bit of attention paid to Mom, and having us gone.  We'll be refreshed and much easier to live with afterward.  As they say, A change is as good as a rest.


podso said...

You have such a busy household. I hope you have a good day away. Yes deep breaths. When I am stressed I eventually realize how tight my shoulders are and how shallowly I'm breathing, as if I'm listening for the next crisis. I have to remind myself to take a deep breath.

Cathy said...

Oh, Melissa, my heart is there remembering and knowing so much of what you are sharing here on this space. Keep writing your heart, it will help when these days are no longer.

Seems unfair "mother guilt" is not all, but now suffering "daughter guilt" gets tagged on... "LORD, keep Melissa focused on You and your marvelous grace for these times. Amen".
Realize you are the best daughter for her right now, and do not forget Satan's lies to discourage.
How wonderful for your day trip... do not neglect this, it is very important for you and your family.

netablogs said...

Home care for an elderly sick family member is sooo difficult. You are doing the best you can and, although you may feel badly about the ways you feel you aren't measuring up, you are still giving your mom a gift of a safe place. Even if she can't thank you, I'm sure she really appreciates you.

Bonnie said...

Have a great trip!