Thank You, All

Thank you all for your well-wishes. It looks like several of us are either going through this awful stretch, have gone through it, or will be going through it soon. Right now (unfortunately) my mother is still in the “everything is under control, I know what I am doing” stage. Along with this goes the parent-child relationship. How could my sister or I know what might possibly be best for her? We are her children, and she is the parent.

We are in Amarillo, Texas for the night. This is a very flat-land, tumble weed-full type of drive. There are several patches on this journey where you do not get cell phone reception. It’s strange that this no-cell-phone thing really bothers me. It’s so easy to forget that about ten/fifteen years ago, EVERYWHERE was a no-cell-phone area for us. Funny how spoiled we get. New technology just becomes  everyday fare so quickly.

Comments

  1. One of my friends was very upset about how her mother was dealing with her illness, choices made, etc. and wanted her mother to do what she (my friend) felt was correct. I told her that as we get older, a lot of choices are taken away from us due to illness, death of loved ones, little retirement money, etc. and that sometimes what’s left is the choice of what to do about one’s illness. I told her to let her mother choose what she felt was best for her unless, of course, she was hurting herself or others, and she wasn’t.

    I have had multiple sclerosis more than one half of my life (I am 50) and as I have made choices through the years, I have had plenty of comments to discourage me, etc., including from doctors. Overall, I do what I feel is best for me, sometimes with no support. Sometimes the choices worked out and other times, they did not but when they worked out, the nay-sayers didn’t congratulate me; only criticized me when they didn’t work out. So, saying all of this, I support you (as an unknown person to you or your mother) in your love for her and I am also sharing that sometimes we need to let our loved ones choose for themselves even when we disagree. It is really a gift.

    I wish you the best with all the stress and may all of you be blessed with peace and acceptance.

    Your unknown friend, Chelsea in Florida :-)

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Thank you, Chelsea, for the very good advice. My husband is trying to help me come to terms with my mother’s inability to make wise choices. It is very difficult to see her struggling so much, especially since she needs care 24 X 7, but is unwilling to let me make arrangements for it.

  2. It is funny what we now accept as common place that 10 or 15 years ago as you say was rare. I’m sure you’ve probably thought of this, but let me share with you again. I’ve been the one to help folks through this stage and now am going through this stage very early in my life (I’m only 54). It’s best if you have plenty of time and plenty of folks to help out with this. For example, not just family, but friends as well. These ideas and changes need to gradually be introduced and talked about if time permits. Please feel free to use me as an example as well. My family is very dysfunctional and their ideas are immediate nursing home admission, instead of looking at other options. Sounds like you and your sister want to explore lots of other options and be there for your Mother. My family doesn’t want to be part of the solution, which is ok, every family is different. Stress to your Mom that you love her and want to be there for her. Talk about some of the benefits of some of these new ideas, unfortunately it may take a very scary situation to get your Mom off the fence. There was a lady that just adopted me as her own. She absolutely wanted no help, etc. I worked with her for years. She had several medical emergencies unfortunately. I never forced her into anything, as I don’t believe in that.

    An example she was what we call now of days a hoarder. Part of her accidents came from falling in the home from all the clutter. After several years of trying, she permitted to start working on her living room while she sat in the chair and supervised. We went really slow, I never rushed her. I worked 3 or 4 hours and had even cleared some of the furniture enough to dust. My biggest reward was when I needed to go home to take care of my kids, she said, could we do just a little bit more. This looks so nice. She was so pleased and proud of what we had accomplished.

    Praying you have the time before a major emergency with your Mom to make all of these changes. I know you have the patience.

    Now with myself, I voluntarily gave up driving, my motivation was I didn’t want to injure someone else. It wasn’t easy, but necessary. That’s another motivation is her safety and the safety of others. Love is another great motivator.

    Blessings and prayers for all of you as go through this.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Thanks, Susan F. Unfortunately my mother is now at a point where she is a danger to herself. However, she doesn’t want people helping her, and feels that she can take care of herself.

      • Danna, I take after my mother in so many ways. I hope with all my heart that I won’t give my family members a hard time when I can no longer take care of myself. But I won’t be surprised if I don’t.

        • Danna - cozy mystery list :

          It’s easy to forget when we get to be that age – of what we said we wouldn’t do…

          • Danna , quite a few of the things that I have said that ‘ I WOULD NEVER DO!!!” have come up to bite me in the place where the sun doesn’t shine. Never say never, huh!!

  3. I know what you mean. Seems like whenever I leave the house and forget my cell phone I go into panic mode, it’s madness ha!ha! Texas sounds scary, watch out for the chupacabra!

  4. Know exactly what you mean .. Living in Ft. Worth (and previously Littleton, CO and St. Paul, MN) and driving down to our parents’ (both) winter spots in Weslaco, TX, for similar reasons with similar reactions could be most frustrating … however, now that all are gone, I wish for those times again – wished I had laughed more WITH them, been more patient, etc. Regrets are nothing, however, without learning … so now I try to do same with my friends who are older and with myself (who seems to be older – when I look in the mirror, that is – not otherwise, of course!). Hang in there, all.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Jackie C, I don’t know if you experienced this, but as I sat and watched my mother respond to a visiting nurse today, I saw that she totally accepted what the nurse told her, which was the same thing I have been trying to tell her for at least a week. It seems that an unrelated, third party person is much easier to take direction from than one’s child. That can be very frustrating…

      • I can completely relate to that, Danna. It is utterly frustrating that a parent automatically accepts something from another person when they rejected it from you – despite the fact that YOU are flesh and blood and trying to look out for their best interest.

        When necessary, recruit friends, doctors, even strangers, etc. to sway a parent to do something when the parent refuses to listen to your reasoning.

        • Danna - cozy mystery list :

          BB, even though it’s frustrating, I have been amazed at how much easier the process has become, now that I know my mother is willing to listen to third party people. Whatever works!

        • I think BB because our adult parents feel like their kids shouldn’t have to be making the decisions for them. They are the parents. It’s up to the “parents” to take care of the kids. Not the other way around. I think they are feeling like they are losing control. My dad had to stay in a nursing home for a short period of time. He was so adamant that he was not going to die in a nursing home that when he was finally able to go home he started to starve himself to death so that he did not have to go back. None of us realized what was happening until it was way too late. Starving himself to death was the last thing that he could do in order to be in control of his own death. It was a very sad time for all of us to realize what was happening and that realization came too late.

  5. It is not unusual for parents especially to not want to give in to the idea that they have become the children and the children are the parents. There is a good possibility that she went through this same syndrome with either a parent or in-law parent, or at least she knows someone who did and she was probably most supportive of the younger person.

    I know that one of our friends who had been very independent all of his life has become dependent upon his wife doing everything for him (he had a stroke early last year) and now has good days and bad. He has given up driving for the time being, but when they go somewhere and his wife drives his car, he always wants to carry the keys.

    Getting older is a sad thing if a person is not as independent as they think they are…but hang in there, and you might want to find a support group who can guide you more in how to deal with the elderly.

    Thoughts, prayers, and hugs…Bev

    • Bev, Watching the way my dad and my mother-in-law were treated in the area nursing homes that they were in sure scares me about getting older. I will soon be 68. So far, except for some what I call old age aches and pains, and some memory trouble, I seem to have all my wits about me. But as time goes on I have a feeling that I won’t go to a nursing home willingly. Neither will my DH. The care of the elderly is a disgrace in this country. I have seen it first hand many times.

  6. Best wishes with everything…

    Gentle hugs,
    “Auntie”

  7. Wishing you well. Have a safe trip! Prayers for you family and mother.

  8. So true, Danna. If I head out to the grocery store w/o my phone, I most likely will turn back. It was always in my purse, but now so many people call me on that number, I keep it with me in the kitchen or family room …thus the leaving behind sometimes. Hope things get straightened in a satisfactory way with your Mom.

  9. Sounds like a rough time – hang in there! :)

  10. I know its tough to try to handle a situation like this – I’ve been doing the same thing for almost three years with my husband’s health issues. Just remember – you also need to take care of yourself. That is much easier said than done, but it is very important. If anyone offers help of any type, don’t let pride get in the way – take people up on their offers. Make sure you eat healthy, schedule some rest/down time for yourself, etc. Speaking from experience – you won’t be doing anyone any good if you let yourself get run down! Sending prayers your way….. :-)

  11. Danna try taking care of three family members at one time. In 2005 my grandfather fell and broke his hip so he was in the hospital. Then about two weeks after he did, my grandmother did the same thing so we had two in a rest home. They both got to come home but while this was going on my dad had colon cancer and was dealing with chemo and such so in 2005 my grandfather fell again and broke it but this time did not wake up from surgery. In August 2006 my dad died from the Cancer and in 2007 my grandmother died from Septic and dementia and that was all one family. Now we are going through Uterine cancer with my mom at first she thought she had lung cancer so had surgery around December and the surgeon got it all with the first surgery so now she has to go back and make sure and if no sign then it is a good bet that she beat it. But forgot to mention about 10 years ago she was diagnosed with it and had the surgery and chemo then so was surprised when it came up again.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Oh my gosh, Alfred, your family certainly has had a terrible time in the recent years. I am sorry to hear about your grandmother, grandfather, and father. I sure hope your Mom’s cancer is beaten. How terrible that it came back after having the surgery. I can’t imagine going through all that heart break in such few years.

  12. I couldn’t agree more about technology. Occasionally I have conversations with people on how we used to live in the day when you had to know people’s phone numbers. I wonder how many phone numbers we know by heart? I know maybe two. A sad thing. Have safe travels and I hope your mother gets well soon.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Carly, you are so right about not knowing people’s phone numbers. I hate it when I have to put my Sim card into a new cell phone. I have to get my “old fashioned” (real) address book out to program all of my contacts phone numbers.

  13. Danna - cozy mystery list :

    Thanks, again, for all of your well wishes. I am trying to adopt my sister’s “It is what it is.” attitude, but it is difficult for a control freak like me to do!

    With my Special Ed background, I feel like I should be able to dash into town and take charge. I know it’s difficult for people in my mother’s positions to relinquish control – It’s scary! Unfortunately, since I don’t live nearby, I just want to whisk into town and get things organized: Find out who needs to do what, line them up to do it, get people in to do other things, and then leave town hoping everything has been done that needs to be done. But as you all know, life is complicated, and that’s not how things get done.

    • Hang in there Danna. I think there are just some things in this life that no matter what decisions are made someone is going to not be in favor of those decisions. Just keep praying that you and your family can come to some kind of meaningful decision that will be the less painful for everyone. I will be thinking of you. This is a very hard time in your life.
      God be with you.

      • Danna - cozy mystery list :

        Thank you, Linda. I think I have made the best arrangements I could for my mother, and that she is happy with what I have done. I am so thankful that my father made sure she has long term insurance. I sure wish she would move down to San Antonio, where it would be a lot easier for me to oversee everything.

  14. Once a parent stops being able to function independently – mentally, physically, or both – YOU have to become the parent and look out for their best interest. In my experience, they often expect you to be the “bad guy” and make the hard decisions and make them do what has to be done. Whether this is consciously or sub-consciously on their part, I haven’t figured out – maybe it varies by individual and issue. At any rate, you and your sister are now responsible for your mother’s well-being.

    I cannot emphasize this enough:
    ***MAKE SURE AT LEAST ONE OF YOU HAS POWER OF ATTORNEY AND MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY.***
    Keep at least one copy with you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been grateful to the lawyer who did our wills years ago and asked us if we wanted to do the power of attorney.

    One more bit of advice for now – not only does your sister need to share the load, but recruit your mom’s friends, neighbors, fellow church members, etc. to help out. Does your mom have any relatives in Colorado?

    Danna, if you have questions about anything, need someone to just listen, or a shoulder to cry on, you know how to contact me.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      I agree, BB, about the Power of Attorney. I have just talked my mother into accepting help 24 X 7, which she has resisted for the past year. Also, the hospital has (what sounds like) a really good home health care program which I have been meeting with to get things lined up for when I go back to Texas.

  15. Would it maybe make sense to be kind of “brutal” and basically lay it out to her that right now she is in a situation where she can make a choice where to go to for long term care when, not if, necessary.Versus the alternative of say falling and breaking a bone (or other health catastrophe) and the hospital deciding where she is going in other words whoever has a bed open and not the place that might be best suited to her wants and amenities? I have seen it too often where I worked, the patient is out of an acute situation and needs long term care and the first available nursing home with an open bed it is, versus patients that had the foresight to choose one and make arrangements often times years prior to going there.

  16. Hey there. New to blog, “old” to your situation however. I’m 56, and lost my parents when I was 21. Their illnesses and passing were sudden.

    I’m also an ordained UCC minister AND a former nursing home administrator so I understand this issue from many sides. When anyone begins the search for long term care facilities, go interview the staff: nurse to patient ratio, is there an activities director, how’s the food, are the aides trained, or do they take up space…. that kind of stuff. Also, is it profit or non-profit. How many “demerits” did they get the last 3 times they were audited? Is their spiritual care?

    And then,speak to administration. What is required financially? What happens when finances are outpaced by age. Do they accept Medicaid? Is the client forced out if they don’t when their money is exhausted? How often are patient care teams meeting and who is on that team (and you or another caregiver should be in on every meeting).

    Does the client need a will? A pre-purchased funeral? Have they an updated will? A living will? a recent doctor’s record? I also suggest a “Five Wishes” form (google it) be discussed and filled out. Make more than one person of more than 1 generation a designee. If there us no will, or one more than ten years old update it. Certain states don’t have intestate laws, and even if your name is on a joint holding like a checking account, you may not be able to access it.

    If your loved one is going directly from hospital to care facility, lean on the hospital social services to cut through the red tape. You might have been told the facility has a waiting list 6 months long, but a hospital social worker can cut that with phone calls. Lean on your spiritual advisor. Make sure if your loved one is Catholic that the diocese be informed about their change of status to set up home communion. If your loved one an observant Jew, make that known so the local rabbi will come.

    Know that most states require at least one activity every day, and that many homes think an in-house Sunday service is the Sunday activity, no matter what your beliefs are, and a lot of homes park residents in the service whether they want to be there or not.

    Also, realize that Nursing Homes are often full of what is known as”frail elderly” that can no longer really hardly move a lot, so if your loved one is active, that might not be the best place for care. They also smell sometimes, so check cleaning routine logs. Ask residents a/o other caregivers if they like it there, and what the staff turnover is. That can tell you a lot. Go during the week and come back unannounced Sunday afternoon and see the energy level. How long have they been in business and what the Home’s license status is. Who is on the Board and what kind of affiliation they might have is helpful too.

    And, finally, don’t feel guilty if you can’t care for your loved one. If they need more care than you can give them, even if you promised to never place them in a facility, don’t let your own health suffer. Take care

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Thank you, Andrea, for this very important list of things to look into. YOu have listed many things I never even thought of.

  17. Glad I was helpful. Hope things go as needed. Hope you keep “present” and take time for your own self care.

  18. Danna, I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this. I appreciate all the good advice and hopeful messages the others have offered; what a great community you’ve fostered here! Take care.

  19. I do hope things are improving for you all, Danna. Living in a small country (Scotland) it’s very hard to appreciate the distances you have to travel, although I can sympathise with the mobile phone problem. In some parts of the isle of Bute where my son lives, there isn’t even radio reception!
    Best wishes.

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