Monthly Archives: May 2014
I grew to despise the word…..FINE. Starting out in the early stages of progressive Alzheimer’s with my Mother, I too, believed she was FINE. After all, her husband of 44 years had passed and now she was alone. Still, FINE was not a great word to describe her status, it was an OK word to use.
As the weeks turned into months however, her phone calls to me escalated and I could not see anything positive in the word FINE. NO now, she was not FINE. “Oh, your Mother is FINE”, she just misses your father. She “is still grieving”. “Leave her alone, she will be OK”. DUH – if I had indeed left alone, she would never have made it alone being FINE.
The friends/family that used this word frequently did not partake in Mom’s care as closely and frequently as I did. They did not go to her home 5 out of 7 days a week to check on her/bring her food/help her in her home, they did not answer her 20 phone calls per night. Mom did not show up at their backdoor frantic and panicked because she couldn’t get me on the phone. They didn’t see the declining issues with cognitive impairment and memory (oops maybe they did) – let me reword that – they probably did notice it, but they didn’t have to DEAL with it as I did. Her eating habits had caused her to lose weight, her once impeccable hygiene was lacking, the front yard had grass over a foot high, her physical appearance was deteriorating, her mood swings were now obvious (well I can speak for myself), and her short term memory had plummeted.
Mom was FINE? I think not.
Then there are always the family members that want peace and tranquility for all. The Clan needs to stick together. It sounded a little lopsided to me – but OK I tried. But I have to refer back to the FINE word. Now it is not even listed in my words used to describe Mom.
I am stressed, frustrated beyond human endurance and all that is needed is tranquility and for us all to get along? Meanwhile I continue taking care of Mom, my own family, working full-time 30 miles away and driving to Mom’s house to check on her at least 4 times per week. I straighten up her home, I wash her clothes, I clean her bathroom—because I love her and it needed to be done.
Then, I had a great idea. I offered those who verbosely expressed that I needed to “leave Mom alone and get off her back” full care of Mom. I told them we could drive to the elder attorney’s office and I would gladly switch my DPOA over to them ! Great idea, I thought. Then, we will see if they still think Mom is FINE. I can guarantee you, they wouldn’t have.
But to my disappointment, none accepted my offer! But why not I asked? You are more than happy to take over Mom’s care….full time care. Judging by biting comments, I assumed they could and would be more competent than I was.
I even had one friend of my parent’s whose children I grew up – suggest (and she was serious) that I move IN with MOM on a full time basis. Simply she said, quit your job, pack up and move in with your Mother. She needs you. This way I could take care of Mom’s hygiene, nutrition, errands, housework, appointments, and yard. OK I said….one minor problem. Are you going to pay my SALARY after I quit my job to move in with MOM? This in turn helps make our mortgage payment. Well….if you guessed her answer was no, you would be correct.
I asked her if she had F*#@ing lost her mind – ? The sad thing is, she was serious. She had done this with her Mother – but one huge difference, she had never worked outside the home. We never spoke after that conversation.
Being scrutinized as caregiver was one of the hardest issues I had to deal with. I received complaints and comments – but when I offered – no one else wanted to take over the responsibility.
You know what? I will go to my grave knowing I did the best job humanly possible taking care of my Mother. Loving her, protecting her, standing up for her rights, and treating her with the dignity and respect that she deserved.
I know she is watching me from above, and is very proud of me.
It is hard to put into words, the STRESS my body went through as Caregiver for my Mother…I am not complaining, it is merely a fact. Mental strain, emotional pitfalls, physical ailments top the list.
I have written about the dangers and damage of stress and the importance of coping with it in a healthy way numerous times here. Type the word stress in the search box at the right for further details.
It seems that dealing with our own stress is only half the battle. Stress is contagious.
“Observing another person in a stressful situation can be enough to make our own bodies release the stress hormone cortisol. This is the conclusion reached by scientists involved in a large-scale cooperation project between the departments of Tania Singer at the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and Clemens Kirschbaum at the Technische Universität Dresden. Empathic stress arose primarily when the observer and stressed individual were partners in a couple relationship and the stressful situation could be directly observed through a one-way mirror. However, even the observation of stressed strangers via video…
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I can relate, definitely. After taking care of MOM for over 5 years as she descended also, into Alzheimer’s – the journey is more than difficult…it is emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically demanding to the body of the Caregiver. I had my own family, full time job and full time caregiving of Mom.
I survived – found out and learned of elder attorney’s for elderly law, DPOA’s, ALF, Convalescent Center, Adult Social Services, episodes in Mom driving, and OM gosh so much more.
Thank you for the informative blog !
Author – “Alzheimer’s Through My Mother’s Eyes”
The July 1 release date is quickly approaching for my memoir, A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos. Anaiah Press is looking for people who would like to review the book or otherwise participate in the blog tour that will run from June 17 through July 15. If you would like to write a review, spotlight the book on your blog, or post an author interview or guest post, please click on the link below and sign up. Thank you for your participation and for sharing in the excitement of Anaiah’s first release and my first book.
About the book:
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That’s right “Yawwlll”, make sure you live in the South if you write about us ! GREAT Blog…hilariously funny.
In my real life day job, I actually go to work sober. And by that I mean I’m sober when I get there. Luckily, I’m a full-time author and editor, so there’s nobody to answer to if I decide to have a few margaritas at lunch (hell, the martini lunch is practically a publishing industry cliche, only they did it with other people around and they stopped after the first couple).
But damn if my job isn’t driving me to drink.
The first OSHA-related drinking problem I developed was when I was writing one of my novels (shamelessly plugged HERE, you should totally buy it if you think Catcher in the Rye was stupid). I figured out I just couldn’t nail the main character’s voice without a few glasses of merlot. Shortly after finishing the book, I discovered that I really like merlot, so my next several books just…
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