Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Just Overwhelmed Right Now

My mom had a stroke about a year ago, recovered beautifully, and then broke her arm while trying to get her morning newspaper. She had been released to modified independence, and that included using her walker at all times. Being the independent personality that she is, she decided to retrieve her newspaper without using her walker and down she went.

We hired caregivers and rotated taking care of her between the siblings while home health provided rehabilitation and nursing. All is not well in mom land. The physical therapy evaluation would not release her from 24/7 care, and I could not be part of the rotation in June. My son and his family were coming for a visit, and I really wanted to spend as much time as possible with them. I had worked out a caregiver  with one of my siblings routine until July when we could once again share the duties. This sister rebelled sighting several family issues. I ended up getting a social worker involved, having one brother removed from the health decisions, and taking my mom to a retirement independent facility about 2 miles from another sister.

Home health has called with several concerns about my mom. She keeps forgetting her walker, and sometimes forgets to take her medications. I told the case worker that I would call twice a day and remind her to take her pills. My sister went by last night and corrected the errors with the pills. Most were ok, but the diabetes medicines weren't correct in all of her boxes.

I don't know how my mom will do in all of this, but I have paid to have more monitoring with her showers and routines. It gives me some piece of mind, but the control freak in me would like to just move her to Houston and monitor her personally. She does not want to live with any of her children and really enjoys her own space. Her home is in limbo because we all want her to get her balance back and go back home to modified independence. In 3 months if she isn't happy at all, we will start looking for a live in caregiver for my mom. If she is happy at the retirement facility, we will put her house up for sale.

I don't really know how my mom feels, but she made me get the out of hospital do-not-resuscitate paperwork done for her before her moving day. I would feel guilty about my mom's not adjusting yet, but she will actually do more for herself in this facility than she did in her home. Someone was always going by and handling her life for her from paying bills to counting pills to making sure the laundry was done and the house was clean. We are all worn out. Sounds like we don't have much patience with my mom, but we have been taking care of and rescuing her since 2006. She went in for a simple surgery and ended up with congestive heart failure that year, and it seems like there has been one issue or another every year.

My husband and I are both very independent personalities, and we stay busy. It is probably the bond that keeps us married. We always find something to do or a good book to read.  My husband has always traveled or worked away from home, so our time together is precious even if we just exist side by side. He commented that he saw me for only 6 days in 2 months after mom had broken her arm. For him to actually notice the days was a wake up call for me at the time. I knew then that a solution for mom care had to be found.

My brother wanted to move my mom to his house against her will, and that resulted in the social worker getting involved. One of my sisters had planned on mom living with her and even built her retirement home to accommodate her. After the mother's day weekend, she realized that she could not really monitor mom safely. She has her own health issues and must get her sleep at night. Night time is when my mom would slip out of bed or almost make it down the hall to the bathroom. She would forget her walker and slide down the nearest wall. She was found in the morning on the floor at my brother's house. I hired a night time caregiver for those wee hours, but my sister then revolted as she was getting the brunt of the daytime hours and could not have her life with her immediate family. I understand completely. My life has been spent more in Victoria with my mom than here in Houston. My husband's pecan orchard work is near Victoria, so I actually got to see him on the weekends.

This whole experience has been an eye opener as to what I don't want my kids to deal with when we are older. I invested in some long term care insurance for our last 3 years on this earth. I felt that my life was passing me by, but I was not in it. I was in my mom's life and doing a very poor job of caring for her. Something had to give. I talked to my sisters, and we all revisited the facility mom liked the best. Mom made her decision that day, and she signed herself up. She is there now, and already sounds happier. The routines and medicines issues can be handled with add on assistance as time goes by.

I am now enjoying my grand kids and looking forward to some fun with them. I sleep at night knowing that my mom has an on site medical alert button. She can push this anytime she falls or slips or slides down and ends up on the floor, and someone will assist her. I just hope she remembers to do so. This has definitely been a learning experience for me. The decisions were some of the most difficult I have ever had to make, but I am at peace that it is the correct decision for now. I had prayed that God would give me a solution and  that I would be at peace with the decisions. It hasn't been easy, but all is ok today in the aging parent department. I know that the facility offers lots of opportunities for my mom to have quality of life until she dies. That brings a smile to my face.