Is it the ultimate mid-life crisis? Taking care of your parent and children at the same time, the time when your life is supposed to be your own?
Alone, I am not.
Helping my daughter raise her twins
is such a bright spot, I can’t complain.
But now my mother is calling.
The script has been an easy one to follow the past few years.
She is legally blind, with macular degeneration, lives alone;
with more than a touch of agoraphobia.
For years now, afraid she was having a heart attack, she would call 911; sometimes the medics would have to break down her door, sometimes not. Off to the hospital she would go, with staff doing their due diligence in taking every test in the book, to prove, over and over that there was nothing wrong with her heart. She was an only child, of a father and his 7 brothers who all died from heart disease. Her mother, on the other hand, lived into her 90’s and died as the result of a car accident (no, she was not driving).
I have tried to talk her into moving up here with me. My sister has tried to talk her into moving to Texas with her. We tried to find her (and did) a nice “Medicare accepted” assisted living facility right where she is – but all was refused.
Two Sundays ago, we could not find mom. Another sister tried calling her all day with no answer. When she called me in a panic (mom never goes out – doesn’t own a car) I simply called the hospital down the road from her house and “found” her.
Ok, to my mom’s defense, she does have Orthostatic hypotension. She faints. Usually due to dehydration and not enough exercise. She is constantly in bed because of arthritis pain, back pain, sinus pain, etc. etc. etc. The last time it happened, my brother was temporarily staying with her and came home at 10:00AM! to find her on the bathroom floor. Apparently she had been there all night. Off to the hospital she went. Same tests, same results, nothing wrong but low blood pressure, dehydration.
So, two Sundays ago, I found mom at her local ER. The nurse told me she came in because of neck and back pain ( basically arthritis pain) and that she was free to go home but she refused….so they admitted her. The next day they sent her off to yet her 3rd Nursing home in as many years.
She arrived because she could not move her neck or arm. Her neck and arm are fine now. After about two days, she could not walk. The pain in her feet was so severe she had to be wheel-chaired to Physical Therapy. Then, she fainted. Back to bed with an IV for dehydration.
I’m trying to find out when they will release her, as she can’t go home alone. I did find out that her medical insurance will start charging her after 21 days. Does that mean they will “kick her out” at that point? They say no – but both I and they know that she won’t be able to pay…and I am selfishly trying to NOT have to pay the $800 airfare from Seattle to Tucson that it will cost to go at the last minute!
When we spoke yesterday, she told me that she was going to write a piece called “Someone Stole My Bedpan”, based on an actual occurrence at said Nursing Home. “See”, she told me, “I haven’t lost my sense of humor”. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I was quickly losing mine.
She said, “Maybe when I finish it you can put it on that internet writing place of yours”.
In Part 2 I will tell you about a book I just finished that explained the “end of life tasks” of the elderly. It made so much sense to me and certainly softened my heart towards my mother’s antics. I guess they are not antics after all.
Since my mother would not appreciate me posting a picture of her here at this point, I shall post a picture of THE TWINS!!