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February 23
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MARCH 24, 2012 9:39PM

Stuck In The Middle

Rate: 28 Flag

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!!



Baby Bears

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Why is life never simple? (ha)
You're in between a rock and a hard place with your Mom, Trilogy. They don't call it the Sandwich Generation for nothing. Thankfully, you have those sweet adorable twins to balance things out. That picture is priceless!
Thanks Scarlett. Yes, "the tiny's" as my daughter calls them...make it SO worthwhile. I certainly get to see the whole picture from my perspective.
Adorable little ones
Your plate is overflowing, thinking of you kid
Oh my gosh!!!

You published a photo of your gangsta grandkids actually wearing their hoodies!!! Right out in public!! Better not let Zimmerman see them.......!

(*and stay the heck out of Florida*)
I loved simple life in kindergarden.
When you age you meet Mussolini.
Evil's come in varied shapes/sizes.

Never regret caring. I hear you . . .
Remember we held hands
On Easter/Passover you hopped.
You and I played hopscotch
We both played doctor and nurse
fun . . .
pro-body builder
dreaming of teaching:
grammar, punctuation,
and hiccups to editor
and we were lover @
Kerry's kindergarden
On Hail-o-Ween he
held your lucky foot
and he go hop hop &
pulled your nice pony
and bunny tail/tale too
Life is what it is. Pass.
Pass through no gassy.
Ask Kerry to no pass gas.
Nothing is ever simple, is it? I like that your mom would like to put something up on OS. She'd get a lot of readers.
That picture is perfection. I could eat them up. ~r
As I've quoted a time or two ... "Life wasn't meant to be easy" apparently! But let's show life we have a 1000 reasons to smile, eh?? : )

Starting with those adorable twins! Is she crying? Is she laughing? But little miss on the right appears to be saying, "What's all the ruckus about?" or perhaps "Oh dear ... pay her no mind!"

Seriously, my dear friend, I can only imagine the pressure you're feeling at the moment and if you need an ear ... I am here. Wishing you luck ... sending you love .... and a big, big hug.

Love you.
Sky: Ha - I never thought of the "hoodie" thing - yes, my gangsta grandkids are right there with the rest.
I like that one of the twins is crying and the other has that cute little grin. Your mom is a character! Nursing homes should take her if they take all her money too. I wish you luck. You are truly in a tough place.
Marlene ~ I can certainly sympathize with your situation! I have had lots of 'eldercare,' plus 'youngercare' participation over the years. I think once someone is around 25 years old they can expect some grandparent/parent care giving or raising of children to begin. Of course, if one opts not to have children and one's parents own a nursing home they are free to enjoy life without the issues that so many of us face! Best of luck with all that you are dealing with!
One of those twins has beautiful eyes, I bet they both do....I feel for you with your mother, trying to care for someone long distance must be incredibly frustrating ..... and frightening.....and exhausting. There aren't any good answers to any of this. I wonder if she would let a caregiver come by once or twice a day to check on her??? Good luck with this.
It never is... I am so sorry about your mum... But the bedpan idea was funny.
As for those twins.. the on one the right looks like she is going to be trouble..:)
This means you will have double the fun and more, congrats on this lucky set of twins...
The characters and setting may be different, but the plot very similar. I have lived through this nightmare for a long time and you have my full sympathy.

Last year it changed when my Dad passed, but the scars and anxiety don't disappear overnight. All I can say is it will change, but whatever happens we have to appreciate the good things and trust in hope.

The photo certainly looks like it tells a story too. Fabulous.
I went through this for years with my mom. But now I miss her terribly. I wish I could have done more to really help her (with her addictions and mental illness). A support group might help you to figure out your limits and what you really want to do to help your mom and how to go about it.
Worrying about parents seems to come with the territory after a certain age (this is our "reward" for reaching middle age?) I'm so sorry, though! Your mother's situation seems even harder than Lady Lucia's mother's and my father's.
The twins are gorgeous, though. I hope you can find some consolation in them.
Those two pink bunnies make it all worthwhile, I'll bet.
simplicity of aging ?
watching the aging process
living the aging process
it ain't easy
guilt tripping
our generation be prepared
One cries and one smiles, adorable. I'm so sorry about your mom. Terri's mom can no longer function in a normal way, yet her and her daughter refuse to do anything about it. Her kitchen caught fire the other day and only luck and a good neighbor kept it from burning down. Yet, to try and even talk about an Assisted-Living facility is a No-No. I just don't know anymore.
YAY! Twinny pics! Not so YAY about mom. It's hard having strong minds and feeble bodies, I get very frustrated with my mom sometimes. And others I just enjoy the hell out of still having her here. Peace Tril.
That picture sure shows a yin/yang picture of babyhood, doesn't it? Adorable!
Thanks all. I knew so many of you could relate. An even harder part, is that at age 62, I know that my time is coming....I don't want to do that to my kids....cycle of life, I guess. I told my mom that she was my inspiration for going to the gym a few times a week....she didn't get it.
I am reminded to tears!
Mom's are hard especially when they change from your mom into one of the children. I hope you find an answer that will work for everyone. Your grand babies are adorable!!!!!
I feel your pain and remember it all too well from 16 years ago in my own life.

I think you need a scholarship trip for two weeks in Hawaii.

The little pink hoodie girls are SO cute.
Oh wow...three generations of family you are caring for. A brave and loving woman you are. I hope your mom finds the care she needs, and embraces it.
They don't call it the "sandwich generation" for nothing. Though sometimes it feels more like trying to negotiate a long, long strait between Scylla and Charybdis!

Perhaps the two adorable sirens will sing (or cry) you through. Good luck! (And vent whenever you need to--it helps. Believe me!)
The full circle of life. The twins are absolutely precious. Your mom is too, but getting old is not fun. It must be exhausting for you. I pray you and your sister and mom can find a plan that works for all of you. R
tril, I'm glad you're going to the gym. My mom is still swimming 3 times a week (at 80), so I don't think I'll have to worry about her competence until mine starts to go as well.

Maybe I can go like this fellow who used to occupy one of the comfy chairs at Starbucks every day, for his last few years. One day he was gone, and everyone left flowers in his chair.
You hit the nail on the head. Sandwich generation; I feel like a big piece of baloney between two pieces of white bread. Great post, good luck withy our mom.