Friday, June 29, 2007

My crazy mother is driving me crazy

Mom is having a tough time at the nursing home - mostly from narcotic withdrawal. She calls a dozen times a day to complain about the staff - the nurses don't give her meds on time; they took all her over-the-counter meds; they aren't helping with her incontinence; someone stole money from her room; she doesn't sleep; she needs money; she's mad at my sister; she wants to review her will; she wants a new doctor. She may be able to get into independent living when the facility is medicaid approved, but that could be a while. She has bipolar and schizo affective disorders, Parkinson's, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid imbalance, arthritis and a wide variety of aches, pains and complaints. I do not doubt that she doesn't feel good but she has been like this for over 30 years. If I run there (a 45 min. drive) to bring her stuff, money and meet with the staff, have lunch with her and spend 3-4 hours, she'll need the whole routine repeated. If I try to avoid her by not returning her calls, she gets desperate, angry, crying, leaving the same detailed message over and over. My psychologist says she's a manipulator. I need to set boundaries because it's spiralling out of control.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What Kind of Sandwich are You?

We've all heard about the 'sandwich generation' - those of us who have elderly parents who need care and children who are needing us for various reasons. I can relate to that - so if they are the outside - are they bread? Whole grain? Kaiser roll? Do they suck us dry with their absorbancy? Or hold onto us by having us in their pocket? If we are the inside, what kind of stuff are we? lunch meat? pb&j? Are we supplying valuable nutrients? Do we compliment our outside layers without overpowering? Or do we get too wrapped up trying to control how everything goes together? Are we stuck like cement or can we move about freely?

Living in a sandwich situation is stressful. There may be no escape, so coping adequately is important. Recently, I had to neglect my mom to take care of my daughter. Today I went to the nursing home and met with the social worker, the director of nursing, the business office and physical therapy to touch base, iron out problems, ask questions, placate mom mostly. She was having great difficulty with pain medication - wanting more and more narcotics. I thought we had cleared it up for her, but she's called 3 times tonight to say nothing had changed. She's just not going to be happy and I'm going to have to hear about it. She says all kinds of stuff that's not happening, but when I confront her she doesn't back down. This is part of her bipolar/schizo affective disorder. Her side of the sandwich is a crusty, moldy, nasty piece that makes me sick. I don't like to be around, but I deal with what I have to and not let her know how I really feel. Sounds like time for a trip to the psychologist for me!

My daughter's side is high maintenance, but not irritating. She needs support and help right now while recovering and her husband being gone for National Guard training until October. She is doing her best, trying hard and pulling her weight in the situation. She takes care of the baby - they are still nursing after all this.

Of course, what I'd like to be is an Oreo sandwich cookie, but you can't have everything you want - at least not all the time.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Missing Dad

The thing about the first Father's Day without dad is that this time last year we were all at the Outer Banks here. We had a hat and jacket made for dad that said 'Ernie' as a joke from the fishing charter trip the year before where the captain kept calling out to dad 'God damn it Ernie - get your bait in the water!' We put the hat in his casket. My brothers and I went to the cemetery yesterday. That's the first time I've been to a cemetery to visit - not attending a funeral. There's no headstone yet and there's grass starting to grow there. It's really not a place that I would 'visit' dad. It makes me think about the casket, the funeral home, and dad being sick. One of my step-brothers and his family went to the Outer Banks for vacation this year - now there's a place to be visiting and reminiscing. Hopefully, we'll be able to go next year. It will be different, but life is different now with dad gone and grand babies here. Life is changing all the time. Sometimes it takes me a while to rest in order catch up to the changes.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Catching Up

Since the last post, it's been crisis mode. My daughter had a hard time with her labor and delivery. She pushed for 4 hours after her epidural wore off and ended up having to get a c-section. A week after she came home, we took her back to the hospital(not the same one she delivered at). She had clotting, an infection and a ruptured uterus. She had to have surgery to remove the infection and clotting and repair her uterus. She had to get 4 units of blood during the surgery. They put a couple drains in and she had wounds on each side of the incision to heal from the inside out. She had 21 staples in her incision. Her temperature kept spiking and an infectious disease specialist came to take care of her antibiotics. A hematologist was called to evaluate her low platelet count. The hospital stay was 13 long days and nights since we had the baby there. She continued to nurse as much as possible and the baby stayed overnight. Someone had to be there round the clock, so I was the day shift and her hubby spent the nights with them. She is home now and I change her dressings and give her 2 IV antibiotics through her PIC line. The ob/gyn will see her Friday and the infectious disease doc will see her a week from Monday.

Poor kid - 20 years old and any future pregnancies will have to be closely monitored. She is not feeling well at all and I'm afraid this isn't over. It was agony to see her in so much pain during labor. We are all very unhappy with how her labor and delivery was handled and that she was sent home having had a temperature that day and a low blood count. Her husband leaves for National Guard training a week from tomorrow (as if she doesn't have enough going on).

Meanwhile, mom is freaking at the nursing home. I didn't return calls until yesterday. The doc is weaning her off pain pills (Oxycontin) and she is frantic. She still gets vicodin and all her psych meds. Based on prior experience, she is having a manic episode. The more my daughter and brother were ill, the more things she needed.

My brother ended up in the hospital the last few weeks of his cancer treatment. He had so much pain and was home alone for the most part, so being at the hospital kept him hydrated and gave him resources for pain management. He is home now and his treatments are over, but I haven't talked to him because of being busy with my daughter. It will take a while for him to start feeling better and being able to eat again.

I cut my hours at the library from 14 to 4/wk. My boss suggested just working Monday evenings instead of quitting altogether, so I took her up on it. I haven't been to work for a couple weeks anyhow. School is out which means I don't have to drop off/pick up my son every day. I've been really missing dad - it's hard to be going through this without being able to talk to him. Thank God for my husband who is so understanding and often asks what he can do to help me - he's given back rubs, done laundry, cleaned house, whatever I've needed. And this whole time I'm away from home. Yesterday I finally made it to the grocery store. Right before everyone starved, too!

And one bright spot - my son got a pet rat since his room has been clean for a few weeks (my husband cleaned it using the rake) so we are watching them bond. Hopefully, it won't get loose in the house - the cat and dog would have fun, but I would not like it.