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26 August 2016 @ 07:23 pm
The Long Awaited (Possibly Dreaded) Mom Update:  
Let’s rewind to April. Mom is living at home. She can dress herself and make her own meals. She claims she can do more, but she isn’t doing it. She is turning away half of the charity cleaning services. Dishes are stacked everywhere, half eaten food, laundry all over, dusty shelves, dirty bathroom and medical supplies. But whatever, she’ll do what she wants.


Then one day she tells me she isn’t feeling well, but refuses offers of help. The next day my aunt goes to check on her and Mom can’t get out of bed. Aunt offers several options and Mom refuses them all. Then she starts crying and tells my aunt to ‘just leave me’. Aunt says, “You just want me to leave you here in your bed, crying?” and Mom says ‘yes’ So she does. The next morning Sis goes to check on Mom. She’s peed the bed twice and is still laying in it. She hasn’t been eating. Her medicine (in the weekly organizers) are only half taken. A few from this day, a few from that - like she was handpicking for some reason. She has also gone through a disproportionate amount of pain pills. Mom, again, says to ‘just leave me’. Sis refuses and tries to change the bedsheets. Mom can’t get up though. At all. So, against Mom’s wishes, Sis calls an ambulance.

At the hospital, Mom is disorientated, keeps forgetting where they are. Turns out her hemoglobin, which should be at 12 minimum, is at 8. They give her 4 liters of blood, keep her a few days, say they will do some tests as soon as her BP comes up, and send her home to her house. She seems to do pretty well after this, but her BP continues to hover around 90/50, so they never do the tests.

Middle of May rolls around and we find out she has been walking all around town on her own. It is discovered when my cousin is going to meet her at Big Boy - 4 blocks away - and sees her walking, pushing her little walker. She honks, Mom doesn’t respond. She pulls alongside, Mom doesn’t respond, She calls Mom’s name, Mom doesn’t respond. She can’t see or hear a damn thing! Which is scary if she is out walking the streets. When I ask her about it a few days later, she says, “Oh yes, in fact, I just walked to Kroger today.” Kroger, for reference, is a mile away. Then shopping. Then a mile back. It was near 100F out with the heat index. I reamed her for it. Sis reamed her for it. She blew us off. Instead, she just sat in her house, refusing to turn on the air conditioning, because it felt cold to her. (circulation for her is a bust). We would find out later that she wasn’t drinking enough water and was consuming too many pain pills, yet again.

The morning after the Kroger incident, Aunt checks on Mom. Mom isn’t feeling well, so Aunt gives her Ensure, water, pills and goes to work. Two hours later there is a frantic message on my machine - (I am still asleep, it’s l0am, and Sis is at work) - “I need, help! Why won’t you help me?!” Another left on Aunt’s voicemail. Then she calls my brother, who is on a job site. She’s crying. Says Sis won’t call her back. He says, ‘Sis is at work.’ “Why? It’s the middle of the night.” It’s 10am. “911 won’t answer my calls.” Brother asks if she knows where she is and she pauses and then bursts into tears and says “No.” She was clearly at home, as she was calling from the house phone. Brother tells her to hit her panic button. At one point, Brother is on the phone with Mom, who is inside the house, Aunt is on the phone with the neighbor and the paramedics, who are outside the house, Sis is on the phone with the security company.

Mom goes to the hospital. Her hemoglobin is down to 8 again. They give her 2 liters of blood, run a bunch of tests, find absolutely nothing. Sis says Mom has to come and stay with us. Mom refuses. Sis says if so, she will no longer do any care service for her (i.e. errands, doctors). Mom won’t talk to Sis for several hours after that. Dr. comes in and says, “What? No, you can’t go home! Go home with your daughter, you’re lucky she’s offering.” They finally sell it by saying it’s just for the summer, until they can figure out what the problem is and get a treatment plan. (Spoiler Alert: They still don’t know what the problem is).

Mom gets iron infusions after that, twice a week. And weekly blood work. She is disorientated as fuck at first, but ever so slowly gets her health and stamina back. They discontinue the infusions to see how long it takes the hemoglobin to drop, so they can set up a treatment plan. It’s been 3 weeks, her hemoglobin has stayed at 11.

She goes out every day of the week, with this friend or that. More in a week than I do in a month. But she tells me she doesn’t know how to have fun. She doesn’t have hobbies. ‘What would you be doing if you were at home?’ “Laundry. Dishes.” Like, ‘a) that’s not fun and b) no you wouldn’t, your house was a mess.’ I offer her a whole host of hobbies, even to help her set up a blog, buy her an apple pencil for art, etc. She shrugs her shoulders at me. I leave her to stew in her despair, because honestly, that’s how she likes it. Why are we putting all this work into keeping her alive, if she isn’t going to Live. Fuck. Sis has had to move into the downstairs bedroom, so Mom can have her room. Every time I turn around, she’s there. She moans about everything. She jumps on Sis the second she walks in the door. She hates her life and she’s making us hate ours.

Dad gave me 3k (which was a source of anxiety all its own, money, but good Dad) to redo my room and make it more of a living space, so I could escape Mom when needed. But I miss Sis, she seems so far away in the basement and she doesn’t sit down from the second she gets home until bedtime. Between Mom, me and the pets, she doesn’t have a single moment. She started working four 10hr days, so she could have Wednesdays off to take Mom to appointments, which ends up being her whole day, spent with Mom, adding up to basically working 50 hour weeks, counting those Wednesdays. She is exhausted. I am exhausted for her. Mom continues to moan.

But this week she was told she can go home! They still don’t know what the problem is. They still don’t have a treatment plan. We don’t care. We are letting her. I don’t have hope it will be for long. But for a moment, a brief moment, we will have a reprieve
 
 
 
bugeyedmonsterbugeyedmonster on August 27th, 2016 03:05 am (UTC)
Oh man, I know this feeling. The being tired because you're having to take care of someone else thing.

Has anyone tested your mom for depression? Would anti-depressants help?

I've had this wild idea, but I haven't done it. Maybe y'all can give it a try.

I keep having this wild idea that I'll clear out my room completely, go live in the den, and offer free room/board to a pre-med or nursing student. They can live in my 'old room' and help take care of mom. When I was in Denton, there were some folks doing this (offering room/board in exchange for about 20hrs help weekly.)

I knew nursing students who were living in such arrangements. They all seemed to like it, and having free room/board helped them out a lot. Most were living with a family that had an elderly person. I think there was someone helping care for a homebound child.

Not sure if y'all could use this. The folks in Denton who offered the room/board in exchange for 20 hrs help did it through the college, and the student got to use them for a reference later. (Y'know, for when they go apply somewhere in the medical field.)

And yeah, it would be nice if your mom would get hobbies. What school did she go to? Or church? There are so many old folks connecting on FB, maybe her old school or church has a facebook page. Where you can post her name and appeal to anyone who knows her to take her out for a bit. Maybe her having old classmates come by to drag her around would be good for her?

I don't know what other advice I could give you.

Best of luck with your mom.

dodger_sister: apocalypsedodger_sister on August 29th, 2016 08:47 pm (UTC)
Has anyone tested your mom for depression? Would anti-depressants help?

I think you and I have discussed this before. Mom, at one point, did tell the doctor she was depressed and his response was, "Well, of course you are! look at your situation!" and then he did nothing. Like, if it's chemical or situational, it doesn't matter - depression is still depression and should be treated. But Mom has serious mental health issues beyond depression and she has always refused to do anything about it. Certainly she has untreated mania issues, has my whole life. She's
'of sound mind' though, so we can't force her if she won't do anything about it.

I keep having this wild idea that I'll clear out my room completely, go live in the den, and offer free room/board to a pre-med or nursing student.

It sounds good in theory, but we just don't have the room. It's 950 sq foot house and my sister is living in in the half finished basement already. There's nowhere else to put anyone. We did suggest to my mom that she get a roommate at her house, and trade rent for services but she 'wants to live alone'. Like, damn, woman, so do I but I can't, for health reasons, so I make the right choice. So, yeah, good idea - not executable.

When I was in Denton,

You lived in Denton! My 'texas cousins' grew up in Denton. I've been to TX once and it was to Denton, lol!

What school did she go to? Or church? There are so many old folks connecting on FB,

Oh she's done this already. Facebook has been great for her, honestly. She went to one school from K-10th and then transferred for her junior and senior years, so she is in touch with a bunch of kids from both schools. Like I said, she goes out almost every day of the week. With friends from her old school or church friends, whatever. She still seems unhappy.

Best of luck with your mom.

Thank you! I appreciate all the advice, seriously, but after a year of this (since her heart attack/broken shoulder) I feel like we've tried everything or offered her everything and she is still unhappy and uncooperative. But feel free to keep the ideas coming - sometimes it helps to be outside the situation in order to think up that one idea that works!
Kate: Hiding Catceitfianna on August 27th, 2016 03:19 am (UTC)
*hugs* I hadn't seen it all typed out like that, wow, you two have been so good to your mom and I'm glad she's leaving for a little while.
dodger_sister: apocalypsedodger_sister on August 29th, 2016 08:56 pm (UTC)
*hugs* I hadn't seen it all typed out like that, wow, you two have been so good to your mom and I'm glad she's leaving for a little while.

Thank you! Sis and I are getting matching tattoos to represent the trial we have been through this past year, seriously. I will take the break. yeah, It's one thing to send a few texts a week with updates but to write it all out, it's a lot. And this is the condensed version, I forgot the part where she left our house AMA at one point or the part where my aunt refused to speak to Mom for weeks because Aunt disagreed with the doctor that Mom needed to even be at our house, so she was like, idek, punishing her for coming here even though her doctor told her too.

I'm gonna enjoy the break, for sure!
Kate: taking wingceitfianna on August 29th, 2016 10:17 pm (UTC)
Matching tattoos and a proper break sounds very needed. And wow, your Aunt is not being as helpful as she could be but then healthcare brings out weird aspects of people's personalities.
Jo Annyeuxdebleu on August 27th, 2016 03:31 am (UTC)
Based on all this, I think your mother really needs to be in a living situation when she's watched to be sure she takes her meds, etc. Is there any kind of senior housing near you where she can live independently, but still have people keeping an eye on her? I simply don't think you and your sister -- as well as other family members -- should have all this upheaval and responsibility.
bugeyedmonsterbugeyedmonster on August 27th, 2016 05:33 am (UTC)
This is a good idea. Are y'all able to look into it for her? (PS and somehow swing so she thinks it's her idea? Some of those places have activities for the residents, plus there are sometimes support animals.)
dodger_sister: apocalypsedodger_sister on August 29th, 2016 09:17 pm (UTC)
Based on all this, I think your mother really needs to be in a living situation when she's watched to be sure she takes her meds, etc. Is there any kind of senior housing near you where she can live independently, but still have people keeping an eye on her?

Agreed, but insurance will not cover assisted living. We looked into it. It's 3k minimum a month for that. And that's just basic stuff at 3k, not counting cleaning services or grocery etc. All the little things cost extra. Her insurance - Medicaid/Medicare - will only cover the top tier level of nursing home, that she has to be medically qualified for, like unable to care for herself completely kind of level. She is too well off to be in a nursing facility and too bad off to be at home.

I simply don't think you and your sister -- as well as other family members -- should have all this upheaval and responsibility.

We shouldn't, but unfortunately that's how the system works. It is very hard to qualify for a nursing home on government insurance. I mean, it's great she has it, because she'd be (and I'd be) long dead by now without it, but it's hella cheaper for them to keep patients at home with services than it is to put them in a nursing home. And she isn't at that level of care qualification yet anyways. What she needs is assisted living, but there is no way we can afford it, so this is where we're at, sadly.

She could get a home health services worker to do some of her chores and get that paid by the government, but she did her interview by herself and we have no idea what she told them, but social services deemed her unqualified for home help. Which, whatever, she's at the same level as me, physically at least, and we bring in the same amount in a government check every month - and I qualify for home help, so she should too. We don't know what she said in that interview but Mom has a way of like saying she can do way more than she can and faking everyone out, that's how she went for years without any of us knowing she was mentally ill. She's really good at putting on the health-face and she screwed herself (and my sister) out of that help.

Thank you much for your concern! It does make me feel supported, even through the internet.
Shireboundshirebound on August 27th, 2016 04:40 am (UTC)
It doesn't seem like your mom is able to live alone, yet being so stubborn and miserable that her family is stressed out trying to take care of her isn't helping any of you. I agree with yeuxdebleu that a monitored living situation might be the best solution.

I'm sure you'll exhausted, physically and emotionally. *sigh*

*tight hugs*
dodger_sister: apocalypsedodger_sister on August 29th, 2016 09:30 pm (UTC)
It doesn't seem like your mom is able to live alone, yet being so stubborn and miserable that her family is stressed out trying to take care of her isn't helping any of you. I agree with yeuxdebleu that a monitored living situation might be the best solution.

All of this, yes! We would LOVE for her to get into an assisted living facility, but unfortunately they run about 3k a month and there is just no way we can afford that. They are not covered by insurance. Only nursing homes are covered by her insurance, so she has to be at the level of 'needing around the clock care' before they'll start paying,. And sadly, she somehow got herself deemed 'unqualified' for home help services (which would have been paid by the government). No one went to the interview with her, so she probably did that thing where she was like, "Oh no, of course I can still mop my own floors, goodness," and they believed her and were like, "well then you don't need our help." Because that's how Mom rolls.

So here we are, stuck in the middle between her being able to care for herself and her being at nursing home level and the family is stuck pulling all the weight. And yeah, her stubbornness is one of the biggest problems. We needed someone to take her dog to the vet and I told her to call the pastor that has been taking her out for ice cream once a week and she refused. Winston is the most well behaved dog, it would have been easy to do, but Mom wouldn't ask her friend so Sis had to leave work early again. IDK what there is to do about that kind of behavior, it's partially mental illness stuff, but she won't get that treated either.

I'm sure you'll exhausted, physically and emotionally. *sigh* *tight hugs*

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted since she left on Saturday. Lighter. Euphoric. I know it won't last, but for now I'm gonna enjoy it! Thank you, dear friend, for all your support. It means much to me.

Edited at 2016-08-29 10:00 pm (UTC)
crucis01crucis01 on August 27th, 2016 05:34 am (UTC)
Is she being treated for depression? Sounds like this may explain some of her actions. Hope things improve. HUGS
dodger_sister: apocalypsedodger_sister on August 29th, 2016 09:42 pm (UTC)
Is she being treated for depression? Sounds like this may explain some of her actions. Hope things improve. HUGS

She certainly has depression, I am sure. She has had mental health issues her whole life, particularly mania. But her upswings have lessened as she got sicker and sicker. The downswings seem to be predominant now. She did once tell her doctor she was depressed, in this last year, and he said, "Of course you are, look at your situation," and then did nothing. This made me so mad because, yes, it's partially situational depression but damn, that doesn't mean he shouldn't address it. It just makes me sad that she probably has so few years left and she will be miserable for all of them, but it's her own doing because she refuses to address the issues. I even offered to pay for counseling, but she won't go. There is really nothing else we can do about that, so we just address the physical needs and let the mental stuff be, sadly.

Thank you so much. All of this support has made me feel better, even through the internet!
crucis01crucis01 on August 29th, 2016 10:42 pm (UTC)
Hang in there! Know that a lot of people are pulling for all of you! HUGS!
Ironlily - Making My Marquevikingprincess on August 27th, 2016 02:58 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you guys are getting a break. It's well-deserved.
dodger_sister: apocalypsedodger_sister on August 29th, 2016 09:46 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you guys are getting a break. It's well-deserved.

Thank you, babe. I feel like we've not 'seen' as much of each other this year, but I know a part of that is my stress and also all of the little extras I have to do to help out Sis while she manages Mom. Sis says the next time Mom is told she has to come stay here for health reasons, that we are laying down the law and telling her this has to be permanent and she has to sell her house and we can't keep going back and forth anymore. I wanted that this last time, because I've had about enough of this uncertianty of our lives from week to week. I have control issues! (shocking, I know). So we'll see if Sis actually sticks to her guns or not. For now, I am taking this euphoric break and enjoying the quiet of the house! Love you!
Ironlily - Making My Marquevikingprincess on August 30th, 2016 12:03 am (UTC)
Bedroom door locks (from the inside). They're a thing. *nods*

Love and miss you too, bb!
dodger_sister: annoyeddodger_sister on August 30th, 2016 01:36 am (UTC)
-Bedroom door locks (from the inside). They're a thing. *nods*


Already put it on my brother's to do list!
Ironlily - Making My Marquevikingprincess on August 30th, 2016 02:03 am (UTC)
You are wise.
Why all the pearls?Why all the hair?Why anything?: XF I Want to Believerhymephile on August 27th, 2016 07:42 pm (UTC)
Oh MAN am I stressed for both you and Sis. What the absolute hell.

It sounds like someone is lonely and looking for attention and taking way too many pills to distance herself. If they can't find anything medically wrong, has anyone suggested a psych eval? Because that's what it's sounding like.

I sympathize with you, babe. Hope everything gets back to normal soon.
dodger_sister: apocalypsedodger_sister on August 29th, 2016 09:56 pm (UTC)
Oh MAN am I stressed for both you and Sis. What the absolute hell.

YES. "What the absolute hell" is right!

It sounds like someone is lonely and looking for attention and taking way too many pills to distance herself.

Oh, she always needs attention. I've never met someone so desperate for attention. My counselor says the mixture of Mom's mental health issues and the fact of raising a disabled child has given her some kind of Munchausen By Proxy syndrome, but after I cut her out of my health info and stuff as an adult, she continued to need that attention fix so she turned it onto her own health. She doesn't want to be well, because then she wouldn't get the attention she craves, but I don't think she is aware of this on a conscious level.

If they can't find anything medically wrong, has anyone suggested a psych eval? Because that's what it's sounding like.

Oh, she's always needed one. She went to a counselor once. She was a weird hippie who lived at the lake and let Mom pay her in paintings. That was not a qualified social worker or psych person, let me tell you. Mom needs a psychiatrist and medication. But she won't admit to this and we can't make her go. A lot of my resentment issues with Mom have to do with her refusal to get her mental health treated. Dad fucked us over as kids a lot, but he finally got treatment and continues to do so, which made letting go of a lot of resentment towards him so much easier. With Mom, I just can't forgive if she won't take responsibility. Half of what she is putting on my sister right now could be helped with mental health care. I can't forgive that, because I see what it is doing to my sister to carry that weight of Mom crawling all over her with need.

I sympathize with you, babe. Hope everything gets back to normal soon.

Well, we are on day one of the week and everything is going smoothly. /knock on virtual wood/ I don't know how long it will last, but for as long as it does, I will not take it for granted.

Thank you, darling. <3 Sorry about all the editing, I've reached the point in the day where I'm too hungry to code shit!

Edited at 2016-08-29 10:03 pm (UTC)
lindahoylandlindahoyland on August 28th, 2016 04:28 am (UTC)
Big hugs.
dodger_sister: apocalypsedodger_sister on August 29th, 2016 09:56 pm (UTC)
Big hugs.

Thank you, the hugs are well needed. :)
Trigger Warning: Lifematchboximpala on August 30th, 2016 05:38 am (UTC)
Well, that sounds just horrible. I feel so bad for you and your sister and hope that the two of you are able to spend some quality time together now. *hugs*

dodger_sister: apocalypsedodger_sister on November 7th, 2016 10:02 pm (UTC)
Well, that sounds just horrible. I feel so bad for you and your sister and hope that the two of you are able to spend some quality time together now. *hugs

Well it took me two months to reply to this comment and yet, Mom is still at her own home! Cross your fingers this keeps going. I mean, I dont have hope it'll last for a hell of a lot longer, she's gotta bottom out eventually, but if we can make it through the holidays without another Mom crisis, I'll be estastic! <3
ranuaranua on September 11th, 2016 12:55 pm (UTC)
ah hun, ((hugs)) I can't even imagine how exhausting this must be for you. *sends positive vibes your way*
dodger_sister: apocalypsedodger_sister on November 7th, 2016 10:05 pm (UTC)
ah hun, ((hugs)) I can't even imagine how exhausting this must be for you. *sends positive vibes your way*

My stress levels are still high, but not a lot of that is about Mom. (Mostly stressed that Sis is so stressed about the election, which will be over one way or another by the time you read this!). It's been two months and Mom is still living at her own home, so we are kind of holding our breaths on that and trying to enjoy ourselves until the next shoe falls. Cross your fingers we make it through the holidays unscathed! <3