I have officially extended the invitation to my mother to come live with me. I do not know what else to do. She has not answered me yet.
Speaking about her before, I have mentioned how she tends to bend the truth a bit. Well, it has come to light that her version of the truth changes depending on who she is talking to. She does not consider it lying, she does it to make her conversations sm-o-o-o-o-o-th. She does not want to defend a position, give an opinion or voice displeasure. Not in person anyway. And never to the person she has a problem with.
Apparently she was not at all interested in the crafts the facility was offering, yet she told my brother she was looking forward to it. She emailed me and told me she had no interest. My brother was walking away with high hopes thinking she was actually enjoying the place and told me so, hence this post.
She emails me when her bed is not changed, when she wants a breathing treatment, when someone at the home is not being responsive. She's in New Jersey, I am in the Chicago area, and she emails me to call the nurses station instead of asking for something. Oh did I mention that part? She is unable to ask for anything she wants. Or unwilling. Hard to tell. AND she expects people to know what she wants or needs at any given moment and when they don't - she gets angry and does something spiteful which usually does not hurt anyone but herself. Like refusing dinner because someone did not do something or bring her something in what she considered a timely manner.
Honestly, this is a nightmare. She is my mother and I love her, but this isn't my mom. This is someone I don't know. And I realize now that the lying - that has been a part of her that has been there all along because my family not being very close, we never compared notes before. We took what she said for granted as being the truth. Makes me question the accuracy of some of my own history. Feels a little like somebody tried to pull the rug out from under me but just knocked me off balance a bit. Things are still the same but - not quite.
People want to do right by their parents, at least most people do. My family is no different I suppose. But my mom isn't making it easy. It has to be tough losing your independence and physical abilities. But my mom has not accepted the fact that her breathing is difficult and won't get any better - because she smoked for 50-odd years. And was still sneaking cigarettes years after being diagnosed with emphysema. She continues to wait for someone to give her the magic pill (my brother, her doctor, the nursing home) to make her breathing easier, and blames her caretakers when they can't. She has not accepted that it is only going to get worse from here, not better. I wish that were not the case, but it is.
She lived with me before and we tended to butt heads a bit. I don't imagine all of that has gone away. But my expectations are much lower now, I wouldn't be looking to her to do things for herself. She doesn't want to. Unless of course she is angry and doing it to spite someone - then she does something reckless and falls down because of it. Sigh-h-h.
My brother used to try to get her to go outside and walk, even if it was just around the yard or down the block a bit (with her walker, when that time came). He took her places, restaurants and weddings and friends houses. He took her shopping and bought her a damn dog she treated horribly. (the dog has since been given to a family with kids who adore her!) He tried to keep her as active as he could. But she is stubborn and vain enough to hate what she looks like when she walks "Everybody will think I'm drunk!" So her legs did not get enough use.
She complained at one point that this is no way to live. Yet she will not put any effort into doing things that might be good for her or make her time more enjoyable. I love her. But there is a part of me that is so pissed off that she could not be stronger about all of this, that she has slipped so easily into the dependent role, only railing against those who try to care for her and ignoring her own lack of ambition when it came to trying to care for herself. What happened to the woman who raised 4 kids? I never realized that without some kind of partner in her life she was not capable of making decisions or doing - well - just about anything. And I guess I am disappointed.
It's easy to see that I am having trouble switching places - my mom was supposed to be my mom - and I was supposed to be her child. Adult child, yes. But obviously I'm struggling with anger about how she has come to this place. She did not fight it, and I wanted her to. When she was told she had emphysema, I wanted her to stop smoking. When she started to have weakness in her legs, I wanted her to walk. And when she was on her own for a while I wanted her to revel in the freedom and do all the things she complained her husband didn't want her to do. But she didn't do any of those things.
I wanted her to TRY to have a long and healthy life. Apparently she had other plans.
Where is the old Maxine lady I hope to be, or the lady who accepts her age with grace? Neither of those are my mom. And it makes me so freaking sad. Oh, and guilty. All of these emotions? Bring guilt. Tons of it. But I cannot be the only one to go through these emotions so I write about them and hope I can confirm for someone else that they are not a monster for having these feelings.
And just maybe someone else will confirm that I am not one either.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
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Monday, March 22, 2010
What were you doing at about 5:00am this morning? I hope you were sleeping peacefully as we all should be at that time of the day. But apparently one of my cats had other ideas.
Waking up because a cat has had a freak-out when it saw something outside and decided to do a flash dance on your head before launching off in a different direction is not the way I would prefer to end my slumber.
My reaction was immediate - I cringed and pulled my arm up above my head in case said kitty was not done. For a moment I considered dropping right back to sleep but decided to reach up and touch my head while mumbling something derogatory about the parentage of the doggone cat. My hand came away wet. Very wet. Disorienting!
By the time I got to the bathroom I saw blood splash onto the bathroom floor, it was down my arm and coming down the side of my face. OMG the cat has killed me! Okay, I didn't really have that thought, but I should have given the amount of blood dripping from my head.
I clapped my hand over my scalp and began the business of stopping the bleeding by applying pressure with wet paper towels. For OVER A HALF HOUR. I wasn't too freaked out because everybody knows that scalp wounds bleed a lot. But I WAS considering the logistics of driving myself to the hospital if I managed to pull some pants on and some sort of slip-on footwear, driving with one hand while holding bloody paper towels to my head with the other hand. I figured I would look like a crazy woman.
So once the bleeding finally stopped I did what anyone else with my temperament would do, I tried to go back to sleep. Didn't work but I did try.
Couldn't really wash my hair because I could not see what my scalp looked like and I was afraid I would make it bleed again, so I took a lukewarm shower and rinsed the blood out but that was it. When I got to work I asked Ysabel, who I still share a brain with even though we don't work in the same area anymore, to come look at my head so I knew what the damage was. I was picturing slashes, maybe a nice flap of skin barely adhered to my scalp - no. Not anything nearly so dire. Two punctures. Two holes in my head and a big red spot or abrasion. No stitches needed, no having to report my cat to the authorities lest she dance on someone else's head and be considered a menace. Two punctures.
Only a small amount of blood ended up on the shirt I was sleeping in, nothing on my pillow or carpet, although I did have to clean up the floor and the sink and vanity in the bathroom. Yes, this is the kind of thing I sleep in. I only show you to make you feel better about your own sleep attire.
I know you want to know which cat it was and I can tell you in all honesty - I'm not sure. I suspect it was Abby (the evil one) because she is the night prowler who always knows when something is outside to get freaked out about. And being the crazy cat lady I am - I can't blame her. She didn't do it on purpose.
But I might start sleeping in some kind of helmet.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I'm too stupid for my iPhone, too stupid for my iPhone ... (I'm too sexy .. okay, if I have to explain it - it's not funny).
Anyway. Yeah. Didn't start out well. Didn't start out badly either, just stupid. The apple people apparently assume that the people who buy iPhones are so familiar with iPods and iTouches, not to mention Macs, that some things about the iPhone could just go unsaid.
Cause you know, if I don't learn things the hard way, I don't learn them at all. AND I made the mistake of saying out loud that I hadn't had a cold in the 6 or 7 years since I quit smoking and boom! I got one. Now the whole right side of my head is filled with concrete. Can't breathe, can't hear, and I had forgotten how much I HATE breathing through my mouth. Not a mouth breather by nature. Makes me CRANKY.
So .. I didn't know if there was a sim card inside the iPhone already or not, I saw no sign of one, not the little plastic card they come attached to, nothing. And when I called to activate the phone I was disappointed to be speaking with someone overseas. Can't we keep our jobs here? But I digress. I was told that at some point I needed to turn the phone off and leave it off for 15 to 20 minutes. Fine. Except apparently I wasn't really turning it off, I was only putting it on stand-by. Whoops!
Eventually I got it all figured out, well, mostly. It will be fun to mess with but it might be worth the extra cost on my cell phone bill to get access with just 2 taps of my finger - to radio stations I can't get in at work. Awesome! Of course I haven't tried it at work yet, but I'm hopeful.
Meanwhile here at home I drugged myself into oblivion last night and today so I could sleep this cold off. Not better yet but do intend to go to work tomorrow. And next time I have a space of time like 6 or 7 years without some kind of illness touching me, mums the word! Not saying a thing cause this cold kicked my butt!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
... or the good news? That's right, good news or good news. You choose. I will wait while you think about it. (queue Jeopardy music) da da da da, da da da ..
Okay I can't wait.
We received word earlier in the week that there was a bed available on the first floor of the nursing home which is reserved for patients who pretty much still know they're on the planet. Thank God! Mom moved.
Mom's operation of her walker (the 4-wheeled one) was deemed safe so she achieved mobility. She was excited to learn that Thursdays are craft days, she had her hair done, and she ate in the dining hall.
Best yet - I have not heard one single "I fell down today" since she got there.
Switching to even MORE good news - can you stand it? Anyway. In the space of 4 days my daughter and her fiancé both landed jobs and were approved for an apartment. And the best part for me?? They will be 15 minutes away as opposed to 5 hours. Yep. They are moving up tomorrow. Woo. Freaking. Hoo.
Oh, and I bought an iPhone. Not sure if that qualifies as good news, but it's fun!
So this week has been pure bliss compared to a week and a half ago. Maybe better than chocolate.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
I don't. I didn't watch. I haven't seen any of the films that were nominated and or won. I don't know who half the actresses are I'm about to show you. So in the interest of full disclosure, I wear jeans and some kind of top that covers up whatever I want to cover and New Balance or Airwalks every day. Every. Single. Day. I have no fashion authority what-so-ever that allows me to comment on what anyone else wears or how they wear it. So please enjoy my being catty. Well, sometimes I'm nice too, that's just not as fun.
Helen Mirren. I think she's lovely and almost always wears something beautiful and classy and and manages to be sexy every single time. I'm nice to her.
Charlize Theron. She confuses me. I would think that someone with such beauty would not want to ruin the simplicity of a classic style, with weird rosettes placed right on her bazumbas! What's THAT all about?
Deborah Ann Woll. I have no idea who she is, what film she was in, what she was nominated for or - IF she was nominated for that matter. Her dress isn't my favorite but what's worse - didn't she have a mirror or better yet, a good friend to say "That color does NOTHING for you." Is it something else? Just doesn't work for me.
Anna Kendrick. Again, someone I don't know, never heard of, never saw her film if she has one. But I just wanted to say I love her dress and I think she looks beautiful. No, that's it, nothing else. Except - the lacy ruffle on the slit does not even remind me of curtains.
Sandra Bullock. Who doesn't like Sandra Bullock? She's the all American girl, America's sweetheart. But did someone tell her she was supposed to be posing for a wax museum?
Wait, is this the wax replica - because I see no life in this figure at all!! My God Sandra, we hardly knew ye!
Carey Mulligan. Can someone tell me who she is and why I should know her? Never mind, I really don't care. I just think her hair is adorable. Not just anyone could pull that off.
And now the real reason I am doing this post. If I saw this picture, I would not have guessed who is was. I KNOW she doesn't have a movie because obviously she's been out of circulation for a while having some plastic surgery done!
Would you have known that was Demi Moore? She looks um .. different. Something Margo Kidder about her eyes now. And this picture below, what IS that on her face? Some kind of small rodent trying to escape from her cheek? *shudder*
Hey, if I had the money I have always said there are things I would nip and or tuck. But this woman is a bazillionaire. She has the money to get GOOD plastic surgery! What on earth?
Sunday, March 7, 2010
This is the Byzantine weave. How cool is that??? My biggest problem is with my eyes, being able to see if the rings are actually closed. But this is practice and learning, so I'm not very concerned. Aluminum rings, I wasn't going to buy Sterling silver to learn with, but I am finding this very interesting. I really want to learn how to incorporate beads but I'm in no hurry.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
I needed something to keep me busy that would actually interest me and I had decided to try chain maille jewelry. Both Bev and Pearl are quite good at it and I have said over and over - that's too hard! I'm not going to try that. But I tried it. I picked the easiest weave I could find for my first attempt and I made myself a bracelet!
Thank you everyone for being the best bloggy friends out there. I appreciate all the support, it does help!
Friday, March 5, 2010
So did I tell my doc that he sucks? I sure did. And I explained my reasons, reminded him of the rushed appointment and lack of information, etc. But it wasn't very satisfying because he was exclaiming about how good my numbers have been (on average), and I had lost 7 pounds . . !
He was in a good mood and being his charming self and I couldn't be mad at him when he's such a smart ass. He asked what I was doing and I explained not putting sugar in my tea anymore, eating lots more fiber, etc. He said "Scared the $hit outa you, didn't it?"
Hmmm. Regardless. He said if I lose some more weight and keep my numbers down by eating well, he wants to take me off the meds. Yay! But 2 minutes from that I was telling him about my mom. She was his patient for about 6 months or so when she lived with me. Those are the times when the a$$hole goes away and the caring physician comes out.
See, I put my Mom into a nursing home Wednesday afternoon. Long distance, sight unseen. It was a traumatic situation for all of us but at that moment, she was being released from the hospital and could not go back to my brother's house.
I spent a good part of the afternoon talking to a social worker, my mom, my brother, the admissions gal at the facility. Back and forth and around and round. When the time came my mom asked me for the address of the facility because - (omg) - she wanted to take a cab. My mother is tiny. She walks in a wobbly wandering manner, listing one direction to the other until eventually she falls. I pictured her sitting by herself in the corner of the cab in her little sweat suit carrying her purse and her little plastic bag from the hospital. Arriving at the facility and meandering up the walk till she reached the building and went inside with her head held high. It broke my heart.
But even though they had discussed it and it was more her idea than his - my mom had thrown the accusation at my brother that he was "sticking her in a mental institution. Sticking her in a home." So - he called me. He wasn't going to stick her anywhere.
So I did it.
Isn't that the most awful thing you've ever heard? I live in Chicago. My brother is with my mother in NJ and my other brother lives in Seattle. My sister? Nobody cares. None of us can stay home and take care of her, I don't think any of us will ever retire either. And none of us has a spouse to help. That alone speaks to what our family is about.
But we do love my mom. I was weepy for 2 days. Those phone calls? I spoke to the social worker and then cried a bit. Spoke to my brother, cried a bit more. Talked to to my mom and cried again. It was tough and there was drama and gnashing of teeth. Still - it was the right decision, the necessary one.
Will there be adjustments? Holy cow, yes! She is signed up at the facility she is at for 30 days. During that time we have a chance to explore a few different options - one of which is staying where she is except being moved to a different floor where she can socialize and there are activities. Right now - the floor she's on - not so much. It was the only bed available. She said the food is good, and they give her pudding. If there is something my mom likes it is people doing things for her. And pudding.
Tomorrow my brother is going to pick her up and bring her back to the house to collect some more of her things. He's still very hurt by the things she said to him but maybe this is a chance to have a better relationship again before she passes. Because God knows she dumped a rash of guilt on him that he needs to work though. He told her he loves her and isn't abandoning her. But he also told her that she really hurt him. Her answer? "I know." So, it's a beginning. And a beginning of the end I guess.
Mom has always been worried about people seeing her walk - like they would think she was drunk. Well maybe now that she is in an environment where everybody else is old too - she won't feel as embarrassed by her unsteady gate. I'm hoping she makes a friend or 2. I can dream.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
A crisis always brings out the best in everyone, right? I wish. Part of my mother's aging process has brought her to a place where she is teetering between being a teenager and an adult. She wants to make her own decisions (kind of) but wants people to do everything for her. She shifts between being dependent and being stubbornly independent, although independence is not possible for her anymore.
So what does a good mother do when confronted with her own inability to take care of her illness and herself? Oh and maybe can't face her own mortality? Why, she blames her kids of course! Namely my brother who has been doing chemo for damn near the whole two years she's lived with him, by the way. HIS fault. HE wants to throw her into a mental institution y'know.
Speaking with my brother tonight we were talking about the makeup of our family. He asked me if I remember ever crawling into my moms lap. Um.. no, I guess not. Did I remember hugs? Um.. no. Not really, I mean .. no. When it came to coldness I blamed my strict Germanic father for being undemonstrative and authoritarian and well - cold. But as hesitant as I was to admit it to my brother, I have been thinking about my mother and her emotional abilities shall we say, for a few years now. My dad was the one who was distant - but I always had my mom, didn't I? Did I really? Is it possible that the one person you always thought was emotionally available to you - wasn't? Is it possible I have seen her the way I wanted to all these years?
Admitting that both my parents were emotionally distant and okay - stunted - is pretty scary. What does that say about me? Was I good mom? Not as good as I would have liked to have been, because my kids grew up with me while I was not medicated for depression. But do they see me as someone who can give them emotional support? Someone who will hug them, kiss them, tell them I love them?
I know I shy away from touchy feely type people. But with my own family? I don't know. I know I can't change what I've done, but can I fix anything? Well, I won't figure it out tonight. I'm exhausted. And tomorrow I need to "stick my mother in a mental institution" dontcha know.
Have to rest up for that.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Thursday is my first doctor's appointment since the diabetes diagnosis. And all I can think about is how pissed off I am at him.
My doctor is funny, straight forward, and loves to tell people about how his wife thinks he's the biggest a$$hole around. And I can see why she thinks so. I would never want to be married to the man but as a doctor I've always trusted and liked him.
So when he acted annoyed with me (presumably because I had not lost weight and prevented the condition in the first place) and said he had to treat me, handed me a meter and shoved me out into the little waiting area outside the lab where I waited for his nurse to bring me a diet and some useless pamphlets - it really made me angry.
Not sure what I'm going to say to him but there has to be something about making a diagnosis and then at least pointing a patient in the right direction to learn how to manage said illness. There were a few days there where I was weepy and overwhelmed. And I still feel overwhelmed and on some days I feel defeated. I think I've gained some understanding and then my numbers disprove it. While I understand this is something I have to learn to take control of while the doctor will only manage my care - he could have given me a CLUE!!!
Maybe it's not fair to be angry with him, but I'm not blaming him for the diagnosis. I fully realize it's my own fault due to diet and lifestyle. Like I actually have a lifestyle. Sounds glamorous, doesn't it? But as my doctor, I would have expected more than annoyance and being pushed out the door with no real direction or guidance.
All I keep seeing in my mind is sitting in the chair in the exam room, looking up when he walks in and saying .... "Y'know, you really SUCK." Because we all know how articulate I am.