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BPAL Madness!
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Coming up on nine months.

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byrdie

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A couple of weeks after a heart-to-heart with my niece about how frustrated we both are with the current Mom-care situation, my sister called and left a message on my cell phone -- I only just noticed the light flashing as the call went to voicemail.

 

She sounded horrible, and told me that we really needed to get together and talk about the situation with Mom. My stomach tightened up, so I grabbed some stuff (water bottle, pad, pen, plush doggie, phone), dumped them in the conference room, went to the bathroom, came back and returned her call.

 

Oh. My. God.

 

My sister, niece and I are pretty much all on the same page about this. We're sick of it. My niece has watched my mother be royally obnoxious to my sister and my brother. I've watched my mother basically wait around to die while having us attend her. She's not doing her vocal exercises. She's not wearing her Life Alert necklace, which should be on her person at all times -- it can even be worn in the shower. She sits and watches TV, cooks a little, does laundy and occasionally goes shopping. That's it.

 

There's a little place in Chinatown/the International District that does daycare for people much less able than my mother. They have a tea service, teach Tai-Chi, have workshops for various hobbies, do fieldtrips both in and out of town. Shit, both my sister and I agreed that we'd like to go. My mother went once, a few weekends ago and said that she'd liked it, that they'd been very nice. So, my sister was working to sign her up for a year's membership, getting it set so that the Access bus would come and pick her up. This would take some of the strain off my brother, who is now complaining about tonsil problems (evidentally, nobody wants to yank them out of an adult). Once our mother figured out what my sister was planning, she damn near rushed her. My sister actually thought our mother was planning to hit her, she came at my sister so fast. All of the sudden, she started ranting about how nosey these people were, how they wouldn't leave her alone. She pulled a 180 within about four mintues of having said that she'd liked the place. My sister was livid for the rest of the weekend, and our mother hid near my niece for the rest of the time.

 

There's been other stuff, but she's bascially being a stubborn little bitch about this. Fortunately for her, she raised a couple of stubborn bitches and put us in charge of her care. Now, thankfully, we have pretty much full immediate family support for plotting against our mother. We're going to try to make her get well, whether she wants to or not. The plan, sketchilly:

  • I'll be given a copy of the document which says that I have main Power of Attorney, so that maybe I'll actually get a response from Mom's doctor when I next call to ask about her progress.
     
  • My sister found a woman whose mother does home care for people who need it. If we can get her sit with Mom for even four hours a day for a couple of days out of the week, we can switch off with the Chinatown place and take care of the majority of her care during the day.
     
  • Our brother can visit daily, a few hours out of each day, to do additional stuff for Mom. This wil free him up to be able to go to the gym and see his friends. There's also talk of seeing if he's willing to move in with Mom (free rent vs. living with a harpy. hmm) once his housing situation ends.
     
  • My niece and I can drop by in the evenings after work for a couple of hours, switching off nights like we currently do. However, we won't sleep over, and I won't have to drag a suitcase along with me on the bus.
     
  • My sister will continue to pick Mom up on Friday and keep her through Saturday night, but will take back Sunday as her day to prepare for work.
     
  • Mom will just have to suck it up, wear the Life Alert necklace, do her exercises and go where we tell her. If she gets mad, maybe she'll learn to type or something so that she'll actually work towards the independence she claims to want.

I'm hoping that all of this is taken care of and tidy before I go to California in May. Mom's going to go ballistic, but ... well, maybe that'll get her off her ass.

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I'll bet I can guess why your Mom doesn't want to go back and participate (and you sorta gave the clue). She is proud and doesn't think she's as bad off as those OTHER people in the program. If she goes, she'll be admitting or acknowledging that she is LIKE THEM.

 

This has happened with a couple of family members. "I don't want to go to group rehab. There are a bunch of crippled old ladies in there." Or "I won't go to dinner in the common area. I can't stand to hear those people eating." Why? "I AM NOT SICK AND OLD!"

 

The hell of it is that this attitude can also be a prelude to the death of them. The alternatives (no exercise, not eating where you can be seen to be eating and thus not getting enough calories) are not good.

 

But you might want to see if there is a group your Mom used to attend that she would be willing to attend now. Sometime being with familiar people is helpful in recovery. Or it can be doing an activity with so-called regular people that may boost her spirits and make her feel like she is still herself. Heck, even going to coffee with friends for a chat would help augment the speech therapy you say she needs.

 

A brief story: the local yarn shop has drop in help and there was an older woman who for weeks always came in the company of her daughter. She was working on what seemed to be her first hat or a particularly difficult hat for her. (I'm about to start crying now.) One day, they came in and were talking to the owner who always helped her. She had finished the hat and was showing it to the owner. "That's beautiful. You did a great job," said the owner, and she gave the woman a hug. The woman began sobbing. Not just crying. Sobbing. As it turned out, this was the first item she had finished since her stroke. She had been an expert caliber knitter and had really struggled to make this hat because the mind and messages to her fingers weren't working as they used to. Finishing was a triumph.

 

Honestly. Even if you try to tell your Mom the arrangement is NOT permanent, she may have doubts. I sure can't tell you how to work with that, especially when I had issues of stubbornness with my own family member. What I can say is it sounds like you and the remainder of the family have done a great job of formulating a workable care plan. That sounds great because no one person is doing everything. It gives you each time to rest and indulge in some self care.

 

Be well!

 

xo,

 

yr

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I'll bet I can guess why your Mom doesn't want to go back and participate (and you sorta gave the clue). She is proud and doesn't think she's as bad off as those OTHER people in the program. If she goes, she'll be admitting or acknowledging that she is LIKE THEM.

That's possible. However, at least once she told me that she was discouraged by her progress with her voice exercises (everything else came back so quickly in comparison) and that she figured that the vocal part of her brain was simply damaged and that this was as good as it was going to get.

 

According to my niece, it's her memory center that's shot, her language center just needs work that she's not willing to put in. Neither is my mother willing to type, so getting her a TTY phone isn't an option.

 

So, it's possible that she goes back and forth between "I'm not that bad off" and "I'm doomed."

 

 

Honestly. Even if you try to tell your Mom the arrangement is NOT permanent, she may have doubts. I sure can't tell you how to work with that, especially when I had issues of stubbornness with my own family member. What I can say is it sounds like you and the remainder of the family have done a great job of formulating a workable care plan. That sounds great because no one person is doing everything. It gives you each time to rest and indulge in some self care.

Tonight involves downtime at home: possibly a DVD, pizza and microwave popcorn (bliss!). Tomorrow will be a movie with friends. Saturday will likely involve giving my first tarot reading in ages. I'll be spending next weekend with my boyfriend, and the weekend after that I'll be having tea with a friend for the first time in a long while. I plan to hit the Hot House Spa sometime soon (I haven't been since my birthday weekend).

 

So, I'm trying. It's just that time seems short enough that even treating myself looks daunting. I think the coming of Spring and the lengthening of the days may help that attitude, though.

 

Thank you for the support. It helps! ;)

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According to my niece, it's her memory center that's shot, her language center just needs work that she's not willing to put in. Neither is my mother willing to type, so getting her a TTY phone isn't an option.

 

So, it's possible that she goes back and forth between "I'm not that bad off" and "I'm doomed."

 

Wow. That's a wide gulf of funk. I wish for you that she would realize doing the practice would help. It's all about growing new neurons -- or so a teacher explained to me. When you do something new, the reason you have to keep doing it is to grow the pathways that help reinforce the skill -- how to play an instrument or learn a language. There's a lot of complexity in that. The repetition needed to achieve proficiency isn't always fun, but needed. I'm guessing that (and I'm not a scientist or medical professional mind you) if those pathways to the language center were damaged, new routes -- a detour if you will -- has to be constructed.

 

You could always set up a computer and install a couple of web cams : )

 

Thank you for the support. It helps! ;)

 

You are welcome. Although I don't walk in your shoes, I've been in a similar place and it's tough. It's times like this we feel either so alone and alien from the world or else overwhelmed by family and isolated from the world (except maybe the medical profession!) by those ties ... and it helps to have some support.

 

Take care of you! Sounds like a fabu set of weekends! So envious of the microwave popcorn. (Such is life without a microwave.) Do treat yourself. Not only do you deserve it, you can't take care of your mother if you can't take care of yourself.

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