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Topic: Feeling lost

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Subject: Feeling lost
Date Posted: 7/31/2010 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2006
Posts: 2,009
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My mom, who is 83, was always independent.  She lived in the same house with both her sisters for the last 30 years.  In the last two years, both her sisters passed away.  I'm a single parent with two teenagers, so the kids and I moved into the second floor of my mom's house and she moved downstairs.

Mom has a lot of medical problems (arthritis, divertriculitis, ulcerative colitis, to name a few).  But all her medical conditions have been controlled with meds. My mom has always cleaned her own house, and cooked for all of us because as she puts it, the kids are at school, I'm at work, and she's home all day with nothing to do!

She just came home from the hospital this morning after being in there for a whole month!  She had a flare up of divertriculitis, and all the antibiotics they gave her triggered her ulcerative colitis.  The first time they sent her home after 4 days, and on the second day I went downstairs to find her on the kitchen floor.  Called 911 and they brought her back to the hospital. 

Then she wound up with a bladder infection which needed more antibiotics, and my poor mom was a mess.  She couldn't eat and taking all her meds made her nauceous so they had to keep giving her an IV so she wouldn't get dehydrated.  I spent the last month running back and forth from work to home to the hospital, trying to take care of everyone and everything.   Now, at home, my mom is very weak.  I spent the day running around helping her to the bathroom, getting dressed and undressed, making her breakfast, lunch and dinner, giving her meds, putting away all her things from the hospital, doing laundry...etc. etc. ETC!

I don't feel as though I am a very good caregiver.  I'm exhausted, and it's only day 1.  There will be a visiting nurse and a homemaker coming in three days a week for 2 hours at a time, but I'm worried because I HAVE to go to work, yet how can I leave her all those hours in between?!  I was approved for the Family Medical Leave Act at work but whatever days I take off I don't get paid for (And, as a single mom I can't afford to miss any of my pay).

It is now almost 9 p.m. and it is the first time I'm sitting down since 9 this morning.  I don't have any family members who can help.  I have a few cousins but they all live out of town and even though they've been here to visit my mom in the hospital, it's just me.  I have a brother who lives down the Jersey shore with his wife and two kids, but he is basically useless.

I can't leave my mom alone for a minute because even with the walker she is very unsteady.  Another thing is that I don't have a life as it is.  Ever since my aunts passed away I don't make any plans on the weekends because I don't want to leave my mom home alone.  I feel like such a terrible person because whenever I hear of anyone making plans to do ANYTHING I find myself feeling like I could cry because I haven't been anywhere or done anything for myself since my aunts died. The other day I laughed at something and my son just looked at me and said, "I don't remember the last time I heard you laugh!"  And that, made me feel even worse.

I want to take care of my mom until she gets stronger, but I'm so worried that if she doesn't get better how am I going to handle it all?  : /

Last Edited on: 7/31/10 9:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/17/2010 6:46 AM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 8,435
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Oh Sheila :( What a journey. :( I hope, by now, you have found some additional support and help through local agencies. One person cannot do it all.

I never come to other forums(stay mostly on CMT) but I hope you come back and update here. Please take care of yourself too. Somehow.

Date Posted: 8/21/2010 4:52 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2010
Posts: 101
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Are there any volunteer organizations in your area? Does your church have groups that could help?

Can your teenagers help during the time they aren't in school? I was sitting in the hospital with my Mom when I was only 12 years old, so teenagers aren't too young. Maybe you could arrange your work hours so your teenagers can be home with her while you're at work. Not ideal, but it could help. Sit them down and talk with them about it.

Some towns offer daycare for adults. You might check into that. Contact the Department of Human Services. Also, contact nursing homes - they may know of helpful programs for your situation.

I'm a full time caregiver for my husband. He has a lot of serious health problems. And it isn't easy, but it's worthwhile. And three years ago, my Dad was very ill for 3 months before he died, and needed a lot of care from us. My sister is about 2 hours away, but she was virtually no help. I know that I stopped smiling. And laughing. And it was so hard. You aren't a horrible caregiver. You're just dealing with a horrible situation and you're overwhelmed. You need to try to figure out some time for yourself.

You're in my prayers.

Date Posted: 8/22/2010 10:57 AM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
Posts: 795
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Sheila, how are things going now?  I can def relate to a lot of the issues you mention.  We never realized how serious a bladder infection can be until one of my aunts died from a UTI that ran into MRSA.  I'm not saying that to scare you but because I try to let everyone in cyberland and RW that I can know that UTIs especially in the elderly need careful attention.  

Hoping for the best for you and your family!

Date Posted: 8/28/2010 6:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2008
Posts: 552
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I am a retired RN who does do at home care.  Caregiving is exhausting.  You may want to see if your local hospital has a support group.  With a support group you meet others in the same position, and often you can fi8nd people to trade jobs with.  When the homemaking begins, you will feel some relief, but please always let yourself feel angry and don't be afraid to admit that you are overwhelmed.  If it becomes too much don't be afraid to place her in a nursing home.  Nursing homes are not the horrible places they were 50years ago, and if you visit often the staff will be more attentive to her. 

There are a couple of books for those of us "sandwiched in", meaning we are caring for both parents and children. 


Remnember, take care of YOURSELF first, or you can't take care of others.  I will be saying prayers for you. 


Date Posted: 9/5/2010 12:48 AM ET
Member Since: 4/26/2008
Posts: 1,669
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Sheila, I am a Hospice and home care Nurse.  Your story sounds so familiar.....because I was exactly where you are with my mother a few years ago.....even same illnesses.....   PM me ok?  I want to talk to you about some things I felt and went through..things I know you are probably feeling.....maybe I can help.  Feel free to PM any time and I will give all the time needed to help you through this difficult time...

Date Posted: 9/25/2010 12:23 PM ET
Member Since: 6/11/2006
Posts: 12,826
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i kind of know how you feel i worry about mother when im not there and when im there on weekend it can be hard but she need me so that p lace. if you need to talk or vent and she doesnt eat right and has chroin diease and dementia . i think some of acid reflux is stress . i love her more than life self and that what keep mme going  my dad is 91 and take care of her but he need break my brother and sister are busy and come some .

Date Posted: 10/3/2010 10:03 PM ET
Member Since: 9/1/2005
Posts: 8,035
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Sheila, I rarely post in the forums nor do I usually read them. LIFE just gets in the way. I understand as I am the mom to a child with Autism and the wife of a disabled hubby who is almost completely bedridden.

It is now 2 months from the time of your original post. How are you and how is your mom? Have you been able to find some support?