Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lost and hoping to be found

This is my blog, so I can write what I feel.  Lately, I have been feeling lost. 
When my dad passed away 3 years and 4 months ago I was not prepared to be a caregiver to my mom.  With me being the only child living near her, I was given the responsibility.....AND oh, what a responsibility it is.  Where are all these close friends who say they are here for you, anything you need?
My mom relied on my dad for almost everything in everyday life.  He paid the bills, went to the store, and took care of her needs.  My mom has been sick for a long time.  She suffers with Meniere's Disease and has only 25% hearing in the only ear she can hear out of, and wears a hearing aid.  She suffers with loud noises in that ear at times.  She has a lung issue and is on oxygen 24/7.  She has Gerd and very sensitive stomach, bad knees, hip & back. 
Before all of these issues, when my mom was well, she worked a very hard on the body job at General Mills as a packer.  She worked shift work.  My dad also worked at General Mills.  I remember my mom always looking her best, going to the gym and working out, keeping fit and watching her weight.  She loved going to the tanning beds and laying out in the sun.  She took pride in her appearance.  Her hair was always in place and sported the latest hairstyle.  She was the best cook.  We could always count on her to cook a big Sunday meal and have family over.  She was famous for her "Roast" dinners.  She was the church Christmas tree decorator, having every decoration on the tree in place and she crocheted white bells for each branch.  She was overseer of peanut brittle making at the church, giving of her time and her and my dad also selling hundreds of bags at work to donate to the Ladies Ministries.  I remember a time when she used her Birthday money to buy coats for my kids.  My mom was the most giving person.
She took care of my dad for years after he had a work related accident and developed Epilepsy.  She was by his side every time he would have a seizure.  Growing up, we witnessed a lot of episodes he would have and my mom was always there, being his nurse.  Thankfully my dad's seizures would taper off and with medication they got less and less.  When my mom got sick with the ear problem and had surgery, she had to take an early retirement.  It was then my dads turn to take care of her.  He remained working and finally decided to retire before he really wanted to.  He felt like he needed to be with her as much as possible.  Many times he would want to go to church but didn't want to leave her.  I would go sit with her so he could go.  With the Meniere's disease she would get dizzy and then sick to her stomach.  It wasn't a pleasant sight to see her in that shape.  You feel helpless.  People would ask "how is your mom"?  I got tired of always answering them "she's sick".  I wanted so badly for my mom to be better. 
So, now I am at a point of having to make some tough decisions on my moms behalf.  She recently got out of the hospital and is very weak.  I have been trying to find home care for her and it isn't an easy task.  I stop every morning on my way to work to make her breakfast and usually leave her something easy to grab for lunch.  I rush home after work to start dinner and usually take to her around 6:00 or 6:30.  I call myself "meals on wheels".  She did get approved for care with the VNA "visiting nurses association".  They supply her with nursing a few times per week, bath aid and physical therapy.  I am still trying to find someone to spend nights with her, to free me up.  I miss sleeping in my own bed.  Is that selfish of me?  Is it selfish of me to want my old life back?  I want a normal marriage again.  Thank God Mike is supportive and loves my mom.  He is our handy man around her house.  But, it is getting very tiring taking care of 2 houses.  We did hire a lawn service to free us up from having to mow.  She wants to stay in her home, so assisted living and nursing home is on the back burner for now.  Our hope and goal for now is for her to gain her strength back so she can travel to stay with my sister in Louisiana.  She really does need a change of scenery.  As for now, I will continue to be the daughter/caregiver and take one day at a time.  Thanks for reading and letting me share my feelings.  I don't feel as lost as when I started writing.


Stephanie Precourt said...

I think if you look over your words you'll see that Mommal really *lived* her life and gave and did great things. It's your turn for that. She would never want you to give away your chance at really living... so I know the decisions are tough but you do have to put yourself first. She got to have her life at the age you are now. You should get to have yours. I wish I could take her here, or wish I could still be there to help or have her live with us, but I still know that's not the answer. She is still living and needs to live her life. It might mean she needs to do that in a different place than the home she's used to, but we can't freeze time. We have to keep moving on and this is part of it. I love you and want what's best for you most of all. You deserve that and should be happy in taking care of your heart and mind and body first. You have already gave more than most people will ever give.


Erin said...

You're not selfish AT ALL. This is a huge toll on you. You definitely need to find home help for her. Doesn't mean you can't stop by and help whenever you want, too, but you need to take care of yourself also.
Even though she doesn't want to leave her home, have you thought about taking her to see an assisted living facility? My mom works at one and they have so much to do--arts, crafts, a hair salon in the facility, residents can leave and go grocery shopping. Maybe if she sees all they have to offer she would change her mind?

E said...

I am praying for you right now Rhonda. This is tough!!!!

Bacardi Mama said...

Oh, my sweet friend. You have such decisions on your shoulders right now. I agree with Steph and Erin. You are certainly not selfish and you have to live your life. I know we want to do everything we can for our parents and make the right decisions, but we have to think of ourselves too. We deserve our lives. Loving our parents doesn't mean we have to give up our lives for them. It is such a tight rope we walk trying to balance our lives and their lives. I know what a hard time it is because I do the same thing with my mom. At least she is healthy. You have this added burden of your mom's health. We need to go out again to give you a little break and just have some time to talk. I have big shoulders and a good ear. Let's do it some. Love you!