And If You Did Know?

In Memory of Sharon Michele McAvoy Nichols .:. December 24, 1949 – October 10, 2005

December 20, 2004

Another Lesson

Filed under: her words — mark @ 4:23 pm

Well gee, where to start. My mother is in a nursing home. I do not like to say that, it brings up a number of issues for me. Just before Thanksgiving she got sick. She was very weak and unable to care for herself. My aunt got took her to her home and tried to see what mom needed. It became apparent that mom needed medical attention. So she was sent to a hospital. It turns out that mom has a bleeding ulcer. She has had this for some time, but would not seek medical help. Two years ago she had a similar incident and wound up in the hospital, but would not let anyone find out what the problem was. She got herself back home then and took off for Florida. She was doing much better after having transfusions to replace the blood loss. Now, two years later she got into trouble again. This time she was taken to a hospital and the doctors did some tests and discovered the ulcer. She had a blood volume of 4 when it was supposed to be 12. This was the cause of her weakness, breathing issues, and her problems with eliminating waste. So they began to treat her and started with transfusions. They thought that she would be all right with medication that would help heal the ulcer. The doctor did not feel comfortable with letting her go home because she had lost so much blood. So after a great deal of discussion she was sent to this nursing home. She agreed to go for two weeks. Well, the two weeks are up and she wants out.

Here is where it gets sticky. The medical people are very concerned about her and want her to have around the clock care. She has family near her who want her to have around the clock care as well. The problem is that she does not want around the clock care. She wants to go home and be left alone. She has never like having anyone tell her what to do. She is not direct, and therefore it is difficult to find out what is going on with her. Having known her my entire life, I can at times tell when she is trying to get her way. Other times it takes a while to understand what she is trying to accomplish. The problem here is that she is using her techniques on the nursing home staff that sees her actions as being dementia as opposed to her being stubborn. The wonderful nurse who is her primary care giver at the facility is convinced that because mom will not do what is good for her, she has dementia. Mom actually has emotional problems, and she has learned techniques for taking care of herself over time. She is secretive and manipulative. She does these in an immature fashion, which looks like she is not competent. Trying to tell other people about her and have them believe it is very frustrating. She also tells you to your face that she will do something, and then not do it. She will not take part in her medical treatment because she does not want to.

The result of all of this is that I have become the contact person for all of the people in Dare County North Carolina. I am on the phone about 3 to 4 hours a day trying to get services for her; I am trying to help her get signed up with Medicaid. They only allow her to have a small amount of money. So I am trying to help her get her finances squared away. I am trying to help her move to another location because she hates it there. Of course she hates wherever she is at the time. So it is all just difficult and messy.

What I am learning through all of this is that I tend to get wrapped up in others needs and desires. I am trying to take care of Mom, of the social services people, of the nurses, of the rest of the family, and of my brother. I realize that there is no way to please them all so I am left trying to tilt at windmills. It is taking a toll. I am having trouble sleeping and eating. I know that I am just having a normal reaction to the situation, but I hate it.

As a child I became the adult in my family. No one seemed to want to be in control. They wanted someone else to do it, but their way. I fell into this as a child and have continued into adulthood. I am trying to care for me in this as well. I am working at not going to N.C. I know I would be less effective if I was there because I would not have any distance from it. I am working at not bringing her here, as I would not be able to have the distance I need. I moved away from Mom in 1995 because I could not function as an adult around her. I kept falling back into old behaviors that were more childlike. I was moody and temperamental. I am not good at being an adult when I am with her. So, I moved away and now my life is wonderful. She is not the reason I become more childlike, I am. But with the new life I have built for myself I am happier than I have ever been. So now I am constantly working at taking care of me, while working at helping her. This is quite a learning experience. Perhaps I will continue to grow and see more about me. I certainly hope so. More later.

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