Caretaker

Hey there everyone. I’m back, though I have very few followers given I use this blog irregularly. I normally will write about animals, environment or nature and issues concerning those things. Today I’m adding to that writing list—-I will share some of my experiences about being a caretaker for my mom. This is a new role for me, sort of. Let me begin to explain.

My mom has lived with me since early 2010 but she wasn’t ill. She was simply older and she needed a small boost. It worked out fairly well. She was home with the pets when I was at work or traveled. There was no need for anyone to be with her all the time or every day.

Our relationship was always a bit rocky so back in 2010 when I first offered for her to move in I did so with caution. I also felt I needed something else to do so I started a master’s degree in environmental science. During introductions at the beginning of any new class I’d say, “well, my mom moved in with me and I wasn’t sure how it would work out being around one another everyday so I thought it would be a good time to finally start this this degree to have a place to go to in the evenings.”  I finished that degree this past spring and my mom was too ill to attend my graduation. I felt saddened that after all this time of me working full time at my job and going to classes in the evenings, doing the field research and analyzing the results, and the writing and revising/writing and revising/writing and revising of the thesis, that my mom was not even able to attend the culmination of the work—my graduation ceremony.

After mom moved in with me my sister said I was a caretaker. I’d respond with “not really, because I’m not doing anything for mom other than most of the shopping.” That was then. That was before February 22nd. A Monday. A day I took off from work to take mom to the doctor to see if we could determine the cause of swelling in her feet.  She did not keep the doctor’s appointment. She refused to go. She was in too much pain. She had fallen when I had gone to the store at her request. She also refused any help from the emergency medical technicians (EMTs) that came when I called 911. This is a typical response with my mom. Refusal of medical care. Non-compliance and combativeness—all normal behavior for my mom. After a day or so, I suspected she may have fractured a bone, but she still refused medical attention.

Her life changed that day, as did mine. I witnessed my mom’s severe and steady decline from that day forward and I did not know what to do or how to get her help. Our story will continue and it is constantly evolving, but now?

Now I am a caretaker.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

Filed under Caregivers

2 responses to “Caretaker

  1. Janet

    We are officially in that heartbreaking time in our lives where this is the direction we are all headed, if we are lucky enough to still have parents. Larry and I both have both our parents, but all are having (from major to medium) health issues. My father has cancer; Larry’s mother just got out of the hospital w/ what was likely a TIA; his father can’t be alone because he gets confused and does not take his meds or eat as he should; and my mother is becoming more of an issue every day – although she’s likely the healthiest one of the four. We know how blessed we are; but we also know that time of our life is close at hand where we will have to deal with major losses. They are all in their 80s now, so our time is short.
    There is not a lot in life that really prepares you to step into the caretaker role. I mean, I guess being a parent should, but it is so much different when you are caring for an older adult who is set in their ways (as are we) and does not take guidance from us easily.
    They need to have “training” for this, I think. But, I’ve always thought they need to have the same for being a parent. And who is “they” anyway? I guess being a child of a parent is our training, so our parents are the “they” I speak of. But, unless we have seen them be caretakers, it is hard to get training for this role. I know I am watching and listening to you, because that corner is not far down the block of my life as well. I’m the only child of my Mother’s- I have a couple of stepbrothers, but she won’t allow them to have a hand in her life as much as she will me. She only wants them to see the best she has to offer – I get the rest. Thank God for Larry – since he is retired he has truly stepped up and has done lots – I mean lots – for her; which has helped me as well. Without him, I’d be lost. And, as soon as I say that, I think, who do YOU have, but yourself, to take on this monumental task?
    I feel for ya, Sister – more than you know!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s been rough the last few days, Janet. She fell Sunday night and has been a terror to me ever since. Thankfully, my brother is at home with her. This is the same brother who always told me he would not be there to help with her because of the way she is. He has stepped up and when he does he is phenomenal. He’s better at this than I am. She has been seriously awful toward me the last few days, and especially, last night. I finally grabbed a couple of cats and went to bed. This morning my brother told me to not take it personally and that she is just being her normal self, ‘Old Bettie’. But, he is being great with her.

      I told my brother I understand but to take that kind of wrath day in and day out is hard. I think my mom will snap out of her abusive mood soon. I hope.

      Like

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