Friday, November 4, 2016
The most stressful job in the world
One thing I think we never thought about is how difficult mom was going to be once she went more downhill mentally. Mom was never a warm and fuzzy momma anyway-at this stage she was downright ornery. We moved her to an assisted living community because at 88 she really needed some help. She forgot to take her pills and sometimes she would take more than 1 day of pills. Right after we moved her the community “accidentally” started to give her pills, even though she had a machine that told her when to take them. Brenda was stocking the machine and she was checking every couple of days to make sure she took the pills. So many residents had the medicine assistance that they automatically gave them to mom as well. She had double pills for 3 days when it was discovered. Luckily Brenda caught the mistake. They brought pills to mom with the date on it and she just took them, not thinking she had taken them already. The cost to dispense the medicine was an extra $900 a month. You can see why Brenda was trying to hang onto that job to save mom money.
The move seemed to set mom back and more confused than ever. I moved out of state the week after mom moved. She had been calling me 5 to 10 times a day. She didn’t know where she lived, where her stuff was etc. What made matters worse is she moved into a smaller apt. and she wanted to keep everything.
Her things would not fit but she was adamant that we not throw anything away. She had lost weight and she had clothes that were old and too large. We had to store them at my sisters, because mom did not want to throw ANYTHING away. Cindy came in town to help and by the end of the week she thought we must be saints. Mom was horrible to deal with, argumentative, and nasty. I was actually glad to move, even though I had always said I would not move until she passed away. My kids and grandkids were in Colorado, and I was just missing too much of my family. I did feel a little guilty, but not enough not to move.
I called mom every week. She told me repeatedly that I never said good-bye to her. She ended conversations often with , “Well, have a nice life,” as though I never called her. My brother gave mom a wonderful adjustable bed, but it was a twin size, better for the smaller apartment. Mom called every one of us complaining about the “cot.” It was a $6,000 bed, and we had hoped she would rest more comfortably in an upright position, because she had been diagnosed with sleep apnea, but would not wear the mask to breathe. She said, “Sandra, I like to flop my legs around when I sleep and I hate this cot they brought me. I want my old bed back.” She badgered my sister so much they removed the bed. Every time they went over her apt. She had moved all the furniture. They were afraid she was going to have a heart attack, moving the heavy pieces. But no one could talk sense into her. She had become our worst nightmare, and we weren’t having to be with her 24/7. I can’t even imagine caring for her on a daily basis.
Now some people might think this is cruel. All I can say is, you never know how it is to walk in someone else’s shoes. They say caregiving is the most stressful job you can have. Well, when you are an adult child, even though you may not be helping every day, your parents can stress you out like you never imagined. I have talked to many people my age and we all share in this evaluation: we never expected it could be this bad. It had to be bad for mom, being so forgetful, but she never experienced what we have. Her parents were dead before they were 60.