Monday, October 19, 2009

A Place for Mom

"Senior Community" shopping. For a 57 year-old snob. I'm 31. Here's the rub.

On Tuesday the 13th, I called her at her house. I couldn't understand much of what she was saying. She wasn't completing sentences. She was talking about people that I don't know. She was abrasive and impatient when I questioned her about her state of mind. Then the fire alarm started. She was totally confused, babbling about the burglar alarm and someone named Greg. She hung up on me. Pensacola 911 connected me with her local Police Department. While I was on the phone with them, her fire monitoring system called and requested that units be sent to her house immediately.

She was taken by ambulance to the ER for "general disorientation." She was admitted as procedure dictates for observation following smoke inhalation. She is still there because she's nuts.

My mother has been a headcase for as long as I've been alive. No, I wasn't a trying baby. I'm sure her troubles started long ago; I can only bear witness though, for the last couple of decades. When I say "headcase" I mean that she has psychological and neurological issues with medical records so vast that they could only be transported by a fleet of 18-wheelers, an aircraft carrier or all the pack animals in the world.

She has hydrocephalus (too much fluid on her brain), clinical depression with an extensive history of suicide attempts, intense and unresolved migraine headaches, a degenerative bone condition, morbid obesity, the symptoms of early onset Alzheimer's including memory and balance problems. (For the record, she couldn't remember a series of 3 words for more than 3 minutes but she did know the names of The Real Housewives of New Jersey.) She doesn't eat properly, sleep properly, exercise at all, or treat people with anything resembling respect, kindness or compassion. Did I mention that she herself is a Doctor? As if all of the above isn't enough, she's fucking brilliant.

So tell me, if you can, how in the hell am I going to get her into an assisted living facility that usually only takes people 62 years and older in near perfect health? And if I manage that charade, how am I going to afford to keep her in there when she (wonder of all wonders) lives for another 30 years? And how is she not going to get herself kicked out for being a total bitch (Just this week she asked a poor tech trying to start an IV if he was having an attitude with her because she's a doctor.)

And what sin or as is more probable, sins have I committed to deserve this? I know, I know - This isn't about me. It's about finding a safe place for a smart, savvy and somewhat capable person to thrive.

I feel like my life once again is at the mercy of her every whim. As an only child, what else am I to do but come running most every time she calls? There's NO ONE ELSE - so please, please don't suggest that I call her bluff for attention, or ostracize her for bad behavior. I've tried everything - remember this has been going on my entire life. She is truly ill and truly needs serious help. But that has been true for a very long time.



  1. Hang in there and know you're doing the right thing. What else can be said?

    I'm so lucky that the only thing my Dad has going against him is his hearing and how he soup slurps everything he eats.

    Hang in there Kiddo.

  2. wow not sure what else to say. I too am an only child and though my mom is in perfect health now, I wonder what I will do when the time comes and she can't take care of herself. sending you hugs.

  3. You CAN'T be an only child cause I swear we have the same mother.

    the Real Housewives line made me laugh out loud in the midst of the horror. If we didn't laugh we'd be crying, right?

  4. All I can offer are a few of these (((Hugs))).

    It must be so hard for you, to be caring for a parent, without any siblings to support you.

    My parents are both in excellent health. And my mom has gone through a lot of stress over the last two years dealing with my 98 year old grandmother - healthy, smart and diagnosed with dementia that causes delusions and memory inconsistencies. My mom has seven other siblings, but the burden of my grandmother's care was/is largely mom's. It was such a relief to finally have nursing home care - as hard as it was to move her out of her home.

    I hope that you and your mom both find peace.

  5. Sometimes the only way out is through. We're with you in our hearts, love.

  6. thinking about you, b.
    you're an amazing in all that you do.

  7. I sent you a hug in my email, but now I just want to snap my fingers and make all this better for you---you're doing what you can and that's all anyone can expect.

    take care'll know what to do and how to do it when the time comes...

  8. This is an incredibly hard place for you to be.
    I'm sorry.
    And I'm thinking of you XX

  9. This all suck but I'm thinking with her issues I'd start looking into nursing homes that provide long-term care for Alzheimers patients. I have a friend whose Dad is in a similar situation and made worse by the fact that he smokes 2 packs a day and they don't really have smoking nursing homes for folks with demetia.

    (((Hang in there)))

  10. Wow, I'm sorry you're dealing with this. I hope the solution presents itself quickly!

  11. I am sorry you have to deal with all that. Just hang in there.

  12. sending hugs your way. and the strength to deal. and the love of your wife to help pick you up when it is too much. and the laughter of those awesome kids when you need it.

  13. Windy, sorry you are dealing with this :( It is no easy place to be. Sending hugs your way.