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How to deal with guilt-inducing elderly mother...


norsewoman

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Hi folks...

I'll try to make this saga short. Nine days ago, my eighty-one year old mother slipped on the ice and broke her arm. This is a painful injury (ball of the humerus is cracked and there's a partial dislocate). The first few days were awful, trying to find a pain killer that her stomach could tolerate, and just getting used to being able to use one arm. My sister came up and stayed with her for two nights, which was a nice break. I decided yesterday that mom was good enough to be on her own at night, with my coming in on a daily basis to help her shower, wash her hair, prepare her evening meal, etc.

 

So last night was the first night home in my own bed for quite a while, which was nice.

I called mom this morning and asked how her night went. Silence- then a pitiful "o.k.". When prodded further, she revealed that she got sick and now her stomach is irritated. Further prodding revealed that she hadn't actually thrown up, but her stomach is indeed upset. She hasn't been writing down the times that she takes her painkillers (tylenol 3), and I'm certain she took the doses too close together.

 

So here's the dilemma. I know that what I did by leaving her alone and coming back to my own home was not a bad thing to do. She's had someone with her every night for eight nights, and she's been doing quite well. Still, she's pulling her passive/aggressive pitiful victim act, and I'm feeling twinges of guilt. She's not actually saying it (although her passive/aggressive b.s. is screaming it!), but I'm hearing "you're a bad daughter"....

 

I had an emergency call system put into her house three days ago, for which I am paying. I have anticipated all her needs on a daily basis- meals, water, grocery shopping, etc. I do her wash, care for her cat, help her bathe. I'm there every single day. What should I do? Say?

 

It's odd for me to be in such a quandary. Thanks in advance...

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I take it that she wants you to stay overnight? Could you come to a compromise whereby you stayed every other night or maybe one night out of three until she has fully recovered? Or maybe you and your sister can devise a rota where you can share the overnight stays with each other.

 

But for the record, I think you are taking good care of your mother.

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I take it that she wants you to stay overnight? Could you come to a compromise whereby you stayed every other night or maybe one night out of three until she has fully recovered? Or maybe you and your sister can devise a rota where you can share the overnight stays with each other.

 

But for the record, I think you are taking good care of your mother.

 

Thanks for your response, jellybaby...

I guess I'm bucking at the idea of staying overnight when it isn't really necessary. When I do stay there, she gets up on her own to go to the bathroom, take her meds, etc. Nothing different happens whether I'm there or not...I think it's just a comfort thing for her. I'm only a seven minute drive away from her if something should go wrong at night. Additionally, when I am there, I get very little sleep, which greatly reduces my ability to function after a couple of days.

 

My sis lives an hour away, and is busy with work and her family. She might come down the weekend after next, which she often does anyway, just to visit.

 

I'm going over there in a little bit. If she's still being cranky at me, I'll simply ask her what she would like to have happen and what I can do to facilitate that. I'm not expecting a real answer, though...

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I say stick to your guns. If you cave & stay over, she will try even harder when you try to stay home again, because she knows if she makes it seem horrible when you are gone that you will stay again. Just don't ask her how her night was. Ask her how she's doing when you get there during the day. She may not sleep well with the pain but I can't imagine she gets any better sleep when you're there anyway.

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I say stick to your guns. If you cave & stay over, she will try even harder when you try to stay home again, because she knows if she makes it seem horrible when you are gone that you will stay again. Just don't ask her how her night was. Ask her how she's doing when you get there during the day. She may not sleep well with the pain but I can't imagine she gets any better sleep when you're there anyway.

 

Good idea, alli...I'll just check in with her when I get there. I know she can't see it, but she's doing the same thing to me that her father pulled on her when she was younger, LOL!

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Ok, well I can understand that. Yes I suggest you talk to her and tell her exactly what you've said in your post ... how you can't sleep very well unless you are in your own bed and then how it reduces your ability to function. You are doing your best and are see her everyday but you have to think of your own well-being too. You will be of little use to your mum if you are grouchy and not quite on the ball due to lack of sleep.

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I've just returned from a four hour shift at mom's. It went fine. I insisted she accompany me to the library and we checked out some books from an author she likes. It occurred to me that my mom is pretty active- she's still working, for heaven's sake...so, all of this sitting around the house is affecting her mood, along with the pain. Getting out cheered her up quite a bit.

 

Also, I think she was afraid that I'd just blow in for a couple of minutes, throw a pop-tart or something her way, and leave. While I was there, I did her laundry, washed her dishes, tended to her cat, ran out and got groceries and meds for her, and the whole library thing. Tomorrow, she has an appointment with an orthopedic doc, and I think she's looking forward to asking him some more questions.

 

So, thanks jellybaby and alli...sometimes this elder care stuff gets a bit overwhelming! Your responses helped a lot.

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So, thanks jellybaby and alli...sometimes this elder care stuff gets a bit overwhelming! Your responses helped a lot.

 

Thats OK though it seems you found the solution all by yourself. Your mum is still working, wow!! In that case taking her out and getting her some fresh air and doing something different (and above all something active) is the best thing you can do. It must be stiffling being stuck in doors all day. All that unspent energy can't help her moods. Her mind is probably working overtime to compensate.

 

Going out will also tire her out (in a good way of course) and she will find it easier saying goodbye to you when she is content to fall into her bed knowing that she has had a good day and has other trips to look forward to again another day.

 

All credit to you.

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Thats OK though it seems you found the solution all by yourself. Your mum is still working, wow!! In that case taking her out and getting her some fresh air and doing something different (and above all something active) is the best thing you can do. It must be stiffling being stuck in doors all day. All that unspent energy can't help her moods. Her mind is probably working overtime to compensate.

 

Going out will also tire her out (in a good way of course) and she will find it easier saying goodbye to you when she is content to fall into her bed knowing that she has had a good day and has other trips to look forward to again another day.

 

All credit to you.

 

Naw...you two got me thinking again.

 

Of course, my mom doesn't see herself as an eighty-one year old. All she knows is that her schedule has been greatly altered!

 

If she's up to it, I'll take her shopping for some easy to get in-and-out-of clothes after her Dr.'s appointment tomorrow. You're right, I do need to get her out and "run" her a bit. I bet she'll be back to her old self in three months or so.

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