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Parent Update - Hanging On Tightly


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Hi everyone,

 

Just wanted to send a request for prayers and an update about my folks.

 

Well, back in December, the Licensed Public Guardian took completely over. The past few months have been a bit of a harsh reality for my folks, for in addition to stopping our financial and physical support during the summer, they have had to cut corners and budget...which is terribly hard for someone with dementia to do.

 

In a nutshell, this past week has been hell.

 

I am so grateful I had the Guardian and her staff in place. On Monday my dad's criminal case came to a head. He took a plea bargain and has a 6 month sentence. He was immediately taken into custody. I got a frantic phone call from my mom late Monday night saying dad was in jail and I needed to get the car.

 

My husband and I drove to their apartment while I had the guardian on the phone. She had NO IDEA this was happening, for the attorney hadn't been in communication with her, neither had dad. We had no idea he was taking the plea bargain and no idea it would happen this week. So. This has left Mom alone - handicapped, blind, and unable to care for herself.

 

The Guardian has been scrambling like mad to have Home Health Care workers come in and assist her with laundry, bedding, and meals. I was there for three days this week. . . and had a couple of melt-downs myself.

 

Tuesday, the house was a wreck, so I and the Health worker cleaned - the kitchen mostly, for I had no idea what they had to eat. Dad said he had needed to get food from the Food Bank because there was no food - but the cupboard and freezers were PACKED. Absolutely jammed full!

 

I threw out two kitchen bags of trash and half a sink full of questionable food down the disposal.

 

So. The guardian will place my mom into assisted living as soon as possible. What caused me to 'snap' this week was my mom's health conditions and the fact that she is in denial about it. She had a case worker come in and do a reassessment - and lied. She said she was showing improvement, NOT needing more help, contrary to my words.

 

Tuesday when I went over, her bed sheets were full of dried waste. We pulled the sheets down to the mattress cover and had to wash it too. The bed will not be savable. I am so glad it will be disposed of - it hasn't been suitable for sleeping in years. The health care worker and I worked our tails off. The next day, I came in to find waste tracked on the carpet down the hall, into both bathrooms, and by the bed. Evidently there was an accident. Not only did she not know about it, but she didn't clean herself up. When I suggested she take a shower, I helped her undress and there was dried waste on her body...from the waste down...down her leg, and into her socks...she had waste between her toes. She assured me she could clean herself and I kept peeking to look. She did, but refused the help of the worker for bathing - something they are SKILLED to provide.

 

I was appalled, shocked, dismayed, horrified, and any other number of terms. I sent an email to the guardian and thankfully, the health care worker showed up and dealt with it while I had a little melt down. When the guardian came later to tell her she had to move into assisted living, she refused to listen. I had to take her hands off her ears, and say, "Mama. you can't stay here. Daddy's social security is what was paying rent and your bills. It goes away while he's in prison and will take a while to get back. You don't have the money to live here. I'm sorry, but you can't live with us we don't have room and I don't have the skills to take care of you."

 

She cried and yelled...and said it was nor fair. I don't think she said it was my fault, but it was implied. The guardian and her assistant have had a heck of a time finding a place for her because they didn't have *TIME*. They needed a few weeks and Dad didn't give them that.

 

So. They will give last month's notice and Mom will be somewhere soon. Meanwhile do you know what nasty job is left?

 

My parent's storage unit.

 

Oh, yes. I knew 18 months ago that it would fall to me and I was right. Well, I'm stronger now and much better equipped to deal with it. Doesn't mean I want to. Dad has communicated that he wants a few things to go a few specific places. I will do my best to honor his request.

 

My husband reminded me that there are people who we know that will do a day's labor here and there for a reasonable sum and I will need to employ them for I will not throw out my shoulder or damage myself in any way.

 

The guardian asked me why I'm doing this and I told her:

 

1. It's the last way I can honor my parents. I wouldn't want a stranger going through my stuff.

2. I want to see all the financial papers from my childhood (which they've saved) so I can better understand why they've been so financially stupid all of my life, if there can be an explanation for such a thing.

3. There are possessions mixed in with the trash that need sorting.

 

She understood, God bless her. I assured her that I will lay eyes on the storage this weekend and will make a plan of action and get it done. It will be sheer hell, but at least we have a month and not a week like we had cleaning their house a year and a half ago. She did remind me that I was not obligated in any way financially or time-wise. She could call in people to 'take care of things'. I asked her what that meant. She explained.

 

Usually when someone will be moved into assisted living, they take their things with them. Anything left behind is left for the workers to keep or sell. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. So, you literally have people picking through your stuff like vultures - worse than an estate sale. I said NO. I'll deal with it. Find her a place. My husband and I will pay storage for 6 months on what personals and possessions they need to keep - like the precious things. We will pay for a small unit for 6 months. At $50, we will do that.

 

I also realize that it will be extremely hard on my dad to come back to a different place, with different possessions, with different things. I want to save the important things for him.

 

Also, I'm also very afraid to share this, but as strong of a person as my mom is, assisted living may do her in. Prison will age my dad. I've a very strong feeling that I can't explain that she will hang on for him, they will have a happy reunion, and then within the next year one or both of them will pass on. I can't explain it, I just sense it. I hope to God I'm wrong, but when I've had this type of 'second sight' in the past, I've always been right.

 

So. Over the past week, I've had a couple of melt downs. I had no idea my mom's care was needing to be so intense. I had no idea Dad had covered over so much and was so enabling.

 

I will not step into the caregiver role or rescuer. I will do what I would want someone to do for me - hold my things and respectfully pack my stuff. I will do it out of honor and respect, knowing that they are aging and may not live long.

 

That is all I can do.

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:hug3: While so much of this has fallen on you in the past, I am so glad that you don't have to deal with this completely alone. You sound strong...So much stronger than you did before. Mini-meltdowns are natural. This is a trying time for you and for so many reasons. I will definitely keep you in my prayers... God bless!

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C4C. I feel for you! while it has not been completely that bad with my sister,

I too have found much in the trash that should never be.

But I never thought they would put your Dad in prison with his health or

being "primary caretaker" for his wife.

I feel your pain- may you have the strength and courage to endure.....

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What a terrible awakening.

 

Do get some strong arms to help you with the unit, preferably two pairs. You can have one person unpacking for you while you sort while someone else hauls off the crap. I've been through this recently, and if you don't have help your judgment tends to go haywire after the first couple of dozen decisions.

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I'm so glad for the update! I've thought of you often and wondered how things were going. I'm surprised about your father. I didn't think they would do that due to his age/health issues. What a long drawn out ordeal you have been through. It's a good thing you are such a strong woman! :hug3:

 

:pray:

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That's a lot for all of you to deal with. I feel especially bad for your mother because my Mom is legally blind and it really hurts her to not be able to keep her house clean. She can't see the dirt and she can't smell the dog pee either. She works so hard and it's still not clean. I just can't bear to tell her it's not. I try to clean things when she's gone to town with her friend or whatever. Sometimes I'll say "I'm coming to clean your kitchen floor for you so you don't have to" and she'll say "Oh Honey, you don't have to do that. I can do it.". I can't tell her "No you can't!" It would break her heart. It must be really difficult for your dad to be in jail, esp. at his age. Jail is not a nice place. I'll be praying for all of you.

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One of the first things I did was to arrange that Dad have a Bible. I had to order a new one from Amazon and have it sent - he has had a lot of time to read. Then, so he could talk to my mom, I had to arrange minutes on an inmate account so he could call long distance (remember he's a state away). The Guardian will add minutes as she can, but it may not happen often. And finally, I paid the $20 ticket left on my dad's truck because should it be left unchecked, it will triple and upon getting out of prison, he could be sent back in for non-payment. I thought - it's $20 - why not just take care of it? After all, I would want someone to do the same for me.

 

I was asked by the Guardian to limit my time over there - and after the couple of incidents with waste, I had to. I'm a tough cookie, but it was more psychologically difficult than I thought it would be. And the Guardian was right - it gives the caregivers a chance to truly assess her needs and find her the best placement possible. I still have no idea where they will place her. Ideally, they only want to do it once - it an assisted living place where Dad can join her when he gets back. However, placements are very few. They may have to place her in adult foster care until they find an apartment.

 

Mom is calling this experience 'her own prison'...though she hasn't come out and said "It's your job to take care of me", she has certainly implied it. There's no amount of logic or truth that will help explain that my mom's health status is largely her own doing. She was informed 35 years ago that she was diabetic and encouraged multiple times over the years to start oral meds - both for glucose and blood pressure. She made the choice not to and it is now affecting her health greater than she ever thought possible.

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She made the choice not to ....

 

Their choices....

 

It was so hard for me to accept that fact. They made the choices to, do or not do, this or that. It is a burden I carry while dealing with my family, because I am a type of person that wishes they did not have to deal with the consequences of their choices, even tho I know my wish is futile.

 

 

 

 

((((((((C4C)))))))))

 

Still :pray: May God continue to bless you and give you strength.

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One of the first things I did was to arrange that Dad have a Bible. I had to order a new one from Amazon and have it sent - he has had a lot of time to read. Then, so he could talk to my mom, I had to arrange minutes on an inmate account so he could call long distance (remember he's a state away). The Guardian will add minutes as she can, but it may not happen often. And finally, I paid the $20 ticket left on my dad's truck because should it be left unchecked, it will triple and upon getting out of prison, he could be sent back in for non-payment. I thought - it's $20 - why not just take care of it? After all, I would want someone to do the same for me.

 

I was asked by the Guardian to limit my time over there - and after the couple of incidents with waste, I had to. I'm a tough cookie, but it was more psychologically difficult than I thought it would be. And the Guardian was right - it gives the caregivers a chance to truly assess her needs and find her the best placement possible. I still have no idea where they will place her. Ideally, they only want to do it once - it an assisted living place where Dad can join her when he gets back. However, placements are very few. They may have to place her in adult foster care until they find an apartment.

 

Mom is calling this experience 'her own prison'...though she hasn't come out and said "It's your job to take care of me", she has certainly implied it. There's no amount of logic or truth that will help explain that my mom's health status is largely her own doing. She was informed 35 years ago that she was diabetic and encouraged multiple times over the years to start oral meds - both for glucose and blood pressure. She made the choice not to and it is now affecting her health greater than she ever thought possible.

Are you saying she has lived with diabetes for 35 years without any medication for it or am I misunderstanding this?

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Daylily- Yes. My mother became gestationally diabetic with my younger sister in the 70's. It never went away and turned into type II Diabetes. Doctors now know that this is quite typical in many women, particularly those who have genetic predisposition and lean toward the larger sizes. She should have been taking oral or injectable meds for most of my life. Up unitl the past 6 or 7 years, she had not been treating her diabetes. Her reason? Pfft - The doctors don't know anything and God had healed her.

 

I do know this for fact by reading her medical records. It was recommended a number of times that she try various meds - and scrips were written - they were not expensive meds, she just didn't want to take them. The doctors said "modify your diet and exercise" she chose not to.

 

Sadly, she broke her hip about 7 or so years ago and couldn't feel a thing. Re-broke it, then it began to hurt. Finally went into the hospital 3 MONTHS LATER and required surgery. They couldn't do surgery immedately because her glucose was around 700. It took 4 days to titrate her down to a safe level. She did have hip surgery, then a couple of months later had cataract surgery (she was 58) and there they discovered glaucoma so severe it couldn't be treated. The past 6 years she's had no more than 20% sight.

 

SO, YES. She knew, she made a choice, and now this choice is biting her in the rear. She is also still under the illusion that God will miraculously heal her. She does aquiesce to take meds now, but only because without them, she is sicker - that and the state health providers have said "We will not service you if you don't take your meds."

 

And this, my friends, is what is driving me to exercise and drop weight (not that I am morbidly obese, but I am a curvy girl). I am painfully aware of my medical and genetic predispositions. However, if there is anything in my power to NOT become my mom, I am doing it. Hence, why most morinings, I'm at the gym. ;) I do know that diabetes and perhaps other health issues may well catch up with me at some point, but at that time, I will know that I will have done everything in my power to keep it at bay - I will own them. They will never own me.

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What you say, C4C is so true. I have very high blood pressure (genetic) and it took the threat of stroke, kidney failure and blindness to get me to take my meds ALL the time. I have no aversion to taking them but when you don't hurt, it's too easy to forget about them. High blood pressure = the silent killer.

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My goodness, it sounds like she had her head in the sand for sure! It's frustrating, I know. I dealt with this with my dad and his heart disease. He ate what he wanted and rarely moved out of his recliner until he got so weak he couldn't. I loved him dearly but sometimes I just wanted to open his head and pour in the information and the change of attitude.

 

I'm going to buy this doctor's book. I've heard him lecture and he is awesome. http://dryoungberg.com/

 

My grandmother and both my parents had/have diabetes. Mom is still living. I've been careful all my life, never eating sugary foods, refined foods, etc. I've never been overweight but a few years ago I had a Candida rash that would not go away despite several rounds of antifungal treatment.

 

After Daddy died, I had his blood glucose meter and testing strips so I tested my blood sugar just to see what it was. It was over 200! The doctor said the high blood sugar could exacerbate the Candida or the Candida could be messing with my pancreas or some of both. Stress can also bring on diabetes. I stopped eating bread (and I was only eating homemade whole grain breads) and ate lots of salads with no dressing for supper. I either walked or weeded flower beds for 30 minutes after each meal. I lost 8 pounds, down to 110 and got the blood sugar under control. The Candida rash went away! Now my blood sugar is fine except in the winter when I can't or don't work as hard outside. I can eat more and also more bread, etc. in the summer when I'm working outside several hours a day but have to eat less in the winter.

 

Stress raises it and also smelling petroleum products and other chemicals. I know if DH has been using contact cement or painting, etc. my blood sugar will be higher when I take it. I don't have a diagnosis of diabetes because my fasting blood sugar has always been normal.

 

Dr. Youngberg taught me a lot about diabetes that I have never heard before so I want his book to have all the information right at hand!

 

Wanted to add that my Vitamin D levels were low also. I've been taking GTF Chromium 400 mgs per day and 4000 units of Vitamin D per day. I had a lot of joint and muscle aches and pains and cramping in my feet that went away within two weeks of starting the Vitamin D. My Vit, D level was 32 which is supposedly on the low side of normal but the doctor told me he wanted to see it at least 50. I stopped the D last summer because I'm outside so much and it went down to 23 so I started taking it again.

Edited by Daylily
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