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Old 11-01-13, 03:29 AM
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Awful year. I'm back.

So, in the last *several* months... I've had the most awful year. Note, I'm two large glasses of wine in so apologies if this isn't coherent. I've been putting off updating here but I feel like I need to because I consider myself among friends here and I can't keep shut up forever.

You may recall the murder of my very sweet Aunt and Uncle. Since I posted about that I've come to learn more details, was out in WI a couple weeks ago but the trial was postponed due to the severe mental illness of the accused. My cousin and her husband and me and my wife made the most of it but we also had to start to empty the house which was so hard for her. Not easy for me. I'd never visited them there, and had planned to. We talked about it two years ago. So being there with them gone in such a horrible way was just tragic. I don't usually process emotions on the spot or on the surface... it usually goes deep and bubbles up over the ensuing weeks.

Also, in June I got a call from mom saying "I just can't keep going anymore". Mom has Parkinson's Disease. Dad died in 2010. She's been living alone with some visiting helpers a few hours a day. She's been declining rather rapidly in the last few years. The plan was to move her up here, but she's spent 2 years "sorting" through belongings and papers and whatnot. I could spend an hour ranting about my resentment about how important it was to sort versus getting up to where I live before things got really bad.

It's difficult to describe exactly how difficult it has been or all the challenges we've had to battle. But here's a go: I get down there to help with "a few things" which turns into two weeks of me doing the best I can to figure out what she needs help her with it, deal with a handful of tasks, finish getting things ready for her to--without any planning or warning--move up to where I live. I get it all together, I drive a SUV-load of stuff back home. A week later I fly down, fly her back up. I though that was going to be intensely hard due to her weakness, low stamina, etc. It was hard. Yet the easiest thing in the last three months.

We arrive, move her in, get her situated. I stay with her the first few nights. Buzzer system to call helpers is totally f'ed. Doesn't work. They just changed it over and there's myriad problems. She can't get help when she needs it. She's calling me all the time. I have to stop work, drive over, deal with it. A few days later she has a horrible stomach bug while I'm over at night, stuff coming out both ends. She is dehydrating. I wake up at 4am to find her nearly choking on her own vomit. I have to push her over to the puke bucket. Call nurse. She suggest hospitalization before it gets worse. The ambulance gets there about 5, 5:30. I follow in a zombie state to the hospital.

Mom's in the hospital having all kinds of fear and uncertainty. She's blind nearly deaf, and with PD. Meanwhile my wife and I both got sick with the same bug. I am getting my *** kicked like Mike Tyson vs. Gilligan. Can barely hold it together the first day of her being in the hospital. I go down to drive home. Car battery is dead. By this point I just say f-it, and sleep for a half hour in the car because I don't even have the energy or gumption to try and go back up to the hospital. I wake up, get back upstairs, go home. Later on mom wants me to stay. I'm so out of it, can't even stand up or sit up. I have no business staying. Must enforce boundaries, but I can't.

I'm now laid out flat for several days. Wife is sick too but not as bad. Mom is in the hospital for a week. Finally she gets out. But... she is sent to rehab which at first sounds awful but turns out to be good.

However, the daily "you have to come over" and "I can't talk about what's wrong you just have to come over" continues. Problems with this and that. One of the workers supposedly says something awful to her. But she can't hear and she's been so isolated all her life she has no idea how to read people or how to interact normally. So who knows. It's a big fiasco, I get with the heads of the place, we sort it out. Oh, should I be working during the day? naww....

A week in she tells me "I want out of this place" so I get started coordinating her too-early release with assisted living, with the rehab place, etc. She's about two weeks early but she just can't keep doing it. Um, ok.

A few days and a talk with the PTist convinces her to give it a bit longer. She ends up staying 3 weeks and is in amazing shape. Stronger. More alert. Happy. Laughing. Wow. Finally things are starting to look up.

Then we get her back. She continues to lounge in her chair, hardly getting up, the panick attacks from a month ago when she called me are back. So we visit the doctor she saw while in rehab and we get a powerful anti-anxiety drug, benzodiazepine family, and I have to go to a conference for a week. She doesn't tell my wife how bad it is, so a week later she's been a zombie, totally out of it. Motor control problems, cognitive problems, heavy sedation, can't wake up, hardly eaten, etc.

You know--there's more to this, you know, the experience and the issues and the day to day and the emotion that I can't convey but all I can say is all this is f'ing hard as hell to deal with and it's really tearing me up.

Anyway, I'm able to get the meds stopped and back on xanax... talked to the dr about it as soon as I could. Got things squared away. Except a week later they are putting her back on it because they say they never got a dr order to cease. So I get that sorted out (the second time) and now here we are after struggling day in and day out with all this massive emotion and stress since June with mom being miserable, compounded by her inability to assert herself, ask questions, remember anything important to tell medical professionals, inability to interact normally with caregivers, numerous calls "come over, but I can't tell you what's wrong". She's been miserable. I've been miserable. This whole thing has been sucking beyond belief.

I have been at times wondering if it will ever get better. It has a little, but it's really slow going. I've been severely depressed seeing how much my mom is suffering and how bad off she is. It's been just absolute hell.

Meanwhile the whack job that killed my aunt and uncle is in a mental institution, yet another example of how mental healthcare has failed abysmally in this country. Probably he will plead innocent by reason of mental disease or defect and get sent to a mental institution for the rest of his life. He is the worst prisoner anyone in the area has ever seen. So bad that two career jailers have quit because of his abuse. He even managed, with his bare hands, to destroy an "indestructable" prison mattress. You can imagine what he did to my aunt and uncle. What I've learned in the last few weeks ... I wished I hadn't. And I don't even know everything.

On top of all this there's the whole job thing... bored, dissatisfied, waiting for my next screw up that will destroy my year's work at turning around my boss' opinion of me, in hopes of a better review. Resentment at being passed over for so many things. Frustration beyond belief at my dichotomy of average-me sabotaging smart-me. I'm coming to my wit's end at times. I am plowing through. There's no giving up. But good heavens it is hard hiking here.
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Old 11-01-13, 09:41 AM
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Re: Awful year. I'm back.

No time to read but (((((Hugs)))))
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Old 11-01-13, 10:48 AM
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Re: Awful year. I'm back.

Hi there! I remember you.

I so feel your pain with aging parents. You need to take care of you first. I think there's some phrase about first putting your own oxygen mask on and then helping others. You can't afford to lose your job so your physical health has to take front seat.

I know your mom is frightened and wants you there pretty much 24/7 but she can't be expected to make reasonable decisions anymore and that means you have to.

Watching my mother and father age, and in my fathers case die has given me a new perspective on how to behave when I'm older and not drive my kids round the bend or over tax them.

It sounds like you haven't even had the opportunity to feel your mother is in a safe enough place. I think a talk with the management of the care home is in order. Once you can assure her safety then you need to prioritise and that's making some hard decisions to give yourself enough sleep, time for yourself and work and taking care of mom. These things are all essential so you don't have a whole lot of wiggle room.

Be good to yourself!!!!
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Old 11-01-13, 11:00 AM
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Re: Awful year. I'm back.

I'm so sorry you and your wife are going through all of this!

What can be said? This is a hard situation. You are a good son, a good husband and a good cousin.

Just do the best that you can in each situation. Your best is enough!

Take your wife on a date and hug her. She will hug you back and love on you.
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Old 11-01-13, 12:37 PM
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Re: Awful year. I'm back.



I can't imagine having to deal with half of what you are... you are doing SO well to still be standing and not having a total meltdown
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Old 11-01-13, 07:13 PM
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Re: Awful year. I'm back.

Sorry to see your going through all this
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Old 11-01-13, 11:59 PM
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Re: Awful year. I'm back.

thanks all!

Sorry for the massive wall of text. It's ok if you don't read it. I was just going all cathartic stream-of-consciousness.

So today I met and went to lunch with someone who shares some common interests with me and had a great time at a great restaurant. Really surprising how much it lifted my mood. Will be doing more of that.
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