Sunday, May 24, 2015

This Is Where We Are

My mom had an accident on Thursday.  She's not hurt.  Her car is totaled.

This is her third accident in about 18 months.

The worst part is she didn't really know why she was where she was when the accident happened.  She was supposed to be driving home from D13's sixth grade graduation.  Somehow she ended up on the other side of town.

She gets lost several times a month and calls me for directions.

It's time to stop driving and she is fighting me.  She can't admit that she was lost and confused and was in the wrong place. She can't say why she was there.

Friday morning J48 and I went to the body shop and cleaned out her car.  Then we stopped by her house and told her about the car.

Even though I had told her several times Thursday that I didn't think she should drive anymore I still had to have the conversation with her again.  There was a bit of wailing and drama.  She cried "No!", covered her face with her hands,  flailed her body onto the couch and cried.

I just waited.  Over the past couple of years I've witnessed several of these outbursts.  To be completely honest with you, they make me mad.  It's so childish.

But that's what she's becoming.  A child.

She can't see it and that is possibly the most frustrating part.

She can't pay her bills.  She can't really find her way around town.  She doesn't remember conversations.  When I make a list it's very clear in which direction we are headed.

This is the accident you hear about.  The accident that pushes you into the next step of caregiving.  Taking the car.  Getting a referral to a neurologist.  Setting up appointments to visit assisted living.

She's not going down easy.  She is whiny and petulant and angry with me.

Every step needed in this process is not one she wants to take.  Everything is going to be my fault.

I feel very alone.  Her cousin in Michigan is telling her to "not give up without a fight."

Her cousin in Michigan has no idea.

Today I'll go to her house and we'll have the same conversations.  Will I let her get a car? She's not as bad as I say she is.  She doesn't want to move.  She can't live in that house without a car.  She has been independent for 40 years.  She can't depend on other people.

I will try very hard not to be impatient or mean.  I will try very hard not to reason with with her.  Because I can't.  There is no reasoning with her.

All my life she wanted me to be the adult and she the child.  She wanted me to make decisions for her and then would blame me for the decision -- even if I hadn't made it.

Now I am making the decisions and she is blaming me.  For her aging.  For the deterioration of her mind.  For trying to keep her safe.  For trying to keep others safe.

Am I doing the right thing?  Taking her car away?  I don't know.  Yes.  It doesn't seem possible, but yes.

This is where we are now. Whether she can see it or not.

This is where we are.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Caregiver, Part One of Infinity

I'm becoming my mom's caregiver.  I've known for a long time and yet it is still sinking in.  I'm moving through the stages of grief and seem to be somewhere between depression/sadness and acceptance.
Last week she almost turned over her six figure retirement account to a couple of insurance shysters.  It it is the most horrifying thing that has happened so far.   It's a long story and I won't go into every detail.  She told me about it on the evening of the 13th and I freaked out.  We immediately googled them and saw they had been sued for fraudulent behavior against the elderly.  There were quite a few reviews from people who had been ripped off.  It was terrible.

It took me last weekend to convince her that it was a huge mistake.  I camped out at her house until they showed up Tuesday morning with the transfer papers -- they wouldn't make an appointment.

I kicked them out and surprised everyone in the family, including myself, how tough I was with them.

I'm still sick from the whole thing.  I can't believe people do that for a living.  They knew all the tricks of the trade.  They had her convinced she was going to get this huge bonus and earn a completely unrealistic interest.

You hear about this happening but to experience it.  If I hadn't camped out over there she probably would have signed the papers.

It ended by me demanding they never contact her again, getting all papers with her information (she had given them her social security number and account info) and following that up with a notarized letter demanding they destroy everything.

Last night she talked to me about meeting some friends this summer at a convention in San Antonio.  I'm actually working that convention and she wanted to stay with me.  Which I shot down because J16 may be coming and staying with me.

The thing is I know there is no way she can manage it.  She just can't.  She can't handle the airport alone or getting from the airport to the hotel and then getting around.  Not unless her friends are with her every moment.

She tells me she's not as bad as I think she is.  Even though last week driving home from a friend's house she drove an hour out of her way before she figured out she had been on the highway for much to long.

It is just sad.  It is heartbreaking.  I don't know how to handle it and yet I'm handling it.  I don't know what to do but I'm doing something.    I'm managing more and more and more.

Last night was the saddest thing for me so far.  Shooting down every argument she had about why she should go to San Antonio. Hearing the frustration and anger and sulking tone and having to stand strong.

This afternoon, like every Sunday, I'm headed over  to her house.  We have to finish up her taxes, go through some legal documents, and pay some bills. I have so much to do over there.  Taking care of her could be  part time job if I had the time.

In the next few weeks -- once the legal items and taxes are taken care of and we get home from spring break -- I will get serious about planning the next stage of her life.  I don't know what that's going to be.  All the options are hard.

All the options are hard.