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Any of you graying ILXors dealing with this? I am the sibling living closest to my 87 year old mother so I spend part of almost every day running errands with or for her and also taking her to doctor appointments. I have to keep track of all her medical issues because she can't remember anything. Not Alzheimer's—just severe short-term memory losses. My sister and I convinced her not to drive, which she resents mightily on account of being in complete denial about all her aging issues (Hearing loss, poor vision, the memory thing, heart condition, late-onset asthma). I'd love to play along with the "I'm fine" delusion, but not if it means letting her drive! I would have to live with the guilt if she hurt someone!
She also insists that she is capable of traveling alone on a bus, and believe me, she is not! I have been to the ER with her too many times for one reason or another. No way am I sending her off on a bus! When she goes to visit relatives we line up a driver, or drive her ourselves.
The whole thing has me mildly depressed.

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Monday, 21 August 2006 17:44 (twelve years ago) link

Any of you graying ILXors dealing with this?

It's a ways yet for me -- my folks are in their sixties and in good health still. But my dad is starting to slow down a touch -- kinda good that he's retired, officially -- and more than once I've wondered a bit about what the not-so-far-away-now future will mean.

Certainly I salute your patience with this all -- I'm not sure how I would react.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 21 August 2006 17:52 (twelve years ago) link

But I'm not patient at all! That's the problem. It's hard to convince myself that her behavior isn't deliberate cussedness, because she has a cussed streak! But her brain is obviously changing.

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Monday, 21 August 2006 17:56 (twelve years ago) link

Had to deal with this with my mother in law some, recently. Gave me a preview of how it might be with my own parents, and it was absolutely fucking exhausting. She's not intentionally cussed, but stubborn nonetheless.

The patience is key, but it's really hard to keep it up. Can other siblings/capable family members come to visit to spell you for a bit?

patita (patita), Monday, 21 August 2006 18:43 (twelve years ago) link

Any of you graying ILXors dealing with this?

If by 'graying', you mean 'balding', then yes, to some extent I am such a one.

At the moment the brunt of the responsibility has fallen to an older sister who lives much closer to my 81 year old mother than myself or my other siblings. She takes on the 'dutiful child' role, while the rest of us come in and put in a burst of assistance whenever the tide of troubles rises above a certain level, so my sister doesn't burn out.

My father died two years ago. During his last year and during the year immediately following his death, I drove the 75 mile round trip to see the two of them (later, just my mother) very often. There was so much that needed tending to.

My father, too, suffered from severe short term memory loss toward the end of his life, reducing him to a small shadow of the man he had been - because he became literally unable to encompass any activity that could not be completed within the two minutes or so that he was able to form and hold a single thought. He, too, was inclined to minimize or dismiss the severity of his problems. I finally realized that he understood very well the extent of his diminished capacity, but facing it was too great a threat to his sense of worth and happiness. Denial was how he held depression at bay.

Now that he has passed on, my mother has grasped the nettle of losing her companion and mainstay of 57 years with surprising firmness. I spent 8 months visiting her almost weekly during that transition. It helped a lot, I think, to have family members to talk to and grieve with, and help her form plans and carry them out.

I wish both you and your mother the best, but, as you no doubt know in your bones, even the best possible outcomes available to you and her are still damned difficult to embrace. The cost of love can be pretty steep sometimes, and the bills fall due with increasing frequency at this time. Good luck.

Aimless (Aimless), Monday, 21 August 2006 19:10 (twelve years ago) link

I'm dealing with this with my grandparents and (sooner or later) my parents.

I just moved all of my (paternal) grandfather's stuff in with his, uh, 'friend' because he couldn't afford his truck payment and townhome rent and medicines and everything else at once. And since he's still part of the family cosntruction business I spend much of my day ensuring that he isn't overworking (or just screwing things up - he gets frustrated easily that his muscles and joints don't work like they used to).

My grandmother (maternal) has Alzheimer's (early-mid stage), and drove me kind of nuts before it was full-blown. Neither of my uncles, none of my ten cousins and my brother don't do shit. Anything not handled by my parents falls directly to me. The extent of the agonies here (some her fault, some not, mostly involving my useless uncles and their brood) is too long to list.

With both I'm always on-call to fix something or help out or figure out why the TV isn't working or why this bill didn't get paid. I can't say no, even when I want to, and the occasional feeling of being put-upon hasn't helped my relationship with my grandmother. (And, theoretically, I'd like to move north when my finances are sorted and my degree is finished - but I can't knowing that I'd leave anyone in the lurch.)

Only 20 years 'til my parents are in their late-70s...

milo z (mlp), Monday, 21 August 2006 19:22 (twelve years ago) link

Yes, although my particular issues are different. My father has had one major stroke and probably innumerable little ones. The first one forced him to retire. Although, in the grand scale of things, he recovered, he definitely has problems remembering things (e.g., the Rolling Stones came out as "the one with the lips" after about five minutes) and isn't too steady on his feet. He's been in three car accidents in the last two years -- not hurt, but totalled two cars. A certain degree of bad luck, but the end result of it all is that he doesn't really leave the house, so he mostly just lays on the couch, watches television, and is grumpy and depressed. Thankfully, my mother's in pretty good health. But none of us really have any idea how to deal with the situation, and it falls to me to say "no" and/or make any "unpleasant" decisions. Meanwhile the two of them of managed to complete bungle their finances: they are possibly the only household in America who have managed avoid ANY capital appreciation on their real estate over the last 20 years (although they have done a wonderful job accumulating credit card debt). Sigh. I am already worried enough about my own finances, but it has now become apparent that I am unlikely to ever own my own home, as any extra money I have will be needed to keep them afloat.

i'll mitya halfway (mitya), Monday, 21 August 2006 20:17 (twelve years ago) link

My parents are both in their late 50s, so not really aging as such, though my mother has a sort of rare foot problem, which affects nerve endings in her feet, and the implications of this and the way she has dealt with it thus far have caused considerable strain in the family.

It's a tricky situation as for whatever reason, mostly a weird sort of shame or embarassment, she is loathe to talk about her problems with my Dad or myself, or anyone really, my sister whom she is very close to can sometimes get a little discussion about it.

It's terrible because she grieves for her feet as things worsen, quite slowly, though the condition may one day lead to her being in a wheelchair. She grieves yet she never seems to get past the denial stage, she can't accept or discuss the problem.

So she will often cry kind of uncontrollably, it's awful to hear, but worse is that she won't allow you to help or even talk, my Dad sometimes just says to me "I have no idea what to do", which is also quite weird, it all feels kind of dysfunctional.

So I relate to the "denial" thing you mention Beth, my mother is much younger and this is a problem. I can only imagine what she'd think if she knew I was discussing this on a messageboard...I just wish I had some productive advice rather than just empathy...

Ronan (Ronan), Monday, 21 August 2006 20:31 (twelve years ago) link

Empathy is just the ticket, thank you all. I don't think there are any easy solutions. People say "you have to hire someone," but that would entail such a huge loss-of-face for my mother. Suddenly she'd be this person for whom people have to be hired. I'd like to put that off as long as I can. Which means extra strain on my nerves, but I have to feel like I'm doing right by her, as long as it doesn't turn me into a total bitch. Which it could do. When I'm the slightest bit sharp with her she'll say "don't get mad at me all the time," which is manipulative crap because I DON'T get mad at her all the time. But she loves the sacharrine niceness of hospital nurses. She wants that from everyone, all the time, and sorry, I just can't do it.
Yikes, Ronan. Your poor mom! But maybe it's good that she's weeping like that. Sounds like a little window of non-denial.

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Monday, 21 August 2006 23:43 (twelve years ago) link

Argh, that pride and independence is hard to deal with. It had my grandmother living alone until she was 102, and my mother, aunt and uncle running around at her beck and call constantly for 8-10 years before that.

Good luck Beth, and everyone else posting here. I've been really lucky so far, but the day isn't far off -- my mother will be 74 next month and my dad is 77. But my dad, Jesus, he heals quicker than Wolverine. He planted his garden this year, went in for quintuple bypass surgery, and was recovered enough to bring in the harvest himself.

Danny Aioli (Rock Hardy), Monday, 21 August 2006 23:58 (twelve years ago) link

I've told you before and I'll tell you again, Rock Hardy. You come from excellent stock!

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:04 (twelve years ago) link

My father's 77, suffers from dementia and psychoses due to alcoholism which the psychiatrists think was in part due to early onset alzheimers as well as his being extremely depressed. He's in a home, a wreck of a man and his family barely talk to him and none of his old friends come near thanks to the treatment he metted out to everyone. My mum watches out for him and takes care of him. It's quite horrible, he doesn't recognise me.
I'm just saying I hope you appreciate good people in ill health as well as good health. It's a massive burden and can be very upsetting. My eldest brother refuses to aknowledge my father's situation in anyway which is horribly awkward because he's the legal next of kin. (Which is another thing to be wary of when you have to take care of your parents, your status in law). Don't be ashamed to look for help if you can. But if you do make sure that they're treated well, homes and nurses aren't necessarily good, abuse of the elderly is more common than is often aknowledged and pretty horrible.
Anyways I hope all your parents always have plenty to smile about whatever their troubles.

Major Alfonso (Major Alfonso), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:14 (twelve years ago) link

xpost --
I think about death a lot, but haphazardly -- impressionistically, I guess -- because I haven't had to face it up close. I don't really want to live as long as my grandmother. There was a big reunion of my father's clan a couple of years ago and just by chance, a couple of days earlier there had been a story about an 80-year-old guy who played golf with his buddies and had died of a heart attack right after finishing. I was telling one of my aunts about this, and how awesome it was. "That's how I want to go, 80 good years, then lay down for a nap and drift away." My aunt was a bit pissed off at this. "I'm 80 years old, do you think it's time for me to lay down and die?" Holy fuck, ultimate foot in mouth.

Danny Aioli (Rock Hardy), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:17 (twelve years ago) link


Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:19 (twelve years ago) link

I blame my dad's wine.

Danny Aioli (Rock Hardy), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:25 (twelve years ago) link

If wine was the key to longevity we'd be a family of the undead!
My parents used to get mailings from the Hemlock Society, but when it came right down to it, my father couldn't do it. He had Alzheimers, too, so if there was ever a case for offing yourself... I think in a case like that you just have to pick a day to do it and stick to your plan. My father was a terrible difficult person—I wrote upthread about the difficulty in believing that my mother's dotty behavior isn't deliberate—somehow manipulative. With my father it was the same, if not more so. Even though I knew his brain was being turned into a rotten hunk of plaque I still felt like the resulting behavior was just more of the same shit we'd been putting up with our whole lives.

The child unable to believe that the parent has lost power?

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:31 (twelve years ago) link

terribLY difficult. Sheesh!

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:34 (twelve years ago) link

haaa, no, I blame my dad's wine for being thoughtless enough to tell some old people I wanted to die when I got their age. (Which is not exactly what I was saying, but I'm sure it sounded like that.)

Danny Aioli (Rock Hardy), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:51 (twelve years ago) link

Too bad you didn't say quickly enough, "Oh, I figure I'd have to live at least to 90 in order to get in that many good years!"

Aimless (Aimless), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 01:09 (twelve years ago) link

Good one!

My mother (89) has had alzheimers for about 8 years. Her body has served her well, but her brain slowly went to bits shortly after my stepfather died. Unable to manage her house anymore, my brother and I moved her to an independent living center that guaranteed access to its nursing home if and when the time came. It came about two years after the move. I live 3 hours away, but my brother lives within walking distance and visits her several times a week and we included her in family events until about a year ago when she just became unable to feel comfortable outside of her nursing home environment.

She's now almost totally deaf and has never used a hearing aid which makes any serious communication impossible. I visited last week and found her doing a crossword puzzle. We did the puzzle together for a while, but her mind kept drifting all over the place.

My wife's father (82) has Parkinson's and fell down the stairs recently. Compression fractures of three vertebrae was the diagnosis. Surgeons injected some kind of cement in his spine and he was getting about with a walker after only a few days. My wife plans to care for him in his home in the near future. He suffers from dimentia, too, but is on so many meds that I think that may be a contributing factor. This guy was an infantryman in world war II, a radio and tv personality and has had a very good life. He is loved by many people and has had countless visitors at the hospital. He is very frail now and has told me, and I'm sure others, that he knows his life is at the very end.

These are two of the coolest people that I have ever known, both with precious little time left. One knows it and one doesn't seem to. They are both receiving the best care available, but y'know sometimes that don't mean a thing. My thoughts are with all of you.

jim wentworth (wench), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 01:27 (twelve years ago) link

five years pass...

This. Heavy shit, huh?

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Monday, 20 August 2012 17:34 (six years ago) link


curmudgeon, Monday, 20 August 2012 18:31 (six years ago) link

In darker moments, I look at my folks now (esp. my Pa who is 75 this week) and feel like the wave of their good years is just on the cusp of breaking. Not really ready for it, not at all.

that mustardless plate (Bill A), Monday, 20 August 2012 18:44 (six years ago) link

My mothers good years are most definitely past. This has become very evident as she's staying with me for a couple days and it's totally heart breaking. Also, there's some memory loss/disorientation stuff happening that's scaring the crap out of me.

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Monday, 20 August 2012 18:54 (six years ago) link

so heavy i can't really talk about it

these albatrosses have no fear of man (La Lechera), Monday, 20 August 2012 19:00 (six years ago) link

Yeah. I started trying to talk about it with someone at work and couldn't really hold myself together. This is really tough. :/

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Monday, 20 August 2012 23:12 (six years ago) link

Good luck Erica... luckily my parents are still mostly 'together' and my dad's problems are a result of his alcoholism rather than real mental deterioration, but it's still awful to have to deal with this stuff.

one dis leads to another (ian), Monday, 20 August 2012 23:31 (six years ago) link

yeah i'm going through this too. all the best, E x

jed_, Monday, 20 August 2012 23:36 (six years ago) link

and everyone else :/

jed_, Monday, 20 August 2012 23:36 (six years ago) link

This took up took up over 10 years of my life (from 1994 - 2008 in fact). Both my parents got ill in their early to mid-seventies, and both had dementia and a pretty terrible end in a nursing home in their late seventies.

I spend most of this period visiting at weekends, and other times - and in that rather mad space where you seem cut off from the concerns of normal life, unable to relax for a minute, and living a kind of nightmare existence that no-one else around you realises. (Nothing like the horrific life of a full-time career - but bad enough).

The only thing you can say about it is that it passes, and you realise that what felt like an endless enduring period was in the end just another temporary era.

Bob Six, Monday, 20 August 2012 23:43 (six years ago) link

Siblings help -- if you're lucky.

a regina spektor is haunting europe (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 20 August 2012 23:46 (six years ago) link

I'm an only child. This is the only time I've ever wished I had siblings tbh.

Thanks, guys. Things are OK and we had a really nice evening. She's staying with me until she flys back to FL on Wed. Ian - alcoholism is a factor here too in addition to a lot of other things. I guess I just really feel for my dad and am really saddened by realizing that it's only going to get worse from here and I'm afraid it's going to do so pretty quickly.

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 00:10 (six years ago) link

I feel for you, ENBB. I'm an only child too; my mom's 84 this year but still drives, takes care of her own stuff, is still sharp as ever (dad died in 2000). But I dread so deeply the coming of the signs. I can't even model it in my mind. Hugs.

Lewis Apparition (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 00:37 (six years ago) link

my mom's 84 this year but still drives, takes care of her own stuff, is still sharp as ever

That's fantastic, good for her! Mine is 74 this year but she's an old 74 and hasn't driven in at least 5 years. Anyway, like I said, we had a lovely day today. It's just a really difficult process to watch and I worry about what will happen down the line.

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 00:53 (six years ago) link

pullin for you E - us only children gotta stick together. this terrifies me too - and is a big part of what motivates me to do what I do now - but hopefully there will be a good, long time before anything really happens.

jack chick-fil-A (dayo), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 00:58 (six years ago) link

You know you have my support as another only, but I'm too much of a weakling to talk about this stuff
In earnest
In public
Beyond this

But you know where to find me offboard if you wanna talk!!

these albatrosses have no fear of man (La Lechera), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 01:57 (six years ago) link

i will say that my mom is pretty damn sharp in mind, but whenever i visit, i insist on driving EVERYWHERE. her driving scares the bejesus out of me, don't understand how she hasn't had her license taken away. and it only gets worse as she gets older.

for reasons of sass (the table is the table), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 05:28 (six years ago) link

yeah driving is often the "tipping point" of aging parents decline. really hard to give up.

my heart goes out to enbb,la lechera, ian and everybody facing this. all my middle-aged friends have ailing/aging parents right now, you guys are confronting it early like i did. these days my father in law is essentially dying, i was going to post this on the fuck cancer thread but it fits here too. he's 84, until a couple years ago was robust mentally and physically, the picture of how you'd hope to age. so it's shocking to see his rapid decline not just bodily but he's become very confused and withdrawn, barely a shell of his former self. chemotherapy is keeping him alive but at what cost? we just had our annual visit and my wife, her mom (who's a rock) and her two siblings are stressed out and struggling. not much else to say. but it's good to talk about it, in fact it's important for your - our - own mental health to let it out.

(REAL NAME) (m coleman), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 09:39 (six years ago) link

My dad had the driving decision taken out of his hands as he went blind in one eye at the start of the year, but he was getting to be quite a dangerous driver before than (he's 80) so we're really quite glad about it.

ailsa, Tuesday, 21 August 2012 09:54 (six years ago) link

even though she knows she needs them, my mom refuses to get glasses because she thinks that they make her face look weird
she lives in fear of having her driver's license taken away from her because she is a very independent person and likes her alone time

these albatrosses have no fear of man (La Lechera), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:24 (six years ago) link

My mother-in-law has had quite serious dementia for the past six years or so. This started when she was in her early-to-mid 60s - one of the first events that really got us thinking that something was up was when she drove her car the wrong way round a large roundabout into oncoming traffic. At the moment she lives in a nursing home as is pretty much just a shell of her former self - she doesn't even know who her children are any more when they come to visit, but thankfully she does still appreciate the company which at least is one small positive that you can take away. Totally depressing though, so for anyone out there who is dealing with this right now, I can totally sympathise.

mod night at the oasis (NickB), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:35 (six years ago) link

My mom, turning 80 next month, has been fighting the decline, bless her. Joined the hospital wellness center, has been selling and giving away decades' worth of my dad's accumulated packratcrap, still gets out there and mows her own lawn, etc. Next week she, my daughter and probably my wife are heading off to Biloxi to the casinos. But the decline is there...bad knees, bad feet, diabetes... My sympathies to everyone having a tough go of it these days.

Romney's Kitchen Nightmares (WmC), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:45 (six years ago) link

My mum (68) has been dealing with my gran (88) for a long time; my gran has alzheimers. About six months ago she finally got her moved to a nursing home in the same town (200 miles from where my gran was before). Only now is she at the point where she can see any humour in the situation, which results in Facebook messages like this from my mum:

Today's visit to your gran!

G. (after a bit of mumbling and searching for words) Are you my daughter?

Me. Yes.

Gr. Are you really my daughter?

Me. Yes.

Gr. I can't remember. Am I your mother?

Me. Yes.

Gr. Where did we live?

So I started giving her a potted history of our life.

GR. How do you know you're my daughter?

A bit later on....

Gr, Haven't I got nice legs!

She thought it was quite funny that she couldn't remember things; seemed very happy and settled. The staff bore this out.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 14:11 (six years ago) link

three months pass...

My mom and grandma live together with mom's "girlfriend", and I moved to be closer to them and my terminally ill Dad (they were separated). Grandma is sharp as a tack and well into her 90s. Of course I love Grandma, but mom is making seeing Grandma a miserable experience.

Like I said elsewhere she is getting into that old people thing of being passive-aggressive. I know I called her a "fascist" I didn't mean it, it's that her emotional state is kind of fascist.

It's her stupid family. She wasn't raised by her own mother, she was raised by her abusive and creepy grandmother and aunt and it really shows in how she deals with stuff like death and adult responsibilities.

If anything difficult happens in her life - death or whatever - she just escapes mentally. Her mom's family had a lot of money and stuff was handled for her all her life!! She doesn't understand why other people don't have it as easy. Because of her family, she feels she has a lot of power and I can't ever suspect her of having mental problems EVER.

six months pass...

My mom gave up driving last month. Kinda shocked, but pleased that she came to the decision herself. She's 88 and is in reasonably good health for her age - despite the piles of crap that she's hoarded (ongoing issue for her entire life). Sister is gone for several weeks so I'm on mom duty... it's extra frustrating because her hearing is so bad that she leaves the televisions on with the sound maxed-out and she can't hear the phone.

Vexing problem of the moment... Her sense of time and calendar dates are slipping, so making plans becomes a comedy of errors ("stop by this week" *does so* "what are you doing here, I said to come by next week") ad infinitum ad nauseum

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 1 July 2013 23:40 (six years ago) link

wow, that sounds like a serious challenge. i'm sorry. i have this thread bookmarked and it popped up just as my parents arrived yesterday for their first visit in 3 years. they are aging. my mom is in great shape (in spite of some health issues this year) but my dad keeps looking and acting less like himself, which is thrown into stark relief when we look at old pictures together.


free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 14:15 (six years ago) link

I am going to visit my parents this weekend and I think that I'm actually going to have to ask them point blank what they want me to do for them if they ever get dementia or need care etc. My mom is in bad shape and her memory is already slipping and my biggest fear is that my dad dies first (though this is prob unlikely you never know) and I'm left to make decisions for/about her. I want to know now and while I know she's not going to want to talk about this I'm going to make them because I'm an only child and they have no other relatives here to help and I can't handle the stress and weight of this alone without knowing what they want.

Airwrecka Bliptrap Blapmantis (ENBB), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 14:19 (six years ago) link

Just to share my own personal woes on this thread --

My father nearly died last week; he collapsed on his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The ambulance came and got him to a hospital and it turned out he had two massive ulcers in his stomach and large intestine. This comes about 6 weeks after a surgery to biopsy a growth in his spinal cord.

Yesterday morning, recovering from the emergency surgery to stitch up the ulcers, he had a major heart attack and is in the hospital with a breathing tube, heavily sedated etc. On our way up to Rhode Island yesterday our van broke down on the Triboro Bridge -- shocks gave out and started to rub against the front tires, causing lots of burnt rubber smoke. We got it towed back to your neighborhood (luckily we weren't halfway through connecticut) and it's going to be repaired this afternoon, $800 later. I'm incredibly worried about my dad. The doctors are not sure how to treat him; they can't give him the usual blood thinners and medications because of the ulcers and recent surgery. I wish so badly I was there. And now I'm worried about the drive up, even though the car is getting fixed, I have a strong distrust of automobiles... Just don't know what to do. It's bad when my aunt is telling me to go straight to the hospital and bring his 'paperwork' (read: living will.)

So scared :\

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 17:06 (six years ago) link

I'm sorry to hear all of that.

Tottenham Heelspur (in orbit), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 17:37 (six years ago) link

me too. suerte, ian.

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 18:41 (six years ago) link

Wishing lots of strength to you Quincie. I've been through pretty similar circumstances and can totally relate to Dee's strange sense of relief. After losing my dad to a neuro-degenerative illness, I've been dealing for the last few years with my mom's long and painful cognitive decline. In both cases, the hardest part has been to remember my parents as their old lucid selves, and not let the sick years overshadow my perception of them.

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 14:57 (four months ago) link

That is a good thing to say, and as a parent I would want my kids to feel released if they were so selfless as to care for me as I declined. If it's not too glib, job done, enjoy knowing that you did your best.

Thank you ever so, MatthewK. I feel like that's a great unspoken thing amongst those of us who have lost a parent after being their primary caregiver because it seems so self-centered and uncouth, but... it's the truth.

It'll be two months in June since my mom died and I honestly don't know that I've really processed it. Her actual death was pretty traumatic and the 10 years proceeding it were horrific. I had some sort of breakdown lite last summer probably triggered in part by all this. I am sure I will process it all eventually but for now it's almost too heavy for me to really start doing so. My dad has a new ladyfriend who is completely terrible and hardly talks to me anymore so that's pretty weird and a whole other thing I don't know how to handle.

Two years is hardly enough time to get through the grief process, ENBB. The grief's still fresh, even if you had "ten 10 years proceeding it". It's going to complicate matters greatly that your father "has a new ladyfriend who is completely terrible", because it creates a wedge between you two when you need each other the most. Even though I pushed my mom to try to find a gentleman friend of her own a handful of years after my dad died, she never expressed any interest in that (she would say, "why would I want to raise another one?") and that actually helped us develop a closer relationship with each other, because we were on each other's side and were all each of us had in the world. It was very "you and me against the world" and that created a kinship that made the twelve years we spent together after Dad's death all the sweeter. I hope you can seek therapy and have some awesome friends to lean on for emotional support, and that your father eventually wakes up to reality, but as my therapist pointed out, you have to be ok with not having control over the actions of others. I'm sorry your situation's the way it is.

The Colour of Spring (deethelurker), Thursday, 11 April 2019 18:59 (four months ago) link

My father in law is sadly on his deathbed tonight. He has suffered from dementia for the past 5 years & been in a care facility these past 4 yrs. He had hip surgery last month but has also struggled with near constant UTI infections. he ended up in the ER with extreme sepsis & this afternoon they took him off life support, he’s now on oxygen & morphine to keep him comfortable. We all knew it was coming but it still destroys your heart to watch it.

A native Hawaian, college footballer for the UoP Tigers, geologist, jazz lover. This man was my surrogate dad when I moved to the US, between him & my mother in law i don’t think I would have weathered being so far from home. My first christmas in the US he gave me card containing a check for roundtrip airfare to Aus, with a note that says “if you were my daughter I would want you to come home as often as possible” (not even my mother in law knew that he planned it) Knocked me for a loop. Truly, no hyperbole, The most kind, loving, generous man I have ever known.

It seems like he is going to hang on for anothr day or so, but these next 48 hours are almost certainly to be our last with him.

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 13 April 2019 06:17 (four months ago) link

Imagine leaving this life so well remembered, what a gift. Hope you have good support VG.

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Saturday, 13 April 2019 06:36 (four months ago) link

My sincerest condolences to you, your husband, and your husband's family, VegemiteGrrrl.

The Colour of Spring (deethelurker), Saturday, 13 April 2019 15:24 (four months ago) link

Damn, VG, it's hard to say goodbye to wonderful people you love and care about. But it sounds like his race is run and it is time to cheer and love him to the finish line. Your story about him made me smile. Remember, that smile won't end when he does.

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 13 April 2019 17:47 (four months ago) link

i’m so sorry, vg. he sounds like a wonderful person (and father in law) and i’m sure you were a great joy and a gift to him as well. kia kaha<3

estela, Saturday, 13 April 2019 23:06 (four months ago) link

vg <3

fremme nette his simplicitte (darraghmac), Saturday, 13 April 2019 23:12 (four months ago) link

thanks everyone.

he is still barely holding on. there is talk of moving him back to his care facility to see out what remains of his hospice care. we shall see, i suppose.

he has been visited in the hospital here by a few of the facility caregivers which is very touching - gives truth to my feeling that anyone who has spent any time with him could not help but love him, at any stage of his life. and i love that my husband gets to see how loved his father is, by people who are strangers to us personally.

so we sit, humbled, waiting, with equal measures of love & sadness in our hearts.

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 14 April 2019 00:15 (four months ago) link

beautiful words, very inspiring. thank you and sending good vibes.

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Sunday, 14 April 2019 00:19 (four months ago) link

I loved reading about you father in law, VG, and wish for him a peaceful and comfortable journey.

My father’s funeral was today. Nice to see so many people with such kind things to say about him.

My parents would have been married 50 years in July.

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Sunday, 14 April 2019 05:27 (four months ago) link

<3 quincie

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 14 April 2019 06:50 (four months ago) link

I lost a parent late last year, i expect to lose the other this year or in 2020, and i lost a sibling last year as well
i haven't really processed my losses yet, i have too much going on in my family and career to truly step back
but i pray for you to navigate whatever you need to get by

velko, Sunday, 14 April 2019 07:17 (four months ago) link

Father in law passed this morning.

His cremated ashes will join my mother in law’s ashes & the ashes of their beloved pitbull Sam, and at some point they will be scattered together in Hawaii. <3 And we will arrange a memorial for all of the extended family to say their goodbyes - he wasn’t really a church guy.

It’s raining today & when I saw the grey sky this morning I just had a feeling it would be today.

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 15 April 2019 19:30 (four months ago) link

hugs vg, he sounds like an awesome guy

arli$$ and bible black (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 15 April 2019 19:41 (four months ago) link

thx -he really was

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 15 April 2019 19:42 (four months ago) link

Best indeed -- and what a lovely way to remember them all.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 15 April 2019 20:12 (four months ago) link

Love, vg

There's more Italy than necessary. (in orbit), Monday, 15 April 2019 21:03 (four months ago) link

love vg

fremme nette his simplicitte (darraghmac), Monday, 15 April 2019 21:13 (four months ago) link

Hugs and sympathy, VG

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Tuesday, 16 April 2019 00:04 (four months ago) link

so sorry vg. your remembrance here is touching.

call all destroyer, Tuesday, 16 April 2019 00:28 (four months ago) link

very sorry VG.... take care

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 16 April 2019 04:07 (four months ago) link

My mother passed away on 30th March. We had just transferred her to a care home here in Oxford from one in north London close to where she had lived: we thought she'd be happier down here and of course we could visit her more regularly. Sadly she was only in the new home a day and a half.

Cause of death was listed as "bronchopneumonia" although several people have hinted that this is what they put when they aren't sure of the real cause.

The funeral is today.

Grandpont Genie, Tuesday, 16 April 2019 07:59 (four months ago) link

Sorry for your loss, gg

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 16 April 2019 08:54 (four months ago) link

Thank you, ― xyzzzz__

Grandpont Genie, Tuesday, 16 April 2019 08:59 (four months ago) link

Very sorry to hear.

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Tuesday, 16 April 2019 11:32 (four months ago) link

Sorry for your loss VG <3

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 16 April 2019 16:35 (four months ago) link

I think this is wonderful:

Barthes quotes Proust’s letter to Georges de Lauris after his mother’s death: “Tell yourself this, too, for it is a kind of pleasure to know that you will never love less, that you will never be consoled, that you will constantly remember more and more.”

— Maja Lukić (@majalukic113) April 17, 2019

xyzzzz__, Monday, 22 April 2019 20:56 (three months ago) link

This interview posted on the Rapture thread in which the lead singer's gets quite deep into growing up with suicidal / neglectful parents, dealing with codependency and eventually getting through it, could maybe also be of interest to people here:

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Wednesday, 1 May 2019 18:54 (three months ago) link

four weeks pass...

I’m in Minnesota. I flew in this afternoon after my aunt let me know that my mom has been in such abdominal discomfort that she has not eaten in several days. She was waffling about hitting the senior alert button (she is 90 and lives independently and I mean *independently*).

I basically flew here to force her to call the medics. She acceded.

We have been in the ER less than two hours and they already know the issue - she had a stomach ulcer which sometime in the last few days has ruptured. They are taking her straight into surgery.

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 30 May 2019 01:52 (two months ago) link

Ugh, sorry to hear. Good work on following yr otm instincts and getting up there to intervene!

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Thursday, 30 May 2019 01:57 (two months ago) link

<3 jon

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 30 May 2019 02:13 (two months ago) link

Just as a cautionary note. Surgical anesthesia in the very elderly can lead to a prolonged period of hallucinations, paranoia, or confusion afterward. This happened to my mom at 92 and to my wife's aunt also. Neither fully recovered their mental abilities before they died. If it doesn't happen to your mom, be very glad.

A is for (Aimless), Thursday, 30 May 2019 02:20 (two months ago) link

Quincie otm about otm instincts. Take care of you while the docs take care of her <3
Compose a symphony while u wait?

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 30 May 2019 02:23 (two months ago) link

Ok so this is now too eventful and hard to explain so I am gonna copy and paste what I just emailed to the family:

Plot twist! We were taken to the pre-op area and the surgeon came to talk to us. After seeing mom in person, she re-examined the scans in detail as she was perplexed that someone with that internal situation could present so functionally and be able to get out of bed etc.

She said this is an unusual case where the scans plus her personal state indicate that the perforation has begun to be “walled off” or self-sealed by her body.

She recommended that we prove this out by keeping her in the hospital for a few days on no food (IV fluids obviously), then doing a contrast scan on Friday or so; if there is an actual perforation at that point the contrast will be visible outside her stomach. If not then we can conclude that her body is indeed healing it.

The other option is to do the surgery tonight and verify first hand the open or contained status of the perforation. At the age of 90 an abdominal incision a few inches long is a serious matter. So mom and I both agreed the no-food period followed by contrast scan was the right choice and the surgeon feels positive about it too.

And actually, just now the pre-op nurse was talking to me about how glad she is they don’t have to operate tonight and basically said exactly what Aimless just said about anesthesia - which I hadn’t even been thinking about, I was just worried about incision and infection and recovery etc.

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 30 May 2019 03:00 (two months ago) link

good luck to you and all of yours, Jon

quelle sprocket damage (sic), Thursday, 30 May 2019 04:36 (two months ago) link

Sorry to hear all this jon; hope it's cleared up soon and that your family gets back on track

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Thursday, 30 May 2019 06:09 (two months ago) link

Excellent - I can only second Aimless' point - I've seen this happens to both my parents who lost 50% of their mental acuity after anesthesia/artificial coma. In my dad's case, anesthesia (for a minor thing) sent his hitherto slow neuro-degenerative disease speeding down towards complete senility.

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Monday, 3 June 2019 10:29 (two months ago) link

Yeah my mom hallucinated smoking nurses and spiders in her room after one of many surgeries.

She died two years ago on Thursday and I still feel shellshocked. Tbh it was a pretty traumatic experience (as were the previous 10 years) but it just all still feels so weird and unreal.

Benson and the Jets (ENBB), Monday, 3 June 2019 10:51 (two months ago) link

Sorry to hear ENBB that. My dad died 4 years ago and, i'm kinda sad to admit this, but it didn't really affect me one way or another. I think the last 10 years of his life, and the decline into cognitive oblivion throughout, progressively detached me from him. His last two years he was as good as gone to me. And I'm seeing the same thing happen with my mom these days. They always say, keep the good memories of when they were healthy, but it's proving hard. Also, as far as my mother is concerned, her "difficult" ageing (and some therapy) has opened my eyes on the nature of our relationship (which I'd previously idealized to some extent).

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Monday, 3 June 2019 11:06 (two months ago) link

The course chosen by that surgeon has been borne out as wise, my mom is gradually getting better and the perforated ulcer has stayed shut. There was a very fucking terrifying moment Friday morning where she had a “vasovagal” response while on the toilet and passed out - the nurse and her were in the bathroom and I heard the nurse saying her name repeatedly to no response and then about 8 staff rushed in with a crash cart and everything and I was just like well this is it... but then it was fine, they were all like oh a vasovagal, nbd. Her bp had dropped to 60/40. That kind of thing did not happen again.

She will maybe get discharged Wednesday and I have heard two versions - discharge to a transitional care place for a couple of weeks of rehab, or discharge to her condo under family supervision (i.e. me).

It feels like we are turning that corner to independent living no longer being so feasible. I am at a loss how to make such decisions. Have talked to the social worker a bit.

Realizing that I have leaned heavily on her two younger sisters (age 88 and 86) to keep tabs on her and help get to appointments etc but now they are too old themselves to really do that role anymore.

Could be the end of the NYC phase of my life. Which will be especially hard on my wife if so. She loves Minnesota and my mom, but she doesn’t drive and has a large network of nyc friends and contacts to lose.

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Monday, 3 June 2019 18:40 (two months ago) link

I am at a loss how to make such decisions. Have talked to the social worker a bit.

That's abig transition, if you are the close relative most able and willing to fill this role. Talk to your mom about it. Mention getting a power of attorney and see if she is comfortable with that. Also, ask about becoming her health care representative, so you could make medical care decisions on her behalf.

All this stuff does mean getting much more intimately involved in her life. It would a burden of new responsibilities, but can also be a renewal and deepening of your relationship with her that you'll come to appreciate and ultimately be grateful for.

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 3 June 2019 19:10 (two months ago) link

That sounds very difficult to navigate. Could be a whole new phase of your life though, who knows?! Keep breathing!

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 3 June 2019 20:48 (two months ago) link

gl jon

godfellaz (darraghmac), Monday, 3 June 2019 21:16 (two months ago) link

Jon, let me give you a recommendation for your mom: A PACEMAKER. My late mom was diagnosed with a vasovagal response about eight years before she died, while recovering from a standard procedure (but the symptoms were present for a few years prior). It landed her in the ICU ward at first, but thankfully this cardiovascular specialist was on hand to observe her vitals and diagnosed her with said response. He told me (i.e. the caregiver in charge) the best thing they could do for her was implant a pacemaker into her so her heart rate would never dip below a certain level. It did her a world of good and she never had another dangerous dizzy spell for as long as she lived. Sure, you may need to help your mom out for awhile after the surgery but perhaps that will keep her able to live independently for a few more years.

Dee the (Summer-Hating) Lurker (deethelurker), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 21:58 (two months ago) link

My mother, who refuses to connect her phone to the internet I pay for at her house, or use the tablet that my sisters bought her, managed to send a txt message to my email address, from the other side of the world asking what Netflix is, because the physical newspaper keeps running stories about Tales Of The City on Netflix

quelle sprocket damage (sic), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 23:43 (two months ago) link

my mother has an email account with her isp, a gmail account, and an email account associated with her iphone. she steadfastly refuses to acknowledge even having the latter and does not check its inbox, despite sending most of her emails to me from it

she also gets like 100 emails a day to each address -- some of them are (health/food) newsletters, some are Special Offers from stores, and quite a lot are from random democratic candidates around the country asking for money

the internet has made her life actively worse. mama sic otm

mookieproof, Thursday, 13 June 2019 02:56 (two months ago) link

tbf I gave her a laptop six years ago and within 13 months she managed to get enough spam which she clicked on that the whole computer was fucked & had to be trashed

quelle sprocket damage (sic), Thursday, 13 June 2019 03:54 (two months ago) link

The most technologically advanced my mom ever got was being able to work a DVR and play computer Solitaire, so y'all's parents are way ahead, though sic, had I managed to get my mom computer literate enough to work with e-mail I suspect I'd have had a similar story to yours. Oh well, I figure that as far as my parents (and others in their generation like them) went, they didn't even get TVs in their households until they entered high school and spent well over half their working lives without a computerized workplace, so it was impressive enough that Mom knew how to operate a DVR.

Dee the (Summer-Hating) Lurker (deethelurker), Thursday, 13 June 2019 19:48 (two months ago) link

three weeks pass...

My mother's been dealing with bowel and sudden-diarrhea problems on and off for years, and it's been especially bad for the past few weeks. Today I went with her to one of her checkups and she was telling the LNP about it -- "I've been taking Metamucil like Dr. _________ told me to but it's just getting worse and worse..."
LNP and I look at each other. Me: "Metamucil? Not Imodium?"
Mom: "Metamucil...?"
"Mom, you've been treating your diarrhea with a laxative. You're probably causing your diarrhea."
Mom looks at LNP, who nods.
"Ohhhhh, lorrrrrd..."

We have to get her into assisted living, but she's just able enough and very much independent enough to keep putting it off. But stuff like this is getting more common.

Manfred Hemming-Hawing (WmC), Friday, 5 July 2019 20:07 (one month ago) link

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