See what CafeMoms are saying about saving time this holiday season..
My mom is a hot mess. I don't want to talk bad about her because it is an understatement to say she truly has a heart of gold and cares more deeply about the well-being of someone's SOUL than anyone I've ever known, but it seems she's all heart and no brains, when it comes to herself. Don't get me wrong, she's an extremely smart woman- she used to be an LPN and seems to have the brains to be a doctor if she wanted to, as she was valedictorian of her nursing class and usually pins what's wrong with ANYONE before a doctor can, if you just mention some symptoms to her... and that's why I get so confused...
She's 66. She has depression. She has degenerative bone disease in her back and it's so painful that every 4-6 mo she goes to get the nerves burned away from her fractured/damaged vertebrae so that she's not in so much pain. She has a "mystery blood disorder" that I strongly feel is a blood cancer but she won't tell me what is going on, and I know she knows what's going on. She has anxiety problems I'm just now learning about. She has a lump in her breast that is probable benign but it's not getting taken care of. (I mean wouldn't you want a definite answer, not a "probable"??) She has a 71 yr old husband who for the past 4 years, went from her husband to a confused, and lately sometimes a violent person she doesn't know due to the horrible disease of alzheimer's/dimentia. She has almost no money and lives S.S. paycheck to S.S. paycheck because of bad choices in the past and is afraid of placing him in the care of a V.A. hospital or nursing home, sadly, because they will take HIS entire S.S. check and she is afraid the money she will have left coming in, she will not be able to live on. She is an expert at bottling all and any bad feelings up and putting on her "happy mask" and pretending everything is just fine so that no one has to worry about her. But I'm SO WORRIED ABOUT HER. I want to help her but what information she insists on holding back when she puts on her "mask" does not allow me to do so. I need ALL the facts so I can help her move on. But she tells half-truths and some stuff just doesn't make sense and it seems she's flat out lying to me in some instances and I just don't know what to believe.
Right now besides her pain and everything, her #1 biggest problem is my dimentia-stricken stepfather. He cannot hold a conversation with you because he cannot understand 90% of the words you're saying to him. I don't know if it's these mini-strokes the docs say he's had, right in the place that affects communication, or the fact that he badly needs a hearing aid and they can't afford it, or if it's his alz/dimentia. He's started to pass the mirror and stop to talk to the guy in the mirror, not realizing it is his own reflection. A year or 2 ago he started calling my mom "mother" like he'd ask me "Where's my mother?". She cannot do anything or go anywhere in the evenings past say, 5pm because he either starts to get grouchy or anxious or he goes to bed. She missed my 4 y/o's first dance recital because of him and it crushed her. She's been "trying" to find a place for my stepdad to live, or something like respite - someplace for him at least to go in the daytime or overnight once or twice a week to give her a break, or even just to give her a chance to run to the grocery store without him running off on her. This has been going on for over a year. First she tried the V.A. She tells me the wait list is so long it's ridiculous, (like YEARS), and he's not on a high priority because when he was in the service, it was during a non-war time and he never got injured. She's tried other respite places or nursing homes - but emotionally she's held back - she always vowed never to "put him in a home" if something went wrong, being an LPN she's seen the abuse that can go in in those places. These places keep SEEMING like something good will happen and give her some relief, but then something falls through because of a stupid decision she made like switching to Advantra and somehow that disqualified her for Medicaid or Medicare, I don't know which one, but the place she was SOOOO close to getting him into said that was a dealbreaker. Then I'm told by everyone else that Advantra is supplemental and can work WITH Medicaid or Medicare and that shouldn't have mattered. (That's the kind of shit that leaves me confused, like she's not telling me the whole truth.) He's starting to get dangerous to be around and aggressive and abusive to her. He hasn't hauled off and punched her (yet), but he has grabbed the steering wheel and almost made them have a head-on collision, he has almost burned down the apartment with his cigarrette lighter, because she can't figure out how to turn on the TV so I guess in his head it makes sense to "light it up" with his lighter so it will turn on, I guess... but he's started pushing her and throwing objects at her, and she won't tell me the story but he's broken 2 of her toes. So she knows she DESPERATELY NEEDS to get him in someplace but I think she's afraid because she'll only have like $400/mo to live on for the rest of her life, and there's that fear that he'll be abused, but more than anything, (and this is where her heart comes in), it crushes her to think of how SCARED he'll be, she is all he knows right now and she feels if she's not there 24/7 like she is now, that he'll be confused and scared and feel she abandoned him. She sobs about that to me.
Now get ready for the next biggie. I'm 35 yrs old and found out 2 yrs ago that I have an older brother I never knew about. She had him as a teen and in those days it was so taboo they made her give him up for adoption. He did some research and found her, and we've been in contact ever since. Last year they came to visit and he and his family are awesome. But because of all my mom's problems, she barely was able to visit with him. She avoids pretty much everyone's calls but mine, and that makes him feel like she doesn't want him in her life. But that's not the case - she's just so overwhelmed with my stepdad it's hard to be on the phone at ANY time. So she tries to wait for my stepdad to go to sleep but by that time she's so exhausted herself she doesn't feel she'll be good conversation. Anyway he's in town again right now and she's bailed on plans to visit with him 2 days in a row. But what pisses me off is she makes ME be the bearer of bad news. It sucks but he's already learning to expect the worst, and hope for the best with her. Because the worst always happens. I'm so mad at her for that. I mean, imagine being 48 yrs old and knowing your WHOLE life you were adopted, then you find your birthmother who NEVER wanted to give you up in the first place, but you can't even get a conversation with her alone, on the phone or in person, to ask all the questions you wanted to ask and 2 yrs later here you are on your SECOND vacation across the country, your #1 goal both times when you come is to see and get to know your MOTHER, but she keeps cancelling plans for what in his eyes must seem like petty reasons... he must feel like she doesn't want him in her life!! So I'm the only one left making him feel welcome and I'm showing him around town, and I'm having a blast, and he's having a blast with me, getting to know his sister, but he YEARNS for that time with my mom and he's spending a LOT of money coming here to see her and to have her cancel like that... it just burns me up!!!! I know she has SO MUCH on her plate but goodness some of the stuff she's saying is making it "not a good day" could have been taken care of LONG BEFORE HE CAME IN. Yesterday she waited all day for a return phone call from the doctor, who never called back. She called to report his abusive behaviors. Makes me wonder if she really called.
Today she cancelled because my stepdad was out of 5 different medicines and she had to go pick them up, but then her car wouldn't start and she had to walk up there, in this record heat. That ENRAGES ME. The car she has currently was GIVEN to her by my aunt, and EVERYONE has NAGGED her about taking care of that car - especially me - but she has a long history of not caring for her things and I bet in almost 3 years she has only had 2 oil changes on that sucker. I don't get it but she'll call me up and it won't start, but she'll try it every day for a week then miraculously it will start one day. That doesn't make any sense. But I guess she doesn't have the $ to care for it, and I live an hour away with 2 kids under 4 yrs old, I can't be holding her hand on every little thing like this. But it seems like it's getting to that point. Even if I kept track on my calendar here and wrote down when she had an oil change, and 3 mo later called her and said "OK now don't forget to get that oil change", she'd say "Oh, yes, thank you for reminding me! I'll make an appointment tomorrow..." and then she'd never do it. I KNOW her. You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. But she NEEDS help, she just likes to put on like she doesn't, until it's out of control. She calls me up AFTER THE FACT all the time... like she'll have been nearly out of food for days - eating cheese sandwiches or something, making ICE CREAM out of FROZEN CREAMER for my stepdad because that's the only way he'll take his medicine, if it's mixed in ice cream... and she'll say her car hasn't started... and I ask her "Why didn't you call me sooner??" and she always has some half-assed answer....
She's always been like this, my family says, she waits until something gets to crisis level then she expects everyone to bail her out. I hate to be so insensitive but I hate it when she cries to me about my grandfather's passing... I mean I know you always will need your parents but up until he dies she called him about everything and he gave her a step-by-step "how to" on everything, she never figured out anything for herself. And I guess that's why she's in this predicament... I don't know. I'm so confused.