Being a mom or SM, wife, and caregiver to elderly parents or relatives....
This is long so if you're in a hurry, skip it. It's long.
I have been hunting for a caregiver forum but haven't had any luck and I guess the questions I have really have more to do with step life, married life, etc than they do straight up caregiving so I'm just going to post here. If anyone has recommendations of other sites, I'm all ears.
In the last 12 mos, I've been back home twice to care for my own mother (CHF, A-fib, strokes) and now just got back from spending about a month caring for my maternal grandmother. I ended up moving my grandmother from rural WY to where my mom lives as there is more access to care. (I was not in a position to move Gma to my house--she can't navigate stairs and we livein a 3 level townhome.)
Anyway. My Gma had been in a nursing home for 4 mos where she was supposed to be getting stronger in order to have a surgical procedure done. Long and short, my uncle went to WY, pulled her out of the nursing home against Dr. orders, called me to come out saying she'd been discharged because she was doing so well, just needed a week of help, and bailed. Gma was in bad shape when I got there. Luckily, I have experience in home health and over the course of a few weeks, she started eating, gaining weight, getting stronger, etc.
However, I just couldn't stay out in WY forever. My husband is supposed to be leaving any time now for Pakistan for a year. We are planning to see the kids over Thanksgiving. I am supposed to keep the kids for BM when she has surgery around Xmas. I have responsibilities here that I can't just drop. Especially since Gma HAS two adult children who *should* be able to help her.
So I left Gma with my Mom. I arranged home health care to come in daily. I've made the Dr. appts. I've arranged everything. I put together a book with a checklist for her meds, her meals and snacks, to keep track of her vitals. Everything that needs to be done is mapped out. I have even been sending my mom a menu plan for the week so she has recipes and a shopping list so that she doesn't have to think very hard about getting the appropriate nutrition into Gma. (Gma was starving to death in the nursing home--refusing to eat. Dr can't believe she's alive.)
But my mom isn't doing such a great job. Gma has actually lost 5lbs since I moved her--94.6 now--she had gained weight when I was there and was up to 100.5. Should be about 130 if she were fit and trim. She has another infection. (I had been administering IV abx when I was there) My mom doesn't take the greatest care of herself so now it's like I have two people in one place to worry about.
I feel like I SHOULD go back home (to Mom's) and try to keep this crap from going off the tracks. I can't even begin to outline the amount of crap I'm trying to coordinate from states away that would be so much easier if I were there. (my mom just can't/won't!) But I want to go home (with DH) and have a nice holiday with the kids. And when it is time for BM to have her surgery, I already told her I would keep the kids.
Ultimately, DH and the kids and BM for that matter will work it all out without me one way or the other. They survived without me before I was around, they'll figure it out. (but I do want to go!) However, MY family is totally struggling and I'm afraid that if I don't go back home and try to help out with Gma, she is going to end up dead and/or my mom is going to lose her mind or get herself sick again just from the stress. Plus, my mom just doesn't get the medical stuff and isn't cluing in to when there's a problem.
I'm feeling very torn and I don't know ANYONE who has been in this situation. I want to spend time with my "current" family--DH, the kids--especially knowing that it may be the better part of a year that I don't see any of them. But I have always been the go to in my nuclear family and they need me right now. I'm afraid that if i don't head home soon (and I've only been gone 10 days) that my Gma is going to die because we didn't try hard enough. Because I didn't try hard enough.
If you read all this, you get a cookie. I wish I had someone else to talk to about it but I simply don't know anyone who can relate. At all.