When Family Comes First
Over the last several months I've been put through the ringer. All of a sudden, I have become my mother's caregiver.
Back in late summer mom came down with some intestinal issues that caused her to go to the emergency room. The first time around they didn't find anything. Two weeks later we're back to the emergency room and this time along with the intestinal issue she has also developed AFIB (Atrial Fibrillation) which is irregular and often very rapid heart rhythm (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots in the heart as well as hydronephrosis of the kidney. In early November she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and she is in the mid to late stage.
After months of doctor's appointments. We finally got everything under control and physically she is good. The Alzheimer's is the challenge right now.
In November I made the decision to quit my job so I could be home with her full time.
I have to say it has been the most difficult 5 months of my life. Watching my mom go through all these tests and constantly asking why. Only to understand for a moment and to only ask again why.
The most difficult thing I had to do is to explain to her that Alzheimer's is slowly taking away her memory and that someday maybe she may not know who I am.
This woman is an amazing artist in that she creates wonderful and whimsical stuffed animals and dolls and now she can't even put the pattern pieces on the fabric. My heart aches for her... to see her slowly lose those memories of sewing. I've tried to encourage her and offer my help. I've tried to get her to go to group gatherings of folks her own age, but she refuses. I give her credit cause everyday she goes in her sewing room and tries to figure it out.
Every day I make sure she is okay. I asked what she plans on doing and she always goes to her sewing room. I often have to remind her that she needs to use her brain to keep it working as long as we can.
She is still capable of taking care of herself as far as hygiene, eating breakfast and lunch, doing her own laundry helping to take care of the dogs and cats. I also encourage her to help me with dinner or cleaning. I do have to make sure she takes her medicine daily.
So now what, well not really sure. My brother and sister have been updated on her condition. When my sister visited from Arizona she was in for a rude awakening. She hadn't visited for quite a few years and when she came to visit back in October, well it was a lot for her to take in. She is coping now and providing support for me when I need it. She has also decided that she will be visiting every 4-6 months. As for my brother well, he does what he does...
Me, well after having a major panic attack earlier this month, which I've never ever had before, which scared the hell out of me! I've had to make some serious changes in my life too. I've started taking better care of myself as far as eating healthier, and I've recently started meditating. When I was working it was too stressful for me, being I had to make sure everything was set for her to do before I left for work, so I thought it best for me to quit my job, it was only part time anyway. On the upside this is a great opportunity to better by art whether it's photography or fluid art. I've been wanting to grow my art business for some time now, and taking care of mom, the animals, the household stuff and working just wasn't working out for my business, many times I thought of giving it up, but maybe there is still a chance. I'm still getting used to not working. I've always worked weekends, so every so often I have to remind myself that I can do more art on the weekends too. So now the hours I had put toward my old job I can now put towards my new job and still be here for mom.
Life now has a different outlook for me. I take things one day at a time. Living life, the best that I can for both mom and me.
Be safe, stay strong, stay healthy...see you next time.