Squirrel Wheel Week


I feel I have been running the squirrel wheel for the past 2 weeks – the only difference is that I actually accomplished things.

I have enrolled my Mom in the PACE ElderPlace program, she has new doctors, caregivers, etc. now.  Not that she is all that happy about it.  But this is an all-inclusive program with a Day Center 5 days a week and caregivers for the days she isn’t there.    It began August 1st, but on the 30th of July  they sent a van for us so Mom could meet her new doctor – a really neat older woman – a nutritionist, the physical therapist and the nurse.    I arranged for someone to come in the morning and help her shower and dress so she would be ready at 9:30.  Then Tuesday I had the same caregiver spend the day with her.  Wednesday the program began and Nancy came Wednesday morning so I could go the Breakfast Club.  I had hoped to go out a bit but John the plumber was coming after Breakfast Club, so I never was able to leave.  Nancy left at 2:30, so that was my day.  Thursday they didn’t have a caregiver – guess who had to cancel plans for an outing with my good friend Charlotte.  I was really hoping it would work out and upset when it didn’t.  Then Friday Mom went to the Center but I had to meet her up there at 11 for her physical – she was not a happy camper.  By the time that was finished I only had time to have lunch before I needed to be back when the van came to drop her off.  Another day shot.

I think the schedule has almost all the time covered , there wasn’t a caregiver available for this morning, so it was up to me.  Mom was not happy about going to the Center, kept asking me why she had to go there.   She was at me and at me until I lost it and told her frankly I needed time to myself.  Then she said I am trying to get rid of her.  No telling what she will say about it when she gets back in a short while.  Or how tomorrow morning will go.  The schedule is Monday through Thursday at the Center, 9-4 Friday Saturday and Sunday.  It was done this way so Eddie and I can have a weekend to ourselves.  I was hoping it would be Tuesday through Friday so Mom’s Domino ladies could meet her on Monday.  Unfortunately the Center on Friday is filled.   So we’ll see how this works.  It pretty much means I only have about 4 hours to myself Monday through Thursday and most of the day Friday – I will see how I can arrange my life around it.

I have talked to several people at ElderPlace – the doctor, nurse, social worker, home management coordinator, recreation therapist, physical therapist – I think there are still several to go.  I have the impression the first month is like a shakedown cruise to see how all of it works.  They will be getting to know Mom and I hope she will begin to like going there.  So much behind the scenes stuff to do, for me and for them.  They are a great group over there and are used to working with people who don’t want to be there.  I will admit I can’t do it any more – I feel the way I did just before I broke my hip, worn out physically and exhausted mentally and emotionally.  We are looking to find an adult family home for her because she is at a point where she needs more people around her.  She also needs a lot more help and care than before, her domino ladies have noticed how  fast she has gone downhill in a short time.  A small part of me feels a bit guilty for doing it but most of me just feels it would be such a relief.  Besides, maybe when she is settled in a new place we can have a better relationship even though she often doesn’t know who I am.  I have had several people tell me they have a better relationship with their mother now that they aren’t living in the same house.

One thing I kept hearing in rehab – “You can’t go back to doing all that you were for your mom or you will end up back here permanently.”  I am concerned about my health and just how much I can do.  I do know I am very careful around doorways when my Mom is around.  It is also affecting my marriage and that is very important to me, so at this point it is definitely time to find “a place for Mom”.

The interesting part is in the last few days I have been feeling more confident of myself – it isn’t easy navigating through unknown territory with land mines, but I have great people helping me and I now realize I can do it even when it is uncomfortable.  One of the gifts of this whole situation.  I have often wondered if I might have felt more like an adult if I had had children.  Well, guess what, I have a 3 year girl with an adult mind and it has really made me grow up even more.

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