I need a minute please

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  #1  
Old 02-22-03, 04:46 AM
indigoblue
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I need a minute please

I'm not one to complain, really. I'm the one everyone else complains to if you know what I mean. Its just that I've had a lot on my plate these days and this seems to be the perfect place to vent and get real feedback from real folks. So, here goes. Making a long story short, our son married last summer. Our daughter married 9 months before that. My husband had a heart attack in between,(no health ins), lost his job and then got a better one. I went back to college in the middle of that mess(what was I thinking?) and quit my job of 14 years because mean boss thought I should work the morning of my sons wedding...idiot! Now the good stuff...prior to all of that , and still I have been taking care of my mother and father inlaw. Grocery shopping, housework, Dr appointments...things like that. FIL had a huge basel cancer growth on the side of his head and refused to seek treatment, afraid the Drs would kill him. He was in his 70's. I finally found a DR that took him as a patient in his 'homecare' program which was a great relief as he was suffering a great deal. Although it took some convincing to get FIL to let this Dr see him. MIL had been the breadwinner and began having mini strokes and no longer able to work, she kept elderly people in her home. As a result of her illness they lost their home. I found them an apartment subsidised by hud. Relief. FIL's condition worsens and is unable to drive and I'm now doing all the errands for them, not to mention they couldn't afford their meds, so we took care of that also.Hospice was called in last summer to help with his care. Relief again. Last fall MIL had a small stroke and was hospitalized and eventually had surgery to remove blockages in her carotiod arteries. During that time, FIL had to hospitalized also as there was no one to care for him. Dr's determined that she could no longer take care of him and I was made his medical surrogot and the day after she came home, to my house, he was placed in a nursing home. He passed away the following evening. Since she was still recovering from surgery, husband and I made all the funeral arrangements. All of that over with, she finally felt well enough to go home and for the most part has been doing fairly well living by herself. I talk with her several times a day and she is 15 minutes from us. What is difficult for me....she's very lonely. Since we had the extra room from the kids leaving, I redid one of them just for her, including her favorite things. It's very cozy and she likes it but spends very little time here, doesn't want to be in the way...I understand home is always more comfortable. Anyway, I do all her shopping, dr appointments, handle all her finances, paying bills and such. I enrolled her in several programs to help with the cost of her medicines and constantly bum from her drs office. Taking care of her requires a great deal of time. And did I say she was lonely? She will leave items off her shopping list so I'll have a reason to see her again...really! I already see her at least 3 times a week and usually spend Sundays with her. Recently she decided she no longer liked her bedroom furniture and began to refinish it. I made a dozen trips with paint and brushes and many other things. I thought she'd found a project to keep her busy but it kept me busy until I finished it! Whew, now she's waiting for me to build her a fountain for her entry hall. Does any of this make sense? I was really looking forward to having time after the kids were gone but I'm so tapped out with taking care of her. Hubby does some, but since his heart attack she will not ask him to do anything, she asks me. She will not go to the grocery store, I do it for her. In fact, I'm having trouble getting her out of her apartment at all. I did take her a kitten that I had. When she was here, she got attached to her. She has been good company but not the same as family and I understand that. I don't mind taking care of her, I really love her and would do anything she asks. I'm just tired. Still in school full time. She has a daughter who lives a few hundred miles away, not interested in helping and it would be hard to do at that distance anyway. She hasn't even visited n a year and a half. Anyway, I'm tired and get frustrated easily and don't know how to juggle it all. I've tried to organize shopping, making the list myself and getting her meds all at the same time but there's always something else that she thinks of for me to do or get. I love her dearly, always have and I could never walk away and not help. She's 70 now and this is the autumn of her life. I feel like a rat even complaining but all hubby says is, I know. Sorry to rattle on for so long but I've been holding on to this one awhile now.
 
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  #2  
Old 02-22-03, 10:07 AM
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Okay, that goes beyond a full plate to an out and out buffet that you're carrying.

Do you think that you could possible say that you will get the items 'forgotten' on the next trip? Unless of course, its something dire. I know that she is lonely, however, if she isn't going to take the opportunity to have you around all the time by using the room you prepared for her then she is making things so much harder on you. You may have to put your foot down about the 'little' things or eventually you aren't going to be able to be there for her at all.

Start with little no's and later's. Then if it gets too much for her then maybe she will move into the room you prepared for her.

My heart is with you. This and everything preceeding it is not/has not been easy. You are a wonderful person and need to take care of yourself, too.

Kay
 
  #3  
Old 02-22-03, 06:06 PM
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You need to learn to say no, and get her back in touch with her friends. I hear the pop phrase co-dependence sneaking in here.
 
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Old 02-23-03, 12:52 AM
indigoblue
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I agree, NO would definately be a new word in my vocabulary! However, I always put off the forgotten items, unless meds or necessities, until the next trip. I keep a list on my desk. She has spent all her life caring for other people including 2 husbands who died of cancer, and her parents. She never had a social life or friends to speak of. She recently told me I was the closest thing to a friend that she ever had. I don't necessarily think of us as co-dependant although it's a new thought. She is my husbands mother and there is no one else to care for her. She can be very demanding and extremely impatient. I take care of her because it's just what I do. She constantly tells me she appreciates everything I do which makes me feel like a heel when I complain. I do think she's a bit selfish to not spend a little more time here. It would really make things easier on me. In fact, we actually have alot of things in common and I would enjoy spending time with her without all the demands. She says she doesn't want to impose....hmm.
I really appreciate the replies, it always helps to get another perspective on your problems. I do need to learn to take care of myself, something I quit doing about the same time I started having chilldren. That's me, always putting everyone else's needs and wants above my own. Maybe in a weird way that is being co-dependant.
 
  #5  
Old 02-23-03, 02:21 AM
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You know, it may just be time to sit down and have a heart to heart talk with her. She may not realize how demanding she has become. Perhaps, you can point her to a church group or something for her to use to build friendships.
 
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Old 02-23-03, 07:34 AM
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Chris,

You took the words right out of my mouth. Since both are such loving and caring people, sitting down and talking together would be the best bet.

Kay
 
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Old 02-24-03, 03:30 AM
indigoblue
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Well, I always figured the direct approach would be the best thing to do. I suppose I was hoping to 'handle' things and not have to say anything to her. Guess I'm a coward in that respect. In fact, it's been a real challenge to admit that I can't do everything. I know that sounds stupid but somehow I feel like a failure if I can't rise to every challenge. It's taken me a very long time to even post here about my problems. Not a position that I'm used to. Funny how I preached to my children that the way we grow as people and grow in wisdom is to accept the our challenges and respect our own limitations.
I have realized through reading the posts in this area of the boards that we all are human and have the same basic needs, love, acceptance, companionship etc. Being able to discuss problems without the fear of rejection and ridicule is priceless. Thank you for that.
I will sit down and talk with her. Maybe between the two of us we can come up with a better system of handling the 'chore' part of our relationship. If I'm not running down there several times a week then I can plan a day to spend with her hanging out and doing the little things that we both enjoy. Afterall, me running in and out every other day really does nothing for her loneliness since it's companionship that she's missing.Will keep you posted.
 
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Old 02-24-03, 05:21 AM
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"somehow I feel like a failure if I can't rise to every challenge"

Okay girl, I'm going to bring you down here with me. The weather, scenery and state of mind is much better! I am officially demoting you from superhero status to super person status.

It sounds like you have a great plan that will benefit both you and your MIL. Have a great day today!

Kay
 
  #9  
Old 02-25-03, 06:10 AM
sunshine1952
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indigoblue, i saw your post the other day. and it made me tired just reading it. everyone else here said everything i would have said and probably better. just my 2 cents. dont wait until you have to stop and take care of yourself like i did . its not fun we are not and never have been superwoman. why have we convinced ourself that we are. not only did i take care of my family but all the strays that came along too. i really thought i was super i could fix everyones problem. good luck . and take a mimi vacation for yourself. it works wonders. ( its great to have someone to talk to without judgement i agree these people are super. they have helped me a bunch. i feel like i have made some new friends.)
 
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Old 02-25-03, 04:35 PM
glorifiedlily
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Indigo... where is the son in all of this??? I can relate to some of what you are going through.. I went through pretty much the same with my mom in law two years ago. she was 91 and she left us in 2000 just one week before Christmas.. but she needed our attention but she preferred to stay at her home... but that wasn't to be... as all her children worked.. and she needed someone to watch over her during the day... Is is possible.. that now after the strokes your mil could be having some type of dementia????? and is it possible she is scared to be alone yet she still wants to live at her place where she feels more at HOme? I can see where she stands and I can see where you are too. but sooner or later you are going to fold.. and you won't be good for you or anyone else.. the stress you are caring is more than you need to carry alone.......... What does hubby/son say in all of this and where is he.. aside from his job? Is it possible someone could spend time with mil while you are doing the chores????? that would help to give her someone to talk with during the days... and it may help to relieve you of all the stress you are now undertaking...
 
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Old 02-27-03, 01:59 PM
indigoblue
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Kay, thanks for knocking me off my "I can do everything" post. In fact, thanks to all for the reality check.
Hubby is here and I guess you can tell not a lot of help. Well, he does help with the running, in fact is stopping by the grocery store for a few things for his mom on the way home from work. But, since I no longer work, I do all the Dr appointments and business that needs to be done during the day. In between classes of course. Anyway, he appreciates all that I do, I think sometimes because that means he doesn't have to. He knows it's stressful for me. However, with the help of those of you who've replied, I beginning to realize that my problem is me. I don't know how to say no or I can't and am just learning to ask for help. In both of our families, I've been the 'go to ' person. if something needed done, I was the one they all looked to. And part of that is my fault for not saying no. What little brain I have left and my one remaining nerve need a well deserved break and the people in my little corner of the world might as well get ready for it. I've allowed myself to get run down and run ragged and it is true if I don't start caring for myself then we're all in big trouble. I'm spending Saturday with MIL to do shopping and a bit of fun stuff for her and plan to talk with her then. Seeing her 1 day a week is all I can manage for now and hubby will be stopping to check on her on his way from work a couple evenings a week. Wish me luck!
 
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Old 02-27-03, 02:09 PM
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Lots of luck, and love. I think that it will all be okay and not nearly as bad as may think it will be when you talk to her.

Let us know if you need us, we are here for you.

Kay
 
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Old 02-27-03, 03:29 PM
sunshine1952
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good luck indigo. i think all of us has had the "i can do it all" i know i did and from what ive read so did others here. we are all learning. but isnt that what life is about?
 
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Old 02-28-03, 05:50 AM
maggy1
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Been there

Indigo: Schedule a day, once a week, to run errands with your MIL and do something fun like go out for lunch, etc. Make it the same day every week......what I learned is that instead of it being something else I had to do, it turned out to be a treasured time - one that I would walk a thousand miles on broken glass to still be able to do. She looked forward to it all week and so did I.

Now that I've lost my best friend (mom, 2 years ago), I remember those times with affection and sometimes still tears.
 
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Old 03-06-03, 11:20 AM
indigoblue
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Well, thought I'd give an update. Has been a busy week with midterms and such. We, hubby and I spent Sunday with MIL. As a matter of fact from 1 in the afternoon until 9 that evening! Whew. We took the things I'd purchased to build her a small water fountain for her birthday. She loved flowers and gardening and I thought this would be a nice addition to some of the things she already had, statues and houseplants and such. We took her grocery shopping and she also shopped for additional items to go with the fountain...little fairy statues and all kinds of 'crap'. Anyway I balanced her checkbook and took care of all her bills, put away the groceries and we put together the fountain in her living room, where she wanted it, and she loved it and seemed to enjoy the time we had. I left the things that she had bought for her to place the way she wanted. I told her that I would be unable to come back down before next weekend and she seemed fine with it. She called yesterday to tell me that my niece would be in for a visit this weekend and gave me a shopping list for dinner. She also wants me to come down and move the fountain to the entry hall and put together all the other things she bought along with her plants and some she wants me to buy to make an indoor garden. And she would like for it to be done before her granddaughter arrives on Saturday. Urrrrg. There is no end to my misery. I took her list and told her I would do what I could but didn't see anyway that I'd be able to get there before Sunday. She has called twice to check my schedule, noting that my class schedule was disruptive.
 
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Old 03-06-03, 11:47 AM
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Just like a child LOL! She is testing her boundaries with you! That is so cute. Just stand by what you told her (remember, you don't want to be a liar do you? ) and everything will be fine. Her niece and granddaughter may look at it as a special event if THEY were the ones who got to help move the fountain, etc. What do you think?

Kay
 
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