Monday, September 22, 2014

Being a Caregiver

Jason has moved back home. George is so happy, he is so in love with Jason.

This weekend Jason decided to make a hamburger for lunch and made one for his grandma as well.  Jason, Tasha and Sarah remember my mom before her strokes, the younger kids were not here yet.  I wish that all of my kids would have had an opportunity to get to know my mom when she was healthier.  Other than my mom they don't have any grandparent relationships and I find that kind of sad.

When I was lifting my mom into her wheelchair this weekend I realized how much lighter she has gotten.  I also found a small sore on her arm.  Sometimes I worry that I am not doing the right thing by keeping her at home.  She slept on her arm all night and in a nursing home they might have turned her in the middle of the night.  Well, maybe not because I hear of bedsore problems in nursing homes.  Either way, she now is sleeping with a neck support on her elbow to prevent her from laying on it. I worry about her getting sores while in my care.

Taking care of a parent is a huge responsibility.  At night before I go to bed I always go in and change my mom.  Sometimes I get surprises, not pleasant ones.  Sometimes I would just as soon head to bed without that responsibility. I am the only one in the house who can change my mom so this means I have to do it whether I am sick or not. Every night I will say to Sarah that I am going to change my mom and head to bed.  Sarah always responds that she hopes she never has to say that.  I sure hope she doesn't either.  I don't know that I would want to put that responsibility on any of my children.

Sometimes I do feel a smidgen of anger at my mom.  She had a stroke because she stopped taking her high blood pressure medication.  Her stroke was totally preventable.  If she hadn't stopped her medications I feel that she would still be living in her own home.  Anyone out there taking high blood pressure medications don't stop taking them!  My older brother did and is now on a kidney transplant list.  High blood pressure is a serious medical condition. Everyone in my family has high blood pressure except for me.  I get it checked often and can't believe that I don't have it.  Strange but I am not complaining.

Being a caregiver for my mom means that we always have to consider her when we want to go out of town for any length of time, even just day trips.  She can't be left alone, if something were to happen and the house caught on fire she couldn't get out.  She can't get up and feed herself and needs changed throughout the day.  We have to arrange and pay someone to be here.  We can't make last minute plans to do a day trip.

Long term community health care has been a huge help.  Charlotte comes out 5 days a week and relieves me for a few hours.  She bathes my mom and feeds her lunch.  This is a huge help for me and Charlotte has become one of the family. We plugged along for a year waiting to get to the top of the list for the program.  At one point I was told to just put her in a nursing home, it is easier to put them in homes than get help to keep them in their home.  That is what has happened in our society.  People consider it a huge burden to have to take care of the elderly.

For now we are doing well.  Medically my mom is stable but I know that can change at any time.  We have supports in place and someone to hire when we have plans out of town. My mom is eating well and stays hydrated.

I hope that she realizes how much she is loved.

Oh, for the curious, Jason's burger......

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