The Daily Grind

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Guilty Pleassures ......and Memories

So with my crazy life I don’t have much time for TV…. So when I do watch TV it is usually is only for an hour or so and it is usually something I have DVRed. So here it is I DVR Days of Our Lives. I have been a fan since I was 13 much to my mother’s disliking. I was even that kid in college who scheduled her classes around the show.

So the last few days I have been home bound due to Hurricane Sandy (we are fine). So what better than to catch up on my favorite make believe life… The Days of Our Life’s J

My expectation was to have some mindless time in front of the TV…. Instead I was taken on a journey in the past…….let me explain.

In the fake world of Salem the matriarch Caroline Brady is dealing with the probable diagnosis of dementia.  Her family is rallying around her but she is a stubborn independent woman. Who has made her own way, even after the death of her beloved Sean.  Her family is worried as she is progressing down the long road of dementia to the point they fear for her safety. The family talks about how to deal with Caroline and the best way to address the times ahead. When Caroline is confronted with the idea of a caregiver she is blasphemous in her insistence she needs no such care.

While my mother was not dealing with dementia she was dealing with a serious illness. She was not diagnosed until it was entirely too late. My mother lived a mere 57 days from the date of diagnosis to the date of her death. So as you can imagine by the time we became aware she was already well down the road of being unable to care for herself.

A couple weeks into my mom’s illness it was clear I needed help, but more importantly she needed help. On no less than 3 occasions I found my mother on the floor of her house to weak to get up and care for herself. The first time I found her I insisted we get her help and that she couldn’t live alone. She was adamant that no one would set foot in her home and she could care for herself.  The second time I tried to sell the idea of moving her to the ground floor where she had all the amenities she needed and would not need to climb the stairs. Again I was told no and she would not have her home turned upside down. I begged her to allow me to get help, and I insisted it would not be invasive and it was for me more than her, to no avail. She yelled and screamed and said a good daughter would respect her wishes. This lead to me arriving at her house at 5 am each morning ensuring she was cared for and set for the day before I left to go to work only to return after work and stay till 8pm or later. This went on for 3 weeks all the while she continued to deteriorate and the final time I found her on the floor I was unable to easily get her safely to her bed. It was time…. I called in a home health care provider that night.

I think this was the start of my independence from my mother. I knew she was against this move, but it needed to be done as I could not live with myself if something happened to her when she was left alone and I was at the end of my rope and needed help. I didn’t ask permission I just took action. It was no easy task to find a caregiver to deal with her. I went through 3 in a week, the first just couldn’t’ deal with my mom’s harsh demeanor, the second my mom swung at (as she did me too by the way) and the 3rd well I think by that time mom just didn’t have the fight left.

My point to this post is….. I honored my mom’s wishes to live independently as long as she safely could. I honored her request to live her finally days in her home and in the end I honored her by not letting her die alone but instead holding my hand and not that of a stranger.  Watching DOOL this week was a bit of a bittersweet walk down memory lane.

I know firsthand it is a struggle to lose your independence, but there comes a time when you need to give in and let those who care about you do what is in your best interest. I had every reason in the world not to honor my mother’s wishes; I could have found an inpatient hospice or nursing home and just waited for the inevitable. Instead I respected her wishes and flexed my independence muscle.  


Holly Rose said...

This makes me sad. But amazed at your strength. I wish I had 1/10th of your guts. I really do. I feel that I failed my Mom completely by being totally unable to do even half of what you were able to accomplish. My mother lived alone for very similar reasons. She refused help. We tried to convince her to move many times. She did not have the same illness that your mom had but she did have instability with balance. I often worried that my mom would fall when she was alone b/c no one was there with her. And she did. She fell and hit her head. I believe that fall was what induced the stroke later. Seeing my mom with that cut on her head laying in the bed on life support killed me. I think I repressed it for a long time. I have a lot of guilt about the fact that my Mom fell not just once but twice. We should have done something after the first time it happened but we were respecting her wishes to be left to do things independently. Sometimes you have to just have the backbone to do what needs to be done. Sadly, we did not have the guts to stand up and do what was right b/c we were too used to letting her have her way. I know how much strength it takes to stand up and do what is right. You had that strength to do the right thing for you Mom and I am so proud of you for that.