Friday, December 18, 2009

The Not Perfect Daughter, and Why She is Tired and Confused

No twitter post today either. I have mostly been in lurker mode. If I tweeted or retweeted anything entertaining at all, I can't remember. It has been a tiring week. Besides the furnace problem I shared with you yesterday, I have a more serious issue than that I have been dealing with (which is also my explanation for my sparseness of posts lately).

If you read my profile, you know that I am a stay at home daughter. I take care of my mother. Taking care of mom has been a joy in many ways. I wish I had taken more care to describe those joys. Right now though, I am exhausted. I have been leaving incoherent comments all over the blogusphere this morning. I'm not even sure I am making sense right now.

My mom has a huge bump and black and blue mark on her hip because of too much blood thinner. I am not living in denial when I say it is not my fault. I don't want to say whom I blame right now. I am tired, and leaning toward being cruel and unfair.

Anyways, this bump is starting to open up. Yes, blood and whatever is seeping out, and I try to keep dry dressing on it constantly. No tape. I wasn't told not to use tape. She has been sensitive to tape in the past, and I am trying to make her feel better, not worse. (I know. That was an obvious point. See what I mean about being incoherent). Mom is in a lot of pain, and calls for me all day and all night. Sometimes all I can do is remove a dressing and fluff the pillow that keeps her from laying on her side. No, it doesn't help her, but she will call for me anyway, and I come.

I have tried to be the perfect daughter, and I fail in my own eyes every day. But I have seldom failed as miserably as I did last night.

Last night, after mom woke me up for the third time in two hours (it was one in the morning), she asks me what time it is. I tell her it is 1 am. She asks me why her phone says 2 am. I look and tell her it doesn't. She insists that it is actually 3 am and time for more pain medication. I tell her it is 1 am, not 3 am. She tells me to wake up Bob so he can verify that it is 3 am. I refused. He gets up to go to work at 5am. He will be getting up even earlier this morning because snow is predicted to fall overnight, and he will shovel out the driveway and the wheelchair ramp (in case of emergency..) before he leaves. I cannot bring myself to wake him up to back me up that it is the time I say it is. I'm exhausted and can't think straight anymore.

Suddenly mom is insisting that even if it is 1 am, she can have more pain meds. I tell her no. She asks me how much longer. I tell her I don't know, I can't think straight. I am confused because I just woke up and had an argument about what time it is. I can't give her any meds. if I myself am confused. She insists that since I'm confused, we need to wake Bob. Bob had no idea what time I gave her pain medication, or how often the doctor has said she can take it. He knew on Tuesday, but the dosage has changed three times since then. I wrote it down, but I need a moment to pull myself together before I can even remember where I left it. (Refrigerator. All meds. are listed on the fridge so that if she has to go to the hospital, I can grab and go). Suddenly I just start weeping. I just couldn't help it. Then I had a coughing fit and had to leave the room... I kept crying and coughing in the bathroom. When I finally pulled myself together, I remembered the fridge, but forgot how to do the Math. (Did I mention it was one in the morning, and I've been getting up hourly to bihourly (is that a word?) to fluff pillows for almost a week?) I told her about an hour, hoping that by then I'd remember how to subtract (or add? I'm still a little fuzzy headed..). She asked me to sit with her in the meantime, and I just couldn't do it. I feel so ashamed, but I just couldn't keep myself together. I needed to lay down and cry. My husband had woken up by then, but he knew he couldn't actually help and it would be two of us confused, so he waited for me and held me. I calmed down, was able to go back to fridge. I found that it was too early to give her pain meds. An hour from then would still be a little early, but not dangerously so, so I kept my word and gave her the pain killers.

After giving her the pain killers, she again asked that I sit with her all night. I feel like the world's worst daughter, but I didn't. I told her that I had to be alert enough to take care of her, and that wouldn't happen if I was sitting on a chair in her room all night. She didn't get any sleep. I didn't get much. More because she kept calling me during the night than from guilt. Not that I don't feel guilt, but I am too tired to let that even matter to me, you know?

I have spent the morning on the phone with the doctor, with the visiting nurse agency demanding a new nurse (ask Wendy why, she can tell you. I think.. Wendy, tell anyone who asks, okay? Me tired...). I have poured out my worries to God. I'm not really sure what He is doing with them right now, but I am too tired to question Him. I am too tired to hate myself for not doing a better job. I am just so tired...

I am sorry for the whining. I mentioned to some cyber friends that I might write this post, and they encouraged me to do so. If you by any chance landed on this blog because you are taking care of an elderly parent, or considering it, please don't let this one post discourage you. Taking care of my mom has been a rewarding experience for me. I wouldn't undo the decision my husband and I made three years ago when we decided I'd stay home and take care of her in our home. I wasn't blessed with children, but I imagine that you get some exhausting nights (for weeks, even months on end...) , yet you wouldn't undo your choices. It's tough, but worth it. Right now I am feeling the tough.

Oh, and please pray that my mom's butt heals quickly. I mean hip. Oh whatever, He knows what we mean, right?


Anonymous said...

I'm praying for you and your mom and your husband. You must take care of you so you can take care of your mom. God is listening even when it seems like he isn't. I'm sorry that isn't the real comfort it should be at a time like this.

Kristi Fornshell...pagan43 said...

Dear Helen, I am crying right now, both with you and for you. My prayers go out to you.

PLEASE, do not berate yourself , your love for your mom is so apparent to those of us who read your posts.

There is a reason they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first.

Caregiver is a noble job, but it can be overwhelming.

Have a headcheese sandwich...cup of rose hip tea,put on your colored underwear.

Sing as loud as you can, and know we are all here to listen. Overwhelmed will pass..Soon you will be merely WHELMED.

Hugs and prayers. Kristi

katdish said...

"There is a reason they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first." - Wow. I couldn't possibly put it better than Kristi did. Rest, my friend. And don't be ashamed. God knows your heart and so does your mom.

Anonymous said...

Oh Helen, we've missed you so at Val's and I stopped by to see what the heck was goin' on...

If you need me to come there and give you a break, you just let me know. I'm close by and was the secondary care giver for my dad for 10 years. I know what you're going through. My prayers are with you...

Let me know if I can do anything. I'm "right down the street". I can be there in 20 minutes!

Stu said...


Don't worry we all fail and we all succeed. We are human and not perfect. As I tell my son, just do the best you can. That is all you can do.

You should also not consider last night a failure. You did what you could. You got up and took care of your mother. It may have not been the most perfect example, but you did what many won't do. I for one find you a wonderful example.

God bless,


Anonymous said...


You do much more than many children do for their parents. Please don't be so hard on yourself. Try to get some rest. Being a caregiver can be tough sometimes, my sister in law took care of my mother in law (Alzheimer's) for 5 years. It was very hard at times. God bless, my paryers are with you.


Anonymous said...

Prayers to you (and your mom's butt). Sorry that's not to make light, rather to lighten things if that make sense).
I honestly don't know you but I have a hard time accepting "your a bad daughter" - this outsider sees something entirely different. Loving, caring, but knows to set boundaries that are also loving and caring.
Jesus took time to be alone. The good Samaritan didn't stay with the hurt man while he recovered. You were not made to be a 24/7 nursemaid and servant. But your servant's heart is clearly visible and you are learning to set some boundaries that are appropriate - even if they are coming via pure exhaustion. Please don’t let guilt live in you, God never wanted us to feel guilt that doesn’t lead to a positive change. Ugh, I should stop going on, as I really don’t know your situation – I’m letting my imagination take over from personal and other friends experiences.
Anyways, peace and just I prayed for sweet sleep for all in your home.

Wendy said...

First off, I need to tell you that I love you. I love you!

Now on to the rest. I understand feeling like you can't do enough, but please believe me when I tell you that you're doing more than enough. More to the point that you're putting yourself at risk for getting sick or worse. If you can't take care of yourself, how can you take care of you mom? Please rest. Is there any way you can get some extra help? Asking for help is not a weakness. God put us together to be able to help each other. And Helen, my love, you need help. I wish I lived closer so I could be there to give you the help. But for now, I will pray for you both. I'm so sorry that you both are going through this.

Annie K said...

Helen, you are an awesome daughter and your mom is extremely blessed to be taken care of by you. Somehow I think she knows that and I can tell she loves you very much.

And so do I!

Anonymous said...

Helen, praying for you and your mom, both for strength and peace. Being a caregiver is the most exhausting and rewarding job ever, but I felt like I was in over my head on MANY occasions. Hang in there... sending you HUGS, love and prayers. <3

Valerie Jane said...

Helen -

You did far more than what most children do now a days. It seems that once the parent(s) are sick the children find a nursing home. Trust me, she is getting far better care with you even when you are sleep deprived than she would be at the nursing home.

You are doing a wonderful thing and doing a wonderful job. Don't ever let your brain say otherwise!

I liked what Kristi said: "There is a reason they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first". There is so much truth to that. What happened has nothing to do with you being a bad daughter, it has to do with your body telling you that you need to take a break. Sometimes just an hour soaking in the tub does the trick. I've started to read books that are directed towards middle school and high school aged children - they take my mind off things, are easy to read, usually lighthearted and a good way to "get away" for an hour. Plus the plots are usually not too complicated so it is easy to put the book down for several weeks and pick right back up.

You and your Mom are in my prayers. I'll put the two of you on my Churches Prayer Chain. They will pray for you for a month - and if you need it longer than that, let me know. (We have some really awesome "prayer warriors" on the chain.)

Love you!

Shark Bait said...

Honey, just said a prayer for you, and your family.

I know you're feeling bad, and I also think you know you shouldn't, but there's nothing we can say that will help with that.

So here's offering all we really can for those of us far away - keep strong, and we'll keep praying for you.


Deb Watson said...

Dear Helen,

As I read your post, all I could think that is what you do for the least of these you do for me. Jesus must be very touched by your commitment to love and care for your mother. Christmas is a time to give - you celebrate Christmas everyday of the year. Bless you sister as you fight the good fight. Jewels are being set in your crowm in heaven.

Jesus give this servant the strength to continue to serve you in this awesome self-sacrificing way.

Thank you Helen for inspiring me today. May God Bless You.

Marni said...

Been praying since I heard about your mom. I'm sorry she's ill and you're tired. Those are some rotten combinations. But don't feel guilty, please. You are doing above and beyond what most kids and any health care provider would be doing.

Big hugs to you and much love!!