RiverRes's Journal, 17 March 2013

I feel like a fraud. I fell so far off the wagon, I can barely make out the ruts in the dirt.

I can blame a number of things - stress, too busy, disappointment, hormones, etc., but the facts remain - I reacted poorly and need to get myself pulled back on the wagon. Fast!

I fell off the wagon about three weeks ago. That was when things really blew up with my parents. We hired a cleaning lady to come in and clean their house to free up some time for me and my kids. The three of us were spending 8 hours every weekend cleaning, shopping, doing pill allocations, mail reading, bill paying, errand running, etc. for my parents. On Sunday. Not a good day for managing much of what needs to be done for elderly people (ride arranging, appointment making, oxygen management, ...). Not to mention that I live an hour away from my parents and have siblings that live 5 minutes away from them.

I felt as though I was sucking the life out of my kids (teenagers) as all we seemed to do was spend our time together helping my parents. It is very tough on my kids as my father is consumed by Alzheimers and cancer. It is tough to have your loved ones taken from you, it is even tougher to watch them go in such a cruel, painful and demeaning way.

The biggest trigger for me, though, was taking my Mom to the eye doctor. She is totally blind in one eye and has a small amount of peripheral vision in the other. Mom's blind eye is giving her problems that have a strong liklihood of ending in a form of eye death. It is on the verge of being so "diseased" that it will need to be removed. To have this man speak about removing her eye and setting her up with "a nice glass eye painted to look just like your other eye" unnerved my in a way I have yet to recover from. To have to talk with my Mom about this reality just ripped the rug out from under me.

It is so hard to have the two people who were your pillars, your rock, your worst/best critics reduced to the level they are as they deal with the ravages of aging. I find myself swearing that I won't let myself get this bad so my kids won't have to deal with the same things I am.

The cleaning lady quit after one visit. We have tried to replace her, but that has turned into nearly a full time job in and of itself.

Next week, I take Dad in for his cancer check. I already know the outcome. The external evidence already tells me it is back. The last surgery he had to remove the cancer resulted in his stroke. No easy way out. No good answers.

I need to tell my brothers that live out of state to come see him while he still remembers who they are.

My sister's daughter/husband were another brick on my load and had me ready to drive the hour to their house to go slap them. We had to move my parent's vehicles after Dad's stroke because we were afraid he would forget that he shouldn't drive and then go out and hurt himself or others. His truck ended up at my niece's house. Rather than park it and watch over it, they started a crusade to make it drivable so they could give it to their teenage daughter.

Last week, they tried to talk my Dad into spending $4000 to get a truck not worth $1000 back to drivability. Dad said he wanted the truck to be safe for them to drive which they interpreted as "spend all the money you want" to fix it. I tell myself that they didn't intend to take advantage of a man whose mind is failing. But I can't. My sister had to threaten to never speak to her own daughter before they backed down. The truck will not be in their possession after today.

Heavy sigh. I wish that was all, but there is more. There are three of my parents' checks missing. One ended up with my brother, but I am still trying to figure out the other two. I have no idea what my Dad did with them. In this day and age of electronic banking (I am a fan), my parents refuse to have an ATM card. I am a listed rep on many of their accounts, but I am not a rep on their bank account. We will change that next week when I take them to Dad's doctor. My Mom realizes now that it is the only way. Dad has nearly lost the ability to write numbers on checks and obviously isn't noting them in the ledger.

I also need to get my parents' taxes done. Quite a chore given all of their medical expenses. Just to get it to the point where I can enter their expenses requires an Excel workbook. Can't the federal governemnt just waive income taxes for those over 80?

Ah. Now me. Accomplishments for the past three weeks:
Single parenting
Not working for work over the weekend
My taxes done
Son's taxes done
Volunteering at the county food bank
Book drive for local elementary schools completed - distribution is this week
Oil changed in car
Dogs groomed

Failures:
Following a food plan
Ate barbecue (potato salad and baked beans - things I don't really like/need) two times in a single week
Excercising every day
Taking care of myself
Time for myself

Results: Stressed to the max and feelings of helplessness/failure
Gained over a pound in a week

Plan:
Get back on the wagon
Control myself and my actions/reactions
Stop using food in a negative way
Excercise is important to my sense of peace and control - just do it!

Diet Calendar Entries for 17 March 2013:
1710 kcal Fat: 70.70g | Prot: 75.87g | Carb: 196.50g.   Breakfast: Milk (Nonfat), stevia, Flavors French Vanilla Ground Coffee. Lunch: carls jr santa fe chicken, Natural Cut Fries (Small). Dinner: panda express mushroom chicken, panda express mixed vegetables. Snacks/Other: fiber one bar, healthy choice frozen yogurt, Pop-Tarts Frosted - Cookies & Creme. more...
2893 kcal Activities & Exercise: Housework - 3 hours, Shopping - 2 hours, Driving - 2 hours and 30 minutes, Resting - 8 hours and 30 minutes, Sleeping - 8 hours. more...
on diet Ornish Diet  

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Comments 
Hello fellow care giver. I take care of my 87 yr old Mom who is blind. I don't have all that stuff going on with siblings, a little but I'm the main care giver too, take her to the doc and all that. All of that. Sounds like your teens are amazing. It's so ridiculous how we do so much and eating the darn the barbecue or being too tired or out of sorts to exercise will make us feel like we failed. (Holy Moly, you've lost 46 lbs! ) I too, swear that my kids won't have to take care of me like this as well. It's part of my MO, too, to get in better shape. It's my job, but sometimes I have to take time off to take my Mom to the doctor or has a hospital stay. Hopefully I'll get to take time off because its' a vacation soon. But it's my job and I'll get back to it. It's not in the back seat, it's just the priorities sometimes don't mix. When I go exercise or get up early it's the only time I get to myself. I don't want to give you any platitudes or unasked for advice, I just wanted you to know I'm another one, and to tell you to take care, even if you already are. Keep on keeping on. Kat  
17 Mar 13 by member: Katred12
I am so sorry for what you, your parents and your children are enduring. I will pray for your strength. 
17 Mar 13 by member: teskandar
You are NOT a fraud! You are handling an unbelievable mountain of stress with strength and fortitude that would likely leave most adults curled in a fetal position crying! YOU are AMAZING!! BBQ? Feh! Exercise? Meh! You may - if you have ANY time left today - want to consider a peaceful walk so that you can breathe and reflect on how far you've come in such a short time. Wear your heels, bracelets and take stock of the accomplishments. Let the rest go. As for when you get back - duplicate checks? Use the$$ not going to the housekeeper for a Cpa to sort out bills. Tell the leech er ah niece she approaches your parents she will be arrested for violating a restraint order (you can file or not - see if the threat works. Breathe. You are the most incredible single Mom caring daughter FS recovery woman I know. Hug yourself (armpit) and breath! I'm in your corner. 
17 Mar 13 by member: FullaBella

     
 

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