Out from under the bus

It’s been almost a week since Mom was re-admitted to the hospital. They messed with her meds for a few days, and when that didn’t work, they scheduled her for a pacemaker (at 5:00 pm on a FRIDAY?!? With 45 minutes notice??).

Since then, she’s still been having dizzy spells, so they got back to adjusting her meds. They must be getting closer, though, because today was the first day in over a week that she hasn’t had a dizzy spell.

Also, while she’s healing from the pacemaker installation, she’s not allowed to raise her left arm. Apparently it could dislodge the wires implanted into the heart muscle, and they’d have to go back in to re-implant them. They have her left arm immobilized in a sling at the moment, and she met with an occupational therapist today to teach her how to walk without using her left arm. Yeah, I know…who needs their left arm to walk, right? But Mom’s been using a rolling walker for a couple of years now, so she’s gonna have to get that figured out.

In the meantime, there’s talk of sending her to a nursing home for a couple of weeks while she heals. In the past, we’ve been like, “No way…that’s where people go to DIE!” But this time, I really think it may be the best option. She’s got way too much going on, medically speaking (heart failure, kidney failure and lung cancer), for me to feel comfortable sending her back to her apartment, even though she’s got a med-alert pendant.

I’d like to say I could handle it, but I just can’t. I’ve been overextended ever since all that kidney transplant foolishness started, and I’ve figured out where my wall is. I’ve gained 25 pounds since January, when all this began. I need to start drawing some new boundaries.

Since Mom’s been in the hospital, I’ve been able to relax a bit. I know she’s cared for 24/7, and I’ve turned my attention back to some things here at home that have been neglected. Just today, I deep-cleaned my kids’ room, and did more loads of laundry than I can count. THAT felt good.

I’m not sure what comes next. I just know that I can’t let my mom’s poor health drag me under the bus along with her. I have a family of my own that needs me, and will for a long time to come.

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About Kathleen

Kathleen Heuer is a serial arts advocate and volunteer. She is the mom of two beautiful girls, wife to a brilliant nuclear engineer, and referee between her golden retriever and her hissy 18-year-old cat. For more, go to http://about.me/kathleendheuer.
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3 Responses to Out from under the bus

  1. tangled zen says:

    I think the idea of a nursing home is a terrific one. Perhaps there is an alternative in your area (maybe leading into a more permanent move)? I’m thinking an assisted living group home type situation. My MIL has an assisted living facility for seniors (Level 2 care) that is “family style” meaning it feels as though you are at someone’s house (in a good way). It’s a step available to people when apartments don’t offer enough care but the nursing home doesn’t feel like a good fit either, or maybe there’s an intermediate care facility in your area? I’m sure you’re already aware of all this stuff – I’m just spouting off info because I feel it’s something I actually know a smidge (just a smidge, mind you) about.

    It’s good you’re finding boundaries – no one can do it all and it sounds like you’re getting to the tippy top of your threshold (although I doubt many would be able to handle all that you have already).

  2. Sandwiched says:

    Thanks. All of the options can be overwhelming sometimes!

    The place where Mom lives now is designed to be “progressive care.” You can start in a villa (essentially a small ranch-style home) in a cute little subdivision, then progress to an independent-living apartment (that’s where Mom is now). If you need more care while you’re in an apartment, you can use their “Community Nursing” program, where you essentially hire a nurse or aide hourly. Right now, Mom’s been using them for about an hour five days a week. She’s also been having a home healthcare nurse stop in as needed.

    They also have assisted living apartments in a separate wing of the building; that would be the next step. They have nursing home care on another campus near the hospital; it’s run by the same people. That would be Mom’s first choice of a nursing home. I think it’s because she knows people from her building who have been there temporarily and returned home to their apartment.

    We’ll see how it goes. I’m not sure what the timetable is to release her yet….

  3. Watching a parent slowly decline is always a difficult time. Being sandwiched between their needs and the needs of your children often leaves little for you, as you have noticed.

    It is not selfish to take time out for yourself. If you run yourself into the ground, who will do everything that you are doing now? Take time to do things for yourself (unfortunately this sometimes still means doing housework, but if it takes a weight off your shoulders then it is a bonus) such a read a book for 15 minutes, take a hot bath before bed or go for a walk around the block.

    Hope your mother continues to improve. And as she regains some of her health, remember that there are options for her to remain at home and receive care, rather than heading straight into a nursing home.

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