Who knew that I'd end up parenting my mother, as I usher her toward her death day?
It's no secret. I have NEVER wanted children. The thought of wiping poop off another human's behind was never on my "bucket list." I was a new teenager of 13 when my first nephew was born; he showed me that having a baby is way over rated. Way too much poo and pewk! Definitely not for me; I chose to have a career.
Thank you Joe and Drew (my 2nd nephew, born when I was 15.)
Instead of children, I befriended seniors. Somehow I always managed to have one in my life; I always welcomed aging friends. Looking back, seniors were the few people who seemed to accept me for who I am... they filled my cup with approval.
First there was Walter, then Aggie and Tommy; folks who I believe prepared me to be Care Giver for my mother with Lewy Bodies Dementia.
Countless co-workers along my journey of life, warned me about the burden of caring for an aging parent. I will never forget my friend Mary Lou's reaction when I told her in 1998 that I was buying a house; one big enough for me to move my mom in with me... "Sue!? Are you out of your mind?!"
Yes Lu, I am.
Blinded by my desire for approval, I willingly entered into what would later become my personal Twilight Zone; raising Mom.
Here I am, 50 something and I have a baby that weighs 140 pounds; too heavy to lift. Poop happens daily. It's gross. I'm sick. My throat is always sore; my gag reflexes are definitely working. Life has become more difficult for us, especially me.
My mom is fading like the tulips. Once, magnificent and beautiful, the tulips and my mom are withering back into the Earth.
"Where's my brother?" My mom pleads with me for an answer.
Diapers and drool fill my life. Loss of balance and falls frighten me. In abilities, new ones showing themselves daily. Blank stares at her oatmeal bowl and spoon; no understanding of how to operate the spoon in order to feed herself.
"Here Ma, open up... yup, that's it. Open your mouth and try this..." Every day I have to coach my mom, remind her how to eat. Once I get her started she can do it herself.
Every day I have no idea what will greet me. Will it be a trail of poo smeared into the carpet? My mom laying on the floor? Will she remember how to get out of bed? Will she be alive?
Raising Mom is sad. She can't learn, she forgets. Every day, she requires more when my emotional and physical well of life is running on empty. Yesterday, she forgot how to walk up the stairs at the top with only one more stair to climb. Instead, she pushed backward... nearly sending both of us topling down the stairs.
"Ma! You have just one more step... step up! Just one more.... please, I am losing my grip and we will both fall. Please! Just take one more step up." I pleaded with her yesterday when she got home from the day program.
Out of breath, holding on for my own life; I found the strength to lift my mom up the last step. It was frightening for me.
My mom NEEDS a bed to open sooner than later. I call every week, checking and reminding the admissions people that we are anxiously waiting. I am gracious when I call, even though my mind is spinning with questions that could help give me an indication as to how much longer we need to wait.
I bite my tongue, wanting to ask... "So, is there anyone dying? How far along in hospice are they? Any ETD's (estimated time of death) that you can share with me?"
Raising Mom is no fun. I need help, not just the day program help but help on the weekends. Weekends are the hardest for me. My mother gets bored. She requires 24 hour care, care that is overwhelming. Loss of balance, chasing hallucinations and pulling her pants down wherever she stands when she needs to use the toilet.
My mother fights me. "No! The bathroom isn't there... hurry! Come on." My mom will scream at me when I try to escort her to her toilet. She plants her feet and pushes back, refusing to move forward and demanding to use the toilet that she believes exists.
It is stressful. My mission in life is to get my mom's waste to land in the toilet. Wiping her ass is the least of my worries these days. I never wanted children and now, I don't think I want a mother anymore either!
My mom is having difficulty at the day program. Sent home early on Monday because she was wandering and difficult. I needed Monday to chill out because the weekends are extremely difficult with caring for mom. My mom can't handle going to the supermarket with me anymore. It's too much stimulation and it sends her into weird states of being.
Raising Mom is challenging and heart wrenching. I can't help but feel alone in this nightmare... because I am. Watching my mother die a slow and confusing death, I wish for good health for myself or to die before I get an illness that scares people away.