Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blog 48: I Still Have Hope

My mom was taken to the hospital a few days ago.  She has become increasingly agitated and combative and they want to try different medications to calm her down before she leaves the assisted living center and goes to skilled nursing care.  She’s expected to stay there for at least a week.  Renee has already removed Mom's belongings from the assisted living center she was in.  She won't be going back there now. Renee said she’d keep me up to date with how Mom's doing, but she hasn’t been doing that, so I took it upon myself to call the hospital today.  It took awhile to get to the right department but I got through, and they let me talk to my mom.  She seemed ok, though her voice was somewhat slurred.  I’m sure it’s the new drugs kicking in.  She said she can’t find her shoes and then she said she had to go.  I could hear people talking close by and I think it was distracting her.  I told her I love her and she told me she loves me too. 

The communication with Renee has gone kind of sour.  I was afraid it would because it seems that since I opened the door she is using me as a sounding board and taking all of her frustrations out on me.  It’s like, she welcomed the opportunity to tell me exactly how she feels.  Even though I told her it is best that we not bring up the things that hurt us in the past, she finds every opportunity to bring up so many things that have frustrated her, and not just about me, but she is projecting it off on me.  

I’ll give an example.  Renee sent me an email the night before our mom was going to the hospital.  I emailed her back and I said that I knew she was getting pretty agitated and that I hope that the doctors can help her.  The next day I tried to call Renee because I thought that Mom was taken in by then, and she didn’t answer.  Instead she sent a text and this is how it went…

(Renee)  I don’t have time right now.  They r not taking mom today.  There is no bed.  I go back and forth on what’s best but I do know that this hospital has a good reputation and mom cannot be happy when she is this agitated.  She has struggled with the agitation since day one and the right medication could really help her. 

(Me)  Who suggested she go there?

(Renee)  THEY DID and it wasn’t a “suggestion”, it was a “we can’t help your mom when she is like this,”  so don’t even go there Lizzie.  I’m in no state to embrace anything but support.  U asked to know what was going on, and u know.  We r done for now. 

(Me)  Why are you mad at me and so defensive? I only asked a question.  I care.

(Renee)  Because that was a bullshit question and u know it.  Why the f..k would I suggest it. 

(Me)  Wow.  I’m sorry. I want mom to be happy, that’s all.

(Renee)  Yeah, wow, it’s called sleep deprivation and extreme uncontrollable worry and anxiety.  Well then you need to change your expectations bc I can guarantee you one thing, no one is “happy” with dementia.  Seriously?!  Would u be

(Me)  That’s not what I meant.  Of course.  Maybe happy is a poor choice of words.  Sorry.  None of us are happy now.  You act like you are the only one who is feeling the way you are.  I don’t want to be your target for your frustration and anger.  Call me when you feel like it.   You are the one who said mom can't be happy when she's agitated.  

(Renee)  We r done here.

Her emails have been much worse, full of condescending tones, and lots of anger.  She emphasizes her sentences using quotes, capital letters, bold lettering, and rows of exclamation marks and question marks.  It is so intimidating.  I just don’t know how or if I can be of any help to her.  The thing is, I am trying to help her.  I reached out to her.  I want to have all of my sisters in my life!  But, she doesn’t want any help.  She wants to do everything herself and make all the decisions herself and not include any of her sisters.  She is not open to suggestions or talking things over.  There is no discussing anything that she is not in favor of.  It’s her way or the highway and if you don’t agree, shut up and don’t say a word.  Then she takes it all out on us because she can’t do it all herself, and she questions the decisions she has made.   I think she's mad at herself, maybe questioning her decisions, and she's taking it out on me.

Then there’s Lynda, who has closed the doors of communication.  She didn’t respond to the email I sent her, and she has ignored my phone calls.  I left a message for her to please call me because I want to talk to her.  She hasn’t.  I don’t understand it, and the only thing I can come up with is that she wants to leave well enough alone.  She knows I have offered to come home to take care of mom, and that if I'm not allowed to, I have pushed to have her put in a nursing home in her hometown where she and most of Mom’s family live.  But if Mom came home, it would mean she would feel obligated to take a more active role in Mom’s life.  She likes things the way they are, with mom a three hour drive away.   Her comfort level is going to see Mom once every 6 weeks.  Everyone loves our mom and we are dealing with her illness in our own way and we know what we can handle and what we can’t. 

I just can’t help but feel that Renee has a lot to do with Lynda’s distance from me.  I’ve felt that all along.  Renee is throwing me under the bus.  She's making me look like a bad person because I moved away, because I wanted to come back to take care of Mom and she didn't think it was a good idea, because I didn't agree with so many things Renee did in selling Mom's house and disposing of most of her belongings, and so on. Lynda and I used to talk about everything regarding Mom.  Lynda has given in to Renee's demands.  It's easier that way.  She's been on the receiving end of Renee's wrath before, so she has shut down and given in.  We shouldn’t have to do that, we shouldn't have to take sides.  We don’t have to always agree, and we should accept and listen to each other and not hate one another for not thinking the same way.  Taking the not speaking to one another route is not going to benefit any of us, and certainly not Mom.  We are living proof of that.  If we would have been communicating all along, we wouldn't have all these issues.

In regards to Kathy and Annie, they both want Mom brought back to her hometown.  But Kathy doesn’t have the fight in her to deal with Renee, and Annie won’t even speak to Renee.

Renee is the one running this boat.  I’ve been the one trying to patch things up with all of my sisters and keep this boat from sinking.  I finally told Renee that I am not going to be the one to fix things with her and Annie.  I fixed what was wrong with me and Annie and it’s her job to fix what’s wrong with her and Annie.  I always try to be the one to make things better because I am the oldest, and I’ve always felt responsible in keeping everyone together as a family.  I won’t give up just yet.  I still have hope that my sisters and I can get a grip on what this stupid disease has done to our family.  Maybe my trip back home will help, maybe it won’t.  I do know that I am trying my best, being overly understanding, biting my tongue, letting Renee vent, without giving up who I am.  

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