Things I Think…

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29 Responses

  1. bob1 says:

    I see Fleming Rutledge has a new book on the Epiphany. Lord knows many of us can stand to hear of the hope it brings!

  2. LInn says:

    #5 My dad is slowly sinking into major dementia. When I talk to him (either by phone or the couple of times I go to see him), he starts to ask about his friends (all who have died, save one who is basically semi-comatose due to a stroke). I quickly switch the conversation to what they “might” be doing, and that leads to reminiscing about all the activities my dad used to do with them. It’s just a careful turn of conversation to something more positive.

    I don’t think of it as lying, just indulging my dad’s fantasy life as I might do with a toddler. “OH, there’s a dinosaur in the yard? How big is it? What is it doing? Should we go outside and play with it?” My dad doesn’t need to constantly rehearse the names of his friends that died. He can remember the good times (and, thankfully, I remember many of them).

  3. Michael says:

    bob 1,

    I’ll be ordering that…she’s a trustworthy guide.

  4. Michael says:

    Linn,

    I lie and lie some more.

    I lie about locked appliances being broken and dead people still being alive…I had to learn to do so…still not as good at it as I should be.

    The alternative is being a devil…

  5. Donner says:

    Keflex! Me, too.

  6. Donner says:

    Michael, I wanted to send you my book on a Christian Thanksgiving last week. I think I can still make it to you in time. It is encouraging. Would you mind emailing me a good address for you?

  7. Donner says:

    It’s called “Thanksgiving Memories. The Family. The Friends. The Lord.” It’s designed to lead Christians to make Christ the center of Thanksgiving. I hope it encourages you and doesn’t depress you.

  8. Michael says:

    Donner,

    P.O. Box 226
    Phoenix, OR 97535

  9. The New Victor says:

    Dementia is no joke. I would have gone the distance more, despite my mom then living with us threatening me with a lawyer, getting into my face (flashbacks to childhood, yet I was at risk for domestic violence, elder abuse), telling my neighbors that I had kidnapped her (elder abuse), a local cop, then calling a deputy on me after I returned her to her filthy hoarder home.., she started to turn on my little kids at the time. Then I was done.,protect the most innocent and at risk for abuse.

    I felt guilty for years, and still do a little. Adult Protective Services was a great resource. I couldn’t bring myself to “betraying” my mom like that so I suggested it to the deputy over the phone whom my mom had called to accuse me from 100 miles away.

  10. Michael says:

    TNV,

    I’m starting the process to place my mom.

    I don’t go through any of the terrors you did, but I’m also not able to provide the kind of care she needs.

    My intention was to let her and her ancient cat both die in the home they know…but she doesn’t know this is home anymore.

    It feels selfish…but one of my bolder friends informed me it was more selfish to try be a hero when you can’t handle everything that she needs.

    My friend was right.
    You did the right thing.

  11. The New Victor says:

    “one of my bolder friends informed me it was more selfish to try be a hero when you can’t handle everything that she needs.”

    Wise words. Even if I had quit my job I still couldn’t have. She was also medicated properly by docs initially being “aggro” as the kids say, towards fellow residents. No way a civilian like me could have dealt with that. Love and duty is tough. I wish you well.

  12. Michael says:

    TNV,

    Tough indeed…thank you.

  13. LInn says:

    TNV and Michael,
    It’s so hard to do these moves…my parents might have been able to stay in their home if they had chosen a small condo over their three-story townhouse, but we were never able to convince them. I couldn’t navigate their home with my walker, between the stairs and all the stuff that was beginning to accumulate. I was never able to convince them to look a little farther down the years to what “might be.” I am hoping I will be better at that as I continue to age. What did help was that we had all the adult children on board with the move-I coordinated paperwork and phone calls, my step-sister (local to them) organized the actual move while my own sister (aka the human tornado) packed and organized the house. So, Michael, be sure to get all the help you can. It makes it so much easier.

  14. BrianD says:

    Michael, thanks.

    I am so sorry about your mom…I am glad you have hope in a better world to come, for you, her, for all of us.

  15. Michael says:

    BrianD,

    Thanks, my friend.

    There is indeed a better world coming for all of us and everything…

  16. Michael says:

    Linn,

    I’m pretty much on my own.

    When she gets placed the house will have to be sold to pay for her care.
    I will be moving into a room at my friends house…and I’m glad I have a friend willing to take me.

  17. Linn says:

    MIchael,

    🙁 I am glad you have a place to go, but sorry you won’t have your house. Liam is welcome, too?

  18. Michael says:

    Linn,

    Liam lived there before they sent him here to help me.
    He’ll be going home, in a way.

    There are three other cats there as well…and a dog.

    We’ll both be ok…

  19. Donner says:

    Your book’s been ordered and Amazon expects it to arrive Sunday, Nov. 19. I used my phone number in case the driver needs assistance. Since I’ve never been west of the Mississippi, I doubt I can provide any help, but we do what we can do.

  20. EricL says:

    Michael,
    I’ve gone down this road a few times. My Dad had dementia his last 2 years in the convalescent home where he confused dream and waking (probably because the dream life was much more active than being bedridden). I played along with most of his imaginings except when he accused my mom of things. Often he thought I was my eldest brother (he got credit for MY regular visits when he made it there maybe once a year), but I learned not to correct him. I let him think I was my brother- as long as he knew someone was there who loved him. I realized that I didn’t have to correct all his confusion; I needed to be comfortable that I knew the truth and that was good enough for the both of us.

    As for avoiding the house sale. We talked with a lawyer specializing in elder law and we were able to move the house into my mom’s name so that it wouldn’t be taken to repay the state for his care. When my mom went into an assisted living place 10 years later, we helped her sell it and it funded her own care (and there was even a little bit left over after her death for a bit of an inheritance.)

    Finally, a doctor told me to let him be the “bad guy” when it came to my parents. It wasn’t me forcing them to take the medicine, it was the doctor. It was the bad doctor who said they couldn’t drive anymore. It was the bad doctor who insisted they couldn’t go home but had to stay at the nursing home. The doctor said that I should embrace my role as “son” because there are others that can fulfill the role of doctor or nurse.

  21. Michael says:

    Thanks, Donner!

  22. Michael says:

    EricL,

    I may be able to keep the house because I’ve been the primary caregiver for years. If so, I’ll just sell it, pay it off, and split the little left with my siblings.

    I’ve always been the “bad guy” in my moms eyes…it matters little to me anymore.

  23. The New Victor says:

    Comment to lurkers, mostly… there’s such a thing as a Medicaid Trust. It has a 5 year look back so owners and potential heirs don’t hide assets.

    Michael- about 20 years ago, maybe more, I offered to pay property taxes of she’d put me on the deed. This was after a last minute call to me when I was living in Gresham to send her $5k to catch up her mortgage in foreclosure. I had to advance it on credit card in 1999.

    She told me that it sounded good, but that she had heard of kids who offered that and then kicked their parents out to be homeless. I felt like saying, “erm, I’m in the room,” and “after all of this time you don’t know me or trust me?”

    She let her back taxes grow to $8k by 2008 and asked me for a rescue. I gave her $1100 to get on a payment plan. Due to Prop 13 and she’d bought the 5 acres in 1988, her monthly taxes were only $120/mo by then. I could have budgeted her SSI, but she blew it on her Hoarding tendencies and her menagerie. I had even given her my 1998 Toyota in 2009 which she wrecked multiple times (repairable) and blew the engine. I should have just given her $5k for a used vehicle. That was a great truck… the truck ended up being stolen by tweakers after she lost her license.

  24. brian says:

    I would offer this if I was God, and I am glad I am not, I would have just given a blanket immunity with no side effects. In fact, I would have just forgiven Even and Adam and let our race go into the land in peace. On my evangelical side, I am convinced God will kill me in eternal hell over that blasphemy. I have to admit I usually think God is homicidally enraged at us as a species. I admit we are easily enraged one would think an all-powerful deity would get that. I think God does which is why God sent Michaels in simple form to show us.

    I wish everyone a season of peace, we need it. That is my goal a season of peace. We built bombs that would end us all so yes I wish a season of peace.

  25. Dave says:

    Michael,

    Your ‘merciful fabrications’ with your Mother, are familiar to me as well. I wish the 3.5 years spent providing care to my Mother could somehow be truthfully characterized as consistently gracious and patient …but that would be a pathetic lie.

    My Mother deserved far better from her children, and I wish I could have been that person. I guess I was ‘sifted by Satan’ …and my soul was left a smoldering empty husk.

    I never realized how hopelessly undone my spirit could become through the lengthy harrowing trial. Visions of swallowing a gun barrel frequently tempted me.

    Struggles with diagnosed depression/anxiety occurred many years prior to the caregiving. I resigned from a career to stay at home with my Mother, despite the fact that her eldest son (a retired, self-absorbed sibling living minutes away) wholly disowned her.

    Not a day goes by, that I don’t condemn myself for not being ‘more spiritual’ and a ‘better son’. It seemed like I’d “Petered-out” and sunk beneath the tempest, …allowing fear of the storm to distract my gaze from Jesus.

  26. Michael says:

    Dave,

    One of the main reasons I know it’s time to place both her and I is the fact that my patience and attitude is wearing very thin.

    This sort of caregiving quickly isolates you and you are alone doing things you were never trained to do…and because we weren’t trained, we don’t do them well at times.

    I have almost snapped a few times….especially when I was trying to do the job while barely able to walk myself.

    My mom doesn’t think there is anything wrong with her …but me.

    God bless you for trying to help her…you did not fail, nor did you disappoint your God.

    Only He knows how hard this all is.

  27. Michael says:

    Brian,

    Your rant is worth thinking on…but I doubt we’ll come to a satisfying answer.
    I join you in hoping for a season of peace…

  28. Dave says:

    Michael,

    I recall what you’ve shared here concerning your brother, your familial challenges far exceed my past circumstances. Your faithful resilience inspires me. Yes, I agree, unless someone has prior experience in elder/behavioral care … we are not equipped for the abrupt learning curve.

    I realized convalescent placement was inevitable when my wife and I were repeatedly injuring our lower backs lifting/transferring my Mother from the wheelchair.

    During a Doctor visit, we both fell to ground in the parking lot, trying to get her from car to wheelchair …I was unable to physically support her. I envy families with adult siblings whom are willing to share the immense, life-altering responsibilities.

  29. Michael says:

    Dave,

    I admire anyone who chooses to do what they believe is right…until they simply can’t do it anymore.

    You and your wife lived out your faith…and that is almost always costly and seen only by God.

    One of the twists to this I wasn’t expecting is that my brothers severe autism has become a blessing. He has to have things arranged in orderly patterns…very neatly.

    As she has become more slovenly, he goes behind and sets things in order again…saving me much time and frustration.

    I have no help other than my godson at times…he will share in whatever eternal rewards duty brings…

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