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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Suicide Watch

Sorry to title this post so morbidly, but that's on my heart tonight. This blog started as random opinions, sermons, thoughts, oddball items... Whatever didn't fit on the other two, went here. Now it's leading me down this road - diary of a caretaker, no-opinion counting, D-i-L. Maybe it will help someone reading to know that they are not alone if facing similar circumstances.

If you've no desire to learn what a child caring for a parent has to face, or do not wish to read intimate details of care (not too deeply intimate), then click the x in the corner. If you want to read on, but need a little background, scroll back to some recent posts.

My in-laws have lived with us for six years. It hasn't been easy, but it has had its rewards. However, the days are growing long and the rewards are farther between. Decompressing is a word that has now become important to me. It's hard to sneak a night out and not talk about appointments and medications.

We've been on a roller coaster ride this week with concern over caring for my MiL. She is now bedridden, although probably temporarily, and I can't even get her on the pot alone. Today, with FiL's help I managed, but barely got her back on the bed. To make the process as easy on her and us as possible, I have had to put her in adult diapers and leave her PJ bottoms off. It's just too hard to move her and pull everything back up. She is large and can't even roll herself. I've strained myself a few times recently trying to care for her.

She is a very proud woman and this has been extremely hard for her to take. To make matters worse, her mind is not rational. Too much illness and medications has taken a great toll on her reasoning and memory. This results in a million explanations and arguments over her PJs. FiL cannot stand to argue. He pleads with her to understand. She nags and insists that he do as she says. He begs. She nags. He tells her he can't. She tells him to do it anyway.

Three times tonight I had to go into their room and save him. They love each other too deeply to be angry. She has a temper - always has. She would never intentionally hurt him, but she doesn't understand. He has a back back, a hernia, is on three blood-thinners, and is in his eighties. And she doesn't want anyone else to do it.

F-i-L has stated that if we don't let them stay here, he will move somewhere else with her. He refuses to put her in a nursing home. In a recent post, I revealed our family's fear of a murder-suicide outcome if they were to live alone. I know that as long as they remain here, he will not do that... if only for the reason that his son could no longer live his dream on a farm.

That has not put my mind at peace. Three times tonight I listened to him tell her, during these PJ arguments, "Mommy, (Hubby - don't ever call me that!) if you don't stop I'm gonna take a walk out into the woods and be done with it!" He made a reference to something on the floor by his bed.

This is a man who has carried a gun his whole life. As a boy, he hunted around the coal-mining camps of Eastern Kentucky. He protects his loved ones with a steel sentinel waiting dutifully in the corner. Hubby can count on Dad to keep the varmints at bay. He spends hours upon hours on the lookout over the tree-lines, daring that groundhog to threaten the tractor wheels. His guns are a part of him as much as the razor-sharp pocket knife and jam-packed key ring.

So while you folks ponder whether it's possibly time to tell Dad he shouldn't drive, we're pondering over the arsenal.


CrazyCris said...

Oh dear, I feel for you!

I can understand they're refusing the idea of a nursing home, my great-aunt in Barcelona was furious when her daughter had to have her stay in one for a few months 'cause she needed to help her own daughter during a difficult pregnancy and she was having enough of her own problems with osteoporosis and couldn't take care of 2 at once. The thing is, when the 3 months were up my great-aunt put up a big fuss 'cause she didn't want to leave the nursing home, she loved it! But I guess that depends on the person and the home...

Have you looked into hiring a professional care-giver to help you at home? It would probably help you out a lot and avoid you straining yourself and would be more acceptable to them than going away...

good luck!

Rae said...

You certainly have a plate full right now. More than your fair share it sounds like. I wish I could offer some answers but only you know what is best for your situation.

You and your family are in my thoughts. Sending you best wishes and some hope for a little rest.

SquirrelQueen said...

You and your family are going through so much right now and I hope everything works out for the best.
You are definitely in my thoughts.

Leave a Legacy said...

Dear Lily,
I got a little behind in my blog reading and writing with all that's going on here (baby and grandparents into nursing home), so when I finally caught up with you I feel so bad. I know how difficult this situation is. I admire you for taking care of your IL's in your home. My parents and my Bob and I couldn't do it, so they have been in Assisted Living for 2 years and we just moved them to the Nursing Home. And that's hard enough. Best of luck to you and I'm sure there's a special place reserved for you in Heaven.