Sunday, June 27, 2010


It's going to be a month of changes and adjustments, for sure.

We had the 2-week meeting (halfway through DD's assessment period) at the treatment center where she is right now, and it sounds like she is acting out more than she was at home. I'm not really surprised, because she has more interaction with kids her age there, and that is one of the problems she has (getting along with peers). Anyhow, based on their preliminary observations (and these have not been made final yet, but they sound pretty authoritative), they are recommending a longer-term period of residential treatment (6-9 months). That would pretty much bring her up to where she turns 18. Part of me was hoping that she wouldn't come home until she was stable, but I think there is/was part of me that didn't want to hear this, either.

On the one side, I'm glad I don't have to deal with the "crap"--the defiance, the tantrums, the violence--I'm glad it'll be someone else. But I'm sad for her, sad that she's (in some sense anyhow) losing the most permanent home she's ever had, sad that we couldn't do more for her, wishing things in our family had been a little different....and I think I'm still kind of grieving the fact that she will not be living independently "when she grows up". Sigh.

Oh. And as soon as they learned that DD is "there", a bunch of bio relatives (like her bio grandma, and bio aunts) (who could have made important impressions on DD had they ever, even one time, taken up our invitation to give her a call, take her out for lunch, etc.) now have decided that after 9 years of only seeing her on Christmas and a couple of other bio family get-togethers, they want to contact her. I'm not making any friends on that side of town, however, because I think right now is not the time for them to be cultivating relationships with her (maybe that's wrong, but in all the time she was with us, they never cared at all), so they are not on the "ok to contact" list for DD at this time. And that kind of tears me up, too. I don't know what the right thing to do is, but I think I need to talk to her therapist(s) and see if they feel that the sudden interest in DD will be beneficial to her or just plain confusing.

And my mom, of course. It's been decided that she probably won't be able to return to the assisted living apartment. I'm so sad about that. We haven't told her yet, and hopefully won't. Right now she's in "rehab" (where she gets physical therapy etc., in hopes of getting her strengths and abilities back to where they were prior to this episode), and we are going to have her moved next week into the long-term section of the building. But we are going to continue to refer to it as "rehab", because I'm deathly afraid that if we tell her she isn't going back to her apartment, it will break her heart and she will lose her will to live. We're going to hang on to the apartment for an extra month, in case something amazing happens and she can go back there. I've looked at rooms, and had to decide if we would/could spend $600 extra per month so that she can have a private room. Yikes, that's a huge amount of money, as is everything related to a nursing home. But the only roommate available at the time was a lady in end-stage dementia, who basically lays in bed all day, hooked up to some kind of machine, does not walk, talk, or move much. I worried that my mom would know that lady wasn't there for "rehab", and not only that, it would be pretty depressing, so we are going to move her into the private room, and then in a month or two, when a more suitable roommate is available, we'll go that route. She's got enough money to last about a year and a half (if we only do the private room for a couple of months). After that, we'll have to consider Medical Assistance.

And her cat. Her elderly cat. He's got kidney failure, but has an amazing personality and seems pretty healthy for a 16(?) year old cat. My mom will miss him so!!! I guess, since nobody else wants him, he'll come to stay at our house. And I'm worried about that, too, because he is declawed and elderly and has been an "only" cat for so long. My cats are not declawed, although I do trim their nails every week or two...I'm worried that he might not fit in, he might get picked on....it might not be a happy place for him--in fact, I'm 95% sure that it won't be a very good home for him. But what else can I do? I can't justify to myself having him put to sleep--he's got no real reason(s) for that yet. He's active, playful, friendly, uses the litter box well, I just can't put him down. So it'll have to be a slow and cautious transition.

There's so much going on. So many moves, so many changes. I'm relieved and worried and grieving and hopeful and hopeless....I'm a mess.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Red Flags

During all of this, with DD's crisis, and my mom's descent, I haven't said much about DH. A lot of times, I really so much want him to be "normal"--the guy he was when I met him, or who I thought he was(?) (that's a whole different post, but I'll save it for a different time).

And now that he's bringing home a paycheck, I can pretend. I can even let myself imagine that I can depend on this income--with DH working, it becomes less important for me to find higher-paying employment, and it gives me a little more security, in that when I need to take time to spend time with my mom, or deal with things involving her, and I'm not really looking too hard for a job, I don't feel as bad as I could.

But I know things are far from normal still. Basically, on work days, all he does is work and sleep. It's a whole lot better than the just sleeping (that he was doing before he got the job), but there truly is absolutely nothing else. Even on his days off, most of the time he's sleeping.

He's still "funny" about workplace situations--they had started to cross train him to fill in in another department, then they decided to have a guy who had been out having surgery do the filling in instead. Even though DH asked his boss if he had done something wrong, and had been assured that he had not, he "felt like a worthless piece of ****". And he's been talking about calling in to work. About how he doesn't want to go in. And the saddest part of all that is that it's the same sorts of things that happened at his last job, right before things really fell apart. He had started calling in on Mondays and Fridays, saying he "didn't feel good". And DH confessed to me that "That Guy" has come out to customers lately, too--he's found himself being rude to customers over little things.

But that's not all. One night, when DH was off work, and he wasn't sleeping, we decided to go to a local casino for a pizza (they have such good pizza, with real sausage!). It wound up being pretty fun, because I had a little "extra" money, so we each had $20 to gamble with. My $20 lasted well over an hour before it was gone--it was fun. But DH....he actually won $300!!! And he gave me half of it, which was really nice of him. But the red flag came the next night.

It was Friday--the day I give him his "fun money" (because his paycheck gets deposited into my bank account, and then I give him $50 a week for spending money. That's way more than I've had for spending money in years, but I don't want him to feel "ripped off") My mom had had a bad day, and I was mildly down. I was reading a book, and DH asked me what I wanted to do that night. I told him we couldn't go out every night, and that I'd just make us something to eat and maybe clean the house up a little. He suggested we go back to the casino. I said no. He did the "Aw, c'mon, last night was so much fun!". And yes, it was fun. But no, I did not think we should go back there. He asked me if I would get mad if he went back without me. I didn't want a hassle, so I said no. He asked me if I had any money, and I gave him $20 of the money he had given me the night before. Then he took the rest of his winnings, plus his "fun money" and left. On his way out, I reminded him that there was no more money when that was gone. He said "I know"...About 1am he came back and told me he should've listened to me. He told me how stupid he'd been....and--oh yeah, he lost all the money. It took every ounce of jaw power to bite my tongue, refrain from saying "I told you so"....but I just told him to "learn from it" and I didn't make a big deal out of it--I could tell he already felt bad.

The next day, he had to go to work and he didn't have any "going out to eat money". I told him too bad. He said he knew, that I had told him right there that there was no more coming.....then I felt kind of bad for him, so I gave him $5 and told him to ration it. He said he would. But he hasn't rationed anything. Not his pop, not his money, nothing. And all week he's been asking/telling me to "take some money out of the cash machine" for him. And I keep saying no. And getting madder, because I didn't cause this, and I held up my side of the agreement and then some. I keep reminding him that we have food at home. But it's not what he wants. Too bad for him, I guess. But underneath it, I'm afraid that if I keep saying no to him, when he's not at the top of his game, "That Guy" will come out and get really angry with me and I'll be hurt and scared and feel like a jerk and end up giving in.

So when I read all this, I am crystal clear on the fact that the same problems are still there....just hidden by his paycheck. I'm afraid, although I want to believe otherwise, that it's really still only a matter of time before he's unemployed again, and I'm back to working my tail off to keep heads above water. The only thing that'll be different this time is that he has a lot less access to credit now, so the damage won't be so severe. I'm working very hard to get all caught up (using the benefits of his paycheck) so that when things do hit the fan, it won't hurt nearly as bad as it did the first time.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A reminder to count my blessings

I must be getting old. I've been reading John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" without even being forced to. I found an old copy in a second hand store, and couldn't resist. I'm finding that every time I read some of that book, I realize that even on my worst days, I have so much more than the people who lived the story depicted in that book...It really puts things in perspective. I know I read parts of it in high school, and again I think in college, but I don't remember being this moved by it--maybe because at those stages in my life, I couldn't relate so easily? Not that I can now, really--we all have it so good.

And I'm grateful for the life I have, even if it seems hard sometimes.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Feeling sad about my mom....

So it looks like she'll be moving to the nursing home permanently, unless something changes in the next couple of weeks. She has been in the rehab unit of this nursing home several times (it's the one that's attached to her assisted living facility), so we are familiar with the NH and the workers and the residents. And I take my mom to the church services there every Sunday. But some of her stays in the rehab unit were during times when she was hallucinating and disruptive, and she was so angry about being there....then sad.....it's been a miracle that she keeps recovering enough to go back to her apartment.

But realistically, I can see that of her neighbors in the assisted living facility, my mom is one of the lower functioning folks. Even before this happened with the recent confusion. It's not realistic to imagine my mom coming to our house, as we'd have to remodel to be able to bathe her, etc...I just can't imagine how we could make it work and not do more harm than good.

So intellectually, I know that the nursing home is the "rightest" thing that we are able to do....but I am feeling not just guilt, but grief. Big grief. Grief that I can't help her more. Grief that things are getting worse. Grief that her world is getting smaller again....and that I may not have done enough for her, or done it right. I feel with this transition that is probably imminent, a person has died. It's the "mom that lived in the assisted living apartment", of course, if she goes to a nursing home, then that mom (the one that lives in the assisted living apartment) is gone forever. And I'm having such a trouble with that, in some weird way, I feel like by agreeing that she needs to move to an NH, I'm somehow killing that "mom that lives in the ALF". Does that make sense? I've never put it into words before. I'm so sad that this is happening, and I feel so helpless, like no matter what I do, it won't be right...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My week has been busy!

Well, DD was released from the hospital again, this time they have decided that she should go to a residential place for a 30 day assessment, to see if they can recommend appropriate meds and an appropriate living situation for her. I don't know this hateful little person. I don't like her. It's almost like the "DD version" of "That Guy". Except "That Guy" never screamed for hours on end :-(

I didn't realize how uptight I was about her behavior until I started getting used to the idea that she was going to be gone for at least a month, and probably longer than that. The house is so much cleaner, so much quieter....and I don't have to worry about getting screamed at--and when I think of all the things DD needs "reminders" for, like cleaning her room, combing her hair, putting on socks, not eating twelve bowls of cereal at one sitting....and I imagine someone else having to be on top of that and not me, well, it's very exciting!!!!! And then I imagine someone (not me or DH) getting screamed at, and it feels darned good.

But then I remember the sad little "I'm scared" that she uttered when I dropped her off....and I'm sad, too. I wish things were easier.

My mom was re-hospitalized in the geri-psych ward, but I'm sad to say they seem to think that this time there's not much they can do. She's having troubles remembering the different tasks involved in toileting--she'll sit on the toilet and say "I don't know what to do now!" And it's so sad. I have to confess that it's been very hard to spend time with her, because I just end up wanting to cry. And I know my mom really needs me, so I try to put on a cheerful face, but I think she can tell it's phony. She's moving into the nursing home again, not sure if it'll be temporary or permanent. I think, if she didn't get too upset, the permanent idea might really be what she needs. I can tell that she's really one of the lower-functioning people in her assisted living. And maybe she'd feel better if she had more help.

I also found a little place near home that does "memory care" for elderly folks--it's not a nursing home, kind of like a group home for elderly people. They each get their own bedroom, and there is a common living area. She could stay there forever, as long as she only needed one person to assist her. If she needed two people to assist, then she'd have to be in the nursing home. Anyhow, this place costs about what her assisted living costs, and it sounds less institutional than a nursing home. Unfortunately, right now it's full, so we'll have to wait and see what happens....

I'm sorry I've been missing in action lately--it seems like all I do is run around and make sure my mom and DD are taken care of. I'll post more over the weekend.