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Old 12-07-2012, 01:25 PM   #1
firecracker725
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Conflict and Guilt

I don't even know where to begin...

My mother (58) is in a nursing home in another state. She recently had her second leg amputated just below the knee, and she isn't doing well at all. Her nurse just called to notify me that they're sending her to the ER because she isn't eating and her wound is open and oozing blood (sorry).

This is the latest development in a nearly two year major decline in her health. Unfortunately, I have now moved so far away that it is a major undertaking to make the trip. Where it used to be just a 6 hour drive, it's now a 13+ event. Flights are cost prohibitive, as it would also involve a rental car and flying into an airport pretty far from her facility. To top it off, I work retail, and this is the absolute worst time to need to get out of town. So, I decided not to make the trip for her surgery or to visit for Christmas. I'm planning on making a short trip there in January, but I am feeling such guilt over not being there for her now. I have a sister who lives close to her, but she's too busy being a drug addict to go visit. That's a whole other story. Her church family has been fantastic, but unfortunately they don't communicate with me because I'm "that liberal daughter who lives far away".

Has anyone else been in a similar situation? I have two small children to take care of here, and my job needs me as well, but when do I say "enough is enough" and head home for my mother?
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:36 PM   #2
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I could write your story every hour of my day. I'm an only child to a single mom who has bad health issues. The only difference is I don't have children but I can't just drop and go either.

My mom is always sick and always has some sort of problems. I suffer from guilt every day because I think I don't do enough or have to decide when I need to come.

As I type this, my mom is actually at my house because I had to drive the 1200 miles home to get her after she had a car accident and couldn't walk or take care of herself. I loaded her up and brought her back with me the end of Oct and God willing will get her back to her home in Jan.

I have learned that I can only do so much and though I ALWAYS worry, it doesn't do me any good to be there usually. My mom acts better for the hosptial staff when I'm not around and frankly I can't make her get better and faster.

Have you spoke with your mom recently? Did she sound depressed? I talk to my mom 3-5x a day for about 5-10 minutes each and try to make long term plans like me coming to visit a couple months later or whatever. It gives her something to look forward to and now I can text her pictures of us doing whatever we are doing so she can feel included.

Know in your heart of heart that you are doing the best you can in the situation you have. Make sure you have access to discuss all medical problems with your mom's doctors and hospital staff. Organize any and all paperwork regarding your mom and have someone to work your proxy when you can't be there but still understand you override that person.

You are a great daughter and don't let anyone else tell you other wise.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:37 PM   #3
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Is it possible for you to have your mom moved to ltc near you? Or is she going to be able to return to her home? Does she have help at home?

This is hard, and i am in a similar situation, my mom is 82 yo had a stroke last may and now is in ltc.
It is a 7 hr drive, but doable. We have been going every couple of months for visits. But yes its difficult as there are work schedules to contend with, kids schedules, etc etc etc.

I am sorry, there is no easy answer. I think you have to do what you can and if you can go there now go, but if you cant that is understandable too.
It hard and i feel for you.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovemygoofy View Post
I could write your story every hour of my day. I'm an only child to a single mom who has bad health issues. The only difference is I don't have children but I can't just drop and go either.

My mom is always sick and always has some sort of problems. I suffer from guilt every day because I think I don't do enough or have to decide when I need to come.

As I type this, my mom is actually at my house because I had to drive the 1200 miles home to get her after she had a car accident and couldn't walk or take care of herself. I loaded her up and brought her back with me the end of Oct and God willing will get her back to her home in Jan.

I have learned that I can only do so much and though I ALWAYS worry, it doesn't do me any good to be there usually. My mom acts better for the hosptial staff when I'm not around and frankly I can't make her get better and faster.

Have you spoke with your mom recently? Did she sound depressed? I talk to my mom 3-5x a day for about 5-10 minutes each and try to make long term plans like me coming to visit a couple months later or whatever. It gives her something to look forward to and now I can text her pictures of us doing whatever we are doing so she can feel included.

Know in your heart of heart that you are doing the best you can in the situation you have. Make sure you have access to discuss all medical problems with your mom's doctors and hospital staff. Organize any and all paperwork regarding your mom and have someone to work your proxy when you can't be there but still understand you override that person.

You are a great daughter and don't let anyone else tell you other wise.
Thanks for your kind words. I have power of attorney, so the doctors and facilities always call to keep me updated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by npmommie View Post
Is it possible for you to have your mom moved to ltc near you? Or is she going to be able to return to her home? Does she have help at home?

This is hard, and i am in a similar situation, my mom is 82 yo had a stroke last may and now is in ltc.
It is a 7 hr drive, but doable. We have been going every couple of months for visits. But yes its difficult as there are work schedules to contend with, kids schedules, etc etc etc.

I am sorry, there is no easy answer. I think you have to do what you can and if you can go there now go, but if you cant that is understandable too.
It hard and i feel for you.
Her stay in the LTC facility is permanent. She tried going home after her first amputation, but her limited mobility combined with a stroke she suffered made it impossible for her to live independently, even with home health coming each day.

As far as moving her, I think it would be cruel. All of her friends are where she currently is. Also, our lives are quite transitional at this point, as DH is here for a 3 year postdoc which will be paused in the middle for a two year stay in France. That brings up other major concerns.

There's just no easy answer, is there? It really is a fine line between living my own life and being there for family.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:51 PM   #5
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I will post this as a *mom* (although I'm a daughter/granddaughter who has constant guilt the same way, so don't feel bad)...

I hope that if/when I get in a similar situation my DS (an only child) will know that I WANT him to make his wife/children his priority. That will be the greatest gift he can give to me, to be a good husband and father. His time being a son was important, but at that point, it should take a backburner. I would rather be alone, than have my grandbabies not spend time with their dad because he's taking care of old me.

for you....

Terri
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoopermom View Post
I will post this as a *mom* (although I'm a daughter/granddaughter who has constant guilt the same way, so don't feel bad)...

I hope that if/when I get in a similar situation my DS (an only child) will know that I WANT him to make his wife/children his priority. That will be the greatest gift he can give to me, to be a good husband and father. His time being a son was important, but at that point, it should take a backburner. I would rather be alone, than have my grandbabies not spend time with their dad because he's taking care of old me.

for you....

Terri
I feel the same way as a mom. I would not want my kids burdened in any way. This is a good point to bring up, and you said it well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by firecracker725 View Post
Thanks for your kind words. I have power of attorney, so the doctors and facilities always call to keep me updated.



Her stay in the LTC facility is permanent. She tried going home after her first amputation, but her limited mobility combined with a stroke she suffered made it impossible for her to live independently, even with home health coming each day.

As far as moving her, I think it would be cruel. All of her friends are where she currently is. Also, our lives are quite transitional at this point, as DH is here for a 3 year postdoc which will be paused in the middle for a two year stay in France. That brings up other major concerns.

There's just no easy answer, is there? It really is a fine line between living my own life and being there for family.
there is no easy answer, i know this personally
We just do the best we can
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firecracker725 View Post
I don't even know where to begin...

My mother (58) is in a nursing home in another state. She recently had her second leg amputated just below the knee, and she isn't doing well at all. Her nurse just called to notify me that they're sending her to the ER because she isn't eating and her wound is open and oozing blood (sorry).

This is the latest development in a nearly two year major decline in her health. Unfortunately, I have now moved so far away that it is a major undertaking to make the trip. Where it used to be just a 6 hour drive, it's now a 13+ event. Flights are cost prohibitive, as it would also involve a rental car and flying into an airport pretty far from her facility. To top it off, I work retail, and this is the absolute worst time to need to get out of town. So, I decided not to make the trip for her surgery or to visit for Christmas. I'm planning on making a short trip there in January, but I am feeling such guilt over not being there for her now. I have a sister who lives close to her, but she's too busy being a drug addict to go visit. That's a whole other story. Her church family has been fantastic, but unfortunately they don't communicate with me because I'm "that liberal daughter who lives far away".

Has anyone else been in a similar situation? I have two small children to take care of here, and my job needs me as well, but when do I say "enough is enough" and head home for my mother?
Here is what I would tell you....

Call everyday and keep in touch with the medical professionals at this point about her condition since you have medical POA.

I know you think it is cruel to move her away from her friends and if she is doing well and in her right mind then I agree.

However if she declines to a certain point you might want to revisit that idea of moving her closer to you.

Bottom line, I think instead of beating yourself up about the decisions right now, you come to the realization that plans might have to change due to circumstances. What you say now, may not be what you have to do later.

HUGS and I hope you have good news about your mom's health soon.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by firecracker725 View Post
I don't even know where to begin...

My mother (58) is in a nursing home in another state. She recently had her second leg amputated just below the knee, and she isn't doing well at all. Her nurse just called to notify me that they're sending her to the ER because she isn't eating and her wound is open and oozing blood (sorry).

This is the latest development in a nearly two year major decline in her health. Unfortunately, I have now moved so far away that it is a major undertaking to make the trip. Where it used to be just a 6 hour drive, it's now a 13+ event. Flights are cost prohibitive, as it would also involve a rental car and flying into an airport pretty far from her facility. To top it off, I work retail, and this is the absolute worst time to need to get out of town. So, I decided not to make the trip for her surgery or to visit for Christmas. I'm planning on making a short trip there in January, but I am feeling such guilt over not being there for her now. I have a sister who lives close to her, but she's too busy being a drug addict to go visit. That's a whole other story. Her church family has been fantastic, but unfortunately they don't communicate with me because I'm "that liberal daughter who lives far away".

Has anyone else been in a similar situation? I have two small children to take care of here, and my job needs me as well, but when do I say "enough is enough" and head home for my mother?
The line about the church family is what struck me most. So many in nursing homes or LTC facilities don't have any sort of nearby support, and your mom sounds like she has a group of people who have the ability to be there for her on a regular basis. Which means, of course, that she's not alone in this. And you need to recognize that and understand that -- "liberal far away daughter" or not -- these people are helping you too. They're your mom's support and, indirectly, yours.

The next time you're able to make it out to your mom's facility, I would see if there was a way to meet with her church friends. Thank them for giving such great friendship and support to your mom. Talk to them so that they know you as more than just the far away daughter. My guess is that you can find at least one of them who will be willing to be your point person -- the one who will keep you in the loop if something comes up or someone you can call just to find out how mom is doing. You guys don't all need the same beliefs or to even be friends for that to happen -- you all have your mom in common, KWIM?

Having a representative in your mom's area will help you feel more connected, and help your mom understand how much you care, even if you can't be there.



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Old 12-07-2012, 03:57 PM   #9
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The line about the church family is what struck me most. So many in nursing homes or LTC facilities don't have any sort of nearby support, and your mom sounds like she has a group of people who have the ability to be there for her on a regular basis. Which means, of course, that she's not alone in this. And you need to recognize that and understand that -- "liberal far away daughter" or not -- these people are helping you too. They're your mom's support and, indirectly, yours.

The next time you're able to make it out to your mom's facility, I would see if there was a way to meet with her church friends. Thank them for giving such great friendship and support to your mom. Talk to them so that they know you as more than just the far away daughter. My guess is that you can find at least one of them who will be willing to be your point person -- the one who will keep you in the loop if something comes up or someone you can call just to find out how mom is doing. You guys don't all need the same beliefs or to even be friends for that to happen -- you all have your mom in common, KWIM?

Having a representative in your mom's area will help you feel more connected, and help your mom understand how much you care, even if you can't be there.



Oh...I've met them. Many of them have known me since I was a baby. I went to both elementary and high school with their children. They have my phone number, and I update them every time I have information. I've sent "thank you" cards, and thanked them publicly via various and sundry forms of social media. Unfortunately, they've chosen not to reciprocate in any way, shape, form, or fashion.
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Last edited by firecracker725; 12-07-2012 at 04:04 PM. Reason: Add material
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by yoopermom
I will post this as a *mom* (although I'm a daughter/granddaughter who has constant guilt the same way, so don't feel bad)...

I hope that if/when I get in a similar situation my DS (an only child) will know that I WANT him to make his wife/children his priority. That will be the greatest gift he can give to me, to be a good husband and father. His time being a son was important, but at that point, it should take a backburner. I would rather be alone, than have my grandbabies not spend time with their dad because he's taking care of old me.

for you....

Terri
Well said.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:08 PM   #11
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Oh...I've met them. Many of them have known me since I was a baby. I went to both elementary and high school with their children. They have my phone number, and I update them every time I have information. I've sent "thank you" cards, and thanked them publicly via various and sundry forms of social media. Unfortunately, they've chosen not to reciprocate in any way, shape, form, or fashion.
Have you flat-out asked someone specifically (not posing a question to the whole group, but singling out one person) to "Please keep me updated if there's anything new"? If you have, and they still don't call ... well ... then I'd probably be tempted to ask them why their religion doesn't include compassion.

But that's just me. I'm known to be a bit of a devil in situations like that ...

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Old 12-07-2012, 04:13 PM   #12
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Have you flat-out asked someone specifically (not posing a question to the whole group, but singling out one person) to "Please keep me updated if there's anything new"? If you have, and they still don't call ... well ... then I'd probably be tempted to ask them why their religion doesn't include compassion.

But that's just me. I'm known to be a bit of a devil in situations like that ...

I have asked, and I've received no response at all save a grapevine comment that if I wanted to know, I should come home. This is one of those churches that truly believes and openly states that if you don't believe what they do, you're going to hell.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:19 PM   #13
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I was in a similar situation a few years ago when my Mom had cancer as well as my MIL. I had young children who needed me, a job, etc. There really is no easy answer and you feel like the flag tied to a tug-of-war rope, as if you are being pulled in all directions letting someone down all the time.

I think leaving her where she is, in this case, is best. It's not as if her care would change drastically and she is comfortable and settled. If her quality of life would be much greater to move closer to you I'd say go for it but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Go visit in January, it's only a few weeks away, and try and enjoy your own holiday with your children.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:20 PM   #14
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I have asked, and I've received no response at all save a grapevine comment that if I wanted to know, I should come home. This is one of those churches that truly believes and openly states that if you don't believe what they do, you're going to hell.
Nice.

But still ... at least you know that your mom has a local support system. That's something, even if they're not YOUR support system.

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Old 12-07-2012, 04:40 PM   #15
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Nice.

But still ... at least you know that your mom has a local support system. That's something, even if they're not YOUR support system.

It is something. And I'm grateful. That is why I continue to thank them and update them and treat them kindly.
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