Saturday, August 1, 2009


Well, things are about to get a bit hairy back home in Dallas. As you know, my parents and my oldest sister combined their households a few years back. It worked out fairly well as long as Dad was still alive. He waited on Mom hand and foot all day, and did as much as he could to help Carolyn around the house. We never in a million years would have guessed that he'd be the first to go, and when he did, things went downhill fast.

The thing is, you really need to pay attention to people when they advise you about "creating a monster." From the day Dad met my mom, everyone kept trying to warn him. They all said "Bill, you're spoiling that girl. Better watch out, or someday you're gonna regret it!" Did he listen? No, he did not. So you see, it's not really Mom's fault that she became accustomed to having breakfast in bed, water brought to her when she was thirsty, "tea parties" prepared for her when she was hungry, things fetched for her when she didn't feel like getting up, and, well, you get the picture. Not only do people get used to being waited on, they also begin to expect it as their due. So, when Dad passed, Mom just assumed that my sister would become her lady-in-waiting, and it really didn't seem to phase her that Carolyn still needed to work full-time, in order to keep a roof over their heads, or that Carolyn had just had a knee replaced, then a hip, or that she deserved to have any kind of a personal life.

Eventually, it got to the point where my sister's health and sanity were at risk. We got help to come in and watch Mom during the day, but then she somehow got her days and nights mixed up, and took to wandering the house all night, and waking my sister in the middle of the night to demand food or to clean up an accident. Mom's health was deteriorating as well. There were days when she'd refuse to get out of bed or take any of her pills, and her doctors said there was nothing left they could do for her. So, we began the process of getting her approved for medicaid, to get more help for my sister, and to be prepared for the time when Mom would need to be moved elsewhere. To tell you the truth, we were all praying that she would just slip away peacefully, before we ever had to make that choice.

We just found out a couple of weeks ago that Mom qualifies for assisted living, but that it could be nine months or more before a place was available. The next thing we know, they are calling to say "We've got one now!" So, here we go. Wish us luck. Right now Mom seems to be looking forward to it. She has always loved to decorate, and is already busy planning how she is going to fix up her little apartment. But if we start getting pitiful calls in the night, once she's moved in, saying "Please, please, come get me!", I just don't know what we'll do.


lexlane said...

This is all for the best. The reality is that Granny isn't going to be happy with anything short of full-time maid at her beck and call, which nobody can afford. This home is the only place equiped to take care of her now, none of us can do it, nor should we have to.

We all love her very much, and cherish the memories that we have with her, but her refusal (or possible inability) to take care of herself properly has forced this situation into what it is, and we are all going to have to live with it.

She put all her ailing relatives into nursing homes, she can't expect anything different for herself.

Hill Country Hippie said...

Ah but she does!

Anonymous said...

You have my empathy and sympathy. My mom has my grandmother living with her full time (with in home care). This situation developed after my grandmother had been in assisted living for seven years and had gotten to a point where she needed more assistance in living than assisted living offered. She's been at my mom's now for a year and half and it's really taking a toll on my mom. You're making the right choice -- stick to you guns even if at first she has a hard time adjusting.

Hill Country Hippie said...

Thanks Sherri. We were kind of shocked that both her doctors and the person from the home that came to do her assessment, agreed that she should be in assisted living, not the skilled nursing facility. The good news is that they have both, so if she needs to be moved over later, at least she will be on familiar grounds.

d.a. said...

My best wishes to your family (and your mom) with the new living situation. May it all work out for the best.