Happy Holidays


December 2, 2009 by esarsea

I had forgotten we enabled the BS BLOG’s snow machine last year until I logged on today and saw the flakes falling once again! I still think it’s a little cheesy as noted in last year’s post, but I’m still of the mind to leave it on.

This holiday season is going to be a little different. We lost my wife’s father around this time last year, and this year my mom’s health is not so good. We’ve been in and out of the hospital a couple times in recent months, and there’s a very real possibility we’ll either be moving in with her (or having her move in with us) in the not-too-distant future.

A nursing home is not an option for mom. Well, maybe I should say it’s not an option for me. I will not allow it. Mom cared for Dad after his stroke until he passed 6 months later, literally to the detriment of her own health at the time. He was able to pass at home, in the company of his wife; not alone and neglected at the end of some stark, white and stinking-of-urine linoleum hallway. I’ll be damned if I show my thanks by putting her in some rest home. Not happening.

Wow…sorry for the rant. This started out as a pleasant little holiday post but it turned a little dark. My bad.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to you all.

8 thoughts on “Happy Holidays

  1. torqdog says:

    Merry Christmas to everyone though it seems a little early. The snowflakes are a nice touch though I’m sure they will get old by the end of the year.

    Sorry to hear about yer Mom. My Dad is also in poor health. We spent the better part of Thanksgiving week down in the Bay Area helping my Mom so she could get a break from caregiving. He returned from the assisted nursing facility on Wednesday and there was much to do getting the house ready. He can barely walk and seems to take a fall more and more often. The last one which occurred a month or so ago, he cracked three Ribs and tore the skin off his arm. I’m thinkin that this will probably be the last Christmas for him, but then again, who knows?!!!

    It’s a 200 mile journey to see my folks and it’s times like these that I question my move to Carson City.

    • Stu says:

      I know what you mean. We may well have moved by now if it were not for Mary-Anne’s and my parents. Maybe someday, although the Puget Sound area is tough to beat. The rain gets old, but it’s a boater’s paradise!

  2. Bill says:

    Uh, yeah, thanks for the holiday cheer… A little different perspective from personal experience.

    My Mom died in a care facility just blocks away from where I live at the age of 84. She had Parkinson’s for 9 years prior and her eyesight was all but gone. In the final months, as her health deteriorated further, she needed help just getting out of bed, going to the restroom and returning to bed. It took a full time nursing staff to watch over her and deliver consistent, professional care. And Mom wanted them to help her, not her children. She had enough pride left in her that she felt the last straw would be my sister wiping her butt for her. That wasn’t an option. It does not equate or compare just because your parents wiped your butt when you were a child.

    When she got close to checking out, my Mom told me that she didn’t want to be force-fed her meds, food and hallway-walker exercise any longer. My sister and I met with the staff and conveyed Mom’s wishes and the result was that they promised to keep her comfortable. Stopping the meds was going to cause some emotional and physical discomfort, so they came in a couple of times a day and would offer her a small dose of morphine to keep her calm and relaxed. She died a week later.

    She got excellent medical care and I found extra community nursing services, available through Medicare, and they would come in and supplement her needs at the facility with volunteer book readers, etc.

    All in all, for her age and condition, the facility route was the best alternative. Before the facility option came into play, my sister would get way too emotional if she had to deal with my Mom more than a couple times a week in her home. Sis started to turn on me and my brother because, from her perspective, we weren’t doing enough to help. My poor brother was working in Reno on a construction project and I was working full time.

    In our experience with two different facilities where Mom lived and died, they were clean, pleasant and with the exception of a few disinterested immigrant staffers, helpful and caring. The vision of a urine-permeated atmosphere with Nurse Ratchet at the front counter was never a reality for us.

    • Stu says:

      I am sincerely glad to hear your experiences were different. In my Paramedic and ambulance days I was constantly in and out of numerous rest homes and nursing homes and consistently found them lacking in both care and smell.

      We have been in touch with a local community services/home healt care outfit who is going to come in once a week, and family members are filling in the other days. Hopefully that will get the job done. Mom is still (for the most part) capable of independent living with some help.

      She’s about had her fill though. Mom has a living will and “Do Not Resuscitate” orders in place.

      But yeah, there is no way around it…tough business emotionally, especially when I tend to run on the over-sensitive side as it is.

  3. Bill says:

    Well, it is a sensitive subject for those with strong family ties. My Mom saved herself and three adolescent children when my Dad took off all those years ago. All three children felt an incredible bond with her and that same strength that “saved” us, stayed with her until she couldn’t go on in that body any longer.

    Independent Living and Assisted Care come in varying levels, depending on your condition. I worry that the constant need to be caring for someone in your home or theirs, puts a real strain on family members. We went through it and I really feel that it nearly permanently ended my relationship with my sister. It’s a common occurance when adult children are in that position.

    In my experience, elderly folks with health problems eventually end up wanting to go to a place where other people like them live, recreate, eat together, make new friends and have medical attention available at all times. In a home setting, I think some feel like they are the center of dubious attention, that they are in the way, that their family can’t function normally with them there, that they are the “sick” ones, etc.

    I know my Mom finally felt that way, even though for years she would say,”I don’t want to go live with all those old, sick people!”

    After a couple of falls and eyesight problems, she relented quite willingly and asked to move. Within a month or so, she was playing cards and singing along at night in the Rec Hall.

    I do understand the sensitivities, Stu. And, of course, you are doing the right thing. It’s just a tough subject all the way around because it means that the matriarch of your family is winding down. If your Mom is lucid and alert and her body is cooperating for the most part, what you are doing is totally natural and loving and I salute you and your wife.

  4. Jane says:

    similar situation with my m-i-l.
    i can relate to all the posts here so far

  5. Da Goddess says:

    I’m saying a prayer for your mom.

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December 2009

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