Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Parents getting old stinks!

At what age are you supposed to be when you have to start taking care of your parents? I thought that I would at least get to wait until I was done with my kid.

I've already told you about how my mom got very sick last year and almost died from pneumonia...right? A refresher... see my mom smokes, she has osteoporosis and arthritis. Last year she got sick...went to her doctor who couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. She wasn't showing any signs of her body fighting the infection. She ended up in the ER because she couldn't breathe and the doctor there almost sent her home. Luckily there was a lung specialist making rounds and my step dad asked him to come in and saved my mom's life as she was admitted to the ICU. Turns out she has viral pneumonia and COPD. She now has only about 40% lung capacity and has to carry oxygen with her where ever she goes (although she doesn't have to wear the tube unless she feels short of breath...which she will try to do without as much as possible because she thinks that going without will help to strengthen her lungs.) She'll never get that lung capacity back...she'll always have to carry the oxygen and eventually she'll have to start using it all the time.

So now she is on permanent disability. took a very long time for the government to finally get her into the system for that...meanwhile she went broke and charged up her credit to the max.

My brother who lives out here near me & I felt really bad for her and wanted to send her money to help out... BUT even though this woman has a disease caused by smoking and can't breathe, AND can't afford cigarettes, she still smokes. Neither of us wanted to contribute to her addiction (that she refuses to try any of the stop smoking helps out there!) so we didn't want to send her money to buy cigarettes with. yeah, she's raised some very stubborn kids!

but the apple doesn't fall far from the tree... When my mom was thinking about moving out here to be near her kids she wanted to also bring all the antique furniture that she's bought over the years. Furniture that she wouldn't be able to fit into a house in her price range out here... furniture that she was going to pay to haul out here to have to give to me (that I don't want!) I told her to sell the furniture. It didn't make any sense for her to pay to haul it out here, but she wouldn't hear of it. I also told her to sell it to pay her bills. She didn't. See...who's stubborn now? Can you guess what's going to happen to this furniture when I inherit it?

My brother did go and buy her a cell phone on his plan and mailed it to her. So she has a phone with a local to me phone number. Brother also programed the phone with all our phone numbers so she could call us at any time. Has she called anyone? uh, no!

And then there is DH's mom. DH is the only one of his siblings who lives near his mom. But his mom has been really secretive about her situation. See a few years back one of her doctors put her on a combination of medications that made her pretty loopy. She was trying her best to function through this, but she wasn't able to do everything. Luckily a friend of hers went with her to the one doctor and helped MIL to fire him...she then went back to her regular doctor who was able to get her on the right medications to help her. MIL only confided in DH about what all happened recently. So now DH has been trying to help MIL out, but he has his siblings to deal with too. His two sisters think that she should move to be near them (in a nursing home or with the oldest sister) and his youngest brother wants to take care of her from his "crash pad"* in VA. Luckily his oldest brother has too much to deal with in his own family to poke his nose in any of this.

DH has been driving over to MIL's house on a regular basis to take care of her yard and any repairs that the house when the water heater sprung a leak or the basement floods. There was also another situation that came up recently where he has to make sure to call her to check in every few days.

I'm okay with having to take care of MIL. She's in her 70's and it's time to help her. I just wish she would let us. She doesn't want me knowing what all is going on and she would probably be upset with DH for telling me what he has, but I know he hasn't told me everything...and I know that she hasn't told him everything either.

However, I'm not so okay with having to take care of my mom. She's only 61 and the reason she's in this mess is those stupid cigarettes! She always said when I was growing up that she didn't want to live forever, so if smoking shortened her life, so be it. But I don't think that she ever thought about how shortening her life would impact the lives of her kids.

*BIL is a flight attendant who works out of VA. A "crash pad" is a residence that he keeps and rents out to other flight attendants to use while they are in VA. I don't know how that all works, but hopefully it is covering his bills.


  1. Sounds like a nightmare in the making: sorry :-/ I know it's for sure something that I'm not looking forward to. My own Mom recently got a life changing/potentially life threatening diagnosis (depending on if she changes her habits or not), and I'm already frustrated with her at times over it and what she is/isn't doing.

  2. P.S. My Grandma was diagnosed with lung cancer the day I left Alaska to come home. It wasn't until she was put in a home that she actually stopped smoking. They took out part of her lungs (almost all of one and like a 1/4 of the other) and when she first went home, she continued to smoke. There are lots of stubborn people out there.

  3. Ugh, i feel for you. I dread the day when my parents need care. None of us wants to live together again. :) Hope it all works out.

  4. Parents getting old sucks!

    Mom went to the football game with us two weeks ago. Well it was a really hot day and their seats were in the upper deck. Come to find out when she and my aunt got to their seats, Mom had to lie down on the bleacher and my aunt said she was turning green. Then the other day, she was talking about moving somewhere without stairs because she's getting older and doesn't want to fall. She's only 57.

    I went to church with a man who had COPD. He eventually had to start bringing his oxygen tank to services. To watch and hear him gasping for breath was just horrible.

  5. TC: I'm sorry about your mom & grandmother.

    Carmen: Luckily MIL doesn't want to live with any of her matter how much her daughters want her to. And I would not be able to deal with my mom living her...I was so ready for her to go home when she was hear over Christmas. She kept complaining about things at my house. I guess no one taught her how to be gracious!

    Bone: I'm sorry your mom is still having problems...I guess this really wasn't about my mom's age so much, but the fact that she did this to herself and won't bother making a change that could help her. I feel guilty that I'm glad she lives so far away so I don't have to witness this first hand.

  6. I'm so sorry for everything you're going through.

    It's hard to see our parents get older. I still think of them the way they were when I was younger. But then I see how much more slowly they walk and how tired they get and I realize that they are getting older. It's sad.