19 June 2015

I'm Going to Write Myself a Letter

I am going to write myself a letter to open when I turn seventy.  It's tentatively titled "Don't be a D*ck"  or perhaps more appropriately subtitled "Accept Help When It's Offered"

We're having the ongoing struggle with the folks accepting help caring for the mother.  We keep hearing "We've got it" and "When she gets better then we can..." when NEITHER OF THESE THINGS ARE TRUE.

I keep meditating on this topic, "I'm going to be there someday" "We all get old" etc. etc.  Kevin says that we can't MAKE them do anything and he's right. 

We are trying to get them signed up for a program that can offer them all kinds of assistance: someone to come in to help, food assistance, financial assistance, medicine management, etc.  The caseworker is the husband of a friend of ours and he called me today to say "Nope."  Because of the I'll Do It Myself! attitude, they won't get past the initial screening process. 

Here is a non-quick recap of what we're dealing with:

We've had endless talks about Kevin's mom drinking water, because dehydration was one of the causes that landed/lands her in the hospital.  She always promises to try and then doesn't.  I think it's going to come down to the boys telling her they're not going to visit her in the hospital if she has to be hospitalized because she's dehydrated.  She acts as if we've asked her to set her hair on fire.

When she was admitted to the ER, the doctor stated that medication management has to change.  She wasn't taking her meds correctly and she was taking something she shouldn't be (laxative) and wasn't taking something that she should be. (cholesterol meds) My father-in-law does all the meds.  Here's the fun part: he doesn't read.  He literally holds the bottles and visually matches it to the paperwork.  But he doesn't know what he's reading (think heart meds vs. anxiety meds)  

Of course, we try to problem solve. We said we would buy pill boxes and help him get it organized. This way he only has to hand her the meds.  EPIC TANTRUM.  A list of nonsensical reasons why it won't work: the pills don't fit in the boxes, what happens if he runs out, it takes HOURS to distribute her pills (using an example of when she went to visit her sister) and we don't understand IT JUST WON'T WORK AND I CAN DO IT MYSELF!  (that last part is implied) 

The answer to this is You Can't Read.  But the boys can't say that, although I think they should. I'm not as worried about his pride when it's something this serious.  So, I walked away because I don't tolerate tantrums.  In fact, I've taken a wee break from them entirely.

We agreed to shelve the topic until the next day or so.   Two hours later, Kevin went over to check on them before we went to bed.  His father was STILL trying to figure out the meds.  The discharge paperwork wasn't formatted the same as the previous paperwork so he couldn't figure it out.  He was freaking out. Kevin texted me to come help.  I may have cursed.

I had to go over to figure this out without cursing, muttering or doing the I Told You So dance.  I was mostly successful.  Finally, I just took the paperwork home to figure out how to make this make sense to him. I cannot touch the meds physically because he has A System. And don't get him started on the one time that the ER docs "mixed everything up" and ruined his life.  MONTHS AGO.

The paperwork stated "Take two times daily" or "once daily".  While this is obvious to everyone else, it's not obvious to him; he spirals out with "But is it in the morning or the night? How do I know if she needs it?"  OH FFS.  Oh, and the nurses notated in the margins and with highlights when she had the last dose.

30 minutes later, I created a spreadsheet with everything delineated as best I can for someone who doesn't read. I had also called the nurse at the hospital for help but they were busy.  I was finished by the time they phoned back and even then it wasn't the nurse we needed.  But she did say that my logic was sound in making the chart and entering everything correctly.

My sister-n-law managed to get the pills organized into pill boxes the next day without a PEEP from him, which makes me relieved and yet, still a little stabby. The next step is to register for Walgreens online and set everything up on auto-renew.  He insists this won't work because: reasons.

Swistle summed it up the best: "It's like, nothing can solve it because everything is going through the That Won't Work filter. The goal isn't to listen to possible solutions and see what will work; the goal is to pick solutions apart and "win" by proving nothing will work."

I guess the most frustrating part is that they need help and will sometimes will voice that need, but then he gets all stabby and shouty when anyone makes suggestions or tries to help.  Logic says just walk away and let him deal. But this is a safety issue (MEDICINE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD) and we can't do that. Logic also says that it's because he feels we're judging him and that he's done something wrong.   Because WE ARE. 

Then there's the fact that he is at risk of falling or being exhausted (requiring hospitalization) because he's the sole caregiver.  The reaction to this is textbook defensiveness.  We can't get him to understand that the consequence of him geting hurt or injured is they're both in a care facility. But to him, it's simply NOT POSSIBLE. We can rationalize that it's the loss of control and independence, but we can't get them to understand that the next stop is a care facility.

On a selfish note, and Kevin has used this rationale with them, at some point it has to be about US.  We're exhausted.  We're stressed.  We are spending our free time making sure that everything is taken care of.  When Kevin mentioned "Don't you want to do this so at least WE can stop worrying and having to come help?"  They just continue to insist that they don't need it and eventually everything will go back to normal.  He even told them (bless his heart forever) "Surely can't continue to clean your house, babysit the dog, and catch the ambulance forever.  That can't be her job."

Have I mentioned she's on oxygen 24/7?  That she doesn't like taking her medicine? Or eating?  YEAH.

So, deep breath. I am going to write myself a letter.  Maybe even include this post with it.  When I'm old, I need to remember to not be a jerk to the people that are just trying to help.

1 comment:

Swistle said...

Aieeeeee, this sounds DREADFUL!