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I got a bit rough with mom today and feel terrible that I let myself get into this state. We were arguing back and forth and I thought I can't stand this any longer. I kind of shook her and we were nose to nose at one point. I know she forgets about these fights but I don't and I know I will be living with this long after she is gone.

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Janny, I hope this will be a consoling thought for you: my daughter spent 6 months as a first year doctor on a geriatric urology ward, and when I was fretting about mother one day, she explained that one reason it can be hard to pick up on uti's quickly is that the familiar symptoms we know all about - pain, burning, frequency, feeling ill - are much less severe in very elderly people, even when there is a definite infection. Their immune systems don't kick up such a fuss, so their bodies don't undergo the same response that younger ones do. Or so she said. I have to admit I looked at her 'sideways' about this, but she assured me it's true.

Now of course that doesn't make any of what happened to your mother ok, or less dangerous for her general health, or less sloppy in terms of the doctor's attitude or the efforts to get a urine sample; but her actual suffering probably was not as awful as you think. Don't torture yourself about it. PLUS you did get on top of it, so well done.

I think Jessie's question is a good one, though - are there any options in your area with higher staffing levels and a bit more motivation?
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Are there any other NHs around that are better and will take your mother?
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Just to give you some background and, believe me, I am not condoning my actions for one minute. My mom lived with me for fifteen years after my dad passed away. She developed alzheimer's about ten years ago and has been in a nursing home for the past four. I have two sisters and one brother who do virturally nothing to help. I spend five days a week with her as she has never been able to settle in. She is constantly anxious and battles with everyone about everything. For the past four years I have fought with the nursing home about the things I see going on there. Its not a bad home, there just is not enough staff to supervise. I have screamed and yelled and have run out of there crying on many occasions. Not only do I have mom to deal with, but there is a whole system that needs repairing. Last month my mom's urine began to smell really bad. She has had UTI's before and in fact had only just gotten over one the month before. The Dr. said she was probably dehydrated and needed lots of fluids. I started pumping the fluids into her as I know the staff have no time for things like that. When thing did not improve over the next few days I talked to the Dr. again. By this time mom was confused and lethargic and I had seen this before during other infections. He decided to do some blood work on her which took another few days. I should mention that no one working on my mom's unit was able to get a urine sample. The blood work came back negative and still the Dr. refused to move to give her antibiotics so soon after the last time. I finally resolved to get a urine sample from her and hoped it would not be contaminated ( she is incontinent and the urine can get contaminated easily). I was so worried about her at this point I thought she might have kidney failure. Her urine was more like orange juice than lemonade. It came back positive for UTI. By this time a month had gone by. God only knows the agony she suffered waiting for someone to do something. Finally, we got the antibiotics, but mom now refused to take them. I don't remember putting my hand on her shoulder and giving her a shake. I was so blinded by the worry of it all and the frustration that there was no help. I don't make a habit of putting my hands on mom. I wish I could run away from all of this, but then who would be there to advocate for her.
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Actually, I am concerned that you shook her because you also stated that you "get out of control and it comes from nowhere" ... if that is true, then you really need to take another look. Shaking is serious. It is physical abuse and what we know about abuse is that it is repeated (most of the time). Perhaps, you need to get some help for yourself or get someone else to take care of her. It takes enormous patience, and many, many people are not cut out for it.
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Janny I felt my chest go tight reading your account. I do, honestly, know exactly how you feel. The fury boils up, and there's nothing rational about it.

Here are some things I have tried that help.

Fold your arms.
Physically, consciously, take a step back.
Say "stop!" aloud.
Hugging her instead (only once, but that one time it really saved the day).

I haven't tried this, but I've thought about it (haven't needed it recently) - wearing a stout rubber band on your wrist and snapping it.

These are just simple techniques that give you a temporary "pause" button and the split second you need not to act out your anger. I'm sure other people have lots of other methods too, but speaking as a quick-tempered person I've found those helpful. I'm lucky, I can still honestly say that I've never laid a finger on my mother, but believe me I am thinking "there but for the grace of God go I." I am not blaming you.

It's getting better now, and I'm able to work on not feeling so angry, recognising that it's frustration that's winding me up and not my mother doing it "on purpose" (?!), not raising my voice, not arguing, and learning to step away and relax. Give yourself time. You will get better at this job. Best of luck x
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Anger coming out of nowhere is scary because you can't predict when you're about to blow up. People are hardwired to respond with eighter fight or flight when faced with a bad situation. You sound like you belong to the fight varierty Have you considered talking to a therapist? If your mother were to be injured during another angry outburst, you could face criminal charges. I'm not trying to frighten you, but merely resolving to never do it again isn't going to work.
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I shoot myself with that finger pistol at least 20 times a day.
We are all pressure cookers looking for ways to let off steam. Another thing that works for me is..........going outside in the fresh air...pulling weeds - anything out there - for as long as it takes lol
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My sister yelles at my mother often, simply because she doesn't listen. My father passed away 6 months ago and my mother is always underfoot (she is 72, has the beginning stages of dementia...forgetfulness, repetetive talk, lack of problem solving skills/processes). Always wanting to be part of the "girlie" personal conversations around my sister and I, and wanting to be helpful just to be around, even if it's just organizing the tupperware lids in the drawer. I would never say some of the things my sister says to our mom, but then again, I am not around her even one tenth of the time my sister is, simply because of my location and the fact that I am caring for my MIL in my home. Janny, forgive yourself. Caregiving is difficult, even when you love your parent(s). You do need to resolve to never put your hands on her, and have a backup plan in place just in case, and learn your trigger points so it doesn't happen again. You are a wonderful daughter for caring for your mother every day . Peace be with you.
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Thanks. I hear you all.
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I think that openly admitting this on a public forum is a good sign that you have a good conscience and that this is not likely to happen again. You know it is wrong and you lost it.
Abuse is wrong. Period. No if's, ands, or buts. It is legally and morally wrong. If one feels that one is out of control for whatever reasons, one is no longer in a position to caregive.
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Sorry Janny hope i wasnt being harsh BUT it just takes one person to see you do this and you could find yourself in alot of trouble legally like elder abuse i shouted at my mum in front of nurse and she was on the phone to the doc within minutes lucky i got to tell doc my side and the stress i was under but i think anything physical is taken much more seriously.
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janny ive said alot of things to my mum that im not ashamed of as this job came with no training and no pay or contract terms. BUT in anger ive said horrible things to her BUT never shaken or approached her. You need a break and someone to talk to as this is not easy and the fact that you have gotten to that dept of anger is not good. Its important you learn to walk away when you get angry OR get your mother other care shouting and screaming is one thing but shaking her is way out of line im sorry but theres a line to be drawn here. Talk to someone about your anger asap. I have been pushed to the limit here but never would i shake her thats worrying as they are old and more fragile than we are.
I do like jb i will run out of the house and stay away if i have to go for a walk or scream to a friend. Dont get me wrong we have all feared wed do something under the stress BUT thats something you have to learn to control or else give up being the cargiver.
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I think we've all done and/or said things we regretted immediately after we did them...i know I have. I have never touched Mama physically but had those moments where you feared you might...It is total stress overload...and oddly these kinds of feelings seem to hit out of left field for some reason...I agree with the others, vow to not let it happen again, forgive yourself and move on....I think the fact that you openly commented here proves you would not normally ever have done that. For me I am realizing a lot of my anger comes from knowing I am losing Mama little by little and oh how I miss those fun talks we used to have....and it seems like everyone else has already moved on.....to say this is hard is the ultimate understatement I know....I'm glad you talked about this...Good thoughts and prayers for you Janny.
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Hmm... I see shaking another person as wrong. I see pushing or hitting or slapping them as wrong. However, we are not perfect and because we do wrong once doesn't mean we have to do it again. We just have to promise ourselves not to do it again, and if we break the promise, then maybe we aren't cut out for caregiving. There are too many other options out there.

I have a feeling that since Janny felt so bad that she shook herself up by her actions. I get the feeling it won't happen again. Lots of good thoughts for you, Janny.
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my sister is the same way...she blows up and browbeats my mother. Today she was screaming that 'you'll do what we say or you're going STRAIGHT to the nursing home! and there won't BE any coming home from there!'..when she left she made the comment that she needed to go because she'd been being mean to my mother all day.

I know she's in premature grief, angry that shes losing her mother. She refuses to accept that mother can't be logical anymore or that mother isn't doing things to hurt her or be mean but because she's not functioning anymore. She is upset that she has lost mother in so many ways. Mom will never be able to tell her anything anymore, can't cook anymore, it's too late for all that.

and I understand that. I called her and told her not to give herself a hard time....it's been a long weekend and she'd not had any sleep.

basically what I am saying is, learn to forgive yourself. You're doing the best you can. You can't be perfect (but no physical stuff, ok?) Start over tomorrow and move on.
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Thank you all for your comments. My anger comes out of nowhere so it's not like I can plan to go somewhere or do something else in time. It's like I just snap. I do feel very compassionate most of the time. My heart aches for my mom so much I feel it will break. I will promise myself not to put my hands on my mom again. How could I have done such a thing. I can't even tell my husband. I know he would never understand my behavior. I pray to God that I can continue this journey for how ever long it lasts and to be more understanding and sensitive to my mom's antics whatever they are.
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janny, we all get exasperated. Just promise yourself you won't shake her again. Then follow through on your promise. Many of us have tricks to handle the stress overload and anger. I go in my room and slam things. I also have a silly way of dealing with it. I shoot myself with a finger pistol. It isn't loaded, so no harm done. For some reason it eases stress in myself.

If I get really angry I simply avoid my mother. She is a difficult person who is beyond reasoning, so I get angry fairly often. I always feel bad if I show her my anger. It is better for both of us for me to get away to deal with it. There are weeds to be pulled and wood to be chopped. A brisk walk works wonders, too.
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Forgive yourself - you're human and just try to take Captain and Assanache's words to heart. All of us caregivers have done things we're not proud of. It goes with the territory of stress and burnout. Hugs to you.
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My favorite quote:

The dementia patient is not giving you a hard time,
The dementia patient is having a hard time....
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your not saying whats wrong with mom . if its dementia all i can say is get online and start reading . people on here can help you a little but please start reading in every spare moment . the more you learn , the more your exasperation will turn to compassion . when i could look at my mom and visualize a dying , shrunken brain then it started getting downright easy to deal with . never argue with your mom if she is demented . the logic isnt there and it will break your mind .. walk away for a few minutes instead of trying to reason with her . she'll probably follow you . shes confused , not trying to hurt you ..
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