Caregiving has exhausted me but I can't put my mom in a home no matter how bad things got.
My 84 year old mother has lived with me and my husband for the last 7 years. She lived by herself for a few years after my father passed away, but had to rely on neighbors to get supplies, go to dr appts, etc. At the time, I lived hundreds of miles away. I would take time away from work and my husband to fly up every few months to stock her freezer full of food and help her with things around the house. Then it got to the point where it wasn't safe for her to be alone anymore. She would fall, or be worn out from trying to maintain a big house and yard.
I can deal with her limitations (mostly blind; arthritis; cancer survivor), but what I cannot deal with is her attitude. She has us a nervous wreck. She turns every conversation into a battle. We cannot ask her a simple question such as what she needs from the store. We will get a nasty reply with what she DOESN'T need, and how we screwed up her last order. God forbid we bring home something from the store that she DOESN'T need. It's as if the world was ending.
When I take her to the doctor(s), she spans 50 years of symptoms and if I weren't there to keep the timeline straight, they wouldn't know what she was talking about. She complains about going to the doctor and getting tests done; says she is never going back or never getting another of those tests (especially mammograms). Then she complains if she thinks she should have had one of those tests, but didn't. She complains about the mammograms and the colonoscopies and the MRI's, yet when she's had them done, there was NO pain; NO bad experiences. I've been with her for each and every one of them; I even FAST with her to share her pain. She complains if she's prescribed medications; she complains if she's NOT prescribed medications. One minute she's saying what a wonderful doctor so-and-so is; the next he's a no-good blankety-blank.
Nothing I do for her is right, or appreciated. She started nagging me about Christmas cards around Halloween time. When my final exam was finished at school the first week of December, I immediately went out and bought cards, spent the rest of the day addressing them, filling them out, etc. When I was done I told her that I had finished the Christmas cards and all she had to do was put them in the mailbox. She unloaded on me. Said that she told everyone that she wasn't sending cards; wanted to know who I sent a card to and why; it was UGLY.
My husband and I try to take her out to see shows, and to do some different things. I always tell her to enjoy whatever she is able to see with her bad eyes because her vision could get even worse. She makes every outing a miserable experience. I guide her everywhere and try to anticipate any potential situations that we could encounter and she knows I'm not going to leave her stranded. Again, it's not her physical limitations that are so annoying, it's her ATTITUDE. Ordering food is a TOTAL NIGHTMARE. Again, she doesn't tell me what she would LIKE to eat. She can't even narrow it down to a sandwich, dinner, breakfast, or salad. She spews out a list of all of the things that she cannot eat, and all of her ailments, etc. She wants to know exactly what is in each menu item and makes nasty faces when she hears about carbohydrates, but miraculously, when cake, pie, or cookies are around, she suddenly doesn't seem to complain about her diabetes. Once, during a particularly awful dining experience, a fellow diner asked me how old my mother is, told me that her own mother passed away the previous year, and then told me that I am BLESSED. Yeah, right.
One time she will tell friends/relatives about how fun or nice something was, and the next time she will completely turn it around and tell them it was horrible! I've heard her tell out-and-out lies about how she was treated at a doctor visit, or during a medical exam.
I, too, have siblings who are unwilling or unable to deal with Mom. A few years ago I brought up the idea of a nursing home, or one of them taking over her care. One sibling was very understanding. The others had the nerve to tell me that her only problem is her sight, and that I am just complaining because I can't get everything to go my own way. They didn't offer to take her in, just cursed me for disrupting their lives.
I am so very thankful that my husband is understanding and helpful, and he's stood by me. I would be in a mental ward without him. He doesn't deserve this. I used to be a happy, positive-thinking, upbeat person. I would hear of other's grief and pain, and rationalize that my situation wasn't so bad. I gave up a good job because I was being drained at home and was taking too much time off to take Mom to dr appointments and my boss didn't understand. I used to think that I could solve MOST problems, or at least make them a little better. Now, all I feel is anger and hatred, and then I feel guilty for feeling that way. I always feel trembling inside, and I'm not nearly as tolerant as I used to be. I truly don't know what to do. I've been to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and I just couldn't put her there, no matter how bad things get for me.