Hitting my head against a brick wall and feeling responsible for Mom.

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One problem seems to look like it will be fixed. Of course there is another that has been a problem before when she went to the hospital and now again. She has COPD and Stage 4 kidney disease. She was in the hospital because she developed a blister on her leg that broke open. The cause was too much fluid in her body. She went back to the doctor yesterday because she developed another blister. Today she said it is starting to leak fluid. I tell her she had to do what the doctor says to stay out of the hospital. And repeat what the doc said. Take her fluid pills (she barely gets to bathroom on time-because of the dose she complains. Doc had to up the meds to get more fluid out. She can't sit with her feet up too much because she has to get things done. Won't pay a maid. Can't afford it. She can but is saving all the money she can for brother to live on when she dies. Won't take volunteer. Don't know if you can trust them and they won't do good job without being paid. I said spend a lot of time resting with feet up between doing things. She say- You can only sit with your feet up for so long. Tell her to eat more cause she is loosing weight. Don't want to eat cause can't taste things. Can't use salt. Don't like a lot of spices. Dumped a lot of Italian dressing on food but still doesn't taste like much. Won't eat anything that has more than a tiny bit of salt in it. She is 89. I guess her taste buds are part of the problem at her age. I still feel responsible for her when she tells me these problems. Even though all I get is a negative response to what ever I say. How do I detach emotionally? Especially since her stubbornness will likely mean problems for me down the road. And having to stay at her place and taking care of her for several days or more after her (probably) next hospital stay. And I get emotionaly exhausted being with her and want to scream.

Barbara

2 Comments

I know so much what you mean. Every solution gets a reason why not to do it. It is like someone is standing at a spot with many paths leading from it, but put a roadblock in front of each path. No, I can't do this because... and I can't do that because... and it's impossible to do this because... So they end up staying exactly where they are and we walk away to put our helmet on. The truth is that we can't make them do anything. Another truth is that we often pay a price when they don't. The best we can do is to keep encouraging them to do things that will help them feel better. We can keep cooking healthy food even though it's not fit to eat. We can keep having them do for themselves even though they don't feel like it. Now, how to make them keep their feet up, I have no idea. Maybe if there was something they enjoyed doing while sitting down it would help.

The open blisters are worrisome, especially when there is kidney disease. What type of medication does she take to help with the excess water. I've heard that Lasix is hard on the kidneys, so wonder if they use something else.
"Down the road" is not likely a long ways from what you are describing.

You are not responsible for her problems, nor for her decisions. The lack of taste sensation is common in renal failure patients: jn.nutrition.org/content/129/1/122.full
and they can also have poor gastric emptying and it might respond to medication changes...also found an article on "Improving Food Flavours in Taste Loss" says, "Flavour enhancement may be suggested for patients with taste loss, as this approach can increase enjoyment of food in cases of insufficient nutritional intake and decreased taste sensitivity. Among elderly patients with decreased taste sensitivity, increasing the flavour of food by adding glutamate for saltiness,41,42 marinating meats before cooking, using low-calorie sweetener to enhance sweetness and using lemon juice to enhance sourness has increased the amount of food consumed."

Would she wear light compression stockings to help with the fluid and breakdown in her legs? You would put those on when getting ready to get out of bed and take them off when getting back in at night. She's right about sitting with the legs up too much not being good for her either, but she should put them up when she is sitting.
Have lots of convenient little footrests and ottomans by all her favorite spots to sit.

She may think that saving money is the most important thing she can still do and that it is not right to spend the money on her own care, but if the burden is too much for you, she should do it for your sake. Probably, your care is taken for granted, though! You might not win that one until her needs are greater.

That does not answer the real question though, which is how to detach...but maybe that is not the right question. The real question is how to get rid of that hitting-my-head-on-the wall feeling. One answer is in the Serenity Prayer, which really is not an answer per se, because as we all know, the easy problems have been solved already and the really easy problems solve themselves. But it is a way of going about finding answers...think things through, try to figure out what you can make better, any pleasure you can bring into her life, make good memories....do those things as much and as well as you reasonably can. And try not to take personally the things that you have no realistic way of making better, live with them the best you can. Do what is possible and don' rake yourself over the coals for not doing the impossible....you're THERE for here and that means more than anything at this stage of life for her. She is telling you her problems and it may be that she knows full well they aren't all solvable, and does not expect you to be able to solve them, she wants sympathy and she wants to do as much as she can with her life despite them for as long as she can. It is only normal to want to solve problems, I had the darndest time myself ever getting out of diagnosing and problem solving mode when that was not what was needed, especially since that's what I do for a living all day every day.

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