Where's the dignity?
My mother has many, many health issues. And she is not ashamed (nor should she be) of any of them. Most recently she had a pubic catheter placed as her bladder is prolapsed and she can never completely empty her bladder-resulting in constant UTIs. This has been a blessing and the catheter doesn't seem to bother her at all HOWEVER, she insists on wearing the urine collection bag OUTSIDE of her clothing. It's designed to fit tidily under her clothes and not be on display, but the other day I went there with my daughter who is visiting from Texas with her 2 small children, the older child (4-1/2) was horrified and ran away. We had a family party the next night and Mother stayed in her wheelchair the whole night, with the bag draped well within view of everyone. She keeps her diabetic supplies right out on the kitchen counter and all the used "sharps" in clear plastic orange juice bottles for all the world to see. I have bought her numerous red plastic Hazardous waste containers ( when I get them for my hubby) and offer to pick them up and take them for disposal--but she doesn't like them...all her medications are on display, too, although she counts out each days meds on a weekly basis and there's no need to display them like fine china. Her place is already kind of a hoarded mess...we do the best we can, and we've all accustomed ourselves to the meds being out (no small children EVER go into her apt) but the urine bag is the last straw. She's pretty theatrical, so it's all done with an eye single to getting attention. And it does. Mostly, it makes the grandkids not want to visit her with the great grands. It's pretty off putting to the rest of us too.
It's one thing if I just show up, unannounced and see her, it's entirely different when she KNOWS we're coming to see her and she chooses to have that bag prominently hanging off her housecoat. My daughter was grossed out and we left pretty quickly. I'd warned her about it, but she didn't believe me.
I think Mother can live just as she wants....yet she says she wants to see the grandkids and the greats...BUT they are all a little frightened by her. I've tried to have a little chat with her about retaining some dignity, she does not have dementia, so I KNOW she's hearing me. I don't know what to do...maybe just leave her be? She goes to the local Sr community center a couple of times a week. I have to wonder how she "dresses" for them. Or if this is all for "us". The kids she WANTS in her life on a weekly basis are the ones she almost never sees. It's my brother and me, and we're both very aware of her issues. I try to ask my sibs to pay more attention to her, see her more often and their responses are always "Well, she has my number, she can call". Anybody else out there have this going on with their parents/partners? I just see this as a cry for attention more than anything, but it's weird and kind of disgusting. However, better than the wet depends she'd bag up and leave in the hall for "someone" to toss. Her place smells better..maybe I should just be glad for that. And no more UTis that made her so sick.