Hi. Sorry for the long post. I have a complex situation and I need to get stuff off of my chest.
I was a caregiver for my aunt over the last 8 years. In the past year, she has been in sharp decline. I fell into the trap of not taking care of myself, and as a result went from being a healthy, happy, active person to someone who deals with depression and suicidal thoughts each day. I've gained nearly 80 pounds over the last 2 years, and developed health problems as a result. I've given up hobbies and friends. I have not been able to work over the past 2 years due to her demands on my time.
I was raised from infancy by this aunt (mostly). I am very grateful that my aunt took me in when no one else would. However, my aunt has been mentally ill all of her life, and was often abusive and neglectful to me.
She has always been unhealthy. Even when younger she did not shower, smoked heavily and never opened windows, became morbidly obese, soiled herself, refused to clean her house, etc. She has serious emotional problems and refused treatments after about a year of seeing a psychiatrist.
The consequences of her poor lifestyle choices caught up with her. She has ended up nearly immobile, with many health issues, the worst one being COPD. She is on 12 liters of oxygen, which means she cannot travel very far from her huge tanks. She has constant, extreme incontinence, which she does not try to manage (not changing her clothes or undergarments when soiled, soiling herself rather than walking to the bathroom). She’s diabetic and has spikes from as low as 50 to over 500 because she refuses to follow a diet. She also has congestive heart failure.
As bad as the medical situation is, her attitude has been worse. Since I was a child she has always been extremely negative, and has lived off of government assistance most of her life. She is, to be blunt, lazy and ungrateful taken to an absurd level. She holds people to unrealistically high standards. She gets enraged if anyone challenges her lifestyle. If there are any problems, she blames everyone around her. Besides me living with her she had 2 therapists, a homecare nurse, a CNA, a homecare doctor, meals on wheels, and a few random church friends to help her. Even with that much help, she complained daily about how “people won’t do anything” for her.
This past summer she started hiding her meds in an envelope instead of taking them. It caused her to gain something like 50 pounds of water weight in a month, and she became nearly immobile. She also became more demanding, expecting me to be home 24 hours a day to bring her food and snacks almost hourly. She began to refuse showers when the CNA came. I went out for the first time in months, and that night she was so angry I left that she refused to eat. The next morning her blood sugar was very low, like 50. She told her CNA that it was my fault because I didn't feed her. The CNA knows me well and knew that it wasn’t true, but it made me very angry.
A day later her homecare nurse got her to admit she wasn’t taking her meds. What followed was hospitalization, followed by many months in and out of rehab. Just recently she began retaining fluid again. She was defecating and urinating on herself and her chair, and refusing to use the toilet or wear adult diapers. She went to the hospital, and ended in a nursing home.
If I go to visit her, she does not ask how I am, she complains about the nursing home staff, the food, the residents, etc. She is obsessed with food, and expects me to smuggle in large bags of candy, chips, and soda to her. She expects me to keep her cats, which are untrained and destroy everything I own. She tells me "After all I did, this is how you repay me." I love her, she took me in when no one else would, but she expects me to forfeit my life for her needs indefinitely.
I am struggling to recover now that she is not home. I feel guilty for the situation. I feel like all the hard work and sacrifices I’ve made don’t matter. Things I used to enjoy don’t interest me anymore. I’m hoping that writing this out will help me heal and forgive her and myself. Thanks for your time.