I have posted on this forum several times and am really feeling at a loss about how to make what feels like an impossible situation tenable. Recently I have been extremely down about my 90-year-old mother-in-law who has been living with us for the past three years. She moved here from France and my husband is an only son. She does not speak English; we live in a small town where it's hard to find people who speak French to help in caregiving or provide us much needed respite. Also, she does not qualify for Medicare and we cannot afford to put her in an AL/nursing home.
She has dementia, is legally blind (macular degeneration), has significant hearing loss, has congestive heart failure and according to her cardiologist, she should be in hospice by now. But she is quite a hardy and sturdy woman who has smoked for 70 years. She shows no signs of distress.
For the last three years, I have put up with her smoking (even though she smokes outside, a day doesn't go by that I don't smell cigarettes; it is absorbed in everything and I hate it), her angry outbursts about others stealing her personal items, her delusions about constant noises, chronic complaints about her health, ranging from itchy skin to doctors who "ruined" her eyes. She also hovers over me and tells me how to wash the floor or prepare a dish. I get this sense that she wants to be the woman of the house. More than a couple of times she has almost knocked me over trying to get to the sink while I am loading the dishwasher. My patience is wearing thin, and whereas before I would smile and say nothing, now I let her know that I am not happy.
I have officially reached my limit of what I can handle. People tell me that I am such a kind person, but I feel that I have reached a saturation point. I feel angry, bitter, and resent that my friends can just pick up whenever they want. I feel that I am tethered to this woman, a woman who by the way was never very nice to me and made my life as a young married woman quite miserable. She never cut the apron strings from my husband and he feels a tremendous obligation to take care of her.
I can't help but feel that the stress from her presence in my home is taking years off of my life. I had a serious brain injury 8 years ago, that has left me with chronic 24/7 headaches and cognitive impairment. I have been unemployed over the last year, so that has left me in the position of being home with MIL. I feel sleep deprived because at night she is often agitated... and the next morning usually starts with an angry outburst about losing something that always reappears. One night recently after she was particularly agitated, I felt mini-shocks as I lay my head on the pillow at bedtime, it almost felt seizure-like. I will have it checked out soon by my neurologist.
So the conversations with hubby usually go like this. That I am just complaining and not coming up with solutions that can make the situation better. That MIL returning to France or moving out is not an option. He has even so much as said to me if someone has to go, it's got to be me. Once he even told me that I should suck it up. I am considering finding an inexpensive short-term rental in a nearby town for about a month so I can get my health and sanity back. I am so snippy and snappy lately that I do not feel that I am doing anyone justice. In the past, I have gotten away for a couple of nights by myself, but I don't feel that's enough of a break for the level of exhaustion I am experiencing. My husband truly sees my nerves are shot and that I am not myself; he is supportive if I take off for a while.
Everyday I tell myself that I can handle this, but the truth is it's much bigger than I can handle. And I guess it's finally okay to express these emotions and somehow find a path to feeling less stuck instead of just hoping that I can muddle through. If anyone has inspiration, I could sure use some now. Thanks for listening and caring.