My mother become ill suddenly in February. Literally, driving and living fine on her own then not knowing where she is and accusing people of robbing her. She even called the police and told them people were coming in under her bathroom sink. No help in sight. I tried getting her to stay with me and she would wander and leave doors open. I would have to work all day and leave when I got a call about her then go to her house every evening. Day and night. She was finally hospitalized, and this was good because it helped her finally get into long term care. Now I am still dealing with finances for her and most recently she is again hospitalized for pneumonia. I am the only one here for her. I have used most of my vacation and sick time but am about ready to have a breakdown. I do get chest pains lately. I am a single mother myself and working full time. I have been told that my employer does not offer family leave as they are a small employer, approximately 25- 30 employees. I just do not know how much more I can do.....Is there any options for some kind of leave that I am not aware of?

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Since she is in long term care, I would let the facility take care of her for awhile and give yourself some time to get yourself back together. Like it is said on the airplane, put your oxygen mask on first, same applies to you. As for your job, I would try to talk to the owner, explain your issue and see what can be worked out. Take care of you!
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Reply to DollyMe

I am in the US, so have no idea about what sort of leave is available to you.

However, you must step back from Mum right now. She is in long term care now. If you cannot arrange compassionate leave from your employer, talk to the care facility and let them know you are not available for the next month or 6 weeks. If you were dead, they would have to act in Mum's best interest, so tell them to do that now.

There is a stat floating around this site that 40% of care givers die before the person they are caring for dies. I do not know where that number comes from, but I have a family story.

11 years ago a cousin needed orthopedic surgery. Nothing major nor life threatening. When he got the surgery date his wife tried to change her holidays to coincide with his recovery. Now, it was summer time and holidays had been scheduled for months. Her employer said no, she was able to take the Friday of the surgery off, but no other days.

She got the flu over the weekend, fever, exhaustion etc. Monday she called in sick, Tuesday she went to the hospital, Wednesday she was dead. She was 42, they had 2 boys 10 and 12. It was Toxic Shock. She was so busy worrying about her DH, getting the kids to the grandparents and all the day to day chores of being a mother and wife that she left a tampon too long.

So my point for you is that you cannot ignore your own health. Mum is in the hands of professionals and they can do all the work for the rest of the summer. You need to have your chest pains investigated, likely you will need to wear a Holter monitor for a day or so and may be sent for additional tests.

Your kids need to have a healthy mother.

If Mum has money available, hire someone to sort out her finances. There are people out there, like me, who actually enjoy this sort of thing. Don't take on an additional burden.
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Reply to Tothill

Your mother may have an infection brewing. Sudden changes in mentation can be a sign of a urinary tract infection.

Your health comes first. Don't be cavalier about your symptoms. You are no good to your mother dead or disabled because you ignored the warning signs of heart disease or brain attack.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw

I am so sorry, this sounds so stressful. I don't know of any programs that might help protect your job at this point. But the grace comes from the fact that she is in the hospital now, I hope you are able to transition her to assisted living so you don't have to worry about her during the day. That sudden onset of symptoms sounds unusual, I hope she has had a good thorough work up.
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Reply to SofiaAmirpoor

Please do not ignore your chest pains. See a doctor ASAP and make sure he screens you appropriately for heart problems. Women often display slightly different symptoms and studies have shown doctors do not screen and treat women with chest pains as thoroughly as men resulting in higher disability and mortality in women. A lot of problems are helped with medication, so please do not delay because you don't have many sick days left.

The transitions in elder care are difficult and often leave us feeling out of control and overwhelmed as a series of new obstacles must be handled. Stress from balancing new responsibilities into an already full life just make that worse. Since your mother has been placed in LTC, I believe you are through the most difficult period, at least it was for me with my father. I also was caring for children during this difficult time so I know what it feels like to be pulled in 3 or 4 different directions. Unfortunately, the stress has still left you feeling run down and maybe still stressed out. Are you sleeping well? Taking care of yourself or still trying to see your mother everyday at the NH?

The impact of an employee taking time off is felt more in a small company. Most small companies or offices will push off at least some non-critical duties during an employee's absence for vacation or illness. Have you been able to catch up at work? Although I completely understand wanting to take recovery time off, I would encourage you to take some time and try some other recover methods before pushing for more time off work.

How old are your children? Is there a relative or friend your children could stay with over a weekend or two? I found the fastest stress recovery for me was turning everything over to someone else and checking into a small local hotel with an insuite whirlpool and several restaurants within walking distance. Sleeping without interruption until I awake, then reading or enjoying the whirlpool or a movie, walking to restaurants for a unhurried meal and walking around the hotel scenic landscaping for a couple of days makes a huge impact. I think the combination of being off "on call" for anyone and catching up on my sleep has the big impact.
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Reply to TNtechie

Oh, lordy, I am so sorry. I am relieved she is in care. You are going to have to do the best you can knowing your limitations; they will be there. There are times in these moments when you are the care giver, making decisions, that you become so anxious and overwhelmed. Accept that is the case as much as you can. It not only changes your relationship to the person, it teaches you your limitations. I thank goodness she is not home with you. Do realize that the legal financial and etc will slowly get settled a bit at a time. Throw yourself on the mercy of friends all you can. Whatever family leave programs one can find that can be enforced can still in the end result in termination without cause given. Most states are free to fire people for any reason. I am hoping there is a circle of friends around you. I would go to Human Resources (if you still have one; so many places do that all online now) and tell them what is happening in your life, that it is likely short term overall, but that you are feeling quite stressed with it now. So sorry for all you are going through.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

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