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My MIL's youngest is coming to visit on the 4th. She knew he was coming last week but FORGOT on Monday - denied knowing - she got upset because I mentioned that she forgot.

Then this morning, I vacuumed her apt, (an addition to our home) and scrubbed her floors. I notice her pension check on the desk and took it and wrote a note that I would cash it for her while I was doing errands this afternoon.

She came in and said 'HOW can YOU cash MY check without me signing it???!!! I said my name is on your account and she said "well, now i HAVE LOST TOTAL CONTROL!"

Just a side note - she put my name on her account of her own free will 8 years ago - before her memory issues began (pre stroke). I have paid all her bills for three years - ever since she wrote an $865 check to pay an $8.65 bill. She cashes her pension check and that is her mad money. Her bills, groceries and prescriptions come out of her SS check that goes into her checking acct.

The problem now is that she got upset with me - insinuated that I was 'taking' her pension check. I have cashed her pension check numerous times when she isn't able to get out or the weather is bad. Never have I kept one cent of it.

She said something that 'set me off' and I said - maybe it is time to rethink things. if you aren't happy here - other arrangements can be made. She said YES, LET DO THAT!!!! and turned around and went back to her apt. She has been pouting in there for 3 days ever since I suggested that she 'forgot' that her son was coming.

Her bath lady came and the first thing out of her mouth was 'Well, it looks like the kids are thinking about putting me in a nursing home.' WE HAVE NEVER USED THE TERM NURSING HOME to her. If anything, it would be assisted living.

I went in and of course I was upset - because she was insinuating that we were going to put her away in front of her bath lady. I told the bath lady that SHE was the one who said she definitely wanted other arrangements made. If she isn't happy here - she we force her to stay?

Then her bath lady said to me 'Well, Oldcodger2, just WHAT DO YOU DO here, anyway? Insinuating that I do nothing for my MIL. I have nursed her through surgeries - sleeping on her couch for 2 weeks post surgery, nursed her for 6 weeks pre surgery (another surgery) when she was bedridden - this was PRE BATH LADY - so I did that, including wiping her butt since she was to weak to do it. I puller her upright, put a wash cloth under her foot to pivot her to the commode, then pivoted her back to bed or to the wheel chair. This was 24/7 for 6 weeks. The last surgery - we decided to let her recoup in the swing unit of the hospital until she could be up and around.

I prepare her meals, do her shopping, order and pick up meds, organized her 'calendar' of numerous doctor appointments. There were times when we had 12 appointments in one month - entailing an hour drive each way and for 6 of those procedures - required me to wait 6 hours before bringing her home.

Obviously - all this constitues 'nothing.' I think I am just plain tired of doing nothing and I want to stop. Do I have the right to stop? Sure, I know others have it far worse. But since her stroke in December - it is the memory issues and the snide remarks that have gotten to me. I know I am 'way too short tempered' to be a good caregiver anymore. Is it wrong to think about NOT being her caregiver anymore? Her other two children have left her care to us and basically, it is me - but, I forgot, I don't DO anything - so why should I be upset?

I am sorry, but I am upset. My MIL tells everyone she cares for herself. Thankfully, she can take care of her personal needs. But 90%+ of her meals I cook. IF she tries to cooks something - it is often inedible.

When she came in (she was outside on the patio) she complained of the bleach smell (I used Clorox Clean up to scrub her floors and clean her commode and toilet.) She said "I just scrubbed the floor." I told her it needed it again. The corners were dirty and full of little bugs and there were drips in front of the refrigerator - basically, it needed a good scrubbing on hands/knees and she can't do that anymore.

Often, I will do her dishes and clean her sink (she doesn't run the disposal sometimes and it gets so gross) and basically, just can't clean the way she used to. But, I don't DO anything - I forgot, the invisible cleaning fairy does it :0)

I think I am going to have a stroke myself. I hit a wall 2 years ago and I have never been the same since. If SHE makes me miserable and I make HER miserable - isn't it time to rethink things if possible? Doesn't she deserve that too?

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See an Elder Law Attorney - first hour is free. He will help you sort out legalities if required. Check with your local Area Agency on Aging - ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS. Talk with your family doctor. There is always a way out. Keep us posted on how things go. I have been where you are now. I may end up there again.
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What does a person do when they feel they can't be the caregiver anymore and there is no one to take their place?
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There are some Assisted Living facilities that have a "transitional Unit". That is where my mom is. She is still in the Assisted living with her own room but is pretty. Uch taken care of all day with activities. She is with a group all about the same I. Their dementia/ALZ. They eat together, go on outings together but also participate with the Assisted Living people for entertainment, lectures, etc. it can be expensive so if you don't have long term insurance or a way to pay it wouldn't work but it has been great for my Mom and she seems to be happy.
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lefaucon - do take care of yourself! Make sure you take vitamins - the basics, a multi, some Omega 3's and extra C. It is our nutritional insurance policy. It has kept me relatively healthy so far. Stress is a killer and if we don't get relief - then pretty soon we stop caring - for ourselves!!

It took a while and it took a lot of trouble - but I realize now that caring from a distance is the only way I can continue - for a long while anyway. I hope you are able to get the care you need and heal - emotionally and physically. May you find peace. It is sometimes hard to find. But, keep looking. Do good things for yourself. The best thing I did was start walking - not even very far - but it is a 'mindless' activity - meaning it doesn't take any thought. It settles the mind. Energizes the body. And if it is cold - just bundle up. It still feels good. :0) It is FREE and you come home feeling much better. DO IT!!
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Praise God oldcodger2,
I am very happy that u have put yourself on your own list of who to care for. You need to take care of yourself first.....as my sis and bro and everybody else have told me in the past when I had my own several personal breakdowns. Good that you have backed off on MIL--its not only good for MIL, but GOOD for you too. Do not be as I did, I was in so much stress that one early morning I bashed my head into the side of the door as I was walking [wasn't looking where I was going] and had a mean black eye and cut and bleeding and had to see the opthamalogist and have a CT scan of my head. The bash was so loud that I woke sis up. I was so stressed out that I wasn't looking where I was going. It's still swollen after one month and the bone has not yet healed and the red scar is still there and the bone is calcifying and I think that I may have to see the doctor again. Do help yourself as you are doing now before you hurt yourself as I did. Keep praying to the the Lord.....He has enabled you and helped you this far and He won't stop helping you. I believe He already has by you coming to this site. This site and all the women here has helped me tremendously and I believe that God led me to this site and all of these wonderful woman and I pray for ALL of you every day.
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Yes, I know my MIL is a very sick woman and her physical ailments are the least of her worries now. Yes, her bath lady is long gone. My MIL will NEVER forgive me for that - and takes NO responsibility for what happened that day - when they BOTH came after me with their verbal attacks. But, my MIL is a very sweet person - really sweet - to everyone else and she does sound perfectly normal and I have NO doubt that the bath lady thought she was 'helping' her patient. What the bath lady DID NOT KNOW is what my mother in law had said and done just a few minutes before she arrived - when she was in a rage. I know that no matter what - the bath lady was out of bounds in what she said and did that day and that is why I did report her and did discontinue the services of that Home Health Agency. This is something my MIL will never forgive - she tells everyone I fired her bath lady for 'no good reason' and in reality, I saw 'no good reason to keep her.' Ultimately, due to the recent cuts in Medicare - my MIL would have lost her bath lady anyway - so it just happened sooner rather than later.

They seem to feel that for now she is able to care for her own personal needs and we are allowing her to do that. She has a Lifeline necklace and knows how to use it. She has regular visitors. She is not neglected.

And, yes, I do pray a lot - not only for myself but for so many stressed out care givers who have such an enormous burden. I am so grateful for finding this site and for being able to read so many comments and to know that what I feel and how I feel is not 'wrong' - that I have just as much right to be cared for as my MIL does. So, I put myself on my list. I have backed off from my MIL and realize now that I probably did 'too much' for her and that could possibly have contributed to her anger. But, for whatever reason, what IS - IS - and we have to deal with the situation the way it is now. Hindsight is 20/20.

Thank you all again and again and again.
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Dear Oldcodger2,
Agree with everything jeannegibbs and the women advised above. Also, that bath lady should be fired as cattails said above and report her to the agency and get another bath lady. She shouldn't open her mouth when it comes to family issues, she shouldn't open her mouth unless asked to open her mouth; she's intruding on issues she has no business making any type of comments; its none of her business and she should know better. We had to fire an organization because one of the CNAs turned out to be Dr. Jekly and Mr. Hyde-she was abusing both me and Mom. Sis reported her actions and I hope they got rid of her too.
You're not going to get any pats on the back from MIL. First of all, she is sick, please try to remember that. But YOU need to make the changes or else you will get sicker than MIL. All great advice up there, please try to make the changes one at a time or as much as you can as fast as you can. We do not want you to end up in the hospital! I understand what you are going through as I went through the same thing [though not as severe as your situation ] with my Mom;who is now in hospice [dementia and terminal cancer]. You are doing a fabulous job, thankless job, more than any human can take on. The Lord sees what you are doing, believe me, and He knows exactly how you feel for His understanding is infinate. Go to Him with your tears, anxiety, stress, and everything else. God Bless you.
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She is able to be up and around right now - using a walker. Her diabetes is under control. Her physical health is now fairly stable for an almost 88 year old. Whoever oversees Home Health Services for our state visited her and said 'she no longer qualifies for home health services' - so, they must believe that she is 'safe' and 'able' to care for herself somewhat. They also know we live next door.

Until her next 'crisis' we are back to square one with NO home health services unless we pay for them. Ultimately, it may be better for her because it gets her out of her chair a little.

She was is much worse physical condition in the past than right now at this moment. And with the recent Medicare cuts - her home health and the home health services for many others as well, I suppose, went out the window. It is just the tip of the economic iceberg. It will only get worse as time goes on.

Until something happens where her health takes a turn for the worse - that requires a hospitalization - she does not qualify for any home services. :0( She usually manages a few days in the hospital once or twice a year. :0(

But thank you for mentioning Hospice. If ever her health fails dramatically - I will at least give them a call and check. I would not have known to do that. I understood hospice to be palliative care service n the final year of life. Sorry if my curt answer offended - did not mean that. I thought you perhaps worked for a nursing home or AL facility. For reason we prefer not to mention on this forum, she cannot at present go into an ALF. Maybe in time.

Thank you all............
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Your profile says that she has multiple health issues related to her age and is living with general age related decline due to obesity, arthritis, diabetes, multiple surgeries and medication side effects and slight stroke.

Diabetes alone will sometimes qualify you for hospice, plus mobility issues. You don't have to be on your deathbed. When someone recommended it to me for my mom, I dismissed it for months because I was sure she would not qualify. Then when I finally called she did qualify clinically. She has a heart condition that she has had for decades. They have been a huge help. And if she doesn't qualify, they are much more helpful in getting other benefits than other medicare providers have been.

We use Gentiva.
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She does not have a terminal illness - she just went kind of bonkers - unable to deal with her many losses (home, health, husband, mobility, freedom, independence). Since I still have these things - her anger is projected onto me.
So, I am not sure how the post from Galoshes59 applies to our situation. I have posted that we CANNOT at present put her in Asst. Living OR a nursing home and she definitely DOES NOT QUALIFY FOR HOSPICE.

No, she does NOT qualify for any home services at present. They have done the interviews and Medicare is 'tightening up' and 'cutting back' big time. The same services she has received for the last 2-3 years would now be considered 'Medicare Fraud' if the Home Health company provided them and tried to charge Medicare for them. It is a sad reality we face. It will be worse when/IF we are 80 and need care. Maybe they will include euthanasia as a paid Medicare Service by that time. :0(

She is still considered able to make 'rational' decisions. She just isn't rational when it comes to me :0(

She does not have the funds for Assisted Living and for personal reasons we cannot make that move right now no matter how good it would be for all of us. It just can't happen yet. So things will remain as they are with us making up for the things she cannot do for herself and me doing that when she is not home. Hubby will continue to check on her frequently and friends will continue to help out. We are fortunate to have a strong spiritual family.

There is a bible scripture about a 'friends that stick closer than a brother' and that has proven true in our situation. Our friends have done FAR MORE for her and for us (and willingly) than her own children. We just didn't want to call on them until it was absolutely necessary - but when we did - they came through for us. We try not to call on them too often. They do willingly visit her each week - taking turns. She has no idea how fortunate she is. And we will be forever grateful.

We do most of what we have always done - just differently. Thankfully - she allows her son (my hubby) to be the go-between and doesn't give him any trouble. She lets him know if she needs groceries and gives him a list. She tells everyone that HE shops for her - but I do that too :0( She just cannot acknowledge me in any way. She is very 'sick.'

As long as her physical health remains fairly stable - well, things will be stable here. We will deal with any changes as they come. I am trying VERY hard NOT to worry about what MAY come (and probably will come) later. That would ruin the 'present' which is my gift. I feel as though I have been given a gift. Even though I still do the grunt work - I don't have to deal with her personally and that makes ALL the difference. I know this isn't possible for everyone and for that I am sorry.

For now, we are trying to enjoy our life and we include her once in a while if she desires. She usually says no. I am sure she thinks this upsets us, but I think I am beyond that now. If she chooses not to be here when we have company, or family over - that is her choice. It is HER NOSE she is cutting off to spite her face. She does this a lot. It guess she is happier when she is miserable.

Again - my thanks for all the thoughts and prayers sent my way and I continue to keep so many of you in my thoughts and prayers. We are 'unsung heros.' That's for sure!
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Her diagnosis sound like she should qualify for hospice. Those services can be in place in your home or at a facility. It's extra help that medicare covers at 100% including bathing, nursing, social work, chaplain, supplies, and diagnosis related meds.
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Assisting Living Facilities are much cheaper and nicer than most nursing homes and can provide most of the care, including bathing, nurse visits, medication, filling of prescription,, meals, activities, transportation, even doling out a cash allowance, plus social events for the residents. Plus, they know you can move out and switch facilities, they Want your business. Be sure to ask for their all inclusive rates.
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Thanks cattails.

Yes, she has hurt me deeply and continues to hurt me in any way she can - mostly by telling lies about me. Just mean digs, or misconstruing something that happened into something mean spirited with unkind motive.

It is the strangest thing and once in a while I hear her through the door and what she says is so completely fabricated and one wonders why - and I am afraid we will never know why. She lies even when she doesn't NEED to. Her personality has cracked upstairs. She told the Soc. worker that while she was hospitalized that I came to the hospital BRAGGING that I had just thrown out 5 big garbage bags of her junk. She told him that I had gone through her 'things' and thrown away things she wanted to keep and even thrown out mementos and things that had belonged to her mother and sister! Then she said "She didn't have the right do that - DID SHE?" in her 'poor pitiful me voice.' What I had actually done was clean her apt. top to bottom, wiped down her cabinets, cleaned 5 year old expired canned goods from her pantry, cleaned her refrigerator and freezer and thrown out old food. When she came home everything was clean and organized. I threw nothing away of a personal nature. This was just one of many similar 'stories' she is telling. All of which never happened - at least not in the way she is telling it. So, why would a person twist reality like this? It just goes on and on and on and I just had to put a stop to it because it was killing me. The only thing I COULD DO was separate myself from her.

I do believe I grieved her 'death' - the day that everything 'ended between us' was August 16th, 2012. So, yes, I do believe I have grieves her loss and am moving on. I pity her. She has lost more than I have. She has lost me and the respect of her son. She never says anything unkind about her other two children and their mates who have never done anything for her in 8 years. They don't even invite her for a visit. They call once a month or two and visit once a year or two for a few hours. All her hate is saved for us! I have decided to allow her to wallow in it alone.

I have just decided to deal with it by NOT dealing with her personally any longer. Thank goodness I can do that - for now anyway.

Yes, I am afraid I did love that old woman and she betrayed me and broke my heart. But the old heart is healing. What was happening between us was not healthy at all for me. I cannot control her thinking or actions but those who know me well know that what she says is not true. At least the blatant stuff. She does sound pretty convincing and sounds 'perfectly normal.' Those who might believe her are not worthy of me. God knows. He's the only one I really worry about long term :0)

We have planned a 2 week trip this winter and will schedule friends and family to visit and call her while we are gone. If anything happens to her while we are gone, one of her other kids will have to catch a flight and come to deal with it. We will be 'out of town.' :0) Looking forward to some sand and sunshine with my husband. He deserves it too.

Had a nice long talk with my doctor before I went to AZ for 2 wks in Aug. and he finally convinced me that my life was just as important as hers and that she has THREE children and they have THREE MATES and it is just impossibly unfair to expect just ONE to do it all just because they say it ISN'T CONVENIENT for mom to come visit 'right now.' It will NEVER be 'convenient' for them to help with mom - it hasn't been convenient for 8 years now. The doctor said 'since when has it been convenient for YOU?' Convenient has absolutely nothing to do with it. And that is true.

But, for now, this solution is workable and just hope it lasts for a long while yet.
Hubby is realizing now, more than ever, just what I have put up with the last few years. :0(
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OC2: On some level, I think your MIL has broken your heart. She has hurt you so deeply with her comments to you and others (about you) that you feel like a wounded animal with no place to run.

As you said earlier in this thread, your MIL has always pitted her sons against each other. So she is just doing the same thing she has always done and doing it with the two people (you and your husband) who are within her reach.

I applaud you for walking away from her care and letting others handle it. That's the way it should be and I'm glad your husband supports your feelings on this. Still, I feel badly for you for the hurt she has caused you. I'm sure you have felt shamed and embarrassed by her hateful rantings, but you know they are not valid.

I hope your MIL qualifies for Medicaid and if her health fails and you find yourself being called to take on her care again, please say no. There are nursing homes that she can go to and she will continue to have visitors; so she will have people to complain too which seems to be what makes her life meaningful. There is absolutely no sane or acceptable reason for you to subject your self to her abuse.

In the meantime, try to build on your ability to let her mental illness, because she does have a problem reasoning and accepting reality, not hurt you so deeply. You don't have to prove yourself to her, her friends or even your husband. You have a right to be on this earth and just be you. You don't need their approval.

Since you are free of her for most of the time, get out and get some exercise. Try to find positive things to integrate into your life. I think your real job is to find you again and let the rest go.

I hope you will stay in touch on this thread and let us continue to support you. You are a very good person. Sending you love, Cattails
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Thanks Cattails. Not sure if this is my last post. https://www.agingcare.com/153840 - but things are sort of OK here for now.

We were, for reasons I won't go into, unable to place my MIL in Assisted Living. Her two other sons still won't help in any way. We had some tough times recently and I left for a short while - had a couple weeks of R&R in AZ - long enough to get my bearings, collect my wits and let me BP stabilize a bit.

Made some tough decisions about how things would be after I came back home and for a short while actually thought that I could pretty well 'resign' from my care giving job - but due to recent Medicare cuts in services - I am still the IT GIRL. She no longer qualifies for Home Health and cannot afford self pay.

Although I do my care giving 'from a distance' now. I clean when she isn't home. I arrange for the Senior Van to pick her up for the foot doctor appointment and friends meet her there and escort her in/out. Hubby takes her to her other doctor appointments - inconvenient - but necessary.

I still do what I always did - but my hubby is the go-between (bless him). He checks on her a.m. and p.m. She gets meals on wheels M-F and I prepare breakfast and dinner several times a week and he takes the food over to her.

I will no longer have one on one contact with her. She is in complete denial and vilifies me at every opportunity - to anyone who comes by or calls her. She writes unkind things in letters. My DIL told me she got a 'strange note from grandma.'

Of course, she blames me for this separation. Kept telling people she was waiting for it to 'blow over' and for me to 'get over IT.' That isn't going to happen. This is the only way I can continue to be her care giver. I will be kind to her but I will not get 'sick' for her.

Right now she is able to care for her personal needs and shower herself. Not sure what we will do if her health circumstances change - and of course, they will. She has some sort of 'crisis' every few months. We will deal with that when the time comes.

For now, we are neighbors. She has her own apt. attached to our home with her own exits. She no longer comes here unless invited. She complains of being lonely - but has more visitors in a week than I have in a year. Church friends come each week - sometimes more than once. She gets phone calls and letters from friends. She goes to church on Sunday and out to lunch afterwards with friends. She is no lonelier than I am - and I don't feel lonely. Surely she doesn't miss ME! :0)

Right now she is doing fine. The doc said that her anger/rage problem will NOT get better - it will just get worse and that appears to hold true. She talks nice to my hubby but if I interject a thought her demeanor changes instantly. He even told her once when she did that - that her attitude was the reason for the changes we had to make. She just can't be different.

The best way for me to deal with it is NOT to deal with her. I feel better and have actually gotten used to not thinking of her every minute. I hope her health holds steady for a long time. It will be very difficult to have to go back to the 'hands on' routine with her if her health fails. But for now, things are OK. It is as good as it is going to get.

Thanks everyone, for caring and sharing.
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Hello Oldcoeger2: I was thinking about you and hoping that your MIL had been placed in AL. Hope you are well and feeling less stressed. If you have a minute, give us an update.

Hugs, Cat
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I feel for you. Being a caregiver is a demanding thankless job and most people that criticize or don't support you would never dream of helping out or taking your place. I was in a similar situation with my own mother. She talked awful about me behind my back. Never to my face. How can that be dementia when she hides her feelings? I finally had to put her in a locked assisted living situation because she started running away from home and now she is causing some chaos there. But I feel like I'm saved. I have been sick for the last 16 months and the stress was often overwhelming since I was also working full time at a very demanding job. I have no local family to help me and no one has volunteered to take her for any length of time. At least I have some peace since she move even though I am still doing her laundry and managing her medical care. I've known some elderly people who did very well living with family or even living alone. A lot of how people cope with aging depends on what kind of person they were before they got older. Put her in assisted living. She can have her autonomy and the caregivers at the facility will take your place as the bad guys and you can catch your breath. It doesn't have to be permanent and you can always change your mind but she may surprise you and be happy there. My mom wouldn't go willingly. I had to trick her into it but she has never asked to come home and seems content even though she's not really in control. It's an illusion that works for some. I wish you luck and remember that you're no good to anyone including yourself when your stretched to the limit physically and emotionally. Then you can get rid of the bath lady!!
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Bookworm - you are a good example of a caregiver who has gone above and beyond with little help. Yes, my doctor told me NOT to get couseling WITH my MIL or other family - if I do it it should be independent of them. I am glad you have that in your life - because we need to be with people who truly understand and can listen with no judgement. I did that after our son died 30+ years ago. I saved me then. Counseling may save me again :0) And your description of how your mother could walk towards you and then have her eyes change so that you could see the hate - describes my MIL exactly. Trouble was and IS is that my husband has never seen it - she made sure he didn't and still doesn't. He still has contact with her. I will not anymore. I remember one day she came at me as fast as her walker would go - I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor and I thought she was going to hurt me - but she just said something nasty instead. But it can be scary. You tell yourself for a while that they were just having a bad day - until every day starts and ends like that. I doubted MY sanity for a long time - but she has me beat on that score now :0)

Dealing with the physical issues was nothing compared to dealing with emotional/mental issues and anger. Again - thank you ONE AND ALL.
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Thank you all. I have gone through all the scenarios - and yes, cdo4fun, you do have to act like an idiot or there's always trouble - heaven forbid you 'suggest' they may have forgotten or misplaced something (it is always 'WE forgot or we TOOK it.) I know there are so many of you out there going above and beyond - further than I have - That's what caregivers do.

I feel I have been pushed to the brink and it won't take much more for me to willingly jump into oblivion - no one will have to push me. It isn't a good way to feel and I am just grateful we are able to get some semblance of 'separation.' I know so many on this forum are dealing with similar things and feeling the same way. Somehow, get help or get a break. Some How, Some Way. I know that is easier said than done. Been there.

I told my hubby that I feel that the person I knew and loved has 'died' and I do believe I grieved the loss of the friend she used to be. There is nothing worse than a close friend who turns on you - they know you so well and know just how to hurt you. Sadly, she does not realize that she will be the one hurt the most by her actions. No matter what we do, there are consequences. She is paying those consequences now. She has lost me - for one thing. She has lost her son's respect. I don't think it will take too long and most of the others who care for her now will realize there is something 'not quite right here' with her. So, she has cut off her nose to spite her face. Only this time, she will be the big loser.

I have done a lot of soul searching and crying and talking the last few weeks. I know I did my best. I know she will never have a caregiver who loved her again. I still can hardly comprehend what happened to her. In order not to hate her I have to believe that the stroke(s) have done this - but the social worker hinted to my husband that this may be a long standing issue(passive aggression and anger/rage issues) and since we lived in another state and only saw her occasionally with other people around that we couldn't see it clearly - but her whole life has been spent pitting her sons against each other - without their even knowing it. Very sad.

Now, with her losses mounting (health, husband, farm, independence, unable to drive, can barely walk - and being with me all the time - her anger and rage have turned on me as her primary target. I just can't be IT anymore. I may continue to be her target - until her dying day - but I won't give her any new ammunition. :0)

Yes, we are hoping for some good direction form the attorney. She will qualify for some VA Aid and Attendance benefits - we just don't know how much yet. If nothing else, we plan to put our home on the market (kids all gone and it's way too big and we aren't getting any younger either) and see what happens. IF/WHEN we sell - she will GO for sure.

Caregiver's are a 'special breed' - a group 'set apart for a special purpose' and I think the 'general population' just can't 'get it' because they don't have a heart big enough OR - 'just maybe' we are all nuts (just kidding, guys.) Trying to interject some humor :0). At least I haven't lost that completely. I did lose myself for a while and hope to figure out who I am again. Me - not the mom of my kids, not the wife of my hubby and not the caregiver of my MIL. But, me. I plan to start cooking and having friends over again and maybe take some classes just for fun and try very hard NOT to feel guilty. I have been walking the last 2 weeks and plan to continue that - I do feel better. Not great - but much better. I am a bit apprehensive about going home today. Gotta think positive - Gotta think positive.

Unfortunately, no matter what, caregiver's suffer from guilt. After all we have done and continue to do - most of us still can't feel GOOD about it. We feel like we should have been able to do more or do it differently or do it better or BE better. We shouldn't have lost our temper, we should have been more patient, more kind - more, more, more. But we are just overworked humans doing the best we can under very trying circumstances. We have to remember that PAID caregivers get to go home after 8 hours. We are on call 24/7.

I have to work on these feelings as well and may need counseling on that score. Haven't ruled that out.

I plan to still check in here from time to time. Once a caregiver, we always think of other caregivers. There are so manyof you and will be so many more in the future. We have already told our kids we plan to have a family meeting very soon to talk about our aging issues before they become real issues. Get something in writing that they can stick under our nose when we are 80 and say - see - this is what you wanted us to do when you still had your sense :0)

Thank you all on this forum and bless you all.
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Buy long term care insurance so no one has to be counted on to take care of you and your husband. If I have learned anything from this, growing old sucks and I dont have any kids nor would I put any of them thru this. You have gone above and beyond, never doubt or diminish any of your feelings or actions. Screw the bath lady call the agency and have a replacement sent immediately, would not let that b##ch on my property again. The agency has to comply with your request. We are all human and we all have are limits. When it comes down to quantity of care and not quality it's time to make other arrangements it's not good for either of you. (You do have to be so passive everyday my mom probally thinks I'm the biggest idiot..and she will tell me that too. All I say everyday is your right I forgot to tell you that. Or I moved that I should of told you..even tho you said the same thing 10 minutes ago. It's hard, caregiving it takes every ounce you have every minute. My heart goes out to you, you are a wonderful person and you have a heart of gold and I'm proud of what you have done.
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You have to learn to let others worry over her. Her needs are being met. She is not isolated or alone all the time. You now have to 'get a life.'

You said it and you are right. Now all you have to do is do it!

Good luck with the lawyer!
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UPDATE:

Found out that what we are dealing with is serious 'anger and rage' issues
with my mother in law right now. For the longest time we just didn't know what was going on with her. The last year or so has been really awful - especially for me.

After talking at length to my doctor (my MIL's doctor as well), our doctor said to 'separate' ourselves. That I am the 'target' of her rage and anger and she has decided to try and 'destroy me.' He said' you can't let this continue.'

So, we have separated ourselves - I am no longer her caregiver. I resigned. She has her own small apt. and now has home health, meals on wheels, a bath lady twice a week, a visiting nurse and homemaker.

She continues to vilify me to everyone who comes to her home and
everyone who calls. She even wrote an unkind note about me to
my own daughter in law!

The Social Worker said he didn't think there was much that could be done. He just shook his head. Her anger is primarily directed at me and she basically has 'retold' every story with her old 'sick, nasty twist' to it - changing what happened and why it happened and always adding that 'I came into the room in a huff' or I 'snatched something away from her' or something like that. Every thing bad that has happened to her in the last 7 years is because of something I did. She even told the nurse the reason why she cannot walk without a walker and had to stop driving is because I WOULD NOT ALLOW HER ENOUGH TIME TO RECUPERATE after her surgery and sold her care right out from under her - that we didn't even discuss it with her. SHE SOLD HER CAR AND SPENT THE MONEY! We have a copy of the bill of sale with her signature on it. Sure, I made up the Craigslist listing, but she had not driven her car for over a year. The last two years that she drove - she drove our 2nd car and the last day she drove she wrecked it. Of course, she doesn't remember this and swore it isn't true. Go figure.

My doctor said her recuperation had nothing to do with me and everything to do with her NOT doing her therapy as directed and sitting too much and walking too little. He said 'how can that be your fault?' Only in a sick person's mind.

She is also 'making stories up' now too, things that have NEVER even happened except in her imagination. She told the social worker that someone was making early morning phone calls (the hang up kind) just to jangle her out of deep sleep and scare her. She said she 'had her suspicions' of who it was. The Soc. worker asked her 3 times who she suspected before she finally answered - she hesitated to say (probably because she knew she was lying) but finally indicated that she thought it was ME.

My husband checked her caller I.D. the next morning (she does not understand how caller I.D. works) - he tried to explain to her that there was no record of ANY early morning calls EVER on her phone - nothing before 8:30 a.m. when home health calls her and not one call on the day she told the social worker that I had done this. NONE of the calls on her I.D. were from me - EVER. I haven't called her in months. She lives next door! I didn't need to call her. She then added that it had happend THREE DAYS IN A ROW!! My husband said 'mom, no one called you and we can prove it.' She said 'oh, yes they did.'

So, that's where we are now. I don't know how some of you deal with it but we have chosen not too any longer. I know that I should 'ignore' her, etc. But, since I cannot seem to do that - and things have deteriorated dramatically - separation is our best option for now.

As a side note: I was so devastated by what she was saying (I overheard what she said to the Social Worker - there was no way for him to know she was lying) that I came completely unglued. I called my husband in hysterics - he almost came home from work. Then I called my sister and asked if her spare room was available and have been here in AZ since Aug. 25th. At home my BP was running stroke level and has been normal since the plane landed!! Perfect - like when I was 20. My doctor said I didn't have a BP problem - that I had a MIL problem. He suggested my 'cure' was to get her 'out of our hourse.'

I will be heading home tomorrow - just hope I can stay calm and keep the BP down. We have made an appointment with an Elder Law attorney and will do everything in our power to place her in Assisted Living. My own doctor (whom my sister MADE ME PROMISE TO SEE BEFORE COMING TO AZ - said 'get her outta there ASAP - it's the only way' - he is HER family physician too - he has seen her in action.

So, as hard as it is - I do believe there are times when a person has to say 'I GIVE UP,' 'I CANNOT AND WILL NOT DO THIS ANYMORE,' 'I MUST SAVE MYSELF.' I have reached that point. I will not play her game anymore - her game of 'baiting me and tormenting until I get upset' - attacking me and then turning it on me and pouting in her apt for days.' Always turning it all back onto me and saying that I am just 'high strung' and get 'upset over nothing' and then DENY completely anything she ever says or does to me (and making certain it happens in private so there are no witnesses).

I am just grateful to my doctor for spending an entire hour talking with me and listening and then helping me see that 'it wasn't me' who was the 'sick' person in the family. That I had really done 'enough already!' That it was time to stop the insanity and LET HER GO.

I still pray for all caregivers - who go above and beyond only to have those they care for 'turn' on them with a vengence. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that the kindness and care we freely gave would be rewarded with such malice. She is sweet as pie to everyone else. It was just me who got 'blindsided' by her hatefulness over and over and over again. My husband said if he has to choose - that I win hands down. He will not allow his mother to kill me with her hate and anger. He has already told her that from now on we will be living completely separately. That we were still pursuing the move to Assisted Living - that it may not be right now, but it WILL happen.

Of course, she then got surly and said 'well, just move me into an apartment then' - 'I'll be alright.' He just said 'mom, we aren't moving you twice.'

She is no longer welcome in our home unless invited - and if that happens any time soon - it will never be when I am home alone. I will NEVER be alone in a room with her again. She cannot be trusted.

Thank goodness we have a way of 'locking her off' from our home. She has her own entrances/exits. She has a Lifeline and all the care she needs being provided by others. My husband moved her swing out by her front door so we can have our backyard patio back - that's where my pond is and I need it for therapy :0)

She was forever telling everyone that 'she took care of herself - did all her own work, cooking, etc.' Well, she is now receiving help in all those areas and more and SHE NEEDS IT. Pretty hard to deny it. At least she won't be cooking anymore. That was always a big worry.

I am flying home tomorrow after 2 weeks of R&R. So far, my BP is still normal. I just hope I can stay calm knowing she is next door. I have to learn to let others worry over her. Her needs are being met. She still has church friends who stop by each week. She is not isolated or alone all the time. But it does feel strange after being her caregiver for 7 years to suddenly NOT be any longer. I now have to 'get a life.'

These two weeks in AZ were wonderful. There was absolulely nothing here that reminded me of my mother in law. I took long daily early morning walks, swam each afternoon in my sister's pool, napped after my swim, walked again in the evening. I cooked dinner for my sister and her husband - which they loved.

My hubby had to work and could not come - and we missed each other - but he knew I needed this down time in the worst way. I do feel like a different person. I may never be the person I was before caregiving - but I know that I am still the same caring sort of person - despite her. I realize that I don't have hateful feelings for HER despite what she has done to me and our family. I would not wish evil on her and hope that we are able to get her placed into AL soon - because it was a beautiful place and we think she would actually be happier there - more activities, etc. and fewer things to remind her of me as well.

Well, it's been a while since I posted. Just thought I would update. Sorry for the length.
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Since placing her in Asst. Living didn't work out we are getting as many social services as possible. I just HAVE to stay away from her. She has already done a 'very good job' on me mentally and physically. My BP is running as high at 190/117 last night - but at best in the high 140's over high 70's. Trying homeopathy, exercise and relaxation (yoga) for a month - if it doesn't come down out of the stratosphere it's off to the doctor for BOTH hubby and myself.:0(

She is getting therapy, massages, meals on wheels, and I haven't heard yet - but a psychologist/therapist is supposed to see her and try and figure out if dementia is present. I CAN GUARANTEE DEMENTIA IS PRESENT - but my diagnosis doesn't count.

I am a basket case. Cried all day yesterday. Today was better. I did absolutely nothing and listened to soft zen type music and then hubby and I walked to the local Mexican restaurant for dinner and walked around the high school track afterwards. A better day - but I can tell I have a very long way to go to be well.

It requires me to have NO contact in order to keep from checking into the nut house myself. She hisses one minute and smiles the nest. I just can't take it anymore. Hubby says for me to stay away from her and if she ever says anything to him he plans to tell her she is 'reaping what she has sown.' Live with it. I am so grateful to him.

I still have to take care of her meds and doctor scheduling - but the Senior Van picked her up and dropped her off for her podiatrist appointment today. Church friends met her at the doctor's office and escorted her in/out. You will not believe how wonderful that was!

I think all our bases are covered except housekeeping. We meet with the social worker Thursday and hopefully he can help set that up. She isn't too messy and we would probably only need someone every other week for now.

Her apt. is attached to our home and we keep the doors SHUT. If she causes any more trouble we will LOCK them. She has her own phone and a Lifeline necklace. She can call us if she needs us for some reason.

This is all just the saddest thing - but at this point - I know I will die if we didn't do this. I am no longer her caregiver. I think I represent EVERY SINGLE LOSS in her life and she hates me. It hurts and I have to live with it and realize she isn't mentally sound anymore. We have talked to her minister and he said he 'understands' - that they will help if they can and so far they have come through. That is more than we can say for her other two sons.

Would it be wrong to send them the bill for the cleaning lady? Is that legal? We just figured we'd send it to one son one month and the other son the next. See if they pay it. Any suggestions on that? She has enough funds for her meds, incontinence products, tv, meals on wheels and incidentals. But the cleaning lady might stretch it too far. Guess we could pick up the tab but just feel that after 7 years - they should get a small turn.

All for tonight and bless all those of you who are dealing with something similar. Never realized how sick I could get from the stress of dealing (actually, no dealing well) with someone with serious mental issues. I have never dealt with someone who could turn on you as fast as this woman can and then be sweet as honey to everyone else. I just have to stay away from her. My mother died of stroke at age 60 - I am 64. I am not ready to cash it in quite yet. Have to figure a way back to 'normal' and I think it is going to be a long uphill road. But, I am taking baby steps in the right direction.
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I know this is weeks later...I just found this site ( so happy). it makes me want to cry for you I too take care of my MIL...but she lives w/us.Atleast your husband is open to making other arrangements. That's so important that he will support you on this...that he is open to what the health care team opinion is.There is no reason on earth for you to feel guilty...you are the one caring & loving her ( even if you don't always like her & that's ok ) every single day. Doing all her day to day. I know how hard I'm doing it know but my husband refuses to even discuss placement & she 91 and body is giving out has limited mobility...so I am stuck dont know what to do.I hope you have made arrangements for her & are on your way to getting your life back...
PS...I too have told my kids I will not burden them in this way....
m
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I tried replying twice and both times the post went POOF - I am too brain dead to try again. Just a thank you for your kind words.
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OC, I totally know your feelings...been there, done that. My MIL used to get me so upset. After 9 years, we have settled on a routine and I am much better. I don't get mad as much, because I realize you are arguing with a child. My husband does most of the reminding and interacting with her, because she is more bonded with him. We always lived 2 states away from her, and when she ended up in the hospital, we had to go to her home state, sell her house in one week and bring her back with us to live. She and I were never close. She was always so negative, it made me crazy. She was always talking about how all her neighbors hated her. She was always paranoid, even 37 years ago when we got married. I never dreamed we would end up with her living with us.

I had unrealistic expectations that everything would work out and she would be happy around her son and would be able to see her grandchildren. Well, she told her son she didn't know why she even had children because all they do is leave home when you need them. Well, of course children leave home and get married..that's what children are supposed to do when they grow up. She was mad my husband moved with me to another state, she was mad he changed his faith and left the Catholic church, she was mad he didn't have a priest at our wedding along with our minister, she was mad he put me before her. I understand her being mad she had to leave her home, but I figured since she was alone, she would love to be where it is warm and she has family around. No, she would rather complain and make everyone feel guilty and throw tantrums like a child because things aren't the way she wants. Well, this wasn't the most ideal thing for us either, but at least appreciate what people are trying to do for you. We do her laundry, make her meals, take her to appts., set up her meds of which there are many, make sure she takes her shower, soaks her teeth, remind her when her shows are on tv, basically every little thing. You want them to appreciate what you do, but they are like the child who is nice to everyone else and sasses the parents.
It truly is like they go back in time and become selfish children.

It sounds like you are trying to distance yourself from her and let others take over. I have had to do the same in order to maintain my sanity. I know it is hard, but if you can distance yourself emotionally from her and realize she is safe, she is being taken care of, you did the best you can do. Don't worry about what other people think....you know what the truth is, your husband knows the truth, God knows the truth and they probably do too. Unless they have walked in your shoes, they have no idea how this can affect a person. I know how trapped it can make you feel when you have to arrange your life around someone who is always mad at you. It affects everything, especially your marriage.

Let her live in her apartment as though she is a single person who wants to live alone. You are there for emergencies. Let your husband deal with his mother. He knows her better and they have that bond that you don't. If it makes you feel better to do things for her, do them because you want to do the right thing and do it unconditionally. Because, it will only upset you if you expect any appreciation. You can stock the fridge when she is napping or away. Have someone else do her cleaning. You must regain your sanity because it will destroy your health if you don't. And don't feel guilty....remember, you are dealing with someone who is not rational. Now, take a deep breath, go out and get a mani/pedi and do something for yourself. Keep us posted...we are all praying for you!
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Well, moving her to assisted living didn't work out. No point in going into the details of that - but she is here and hates my guts. Of course, she won't admit that - but I can tell. :0(

She spent a couple days in the hospital after visiting the Asst. Living facility - stress and tension headache and we were afraid of a stroke and took her to the ER and they kept her because she was dehydrated.

She was nice as can be to me while she was there - I visited several times. She came home and went into her little apt. and said she didn't need our help and not to bother with her. My husband tried to reason with her - I had suggested a 'schedule' where she ate with us 3 days and was on her own with leftovers and Lean Cuisine four days a week. She had a FIT over that idea and said no one needs a schedule. He tried to explain that it would lesson frustration - I would KNOW for sure when she would be eating with us and could plan nice meals with leftovers, etc. She said no. Nada. She can take care of herself. He said it was like talking to a WALL.

So, I stocked her fridge while she was napping and she has been in there for two weeks pouting. (She doesn't pout though - in her own words 'shes NOT a child!'.) She just acts like one.

She has a bath lady again, a visiting nurse and I am looking into housekeeping services. A social worker has seen her and will talk again with her and with us this next week (not sure if it will be together or separately). She sees a physical therapist to massage her neck and use electrical stimulation on it to help her relax and to encourage her to get up and move around more. She is now on antidepressants (aren't helping that we can tell - may be too soon) and she will see a psychologist/therapist next week. (coming here to interview her). I have talked to the social worker a couple of times and I think HE thinks she has dementia even though she passed the mini test for dementia.

It's funny - I get to deal with MY stress all by myself :0( I am not doing well. I can tell I am just about ready for the funny farm. My blood pressure is high. I can't sleep well. I cry a lot. My mother in law has no idea what she has done to ME.

Anyway, My husband says that he will check on her each day and I plan to leave her alone. She has a Lifeline necklace and we are arranging Meals on Wheels - since she isn't doing very well with cooking (she can take care of herself and doesn't NEED our help though). Of course, she needs the help of every social service available - but doesn't need us for a single thing.

She still says hurtful things about me to every person who comes to see her. She told the nurse Thursday that I took her car away and sold it without even talking to her about it and that I didn't even give her enough time to recuperate from her knee surgery so she could drive again. No way for the nurse to know that wasn't true. Why is all this crap MY fault? Why not my husband?

What really happened: Her older car (with velour seats that hurt her back and no AC) sat in the drive for over a year and she drove our newer Sable with leather seats (that didn't pull her back out of place and had adjustable pedals and AC). Her car just sat there. We finally suggested she sell it and she agreed. She signed the paperwork for the sale. She collected the money. She continued to drive our car for another year or so - coming home with a big dent in the door the last time she drove. (she didn't know how that happened.) Shortly after that she had more knee surgery, eventually having three surgeries on the same knee and would NOT do the exercises the PT recommended in order to strengthen her leg so she could drive again. She - of her own choice - gave up her driver's license last March. She was unable to take the driving test due to her knee. (by the way, HER VERSION was that she only drove our car a couple of times at the most.)

Tell me - how is it MY FAULT that she cannot drive? The fault - if any - it due to OLD AGE and multiple knee surgeries. It appears that EVERY SINGLE LOSS SHE HAS EXPERIENCED is now MY fault. She has caused me such heartache and tears that I can barely function. My sister said I should consider her 'dead.' There is grief tied to that decision too.

We have made certain she is being cared forand we have to leave it at that. It seems wrong somehow - but I am trying to wrap my head around it. SHE DOES NOT WANT ME TO BE HER CARE GIVER AND I DON'T WANT TO BE HER CARE GIVER - so I guess this is the best we can do. It is the only thing we can do. This is her decision but she told a niece that 'I don't want it this way, but we all get shoved around whether we like it or not.' No way for my husband's cousin to know what she said wasn't true.

She can still be sweet to everyone else and the moment she sees me her demeanor changes and her voice becomes cold, mean and hard. I told my husband I will never be in a room alone with her again. If she knows enough to be nice to everyone else - she should be able to be civil to me. I don't talk to her that way and I sure could - she should be able to choose to be civil to me.

Maybe if she is officially diagnosed with dementia it will be easier. But I feel betrayed. Used up and thrown away. She tells people who come to see her how nice 'her friends' are to her - the favors they do, etc. and never EVER has she told anyone how kind I have been to her and all the things I have done for her.

Basically she has now 'cut off her nose to spite her face' and I am not going to INSIST that she interact with me. It isn't necessary - so why inflict more distress on her and myself. I just have to learn to live MY life again and stop worrying about her. Her needs are being be met by others and that's the best we can do. I have arranged for a Senior Van to pick her up for her doctor visits and friends from church will meet the van at the doctor's office and escort her in and out. I am sure she will be very grateful to THEM for being so kind to her. Wonder who arranged the van and escort? :0(

So, I am not totally done - still have to make certain her meds are on hand and put into her weekly med box and still make her doctor appointments and arrange her transportation. But, I have to pretend she doesn't live under the same roof. I have to respect the boundaries she has imposed.

What a MESS. I just had such a hard time coming back here and trying to explain and I have spent so much time crying that it isn't funny. I apologize for the ramble here. Not sure how much sense this made.
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So sorry to hear what you are going through. I know it can be tough to separate the old person you knew and the current person who is not in her right mind. My MIL has lived with us for 9 years. My husband is the only child, so we don't even have another person we can even ask in the family. I have a sister who has a very caregiving nature and she has come out to help us from another state when we wanted to take a vacation. I understand wanting to get the last word when they say such ridiculous things. Somehow, you just want them to "get it" and they just won't. I have been there. Whenever my MIL gets in those moods where she starts complaining and saying crazy things to me, I just say, "I can see you aren't happy here. Here is the information for the Assisted Living places". And then hand her the brochure. Since she has dementia, she usually gets over it and forgets about it. Normally, she stays in her room and is in a routine. She doesn't talk very much...we usually just remind her what she needs to do and she does it. In the early days of her being here, she used to says things like, I should'nt even be here, and just put me on the curb and let a car run over me. I finally told her if she couldn't say anything nice, to not say anything at all. So I guess she took us up on it and things are pretty calm now. She has been through many hospital emergencies and surgeries and I have had to clean up messes and change catheter bags. It is not easy to be a caregiver. I can understand your mental and physical exhaustion. Even though we are dealing with no siblings to help, it must be worse to have them and they won't help. I would be so resentful too.
I see you haven't posted since July. How are things now? Did you get her into AL?
Please keep us posted. Know that many of us are dealing with the same issues and WE KNOW you are doing the very best with what you have, and that is all you can do.
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I am so 'whacked out' that I cannot think a thought through to completion and cannot type either. I just want this mess to be over. She is 'oblivious' as to WHY this had to be. It is all very sad.
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I think I 'fixed' my wall - post away. NO updates yet to post on AL - still waiting for interview. She met with doc who suggested it was 'time' - we toured facility - she was sweet as butter. Wouldn't speak to us for several days. It is a mess here - I am ready to run away from home. Thanks for thinking of me. All I can think of hem Meno and wondering how he and his family are. Real bad day today. I may have to check in to the looney bin for a 'break.' :0(
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