Follow
Share

Firstly, I come from a very long line of nurses. I, myself, am studying to become a licensed psychologist, but it is impossible to analyze oneself. I currently make a living as a home healthcare aid (CNA) and also worked in assisted living for three years prior to going back to school.


My grandmother has had advanced kidney disease for about 6 years now. Dialysis 3x weekly 4h per. She has survived many crises that many called miraculous. She is 79 years old. Recently, things took a turn for the worst. Since I had enrolled back in school I began caring for them, helping out to dialysis, shopping, usual light duty stuff. However, 36 days ago she wound up in the hospital. She suffers from (aFib in addition) Basically, as a fam member put it... she is a "medical mess" but has such a fighting spirit and won't give up. Which I adore about her. 20 days ago due to circulatory problems stemming from many things including the above, she had her right leg amputated above knee and will never go home again. Over the past 36 days, she has gone bk & forth between lucidity and delusional every week or so. *no hist. of dementia, probably pain meds, and frankly just the whole situation* one day saying she wants to stop dialysis & nutrition and pass away, next day wanting to fight. I have started the grieving process 3 times thinking she was going on hospice only for it to change 1 day later. I have whiplash. My mother, who is an RN has literally lost her mind. (we all know how it is... I've seen it a million times in my own patient's family members) but she has truly lost touch with the reality of the situation. She refuses to stop until every and all medical avenue is exhausted, even if it already HAS BEEN exhausted. She is getting into arguments with staff, is a menace to be around as she is always angry & stressed, and in the meantime, myself and her brothers are helping carry the rest of the slack but she has CHOSEN to take on 80% of it. She took a 3 month leave from work, her relationship with my stepfather is in a shambles, I cannot get through to her despite knowing how to approach it in a calm and beneficially communicative way.


At this point I know that there is no getting through to her. She is drinking heavily at night and blowing a fuse at the smallest of misunderstandings. I know where it is stemming from, but it is literally ruining our family, her mental health is at stake, and our lives are miserable.


I KNOW my grandmother. She is one of the most important people to me in my life and I know she does not want to continue this way. I can FEEL it. She will never be happy again not being able to walk/cook/be on her own without assistance. Let alone the likelihood of long-term survival with her other HUGE health concerns. We have been trying to get her into rehab, she got covid, the next time, she told us again she wants to stop nutrition and dialysis (today).


My mother is heartbroken, and cannot see that this may be the best thing for her. I cannot watch her go through this anymore, knowing that she barely has a chance of survival let alone a HAPPY life. But my mother will not give up & if I do not do things by HER rules, she makes me feel guilty, as if I do not care about my grandmother's life. I have run myself so ragged that I'm on the verge of a breakdown, myself. I am angry and frustrated ALL the time. I am worried for my mother's health ALL the time. I feel our lives slipping through my fingers like sand.


I want this to end. I know the only way it ends would be upon her passing... I WANT her alive. I want her here, but not like this. Not suffering the way she is. Her dignity is gone already, she is not the woman she once was. She is not happy. And neither are we. Our lives are HELL.


I want it to end. I feel absolutely horrible for admitting this. but I need to get it out. I want her to be at peace. I want to be at peace. I want my mother back, and I want my life to stop taking a back-seat. All I feel is misery.

You are not alone.
I pray every day for my mom to go to Heaven.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to NinjaWarrior3
Report

My mother was miserable. She would have hated and been embarrassed by her dementia. It’s selfish to take extraordinary measures to force someone to live a terminal, painful life because the bystander doesn’t want the person to die. My father chose to stop treatment which was his RIGHT. My mother was incapable of making that decision ( although she refused to eat) but had made me POA of her medical affairs knowing I felt my father had a right to stop treatment and she did not want to be on “ machines”. Sorry but imo if you allow someone their choice, dying with as much dignity and peacefully as possible, that’s unselfish. Keep them alive and suffering for you is the epitome of selfishness.
This is why everyone once they become a legal adult needs to immediately make their desires known and legally binding in writing long before it’s needed, in what ever way your country considers legal and binding.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Jannner
Report
NinjaWarrior3 Jan 15, 2022
I agree.
(0)
Report
It is beyond heartbreaking when those we love totally change due to physical and mental problems. We love who they were and not the now that they are. I have said it before, no matter who or what or why, first all arrangements and discussions MUST BE HELD FAR IN ADVANCE BEFORE ANYTHING HAPPENS. WE MUST KNOW ALL THE DETAILS OF FINANCES, WISHES, ETC., and then we can deal better with what comes. Most people do NOT do this and it is beyond my comprehension. So, second, when the time comes, and each situation is different we must do what must be done so we "others" can live our lives in peace and not have our lives destroyed. If a caretaker works out, fine and if not, no matter who or what, these people must be placed. There is no other way. And if taking action fastens the end result, so be it - it is one way of having peace. Remember, they are not who they once were and nothing will ever get through to them.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Riley2166
Report

PsychOutlier: I'll pray for your grandmother, your mother and you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report

Ask you Mama...If she had three wishes what would they be.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to DKelso34
Report

My 84 yr blind bedridden father is like your grandmother plus dementia. My 84 yr mother is like your mother. Taking over, stopping hospice, fighting with every nurse and aid. Always asking me for help. I’ve got a full time job and health problems. I do my best but noticed the more I did the worse she got. Every good deed becomes a punishment. Ex. Problems with one pharmacy so I switched. She says it’s worse than the other. I can’t win. Online therapy has been my saving Grace. Remember only your can change your response to all of this. If your mom insists on this situation then let it be hers to deal with. Of course you still love and help but you must find that balance.
my sister and I found a wonderful assisted living facility for them. Both levels of care could be addressed in the same apartment. Yes they would have to sell their old falling apart house and spend down, but why not? Mom said no. She needs control, not accepting that the next time one of them goes into the hospital they will have to go to some facility and probably based only on availability.
There are many reasons our families respond to end of life stages in the way they do but it doesn’t mean you have to do it their way. I wish you well on this difficult journey.
Read my new favorite poem.
She let go- by Safire Rose
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Radaccept4me
Report
Nakeeta Jan 14, 2022
That poem is so beautiful and spot on. Thank you for mentioning it here.
(1)
Report
Being lucid, compassionate, and well informed understanding dynamics of situation - while deeply involved in trying to keep so many loved ones “level” in an ‘umlevel’ moment with addition of your mom drinking to ease pain which of course, in long run only adds to it... can you take less responsibility for everyone? Ease out of the role of trying to manage nature’s force - this is bigger than you. And is at breaking point where things will get more and more loaded - to gently back out of being hooked by others emotions you cannot tame, calm or reason with...
talking with others, like you are here or locally to find an Alanon group you can process and heal some of the trauma this is creating for you may help you gain perspective on what you can and cannot contribute without doing harm to your own well being... small things - self care - are critical for you. A book of daily meditations that is pure gold “the language of letting go” by Melody Beattie. Daily reminders of what is and is not in our control, in trying to ease the anguish of those we love, care for or support. Know you are not alone!! You are kind, generous of spirit & facing an impossible situation - grant yourself grace dear heart. Let go of things & burden you cannot carry for others - no matter how strong your shoulders. We all care about you here & hope you let us know how things continue to develop there...
💜 keep the faith, come from love - do your best & surrender the rest 🕊
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to loveWins
Report
cherokeegrrl54 Jan 14, 2022
Beautiful and well worded. Thank you
(1)
Report
It's up to your grandmother to decide the level of care she wants. She can refuse dialysis and other medical treatments. It would be best to modify her living will to state this, if needed. Get counseling for yourself. You sound overly stressed and like you're projecting your own feelings on your grandmother. Create loving boundaries for yourself so that you can cope with your grief and stress. Take care of yourself and treat this as a learning experience about the human condition. Life is not aways a rose garden.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to NancyIS
Report

Dear Psych,
One thing I've found about the AgingCare forum is that we're free to express our emotions, however raw they may be. Speaking about our personal journey through hell, and just getting it off our chest, can be very cathartic. I hope it was for you. But it hasn't changed the situation, has it? As much as you want it to end, (and that's absolutely not being selfish) you know it will end in its own time. You know you can't do anything about her demeanor, her happiness, or her remaining life span except to wish it would end. And that's OK. It will end, but at what expense to your own health?

I don't have any words of comfort for you, but, other than family, are there others you can lean on, confide in? Do you have a pastor you can talk to? You can't analyze yourself, but are you open to seeing a counselor? If not, research some resources on managing grief, especially anticipatory grief. Books and websites, e.g., can help. Misery is not a happy place! The seemingly hopelessness of the situation, and the anticipation of your mother's death can be managed.

“Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (your mother's medical condition), the courage to change the things I can (the difficult acceptance of the situation, and the possible need for professional counseling), and the wisdom to know the difference.”

This experience in your life will make you a great psychologist.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to sjplegacy
Report

No one loves to watch a love one suffer and especially, in slow motion. But we’re on God’s time. When He is ready, regardless of anyone else, He will call us home. Many of us are in the same situation as you are. I pray that you will have peace during this time.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to LoveLea
Report

My mother is 93 and failing. Every interaction and everything is incredibly difficult. I know how this ends and it’s not good. Five years ago the doctors at the hospital said she was going to die in the next 48 hours. Do not feel guilty snout how you feel. {{{{{hugs}}}}} to you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Kat819
Report

I feel the same way as I come home every night after working a 10 hour day to cook her meals, clean up the mess, take her dog out and issue medications, She refuses to eat anything that is not homemade and so there are not any easy fixes, She always complains about what I make her, tells me how to improve the meal and never shows any appreciation. By the time I am done taking care of her, its 8:30 or 9:00 before I even get to sit down. I still have laundry and my own chores to do, not to mention a husband I would like to see when he gets home, My husband (only child) has worked so hard and was recently promoted and he can no longer help me. I am 50 years old, had stage 3 breast cancer and other health conditions, so my body is tired and weak, my responsibilities endless and I feel like I do not have many good days of my own life left before my health starts declining. I feel so cheated as I have already raised my child while also working fulltime and carrying a full load of college. I should be enjoying my life as an empty nester now. My mother-in-law is extremely disabled physically, but still very sharp mentally. She told her son that she would commit suicide if he put her in a home. Wow what an awful thing to threaten your son with and of course he does not want to live with that, so he has promised her that he would not do that. We have been taking care of her for 7 years now and there is no end in sight. Please pray for us. Thank you for listening.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to HRHenderson
Report
Riley2166 Jan 14, 2022
If the actions and behaviors are harming YOU, then YOU must take the bull by the horns and put a stop to it - whether she is mentally with it or not. This cannot continue and you should not be subject to abuse, threats and harassment - place her at one and find some peace for yourself while you still have a chance. YOU NEED TO LIVE YOUR LIFE NOW - SHE LIVED HERS.
(2)
Report
I'm praying for you, Psych, that your mother will see the wisdom that you see. Last month, as POA and Healthcare Proxy for my husband, I signed a DNR form for my husband. I could no longer bear to see his suffering and watch him day after day with no quality of life at all. He stopped eating and drinking and lapsed into a coma and passed away last week. I'm grieving but so relieved that he is no longer suffering. My heart aches for you and your Mom and your grandmother. Maybe you can help your Mom to see that she is stuck in the 3rd stage of grief (bargaining) and she needs to walk through the next 2 stages. It is so hard.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to WearyJean
Report
sjplegacy Jan 14, 2022
I'm sorry for your loss, WearyJean. But it's nice to hear that besides the grief, you found relief, both in the fact that his suffering is over, and that you survived his caregiving.
(4)
Report
See 1 more reply
Who wouldn't want this to end? You are NOT selfish at all. Grandma's life is horrible. Is she still deemed to be competent? If so, next time she says no more dialysis, get her to sign the paperwork necessary for this to happen. Get her on hospice. I would not even talk to your mom about it since the poor thing is basically checked out on this situation.

Does grandma have a living will? A health care proxy? POA set up for someone when she is not competent?

Your mom needs some help. Will she see a therapist? Probably not but she's in a place where she could certainly benefit from a good one. She might need some meds to get her back on the right track. She's so busy grieving that she can't function properly.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to againx100
Report

I would have exploded at mom by now and figuratively, if not literally, tried to slap some sense into her. I know, not a very helpful response but you have a right to be heard also and get your feelings out. A heavily drinking mom is obviously not coping well. Would she listen to someone higher up the medical food chain who is in your court? I'm sorry this is taking so long to resolve. I doubt if will go on for long, so be ready to take a deep breath and forgive.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to vegaslady
Report

I felt the same way about my Dad. 5 months in ICU and LTAC heavily sedated and ICU psychosis when awake. He wasn’t my Dad then. My mother always thought he’d get better and keep him here longer than he should have. I feel guilt at even saying it. I had anticipatory grief . Four months after he passed my husband was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. I’m overwhelmed mentally and will never recover
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to HelenaH
Report
lealonnie1 Jan 11, 2022
I'm so sorry for your DHs diagnosis Helena. Sending you a big hug and a prayer for you to find acceptance and peace with this.
(4)
Report
See 2 more replies
I pray God takes your grandmother to her Heavenly home and gives her release from the worldly pains and worries. And the family drama. Your mom is so focused on herself she can't think if her mother.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to SweetSioux
Report

Of course you're not selfish or a bad person for wanting your grandmother to be at peace & have the suffering end already. When the misery far outweighs the joy in life, it's only natural to wish it were all over. I pray daily for my mother to pass; she's 95 on 1/20, with afib, pulmonary hypertension, advanced dementia, wheelchair bound, has fallen 52x just since 6/19, and I can go on and on. She hasn't had her leg amputated (yet) but so far, she's survived more things than you would think humanly possible. She hasn't been happy in decades, and neither am I, so I pray for God to take her. No, I'm not a bad person or selfish either, just ready to see HER in a better place than where she's been for far too long now. So are you.

Wishing you peace & sending you a hug.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to lealonnie1
Report
cherokeegrrl54 Jan 11, 2022
True words and heartfelt compassion for you Lea. We are kept alive way too long now, and that is certainly not a good thing when there is so much misery and pain. Take care. Love, Liz
(6)
Report
See 1 more reply
There will be others here who can give you better wisdom than I can.

That being said, I sooo understand you wanting your family members’ suffering to stop.

Your grandmother’s suffering. Your mother’s suffering. You just want the suffering to STOP already. You are a loving daughter, and it shows.

Praying for you right now.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to cxmoody
Report

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter