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My mom is 74 years old and has congestive heart failure and COPD. She is also in remission from lung cancer and is on pain medication for herniated discs in her back. She constantly battles edema in her legs and belly and has been in the hospital 8 times last year and 3 times so far this year for respitory failure. The fluid fills her lungs and they have to put her on IV's to help diurese her.


I have been her caregiver for the last 6 years and became her paid caregiver last December. She lives with me in my home with my 2 adult sons. We all have income coming in and don't struggle financially (currently). I'm the person who stays home and cleans and cooks and does the laundry for the family as well as the caregiving responsibilities for my mom. Meds, drs appointments, scheduling home health, bathing, shopping etc.


The problem is that she is very manipulative. She is of sound mind and actually has a masters degree in Social Work. She refuses to get out of her recliner and walk or restrict her fluid intake or put her legs up so help keep the fluid out of her legs. It gradually gets worse until she is so bloated she can't breathe and she crashes. I call the ambulance and they always admit her for at least a week.


Last January my eldest son told me that he was taking me to Las Vegas in June. He purchased my plane ticket and set up all of our accommodations. My mom was released from the hospital at the end of April and I told her she needed to do everything possible to stay healthy because I'm leaving for a week. I suggested putting her in a respite home for the week and she refused. My sister offered to let my mom stay with her and my mom declined saying she doesn't need a babysitter. She is totally expecting my other son to take care of her while I'm gone. Hes ok doing this as long as she is stable. The problem is I feel like she has done everything she could to not be ok. Shes been eating a lot of salty food, drinking more fluids then she should be and not walking at all. Her legs are now huge and swollen and they are on the verge of developing cellulitis. I feel like the moment I leave, she's going to have respitory failure and she knows she hasn't done anything to prevent this. I feel angry because I've told her I'm getting burned out and I need a few days for myself. She just makes statements about how much money I'm going to waste going on a vacation. I need advice. Do I still go? Or should I cancel my vacation? My sister said she will check on my mom while I'm gone.

Go on your trip. If Mum has a crisis your sister can handle it.

Ask your sister to not call you if there is a crisis. You deserve an uninterrupted vacation.
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kimberlitas Jun 3, 2019
I agree with going on the vacation and sister only calling if there is a crisis. No one can do this job ( and that's what it is) 24/7. You have earned this well deserved vacation, go and enjoy yourself!
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Well of course you go. The very idea that you would suggest you not go shows how badly you need to go.

I suspect your son knows how to dial 911 and can call your sister if needed. I hope he knows he is NOT to call you.

You pack your bags and kiss your mama good bye and wish her luck. Pull out a quarter and tell her you will play it for her.

She’s lived her life. All the trips to the ER will be pretty much the same drill until she has gone just a little too far in her self neglect. She wants to run her own life come what may. The best thing you can do is get out of the way so she can see she is hurting no one but herself.
You must stop trying to control her. She is rebelling against you. You both need a break.
Hugs
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AndreaE Jun 1, 2019
Oh my gosh I needed to hear this! Thank you for replying. You are so right. ❤❤
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I agree with 97 yo mom.

Leave instructions with your son that is she crashes, he calls 911 and has her transported to the hospital. You should consider having her admitted to rehab after she's released and consider whether she requires a different kind of caregiving than can be provided by a kind adult daughter.
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AndreaE Jun 1, 2019
Yes I'll definitely do that. And the last time she was discharged the social worker and doctors wanted her to go to rehab but she said she wanted to come home. I didn't want her to be mad or feel like I don't love her so I just let her come home. I will think long and hard about her placement when she is in the hospital again because it's only a matter of time.
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In addition, you should go even if your mom gets hospitalized BEFORE you leave. Your life should not be ruled by her poor health and choices.
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AndreaE Jun 1, 2019
This might actually happen with the progression of the edema at this point. We have a drs appointment on June 4th and I'll follow what the doctor says she needs to do. I will be honest about leaving and maybe her doctor will put her in a respite home knowing that she needs extra care. Thank you for the reply.
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Go! You deserve the break, and if your Mom ends up in hospital, well she herself put her there by eating and doing all of the wrong things that she knows will get her in trouble.

In the meantime, I would remove every salty foods from the house before you depart on your vacation, so she has no access to them and request that no bad things enter the home. I would also highly recommend that your sister look after while you are gone, do that for your own peace of mind, whether she likes it or not, so you can relax and enjoy yourself, just tell her that it is not up to her, this is your much needed and deserved vacation!!! You are giving her way too much control of your life!

Go and have Fun!
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AndreaE Jun 1, 2019
Thank you! That's a great suggestion. I really need this time and you're right...my sister should be more involved. I will talk to her and maybe we can move my mom to her house for the week.
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I haven't read other responses so sorry if this is repetitive.

Go! Actually her ending up in the hospital would work out great, everybody gets a vacation.

She doesn't get to own your entire life unless you let her. She can pout, she can self harm, her bad choices do not obligate you to be a prisoner in your own home.

Go! Have a great time. I grew up in Vegas and I have to tell you, if you are going to gamble go to the places locals go to gamble. The games are looser and you are more likely to win. Hope you hit a giant jackpot.
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AndreaE Jun 1, 2019
Thank you! I really am so excited to go. And I feel like she had plenty of notice but she just doesn't want me to leave. So I am going to go, knowing that my sister will be here in case of an emergency. I hope I win a jackpot but honestly just the time away is the biggest prize for me. 🙂🙂
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You go.

Your loving son, and please give him a hug and a medal and a halo and a pat on the back, has organised this trip to save you. Do not throw it back in his face.

I am deliberately not commenting on your mother's intentions, behaviour, attitude or condition because the WHOLE POINT of this exercise is that for those precious days she is SOMEONE ELSE'S problem and not yours. WHATEVER happens, there are other people on the planet and she will be looked after. Close your mind to everything about her for that defined time.

Other son, plus organising son, plus sister, plus healthcare team, plus emergency services, plus God Almighty if need be, between them can do your job.

GO. Don't you dare not go. Go.

Okay I will comment. Your mother is having a grump, combined with feeling anxious about having to do without her primary life support system/comfort blanket for a few days. If you relax, probably so will she - but she'll still be grumpy. Let her.
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AndreaE Jun 1, 2019
Youre right! Thanks for reminding me about how much work my son has put into making this possible for me to go. He loves me and knows I need a break. I'm going to go for sure. I feel better with all of the support from this page. Everyone is so amazing.
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Andrea, with regard to rehab, you may have to get tough down the road when she wants to " come home" after a future hospitalization.

Folks who can't responsibly care for themselves don't get to call the shots any more than your toddlers did.
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IF she ends up in the hospital don't come running back. She is putting it on herself and your response will mean you are not a pushover. You can reply to her if she has copays how much money she is going to waste or remind her how many days she will not come home. The hospital will take care of her and keep her safe. Even if it is a 3 day stay, let them send her to rehab. Remind sibs to tell the hospital to refuse taking her home. Just think...a rehab stay can last up to 3 weeks. More respit for you
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AndreaE Jun 1, 2019
At this point 3 weeks sounds life heaven. I love my mom but the burnout is so real. Thank you for the reply.
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Wow! I am so grateful for the outpouring of support I've received from this site. I know each and every one of you have been in, or are currently in a similar position as I am. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I am going to go and have fun and I pray that everyone reading this can also do something for themselves even if it's just a small thing. You are all wonderful caring and compassionate people to do what you do. Don't ever forget that. ❤❤
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Maryjann Jun 4, 2019
As others have said, I hope you have a good time. Money spent on a well-deserved vacation is NOT wasted!
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