I'm an only child, so there's no one to help out but my long-suffering hubby. We've just moved into our new home, and we built her a beautiful, sunny bedroom with direct bathroom access. We painted it her favorite color, decorated it with her aunt's antique bed, new mattress, and her mother's quilt.
I had all these visions of us fixing wonderful dinners, watching movies, sitting in rocking chairs on the front porch watching deer frolicking in the pasture, and sharing memories.
When we started planning this house, mom said her husband didn't get along with anyone, and he would never live with anyone. She said he didn't like his own kids and their spouses, and he didn't like my spouse, so we shouldn't plan on them living with us. When he died last year, I was sure she'd come live with us. But she's still rejecting us!
She's insisting on staying in her home, paying for a cleaning lady, yard man, and calling us to come over to fix her internet/tv, bring groceries, take her to the doctor or dentist, diagnose her aches, pains, and boo-boos over the telephone. I work from home, but recently she called me to ask what she should do about her chronically swollen ankle that was really hurting.
Instead of getting up from my desk and walking across the hall to assess the ankle, I had to alert my boss and my team I would be away for an unknown period of time to make a home visit and possible ER visit. My boss was understanding but tight-lipped, and I could imagine the eye-rolling of my team who had to cover for me.
The ankle was red, hot and angry looking, so I had to take Mom to the ER for them to officially diagnose cellulitis. Mom protested and argued with me all the way to the ER about why she didn't need to go to the hospital. I finally said, "Mom, this isn't working for me. If you lived with us, your ankle wouldn't have gotten to this state. I know you want to stay in your house, but that's placing an undue burden on us. During the work week, you're going to have to stay at our house, and then you can go home on the weekends." Mom agreed.
She stayed with us for four days after she got out of the hospital, but she refused to return when we went back to pick her up on Sunday! She listed all the reasons why she couldn't possibly live any where but her own home. The biggest reason? She has so many bills to pay, and 3 checking accounts to keep track of! She said, "When Lennie came by every morning to eat breakfast with me, it was easy to keep track of everything, because he'd double check my check-writting to make sure I didn't get my hundreds and thousands mixed up."
My husband complained bitterly about those daily visits because she always had a laundry list of things for him to do: replace a bulb, fix a screen, hang blinds, tote things to Goodwill, bring things up from the basement, chase down a phantom noise, fix the stove, chase off a gopher she hears under her porch, assure her there is no squirrel loose in her basement, put up a new mailbox, fix the storm door the cleaning lady bent..... you get the picture. My hubby complained, "It's always something! I can never do a quick check-in. She eats up half my day, everyday! She insists we eat breakfast. Even if I take her breakfast, she insists on forcing me to eat the eggs she scrambles. I'm not fond of scrambled eggs, but I force them down. By the time I leave, the day is shot. I can't get anything done!"
I totally empathize, but I'm still working. My hubby says this was not how he envisioned his retirement. He thought he would have time for his pursuits; he didn't plan on being mom's fix-it handyman/taxi/errand boy/accountant/exterminator/security force. He, very rightly, complains he can't keep up two houses.
I care for mom on the weekends, and I get stuck in the same situation. We do all her things, none of our own, and on Monday, I feel like I missed the weekend. We're tired! If she just lived with us, it would simplify our lives. Any ideas?