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For five years now, my mother has been severely ill with MRSA in her sinus cavities. I am currently 20 years old living at home to aid my mother and am a full-time college student, and also don't have a drivers license. My mother is a college professor, and even if I wanted to, I can't take a break from college. After I had graduated high school I went to a university four hours away for half a semester before my generalized depression and anxiety over my mother's health made me return home. Unfortunately, my fears about my mother's health were well founded, because not even a month after returning home, she ended up in the hospital. I can't even remember what for anymore she's been in and out of the hospital so many times. It's been roughly two years since then and I lost count of the number of times she's been hospitalized. Though I love my mother, the stress of all this is making me feel insane. She is constantly sick and (from a botched surgery before I was born) has trouble swallowing and ends up throwing up a lot. She also has trouble ingesting her meds (due to having to swallow pills) and ends up throwing them back up, so she can't keep her medication down and sometimes will just not take it at all. Some of the side effects from the medication when she does take it make her have thy symptoms of a dementia patient. She is also on oxygen (due to scaring in her lungs from pneumonia) and is restricted greatly by this which makes her irritable. She has leg problems from blood clots (from a genetic disorder, factor 5 leiden) and has to use a walker if she's out. She has trouble with her equilibrium, she was always clumsy before getting really ill, but now she is literally a fall hazard. She'll over exert herself doing things like spontaneous bouts of vacuuming and won't listen when I tell her to stop because it is making her worse. Sometimes I feel like the parent in these situations, and it's an awful experience. I'll get frustrated and irritable and sometimes this will effect how I talk to her. Usually she gets snippy back at me, but the worst is when she starts crying. I hate crying, it sounds mean but I loath it, and when it's from something I did I just want to leave the room as fast as I can. She also will moan when she is in pain, like very loudly, and I know it's because she is actually really hurting, but it rivals my hatred for crying. Despite this, I care for her and just try to keep going and not let it get the best of me. I don't have a social life (but I am already introverted) and I didn't even before, but now just going to see a movie with friends has me on edge and I find myself worrying more over my mom's health and that I'd come home to a note saying she's in the hospital instead of enjoying anything. I know these are all factors of caregiver burnout, but having a name to my stress doesn't alleviate it. I do go to therapy weekly, and I have my grandma helping me care for my mother. I know it's not any easier for her, being that it's her daughter that's sick, and my aunt had passed away only a few years ago. I know their is no magic solution to these problems, but It's so frustrating and sometimes I feel like I am alone in this (I know I'm not, but it's hard to rationalize when depressed). It feels like this is what my life is going to be like no matter what I do. I just hate feeling so powerless in this situation, and I wish it were as if my problems were one physical being I could just defeat like a villain of some sort. I am at wits end and just want to know if there is anything that could make this easier for me and everyone else, or what other people in positions like this have do to help themselves.

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Hi Winter,

I know what it's like to be a college student and have a parent (not to mention a grandparent) who has ailments. I am going to tell you what they have been telling me here, which I agree with: don't stop going to school! While I'm much older than you, the issues are still the same in that this is your life and future at stake. You have alot more time than me, but as someone said here, your mom is still young enough that her situation could go on for many years. While I'm so very sorry she is in this state, this cannot go on like this for you. You are ending up old before your time, and yes I agree with another poster that it could make you crazy! While I'm sure you already know all this, let me get to some possible solutions; like someone said, use the resources at your school, speak to a guidance counselor or dean. Trust, there are more students like yourself, so it won't be the first the school heard of your issue; they're professionals and there to help you get to graduation. Also, your mom sounds like she needs a nursing home or assisted living with staff and the facilities right there for her; any chance of looking at some to see what it's like (there's resources on here, you may have/will see) and talk to your grandmother? Can you speak to grandma about your needing to stop because it's making you sick and affecting school? Can someone like a home aide then come help your grandmother so you can concentrate on your studies? Any other siblings or close relatives that can step in? This same type advice has been given on here, plus you'll receive more words of wisdom and honesty. This isn't a quick and even remotely easy road; feels like hell. But at least I get quiet time at my own place. I hope you get to move, on campus if doable, just to be in a studious environment. How can you study when you're in nursing mode all of the time? Wishing you the best. And while you work on getting help to unlighten your load, keep in practice by stayinging focused,  think d-e-g-r-e-e, and take it one day at a time!
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So, you WERE going to school and living away from home, but have returned to caregive FT for mom, correct? And is mom currently a college professor, or has her health stopped her from working?

Just for clarity--wondering about those things.

What holds you back from driving? Anxiety? (Totally normal) But not having that freedom is a little stunting, unless you have access to great public transport. Being able to get out is important!!

Are you seeing a psychiatrist to deal with the obvious depression/anxiety issues? I'd warrant most CG's are on antidepressants themselves--caregiving will suck the very life out of you.

You do need to care for you, first. You will be of no use to anyone if you sink lower. And DO get tested for MRSA, if you are carrying it too, you could be sick and not realize it.

Please do come back and let us know how you're doing. We care!!
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Are you in a state that allows cannabis? There is a combination formula that can help, but you need to see a doctor specializing in cannabinoids.
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MRSA in her nose means your mother is a MRSA carrier.  I don’t know the correct percentage but if a random culture of our noses were done, many of us would have a positive result for MRSA.  Positive nasal cultures for MRSA are more common then we think. 
If you are concerned speak with your own PCP to have them run a culture for MRSA on you and they may prescribe Muprinex to insert in your nares. 
MRSA is often a secondary opportunistic infection & unfortunately is spread in health care ctrs especially hospitals. 
If your mom has an active MRSA infection she is/was receiving antibiotics. 
You need a break! Your plate is certainly full. 
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You say you don't want it to get the best of you but it already has gotten the best of you. Caregiving gets the best of all us. If it didn't we wouldn't need websites like this one.

I'm glad you're in therapy but if, after an appointment, you go home to your mom again, don't you enter back into the insanity?

If you're 20 years old your mom must be fairly young. In her 50's maybe? So you could find yourself in this situation for at least the next 35 or 40 years? That's unacceptable.

One solution would be to move out but since you're a full-time college student I'm thinking you probably don't have a job.

Have you considered placing your mom in a nursing home? You're doing the work of 3 shifts of nurses. It's no wonder you're burned out. You can keep taking care of your mother and keep burning out but it will affect your life, your emotions, your mental health. You can Google burnout and find that people who are in situations where they are burned out and don't leave those situations the stress can actually change the brain. Burnout alters our brain chemistry. If you continue to care for your mom until she passes away she'll be gone but you'll be left with pathology akin to post traumatic stress disorder. Long after your mom's gone you'll still be dealing with the damage you've incurred.

My daughter is 24. I have 2 illnesses. I've seen the way my daughter reacts to my health so unless there's an emergency my health is not a part of our conversations. And my daughter still continues to have one antenna up all the time which I hate. But she worries, she's seen me very sick and in the hospital. So we've devised a plan that I tell her if something's going on if she needs to know. But she doesn't need to know most of it. And I would move into a nursing home before I'd let her give up her life to care for me. We've already discussed it.

Find a way out. That doesn't mean you'll be abandoning your mom, it just means that you need to be healthy, you need to finish school and start your adult life. A life that doesn't include feeling insane everyday because you're burned out from caring for your mother. I know it's easier said than done but consider some options. You have options. You may not think you do but you do.

And since your mom has had MRSA for 5 years I am wondering what her doctor is doing about it.
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I'm so sorry for both your mom's failing health and your situation in dealing with it
So unfair
Can you seek counseling at college ? You need support
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Winter, caregiving s stressful, you have your plate full. College is stressful, then the homework, exams, papers, you have your plate full. What do you do for fun? You ABSOLUTELY NEED to make time to do things you enjoy. At this point in your life you need to do for you and your future. Find a way to get away.
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