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My mom (84) has been going steadily downhill for the past few months. She has had 3 UTIs which landed her in the hospital and today her aide called to tell me there is blood in her urine again. (UTIs due to massive kidney stone that requires surgery, but she is never well enough to have the surgery). I have a constant knot in my stomach and am constantly fielding calls from doctors, nurses, insurance, etc. (She is at home with 24/7 care, in a wheelchair or bed all day.) I have been at my company for 7 years, but recently took on a new position that feels like a brand-new job. I have a new boss and there is TONS of work and things for me to learn. I did tell my boss that my mom has been ill and she was understanding, but, still, I am SO stressed out trying to keep up with everything. I'm an only child, so I'm it as far as managing my mother's care. WTF do you do in this situation? I am wrung out.

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My advice to you would be to try to live in the moment as much as you can. As a former caregiver to my Mom, I think the time spent thinking about the what if this happens or oh, this happened yesterday and it sucked was what drained me the most. Obviously, when you care about someone and you feel responsible for them this is easier said than done but when you think about it you can't change what happened yesterday and what is going to happen is not in your control. Do what you can when you can do it with your Mom and your job.

Trite advice maybe, but sometimes we complicate things in our mind too much. If I had it to do over again I would have lived in the moment more and left control up to God.
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You really need to tell the people caring for Mom that unless an emergency they shouldn't call you at work. Work is a place to do just that, work. You can't be at your best when u take calls all day. Ask them to call your home and leave a message and you will get back to them ASA you can. Make sure you take lunch and get away from ur desk. Maybe u can make calls then. You have 24/7 care and these people should be able to make most decisions on their own. You could lose ur job.
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My mother was in a nursing home after a few months on their rehab floor after a stroke. The longterm care unit was a total nightmare, which is why we brought her home and arranged 24/7 care. She also has an amazing visiting doctor as well as nurse and PT. Really the ONLY thing that has sent her to the hospital in recent months has been the need for IV antibiotics and fluids. (Do they give those in the NH?) I wish she didn't have to go to the ER to get them!

Anyway, there is no way she is going back to a NH. That would kill her faster than any infection. Plus, I'd have to re-do the medicaid app for NH vs home care, which would kill me! Also, my office is very close to her apartment, so it's much easier for me to visit her regularly. The NHs in NYC are not close, and most of them are beyond bleak.

Gershun, you are absolutely right. I try to live in the moment and sometimes I turn off my phone. I figure a few hours isn't going to matter in terms of most of these calls. If it's a true emergency, her aide can call 911.
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Xina, ask one of her doctors about getting Palliative Care for her. It can be had in home, and would provide at least some supplementary care to the 24/7 care she has now, but I don't know if that's private duty with some medical, or primarily medical care.

It was recommended by our pulmonary doctor, who said it addresses people who have chronic problems, but aren't ready for hospice. Since then, I've found that nearly everyone I speak with in the medical profession has a different interpretation of Palliative Care.

Some agencies which also have hospice care and a home health care arm seem to have a more well developed program. One makes arrangements not only for periodic home nursing care but a visiting physician as well.

That could address the medical aspect. I think the fact that she's not alone but has support for 24/7 is a major factor, so think of that when you become anxious.

How confident are you in the 24/7 caregivers? Can they handle more, not necessarily interfacing with medical pros, but other tasks that now require your attention? I.e., how much can you delegate? Don't consider yourself a doer, but rather a manager and delegator. This could shift and substantially reduce the anxiety and responsibility you feel.

As to the various other issues that arise during the day:

Perhaps you could take your lunch hour at an earlier or later time and handle the medical calls then, and only then UNLESS it's an emergency. You might want to address this with the home care people if you have confidence that they can determine which calls and issues are emergencies and which are not.

Sometimes I just tell people I can't address this issue at the moment and will contact them after I've had a chance to review the situation.

I do know that it's often hard to treat everything as a potential emergency; I've been through that and had to learn to rationalize what the worst and best outcomes are, then decide whether the issue can wait until a higher priority has been resolved.

I can understand the anxiety that confronts you. I've battled with it myself and often am overcome. I've had to work hard to control it. What I find instantly relaxes me are garden magazines, photos of animals, especially kittens and puppies, or beautiful nature photos of magnificent mountains, meadows, and other natural wonders. I used to have these kinds of calendars at work and could glance at them periodically for some mental relief.

Even a 5 minute break helps relieve the anxiety. Since you're learning a new job, perhaps you can take a few minute every hour to just pretend you're working but allow your mind to roam to a calmer place.
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Xina
I've been overwhelmed at work at times too with dealing with mom's care - it's exhausting and I make up for it by working long hours - I know of no easy solution short of turning away from it all, but then that's not going to happen

As one person told me - it won't always be like this

Rest when you can and be present as much as you can at work and make up the time missed even if something else such as household chores don't get done
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Xina, my mom declined, more slowly than yours, over the course of 4 years, and there was always a knot in your stomach. I didn't realize until my mom died last month just the how unpresent I've been for my husband ( not that he's said anything, I just see now how I've been, now that I'm not).

My job performance certainly suffered, but not enough that it mattered to others, just to me.

But my mom was in a nursing home. If she had a uti or even pneumonia, it was handled in house.

I know this probably seems like a choice between you being miserable and her being miserable. And she may well decline just as fast from the uti and stone combination in the nh. But there will be less wear and tear on her, going to ERs and hospital stays if she's getting round the clock nursing care.
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Is FMLA (Family Medical Care Act) available at the company you work for? You may want to check with your employer's Human Resource Dept. on this.

In addition, I was the main caretaker for my dad and it was very time consuming. I wanted to make sure that all calls got directly to me regarding his medical care and informed my boss that I may need to step out of the office if I got an urgent call, or possibly even leave should it be something emergent.

As a parent ages, they become a high priority and since you are an only child, I hate to say it, but the responsibility DOES fall on you. Some medical emergencies may seem small; yet when it comes to an elderly parent, even something as simple as a UTI can turn into many more serious health conditions in a very short time.

I guess what I'm trying to say (and may get much flack from) is this. Your mom's impaired health is a concern to you...and there may be days when you may have to take her to a medical appt; miss work due to a medical emergency regarding your mom, etc. You also need to be available during the day in case of a medical emergency, due to the fact that you are probably Medical Power of Atty and need to be there.

You should be there anyway. Sorry.

These things are never "planned", but can happen out of the blue. Sounds like you've notified your new boss about the situation, which is good. As mentioned before, you may also want to contact your work's Human Resource Dept. and find out what their policies are regarding FMLA. Some companies allow you to split it up (one week here..another one there); while other policies say you have to take it all at once.

Keeping you in my prayers.
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Congrats on your promotion. First of all, your Mom will pass at some point as we all will. The knot in your stomach is about worry you said. You are doing every thing possible for your Mother and she is in 24/7 care. It's a natural reaction to "feel" overwhelmed. It seems you have done extremely well handling the situation up until now. A combination of new responsibilities at your new position and knowing your Mom is nearing the end would be a lot no matter who you are. You can look at your new position as a blessing so you do not get consumed with your Mom's health issues. Possibly, you feel you should be with her. The situation will not change if you are. Try to be a little gentler on yourself and breathe. One thing I know is life goes on. I am 72 years old and I am sure your Mom would not want you being overwhelmed. Make sure you eat right and get enough rest. You care and that is worth a lot. I hope my children care as much.
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Xinabess,
I understand your concerns. I have been there and have felt similar pains and worries. I realized that there was a different way to look at that situation...

Spirit colludes with your inner growth and places you in relationships and situations that identify your weak points and thus where you loose energy - places that you are unconscious of and where you need to grow stronger as a human being.

In a similar situation, I recognized that I had weak boundaries with my Mom. I looked back at life and saw that having a choice between her peace of mind and mine, I had always chosen hers. I realized that I unconsciously allowed her to make my life decisions...not because she was stronger or demanded it. No. Just the opposite. Because she was nice and sweet, and overall had been a good mother. One who had made the sacrifices for her family.

When I could no longer care for her, I had to draw a very realistic line between my life and hers. It was, and at times still is, not easy. I had to learn to create limits and weigh in the same scale what was beneficial for me with what harmed me. I have to do this with each choice regarding giving my energy to my life or her life.

At one point, we all have to learn the difficult lesson of boundaries - our limitations - to choose between honoring, respecting and loving ourselves, and what we do out of obligation, responsibility or guilt.

Our parents deserve our love, not our guilt. And we deserve to choose a life not yet lived. We do not have the right to sacrifice our life to always support one which they have already lived.

I remember what a very wise being told me: Your life's mission is to honor, love and respect your heart. To honor your spirit an soul.

Do act from a balanced place where you do not sacrifice who you are for anyone else.
All the best!

PS: It's important to look at the big picture. A situation like yours is a turning point and you have to treat it that way. You cannot help her if you dissipate your connection to your soul, your energy and your light. You must be strong in caring for yourself as well as her, or she will have no one. Crutch time is over. Choose your heart.
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I've been 'retired' for 20 years but these past few years with DH, taking care of him, it's hard for anyone to stay focused sometimes.

You are not Superwoman or Wonderwoman. Only you can set the parameters you can follow. Delegate delegate delegate.

And pray.
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