Thursday, January 13, 2011

Another way for me does not seem possible

I can’t seem to stay away from the nursing home. I go seven days a week and stay anywhere from 2-4 hours. If I can’t make it, Dan goes.

Yesterday we had a Nor’Easter in Worcester that dropped 18 inches of snow. The news advised all non-necessary drivers to stay off the road. I couldn’t. I HAD to go there. The driving was treacherous in some areas but I simply could not stay away.

Where is this compulsion coming from? There is no reason for a daily check on her as she is truly in a first rate facility: She is always dressed and clean when I get there, I’ve never found her wet, and the staff is delightful. She doesn’t remember within 10 minutes of me leaving that I was even visiting. And she doesn’t seem all that interested in socializing when I’m there. So why can’t I take a day off?

Could it still be guilt? I’m sure that’s part of it. But I think it’s also due to an unhealthy connection I have to my mother. I believe that if I don’t go, both of us will suffer in some way. It’s such a deeply ingrained feeling of…dependency? I feel my time and care is something I owe her as my mother. I owe her my devotion.

My therapist said it’s perfectly fine to take a day or two off and that it is not the norm for the same family member to visit daily. That it is ok for me to have “a life.” I hear the words, I believe them, but I just can’t make the leap. It would feel all wrong.

Something stronger than I keeps me on a daily schedule and I hope I have the mental and physical fortitude to continue. Another way for me does not seem possible.

7 comments:

  1. Lisa you have to do what feels right for you until you are ready to let go a little bit. Maybe cut your visits to a shorter time at first. It is hard for me because I live out of state and when I visit Dad he is still so angry with everybody. But as you say ten minutes after I leave he never even remembers that I was there. You should try to take one day to yourself and your husband maybe do something fun together to keep yourself occupied that one day. I am sure your Mom would not want to be a burden on your marriage. Andrea

    ReplyDelete
  2. Alzheimers robs us of so much. It is robbing you of your mother (as you always knew and loved). It is robbing you of freedom to not feel guilty. It is robbing you and your husband of a connective marriage. Alzheimers can be a very long process. Be careful that it does not rob you of your health and your marriage. Your Mother would be the first to not want that.

    I am with Andrea. If you must go, make the visit shorter each day or each week. Wean yourself away from the dependence of being at the nursing home.

    I so truly feel for you. I was able to leave my husband in the capable hands of the nursing staff. It gave me peace and rest that I had not had when I was caring for him at home.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Andrea, it is good advice to try to set aside a day for me and Dan. I feel like so much of our lives revolves around my mother's care. We need a special allotted time for ourselves.

    Latane, so sell stated. We are being robbed, all of us who are dealing with this dreaded disease.

    I'll think about making my visits shorter when the time feels right. That seems like a good plan of action. THANK YOU.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dearest, Perhaps when you do go to visit you mom you could have a good book that you read aloud, whether you stay 10 minutes or an hour you would have a story line to focus on that you might start relating a better experience when you go to see her. Even if she does not remember it 10 minutes later, reading is something you enjoy and it might create a positive experience on that lonely outpost. You have warning signs that are telling you it is not good for you and yet for now, you cannot resist. So perhaps you can change the experience of your visits. You are in my heart and prayers. Love you Lee.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you Carol. It will be ok. I am falling into a routine that is starting to feel familiar and work. I do bring a book...you know me...never without a book! xo

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just found your site. Your words resonant with me in so many ways.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow! I just read this entry & it's as if I could have written it. I visit almost daily, my therapist also said I can take a day off, but I, like you, feel devoted. Unfortunately, the nursing facility has their hands filled with me & not living up to my expectations. Thanks for sharing & nice to know others feel the same.

    ReplyDelete