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Mum and Me

Claire250

Registered User
Sep 25, 2021
20
0
Mum and I have lived together all my life. She had a couple of medical problems in her younger years, has always been an anxious person and went through a period of having panic attacks in her sixties which recurred every now and through her seventies and eighties. As she has aged I naturally started doing more for her, just little things at first like getting her prescription and helping her with her eyedrops.

We were always good friends as well as mum and daughter, but a combination of health issues and lockdown has brought about a pretty rapid decline in her physically and mentally in the last 18 months and even more so since June. Sometimes I don't even know how to talk to her for fear of saying the wrong thing.

She's been hospitalised three times since May last year with hyponatremia (low sodium levels) and her last discharge summary noted memory problems. The hospital social worker referred to her as having dementia though she has not been diagnosed. We are currently waiting for an assessment with the memory clinic.

Mentally she is up and down, this week she has asked a few times why she can't just die. She's often confused and refers to the other people in the house (it's only the two of us here - and the cat!). Sometimes she talks to me about "Claire " and she seems to think there are two of us both called Claire who look after her. (I wish there was!)

I work full time still, currently at home in the morning and the office in the afternoon. I got Mum a place in a day centre for the first time last week and hoping to make it regular twice a week thing with another care agency providing a sitting service for a couple of hours another day.

We've always been a slightly fractured family. My siblings were born within four years of eachother and I came along seven years later. Though my relationship with my brother and eldest sister was always OK, my middle sister and I just wind eachother up. However I feel all three of them have given minimal support and the first time I asked for help a few months ago so I could go to the office and not leave Mum alone after being in hospital my sisters said no, one because because she was on a review at work, the other because she was having her floorboards sanded. My brother had his own health issues at time but since has been able to resume going out with his friends to the pub and seaside but not yet up to coming to see Mum. Most of the communication is via a WhatsApp group. If they ask how I am all they really want to hear is "I'm fine" on the couple of occasions I've been honest about how I'm feeling its been met with a wall of silence. They used the reason a text back didn't seem adequate but they didn't call or offer assistance either. Now if they phone and I'm here I just hand the phone straight to Mum. My middle sister has sat with Mum on a couple of afternoons in the last two months but only because I have asked so I could meet a friend who is going through a similar thing with her dad. We are so grateful for eachother as we know exactly what the other is going through.

I'm not saying it's all them. I'm aware I'm not the easiest person to help as I'm so used to being independent. I think I'm more shocked/sad that they haven't wanted to do more for Mum when she was always there for them. They say they "wish" they could help more. But don't.

Life just feels like one long slog with the inevitable slide in Mum always looming. Monday to Friday juggling work with caring. The weekend is the supermarket then housework. Whenever I'm away from her it's in the back of my mind she might fall and hurt herself. I feel I am in a constant cycle of grief. I get angry, resentful then overwhelmingly sad and cry far too easily, then I'll feel fairly serene before it all starts again.

It's not as if my situation is even that bad. When I read what other people are going through it's far worse than what I have to bear. That does help me pull myself up I must admit.

Thanks for listening/reading.

Claire
 

kindred

Registered User
Apr 8, 2018
2,750
0
Mum and I have lived together all my life. She had a couple of medical problems in her younger years, has always been an anxious person and went through a period of having panic attacks in her sixties which recurred every now and through her seventies and eighties. As she has aged I naturally started doing more for her, just little things at first like getting her prescription and helping her with her eyedrops.

We were always good friends as well as mum and daughter, but a combination of health issues and lockdown has brought about a pretty rapid decline in her physically and mentally in the last 18 months and even more so since June. Sometimes I don't even know how to talk to her for fear of saying the wrong thing.

She's been hospitalised three times since May last year with hyponatremia (low sodium levels) and her last discharge summary noted memory problems. The hospital social worker referred to her as having dementia though she has not been diagnosed. We are currently waiting for an assessment with the memory clinic.

Mentally she is up and down, this week she has asked a few times why she can't just die. She's often confused and refers to the other people in the house (it's only the two of us here - and the cat!). Sometimes she talks to me about "Claire " and she seems to think there are two of us both called Claire who look after her. (I wish there was!)

I work full time still, currently at home in the morning and the office in the afternoon. I got Mum a place in a day centre for the first time last week and hoping to make it regular twice a week thing with another care agency providing a sitting service for a couple of hours another day.

We've always been a slightly fractured family. My siblings were born within four years of eachother and I came along seven years later. Though my relationship with my brother and eldest sister was always OK, my middle sister and I just wind eachother up. However I feel all three of them have given minimal support and the first time I asked for help a few months ago so I could go to the office and not leave Mum alone after being in hospital my sisters said no, one because because she was on a review at work, the other because she was having her floorboards sanded. My brother had his own health issues at time but since has been able to resume going out with his friends to the pub and seaside but not yet up to coming to see Mum. Most of the communication is via a WhatsApp group. If they ask how I am all they really want to hear is "I'm fine" on the couple of occasions I've been honest about how I'm feeling its been met with a wall of silence. They used the reason a text back didn't seem adequate but they didn't call or offer assistance either. Now if they phone and I'm here I just hand the phone straight to Mum. My middle sister has sat with Mum on a couple of afternoons in the last two months but only because I have asked so I could meet a friend who is going through a similar thing with her dad. We are so grateful for eachother as we know exactly what the other is going through.

I'm not saying it's all them. I'm aware I'm not the easiest person to help as I'm so used to being independent. I think I'm more shocked/sad that they haven't wanted to do more for Mum when she was always there for them. They say they "wish" they could help more. But don't.

Life just feels like one long slog with the inevitable slide in Mum always looming. Monday to Friday juggling work with caring. The weekend is the supermarket then housework. Whenever I'm away from her it's in the back of my mind she might fall and hurt herself. I feel I am in a constant cycle of grief. I get angry, resentful then overwhelmingly sad and cry far too easily, then I'll feel fairly serene before it all starts again.

It's not as if my situation is even that bad. When I read what other people are going through it's far worse than what I have to bear. That does help me pull myself up I must admit.

Thanks for listening/reading.

Claire
Welcome, Claire, you sound such a loyal, committed and loving daughter, and very organised. But you are becoming overwhelmed.
Is there any way we can help you?
Warmest, Kindredx
 

Jessy82

Registered User
Mar 15, 2021
66
0
Hi Claire, I know exactly how you feel as I'm going through the same, only I have no siblings. I work too when mum is at daycare twice a week and a sitting service. My son helps out a couple of hours a week when I go zumba.

I feel 90% of the time I am the model daughter, everyone says what a credit I am to mum and that I have the patience of a saint. Mum is always turned out immaculate clean clothes, hair done and nails, while I'm walking round like a tramp, living out if a suitcase in mums spare bedroom, everything I own in carrier bags.

10% of the time which people don't see , including mum I'm a raving lunatic, sobbing uncontrollably, punching the pillows. It takes its toll, gp has arranged counselling for me, been twice, but seems a was5 of time and is cutting in to my work days. I'm also waiting on bloods results as I'm physically and mentally exhausted and ache from head to toe, literally. Sorry not to offer much help, but just to let you know you're not alone, keep strong
 

Claire250

Registered User
Sep 25, 2021
20
0
Hi @kindred and @Jessy82 - thanks so much for your replies. I think just writing it all down helped this afternoon. It took ages as I kept editing it!

Not having a definite diagnosis for Mum makes it difficult because there is still a part of me thinking maybe it's her sodium levels, but I think deep down I know it's dementia.

She was suddenly more like her former self this afternoon and asking how ahe could help/how I was. She asked if I thought I'm menopausal - I said I know I am 😄. Then by this evening she was all muddled again.

I think I will try some counselling and see if it helps, though I wonder if I'll feel as you do @Jessy82, that it's a waste of time. You're obviously taking wonderful care of your Mum, but don't forget yourself. It's hard though, isn't it, because you run out of time in the day and just feel too tired to bother.

Thanks again for your replies and I'm here too for you or anyone else who needs to talk. It's a huge help to know there are people out there who really understand.
 

CAL Y

Registered User
Jul 17, 2021
71
0
@Claire250 . Oh how I empathise with you.
Lack of family support seems to be the perennial problem.
Having the same myself at the moment.
My husbands children have hardly been near in months but now he has terminal cancer they now want to call the shots as far as visiting goes with no concern for his weakened state and knowing nothing about host mode, I am being accused of preventing them visiting and the reason they havent seen him much is my fault because I didn’t ask them to come.
WHAT ??
They are even saying they will contact his doctor to try to get their own way.
Time they Bloody Well grew up.
 

Claire250

Registered User
Sep 25, 2021
20
0
Oh my goodness @CAL Y, as if things weren't difficult enough you just don't need that sort of pressure. It's a hard, emotional time for everyone but I hope they realise you're best placed to judge what your husband can manage.
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
381
0
Hi @Claire250, if you haven't sorted out power of attorney already it would be wise to do it ASAP. You do not need a solicitor but will need someone who knows your mum to agree to sign that she is able to make the decision to do this ( maybe on a good day). All the information is on the government website : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/make-a-lasting-power-of-attorney
If you feel unsure about filling it in yourself Age Concern were very helpful with my family.
If you are doing all the work you certainly need to be one of the attorneys. You can have actual attorneys and back up ones if someone dies or becomes unable to act on your mums behalf.
 

Claire250

Registered User
Sep 25, 2021
20
0
Hi @Claire250, if you haven't sorted out power of attorney already it would be wise to do it ASAP. You do not need a solicitor but will need someone who knows your mum to agree to sign that she is able to make the decision to do this ( maybe on a good day). All the information is on the
If you feel unsure about filling it in yourself Age Concern were very helpful with my family.
If you are doing all the work you certainly need to be one of the attorneys. You can have actual attorneys and back up ones if someone dies or becomes unable to act
Thanks @silkiest, we are part way through it. I work at a solicitors so a colleague is taking care of it, but when we came to do the signing Mum appeared to change her instructions saying she only wanted me and my eldest sister on the health and welfare form so we had to postpone. We have agreed it will be better for our GP to be the certificate provider as they won't take so long going through the forms. Just waiting for an appointment from the doctor to try again!
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
381
0
Hi @Claire250, Gp's don't usually certify POA or passport forms nowadays, certainly not at a routine appointment. I would ring and double check first
 

Claire250

Registered User
Sep 25, 2021
20
0
Thank you, but it's all been arranged and explained in the letter from my solicitor to the doctor. It's not a routine appointment but a home visit that has been organised and a fee paid.
 

Claire250

Registered User
Sep 25, 2021
20
0
I'm at a bit of a loss with the doctors at the moment. I mentioned in my original post that Mum's problems really seemed to start with episodes of hyponatremia. I have had to really insist on regular blood tests to check her sodium levels and the last set of results revealed sodium and potassium have dropped. Her sodium is currently 126. During her last hospital stay the endocrinologist said a level of 125 or above is acceptable for Mum
so currently neither the GP or doctor at the frailty clinic want to do anything other than tell her to not get dehydrated.

The frailty clinic doctor said even if her level falls to under 125 they might not treat it because they "treat the person not the number" but I've said her symptoms she exhibited durung the other episodes are all getting worse - mobility issues, confusion, agitation all increasing noticeably in the last few weeks but it just seems to fall on deaf ears.

All the frailty doctor is interested in is getting her to take alendronic acid. He said to me she is not at palliative care stage yet.

This morning she was so confused saying there had been a hurricane last night. Then after breakfast she started crying and calling out to "God" to help her and let her die.

I feel completely cut adrift by the NHS. It's like they don't know what to do with her.