Am I Being Selfish?

I wish I could say things have gotten better since my last post, but…they haven’t.

It looks like whatever affected my mother when we all got sick last month has in fact started another decline in her condition. She can no longer stand or walk on her own and even getting her to eat has been a challenge. She doesn’t really have the energy to bite into anything, but we seem to have been able to figure out what we can spoon feed to her, and she can still chew at the moment. I’m planning on getting a food processor the next time I go to the store so I can start making puréed food (that way it’s easier to feed her and I can also feed her a wider variety of food as well). I’ve been looking online for recipes that will work well as purées, but the process is ongoing.

My dad’s been in the process of looking for a hospital bed that she can lie in, but will also make it easier for us to change and clean her. She’s been dealing with a pretty nasty sore that arose from a diaper rash, and although we’ve found an ointment that is supposed to help create a barrier to allow it to heal, the constant sitting as well as my dad’s work schedule has made it hard for us to change her as often as we need to in order for it to heal properly. If I had had any say in this, this (keeping her at home) is probably not the option I would have chosen for her, but my dad usually handles the decisions and the pocketbook, so I don’t really feel I have a right to say anything in all of this.

As for my post title…this situation has made me think…a lot. Realizing that she may now be in the late stages of Alzheimer’s and that my time with her won’t be for much longer (she’s not imminently close to death or anything like that, but I’m talking about relative to where I am in my lifetime) has been a lot to process. I’ll be frank, this whole experience sucks. It royally sucks. I would never wish this on my worst enemy. It’s been a rough month trying to come to terms with this, and there have been times where I’ve felt the depression and the fear of the unknown creeping up on me. Things that I cared about, felt passionate about just seem to feel moot and that nothing matters anymore. I try so hard to just get through the days, and there are days when I just feel spent.

On top of that, I’m also dealing with the feeling that I’m low on the family totem pole and I don’t feel like I’m being listened to. I’ve always hated that feeling, whether it was at school and being the geeky shy girl that hardly anyone noticed (or having the ones who did point out everything they thought was wrong with me), or trying my absolute hardest to babysit a child and having it turn into complete bedlam. Sometimes I feel like the universe is punishing me for not making normal life choices. Sometimes I think the universe is laughing at me for having failed at almost every venture I’ve tried to take. Is this what Charles Schulz was feeling before he finally created Peanuts? Sometimes I wonder what my dad would have done regarding my mom if I had moved out in my 20s and started my life as an independent woman. Is the universe punishing me for being single and still living with my parents? Why do I always feel like I’m getting everything wrong?

One of the biggest sacrifices I’ve made during this whole experience is that I’ve basically given up any sort of a social life. I don’t go out, most of my friends that I’ve known for years all live away from me and have their own lives and families anyway, and the dating pool in my hometown seems so limited anyway that it just isn’t really worth it right now to go out and meet men even if I wasn’t so caught up in caring for my mother. I have no physical support system, at least not the one I’m looking for. Yes, my dad is here, but as long as my mom needs us for her care I’m always gonna be second on his list of priorities. My brother has his own family and his own issues to worry about, I don’t want to burden him. As I’ve said, my friends have their own lives to worry about.

Being single in this kind of situation sucks. Is it selfish of me to want some sort of support system (friend, significant other, I don’t really care…) who’d put me first? The closest I have to this is my online community, the bloggers and people I’ve connected with over social media, but they can only do so much. A DM isn’t a hug, a comment isn’t a pat on the shoulder. The encouraging words do help at times, and I’m very appreciative of that. We’ve gone it alone for so long, I’ve gone it alone for so long…it’s been so hard for me to invite others in. I’m still not sure if I do. Writing has been my therapy thus far, and so far it’s the only thing that’s really worked for me. It may be what gets me through this more than anything else.

I hate this entire situation, just absolutely hate it. My mother did nothing wrong other than get dealt one of the worst hands in the genetic card game of life before she was even an embryo. Why should a woman like her have to waste away like this? She was the best mother a girl like me could have…now she can’t even remember my name or ever having given birth to me. I don’t believe in God, so I have nothing to be angry at other than nature itself. Why is nature so cruel sometimes? Why does it deal shitty hands to people like my mother (and her father and her aunt before her), yet allow the cruelest of the cruel to thrive and revel in their cruelness? Nobody is perfect, but my mother was pretty damn close. She was my rock and my shoulder to cry on for so much of my youth. She was the gentle heart to soothe my pain at some of my worst moments. It hurts me so badly to see her like this. She did nothing to deserve the fate she faces. And I’m the one who’s feeling all the pain now.

I seriously hope none of you ever have to go through what I’m facing right now. I wish we lived in a world where seeing loved ones fall to dementia has become a distant memory.

5 thoughts on “Am I Being Selfish?

  1. I’m sorry about all of this. Not one part of it is good except that you are caring for your mother. That is a huge personal sacrifice. It is by far the kindest thing a person can do- care for someone who can’t care for themself. But you need help. You need respite so that you are mentally and physically able to deal with the every day stuff. Your mother’s doctor or insurance company should be able to tell you what services are available to your family. At a minimum there should be a nurse who can come and check on your mother’s health once or twice a week but there should also be a home health aide who can help with daily care. Any help you can get should be accepted. It will free you to deal with your mental well-being. Without you this whole thing will fall apart.
    Please use your blog to vent as much as you need to. The things you are saying are universal to anyone who has been the caregiver to a spouse or parent. It’s hard and mostly thankless work. I’ll keep you all in my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My dad’s plan is to get a hospital bed set up for her, and then he’s gonna call his co-worker’s wife (who works in hospice care) to help us get set up with any services (including doctors and nurses) my mother will need. Since I posted, he’s ordered the bed and other necessary equipment, but it will be about a week before everything will be delivered and ready. It’s not necessarily the decision I would have made if I had a husband in the same or similar situation (given I don’t have a lot of the same physical abilities that my dad does), but I can understand his reasoning.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My mother kept my father at home when he had dementia. It got really hard when he was less able to get around. My husband and I took on a lot of the physical needs along with the visiting nurse and the home health aid. It really takes a village to care for someone. I’m sure your father wants to do what is best for your mother but he loves her so much that he just wants to take care of her and protect her. That is how my mother was even when caring for my father became way too difficulty for her.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s nothing selfish about wanting to be happy and build your own life. If anything, you are not selfish enough. In fact, I believe that healthy selfishness is necessary, and it’s something I’m only now learning in therapy at the ripe old age of 40.
    You are in a very difficult situation and you shouldn’t be in it. You need respite and support. I know how hard – mentally, emotionally and physically – it is to take care of someone with Alzheimer’s and it simply cannot be done on your own without negative consequences. Please talk to your father, I know he cares for your mother, but YOU are important too, especially that you are young and should get a chance to create your own life.
    Sending you many warm thoughts and I’m sorry I can only do so much.

    Liked by 1 person

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