My Blog

December 9, 2017

Elderly Mothers and the Dailyness of Care.

“I’m sorry, I can’t come. I have to take care of my mother.”

I’ve heard this from others on occasion and I scoffed. Certainly they could find a way to attend the meeting or the party or the festival. Surely someone could have taken care of the elderly parent. Or somehow they could have left the loved one in bed asleep. Now I know better.

The WitchDoctor is gone and it is Friday evening. Now I see how true it is that “I can’t come.”  My usual meeting for Margaritas at #LosPericos with my fellow historians is no longer an option. I just put Mom to bed but the odds are pretty good that she is going to pull herself up and try to get onto the bedside commode. She hasn’t fallen out of it—yet. Actually going to bed at 8 pm felt pretty good for me too.

Saturday. I’m on my own. The WD left us with all sorts of potions, pills, salves and tinctures. Thanks to Blessed Veronica, I have a list of activities and a proper routine that Mom is used to. By giving Mom a Tylenol as soon as she got up, along with the handful of other pills, she seems not to be bothered by the soaking of her feet and salve on the sores. Scary to see the black scab shrinking and getting ready to fall off. At least there is pink skin underneath, deep but there. The Witchdoctor said that was a good thing.

And the oxygen is helping with her understanding. At least when I say, “Stand up” she is doing it as best as she is able. At night, when she is off oxygen, she doesn’t understand what I am asking her to do. That is when she gets stubborn. This morning, the oxygen is making the effort to move her to the commode at least feasible.

I have turned the TV on for her, but I haven’t turned the volume up to 100% which she claims to hear. I think perhaps the fact that she can see the images on the TV makes a difference even if she can’t hear what they are saying. The dementia prevents her from understanding anyway.

I keep hearing these ads on TV about doctors touting that they are finding ways to cure mental diseases. I wish I knew more about how doctors and chemists and Big Pharma come up with all these pills. Does throwing more money at it really help? Can they carry out more tests or hire more chemists? Is Dementia and Alzheimer’s really curable or is it a genetic disease that we are born with?

Every time I forget something, or leave my cell phone where I can’t find it, or leave my keys in the car, I am terrified that I am getting dementia. To face the possibility that I, too, have what my mother has, is frightening. The WD has left us some pills that are for Memory. I may just sneak some and see if they help.

So many of my friends are faced with far worse problems. The loss of a beloved husband. The diagnosis of macular degeneration. The lump in the throat that turns out to be cancerous. The surgery that doesn’t go well. The surprise of a heart attack. How do we face all these problems? By facing each day, one day at a time, and with the help of friends who love us.

It is so important for all of us to help each other. Everyone says “Please tell me if I can do anything for you.” Of course, there is nothing we can really do. Church ladies always overwhelm the bereaved and their families with food. But perhaps the best the rest of us can do is to just remember our friends. Call or visit or just pray for each other. Love is the best help we can give. So, remember, all my beloved friends, that I am sending my love even if I haven’t called or come by. I am thinking of you.

Time to get Mom up for the next commode episode. But at least it’s not 4 am!

About Caroline Castillo Crimm
Retired Professor Emeritus from Sam Houston State University, interested in writing novels and speaking about topics such as the history of Latin American. Would like to share the AMAZING world of the 18th century in Northern New Spain, that's Spanish Texas and Mexico!
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