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No doubt about it, for lots of reasons the stress is beginning to show. Once again it is midnight, and I have only been home a little while. It was a very busy day again, and I am exhausted. I feel abandoned in a way, trying to face something that is far too overwhelming. There are others around me, but they are in the distance. I am the one who deals with the everyday drudgery of hospital business. Bringing gowns, air freshener, robes, bedroom shoes, and all the personal items a human being needs to survive away from home. I slept late today, though I was plagued with reflux from eating too late last night.

Still, I woke up exhausted. I feel guilty no matter how much I do, or how much I’m there for her. My house is falling down around me. Clothes are not getting folded, as I pass through the swinging doors of what used to be home. I simply grab towels from the laundry basket, and socks from my suitcase that never got unpacked from Rob’s recent business trip. I trip over things trying to check my email. Home is a place where I sleep, bathe, and dress. That’s all it is anymore.

Once Rob’s fever went away, he resumed his workaholic schedule, and after he helped me get Betty squared away in the hospital, I’ve seen very little of him. He went to the mission today to talk with some of the guys that were at the Barn ministry where we sang, and he gave his testimony last week. (All I could think was how much more I needed him than they did. Selfish I know, but I feel totally overwhelmed.)

I did two things today that helped me keep my sanity. It threw my whole schedule off, and I was behind the rest of the day, but I really didn’t care. One was I actually went into a Taco Bell and sat down quietly, and ate. (I cannot remember the last time that I sat down to eat.) The second thing I did was walk around a TJ Maxx for a few minutes. I had this desire to do somethinganything that seemed, well…remotely normal. But even in there I was purchasing hospital related items-another suitcase to roll her clean clothes, dirty clothes, and belongings back and forth, and a warm, soft throw blanket for her to use in the nursing home because she is often very cold.

Earlier in the day I had stopped by my indoor flea market and collectibles booth, which I had not visited since last Monday, to vacuum the rug, and spruce things up a bit. Lots of people come through, and things get really out of place in a week’s time. I shared war stories with another lady about the care of our moms. She said that something I had said to her on Monday helped her get through the week, and she gave me a hug. I told her what had happened to my mom-the broken right foot, and the broken left leg.

After the flea market, Taco Bell, and TJ Maxx, I headed to my mom’s house to get all the things on the list-gowns, glasses, robes, wallet with Medicare card, in case she is transferred tomorrow, and other miscellaneous items. By then it was almost 8:15, and I called to see if I could bring her anything to eat, as she complains daily about the horrible food. I suggested a pimento cheese sandwich from her house and some chips, as I had just purchased some grocery items on Thursday.

I secured the house, went through the mail, and wrote my brother a note. Before she fell, he had been eating lunch or supper with her daily, because he works nearby. However, I have noticed that he always left his dishes in the sink. Knowing that she would not be there to clean them, I asked if he would help keep the house in some kind of order, by washing his dishes daily, emptying the trash, and cleaning the bathroom he uses.  I reminded him that even when she does come home, she will not be able to do household chores for some time.

When I finally arrived at the hospital, my mom and I ate a sandwich together, and talked with the night nurse. She was a very young girl, born in Illinois, but with a Southern accent. Shortly after that my mom and I had a fight.

Yes, an argument. It was about her going to the bathroom. She was determined to go to her beside chair without assistance. Whenever I am around, she wants me to do the things that the nurses should be supervising. I was begging her to wait before getting up until I could get a nurse, but she said that she had been shown how to “shuffle” in her walker, and before I knew it, she was out of that bed, and I was helping her into the bathroom chair. Then she wanted me to have the honor of cleaning her up, and I was afraid it was going to be more than I could handle, between the mess, and her trying to stand up. I said, “Let me get some help.” She insisted, “We can do it.” But this time, I insisted on going for help. I wanted to be sure that she was supposed to be getting up without someone watching her. The night nurse came back, and took care of the cleaning (wearing gloves-something I did not have) and armed with wet wipes. My mom began to criticize me in front of the nurse for not wanting to stay in the room while she was on the chair. She just went on and on, and I began to get angry. (Believe me, I have dealt with her accidents before-in the car, and twice in a restaurant.) She has Crohn’s disease, and also at one point could not tolerate Aricept (and it caused stomach problems.) I have cleaned up after her several times, but I didn’t feel that I should have to while she was in the hospital, and I was exhausted as well. When she kept on, (after the nurse left the room), I said, “You expect a lot of me.” Of course, she said she didn’t. She seemed to simmer down after that, and we made our peace. 

The stress of my life is beginning to show. I felt like I was going to have a breakdown on the way home. How much more can happen? While I was there, after the nurse helped her back in the bed, Betty was way at the end, and couldn’t scoot up, so the nurse more or less made me help her grab the pads under Betty, and we pulled hard to get her to the right position in the bed. There went my back, and shoulder again. I was almost in tears from doing that. She was very heavy. I can’t keep doing this. I will end up with worse problems than I already have-(a torn rotator cuff, and 2 bulging discs in my neck.)

I drug the suitcase and dirty clothes in, and ran to the shower. It’s almost like I think if the water is hot enough, it can wash away my horrible life. (But our water’s not that hot.)

Well, tomorrow she may be transferred. Who knows where, or what awaits us next. Every day will be the same for me…endless fatigue, no doubt. Broken bones take a long time to mend. The nurse did tell her to let them supervise her getting up, to go to the bedside potty chair, and said especially when she had just taken pain medication. (She is so stubborn that she may end up breaking something else.) I cannot make her understand.

They had taken the bandage off of her gashed hand once again (in a hospital famous for staph (MRSA). I put Neosporin on it, and bandaged it once again. (They take it off when bathing her apparently, and never replace it.) It does seem to be healing pretty well, but an open sore is very dangerous in that hospital environment.

This was Father’s Day, but I never once saw Rob. We will celebrate when times are better, I guess. And so it goes…

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  1. I hope your mother will be fine. Good will and attitude can help you stay un-stressed.

    my mother had a similar accident few years ago, but it was even worse. Hard to talk about it.


  2. lONNIE, I am so so very sorry to read of all the stress in your life. It must be so very difficult . I will be praying for you . Please take care of YOURSELF. Sending great big hugs your way,

  3. ((((((((((((((((Sandy))))))))))))))))))
    It’s so good to hear from you. I’ve been thinking of you also, and just never had a chance to drop you a line. I know this is a sad and stresful time for you too.
    Yes, it is really, really hard. I had chest pains today, and just couldn’t go another step. It turned out well though, as I let my husband get her checked into the nursing home. They didn’t take her over there until 7:00 p.m.-so he was only with her from about 7:00-9:00 tonight. If I had to collapse one day, this was a good one to do it. Thank you for thinking of me, and know that my thoughts are with you also! Love, Lonnette (Lonnie)

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