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That’s what my heart feels like. Have you ever seen a windshield when it’s been hit by a rock, and the glass shatters (but still holds together), forming the look of a spider web? That’s exactly how I feel. I’m shattered without a doubt, but still holding together. How, I’m not sure–other than by God’s grace. So much stress from Chelsea and my mom’s situation. My heart hurts, and I’m scared for my present physical condition. My blood sugars are always around 200 (normal is 120) and I know I’m a breath away from having to go on insulin shots. My blood pressure is up–my physical body is quite naturally reflecting my emotional life. I keep thinking something will let up somewhere, but instead it just keeps getting worse.

A quick update on the situation with my daughter, and then I’ll write another post soon on my mom.

The two issues that hurt me most–Chelsea inviting her mom to move in with her, and Chelsea going away to England to spend the holidays with her, are still very hurtful, and still issues. However, it turns out that Chelsea neglected to tell us that her mother has not even been here yet. It seems that something was wrong with her visa, and though she made it to Atlanta, from there they sent her back to England. She then called and invited Chelsea to spend the whole month of December (her birthday and Christmas) in England (paid for by Chelsea’s grandmother.)

As I wrote to Chelsea, it wasn’t even the going to England for the holidays that was so hurtful, but finding it plastered all over her MySpace without even letting us know first. (That still hurts.) Also, inviting her mom to move in with her will always be over the top to me, given our close proximity, and just the awkwardness of the whole situation. I was stupid enough to think that Chelsea might have some regard for our feelings, and a little consideration. I was wrong.  It could have (and should have) been handled differently.

So we are at a standstill presently. Rob is having lunch with her tomorrow, and I am staying out of it. I really mean it when I say, that my health cannot take anymore. We have exchanged somewhat heated letters, though she always professes her undying love to me. But I am so over it all–so ready to take a break from all the unnecessary drama that surrounds Chelsea’s life at every level. It has been this way forever.

So as it stands now, since her mom can’t get into the country at the moment, to come and live with her, Chelsea will be spending the month of December in England. Apparently, one of her part-time jobs is closing the business for the whole month, and that makes it even more convenient for Chelsea to go (though I am sure that she would have quit her job anyway, without a backward glance) in order to go to England. So, that’s that. And it’s okay with me. Really.

After this Christmas, I told her I really don’t care WHERE she spends her Christmases, as once my mom is no longer alive (though I hope she’s alive a long time) I probably will no longer have this family-gathering type of Christmas that we have had for years. It is exhausting, but it means a lot to my mom–the biggest kid of all. It also meant a lot to Chelsea. So every year, I knocked myself out, trying to make it nice for everyone. But when my mom’s gone, I just want a peaceful Christmas…whatever that might be…

Seems like all life’s about lately is having to say good-bye in one way or another…

Please see other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

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There is so much that I am not at liberty to say, until the family has discussed it, and made decisions, but I can tell you that the overwhelming sadness of this situation has almost killed me. The pain in my heart is never-ending, as is the sorrow in my soul.

This seems almost worse than death. I know you can’t understand that, unless you have walked in my shoes. But my mom doesn’t take things easily–she is a fighter, and lately she sees everyone as the enemy. She hates the nursing home, she gets angry with the staff, and she is very, very frustrated.

Honestly, I feel that all in all, the staff has been amazingly caring and compassionate with her. This was something that surprised me greatly, because I had heard the horror stories that we all hear abount nursing facilities. Of course, there are some that are not our favorites, but most are kind, compassionate, and competent. Most likely, she would not have received as much quality care in another place. But you could never convince her of this. She is angry, and has told me that she sees all of them as “the enemy.” I wonder if I will also fall into that category as days go by. I hope not. I have been there for her steadily. (At least every other day, and often every day.) My house, my health, and my relationships have all taken a beating because of it. But I have to be there for her, and I want to.

I have cried a river lately, over some of the news that I have received about her, and some days life just seems too difficult to bear. I have been nauseated, sleepless, and grief stricken. I am barely functioning. Tonight I stayed home and cleaned my kirchen. (Just my kitchen.) I can’t seem to focus on anything, or get anything done. I guess it’s depression because I can’t fix this situation, and I can’t change it for her. I am sure that she will think I can, and somehow hold me responsible for the outcome. But it is out of my hands. I will elaborate on this further in another post.

I am 55, and feel 75, at least. There is so much stress in my life, and so little fun. I am having trouble believing anymore that tomorrow will be better. (Maybe I’m getting angry also.) But who do I get angry at? Fate? Life? God? The Devil? I do understand my mom’s anger, and I feel it also.

I am truly worried about my health. I am having chest pains, and the uncertainty of all this, means that there is very little resolution to the problems ever. It’s all up in the air, and we’re walking on eggshells with her. She is confused and demanding, but we don’t have control over this. When we try to explain anything to her lately, she cannot retain it for long. (That part is so very sad.)

I took her on a picnic yesterday, and she said, “Excuse me. I’ll be back in a moment.” She started to get up out of her wheelchair to go to the bathroom, because she thought she could. (She is not allowed to walk any distance to speak of right now, unless she is in therapy, and using her walker, with close supervision.) She simply did not comprehend that she couldn’t get up and walk to the bathroom. This is what makes her current situation so very dangerous. Sometimes she is stubborn about what she wants to do, but many times now it isn’t defiance–it’s a lack of comprehension.  She simply does not understand, or retain the instructions.  She totally forgets what she can or can’t do. There are mental and physical problems. The mental issues are clouding everything now, and I will elaborate on some of those later.

For now, I am not ever at peace. I don’t know how to deal with this, and no one around me seems to know either. We are meeting with social workers, therapists, directors, etc., trying to figure out what to do now.

Tony will need to be informed about her current physical and mental status, as I don’t think he has observed as much as I have lately, (because I have been called in on every crisis), or Betty has told me about them. (It seems like there is a crisis at least every other day now.)

I thought that raising Chelsea, with her stubborness and strong will, was the toughest thing that I have ever done, but this is tougher. To watch your mother decline in every way, day by day, is too much to bear. At least it is for me. I have fought so hard to keep her well and happy since my dad died, and to observe this constant deterioration is devastating. I am too close to it all–too close to her. I can’t seem to accept it, and part of that is because she can’t accept any of it. She makes it all even more difficult, because she fights and rages against everyone so hard. She wants to have her way, and she doesn’t want to be told what to do. (We all get frustrated with that, don’t we?)

When you are younger, you never think that there will be a day that you have to face this kind of pain. It may be part of life, but it is so tough to accept. When you feel so utterly helpless and often hopeless, it is a long journey…

Please read other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

Just when you think that it can’t get any stranger, it did. Yesterday they gave Betty breathing treatments and IV antibiotics for the pneumonia (Levaquin). She looked better when I saw her. As you know, she was admitted one night at midnight, stayed one full day and then last night.

This morning I woke up with an upset stomach-ran to the bathroom, and then got a message from Rob saying that my doctor in Panama City (who I will be seeing tomorrow) wanted me to run over to our local clinic and get a quick blood test, that could be faxed to her, so that she would have it when I go tomorrow.

So I headed out the door (feeling horrible, and with practically no sleep) to get that done. After getting the blood work done, I stopped by the grocery store, as everything here has gone by the wayside, with all the running to doctor’s offices, the ER, and the nursing home. Everything is falling down around me.

When I got home around 1:00 p.m., I called Betty to see how she was doing. Much to my shock, she said that she was being sent home. HOME, not back to the nursing home. I could not believe this. She had not even come near to finishing her rehab. The nursing home was holding her bed for her, and there was no question that she would return there to finish physical therapy. (Though last night when the nursing home was mentioned, she said, “I’m not going back there.”

She said she had been trying to reach all 3 of us-(Me, Rob, and Tony) but couldn’t get us. According to her all our phones were busy. I told her that I ran out this morning to the lab and grocery store, and forgot my phone. She said that she had been waiting since 9:30 a.m. to go home.  I told her I would come right there.

I called Rob, and we decided that we needed to make sure that her primary care physician, and the nursing home knew. Rob talked to the physical therapist at the nursing home, and she said that Betty was not near ready to go home yet, and that she would hurt herself badly putting full weight on the foot and leg, because she was slow to make progress with strengthening her upper body weight.

We put in a call to the nurse practitioner for her primary care doctor, but got no return call. Rob talked with the charge nurse on Betty’s floor, who said that the doctor- (Hospital Admitting Physician- who used to be Betty and Sam’s doctor for years,) had placed the order for her to go home. Rob asked to have that doctor call him, and he said that we were NOT taking her home, after what the physical therapist told us. We said that she needed to finish her physical therapy. (This was SO crazy-I can’t believe it!)

We ran over to her primary care physician’s office, and told his receptionist what was going on, and she said that since that doctor did not admit her, it was not up to him. I told her that she DID see her primary care doctor in the ER that night. (I’m not sure if he was working there that night, or why he showed up.) But Betty also saw the same doctor we saw on the night she first went to the ER, and he was the one that screwed up the diagnosis, and put the brace on the wrong leg, and sent her home.

So then we went rushing over to the hospital because the charge nurse said that the hospital doctor was going to come by and talk to Betty. We hoped to be there when he did. We waited and waited. I was so upset that I was having bad chest pains, and felt very weak physically and emotionally. Betty was still waiting on her bed all this time, not knowing that any of this was taking place. I knew that she would throw a fit if she didn’t get to go home, and my nervous system couldn’t take anymore. So I went to a nearby waiting area. Then the nurse told Rob that the hospital doctor (who signed the orders) would be calling him, instead of coming by.

He did, and Rob told him what the physical therapist said, and that she would be in horrible danger if she went home in her present condition, and that he was not taking her there. He told the doctor that I was sick and on the verge of collapse, and that we could not lift her if she fell, etc. (Tony was at home really sick with a horrible cold today. We had called to ask him if he was on board with us about her not coming home. We were ready to say that if he went and got her, then he would be responsible for what happened to her. But he agreed with us that she should not come home, until her therapy was finished.)

So the hospital doctor talked to Betty on the phone, and then he talked to Rob (in Betty’s presence.) He said that he was in agreement that she should go get the rest of her therapy, but that he could not force her to go back there. He said that if she was not incompetent, then she could still make decisions. He said that she had told him she did not want to go back to the nursing home.

Now let me stop right here and ask a question…She was admitted to the hospital primarily because she was having hallucinations, and also suspected pneumonia. Why do you ask a person in that condition if they want to go home? Of course, she would say yes. He did not handle this well at all.  I understand that she wants to go home, but she will not be safe at all right now. She was already in great peril before she broke her foot and leg, and now she is in MUCH greater danger.

The daughter of her roommate walked out to where I was and said, “Your mother is stubborn!” (This came as NO surprise to me. She is driving us all crazy!!!!!)

Rob told her that we loved her, but we did not want to get a call to come to her house, and find out she had hit her head or something worse. He said that he knew it might not seem like it right now, but we were wanting her to finish the therapy, because we all love her. He gave her hug.

She said that she would call Tony to come get her. (We had already talked to him, and he agreed with us.) Then she said Tony could move in with her. (That will just mean 2 more mouths to feed (him and Brandon, his son), and clothes to wash, and she still won’t have anyone there for the greater part of the day.) It is not the answer-though that is up to her. But it was not part of the equation today. 

The hospital doctor said to ask her what she would do if she fell (when he wasn’t there for his lunch break), and she said, “What if…what if…you could say that about anything…” She would NOT stop insisting on going home.

Some lady (I guess one of the social workers or a nurse) said that she should stay in the hospital tonight, and think about it. Rob came out to tell me what happened, and I was getting angry. She is killing me-she only thinks about herself and what she wants. She even said, “What good is it if I can’t do what I want?” (This is always her philosophy. It is ALWAYS about what she wants.)

As we were taking the elevator down, the charge nurse (I guess) said that the other lady finally convinced her to stay overnight at the hospital, and go for 10 more days of therapy.  (Only God knows if she’ll do it.)

I want to say again that I have had it. I cannot continue to handle her. If Rob hadn’t gotten off work today to go with me, I KNOW I would have had a nervous breakdown. I am very concerned about her, but she is stubborn, rebellious, and selfish. Enough is enough.

There is nothing I can do if she decides to go home. As long as she is deemed competent, she is allowed to make her own decisions. But this is not fair to me. I am sooooooo sick, and Rob told her that I couldn’t be at home with her now if she went, and that I needed a rest. She said that I was “about to go over the edge.” I guess she was referring to the words that Tony and I and (she and I) had. Well, if I am about to go over the edge, guess who pushed me? I’ve had it!!!!

I will be in Panama City tomorrow seeing my doctor. I am sure that I will have to go through heart tests now, if I mention chest pains, and I really wish I knew if I’m having panic attacks, or it is my heart. I have an irregular heartbeat (that is called benign) but with all this stress, I can feel it drop out a lot.  It is a scary feeling. Physically, I cannot do this any longer.

So at the moment, that is the story. What tomorrow will bring is anybody’s guess. I’ll keep you posted. We need your prayers…

Please see other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

Last night I had chest pains and was scared, but I realized that I had not slept, to speak of, more than 4-5 hours any night, in days. My nervous system is totally whacked, and I just can’t seem to sleep. Too much stress–every minute.  I did manage to finally fall asleep, and stayed in bed until the afternoon. When my mom is at home, I always leave my cell phone on every minute, but for the past week or so, I decided to try and get some much needed rest while she was in the nursing home, so I turned it off, and let Rob field the calls for awhile.

When I woke up in the afternoon, and headed to the bathroom upstairs, I heard my phone ring. It was in my purse, so I fished it out, and found it to be dead. I guess it gave its last hurrah when it rang. So I searched all over to find my charger, and charged it for awhile. When it finally charged, I turned it on, and heard some frightening messages:

I received news today, that my mom was found in her nursing home room last night, rambling around, and said that she was “making copies.” She told me later that she was hallucinating, and that she saw her roommate crouched in a corner under a bookcase, and that she (my mom) was calling out to her mama, who was doing flips across the floor. She also told me that she visited a Russian skating rink. But the primary thing was that she was loaded into the nursing home bus, and taken to Birmingham for some kind of medical research or testing.

All of this caused red flags at the nursing home (no kidding), as she was still not acting right at breakfast. They sent her to the hospital for a mental status check, thinking that she may have had a stroke. I received a call from a nurse at the nursing home, as well as a male nurse in the ER. He said that they saw no evidence of a stroke, but that she had pneumonia, and would likely be admitted. But they kept her there all day, and then returned her to the nursing home. They said that she answered every question correctly, except where she was. (She thought she was in Birmingham.)

I went to the nursing home this evening (when I got the messages), and found her very sick, and looking pale and horrible. She said that she had felt as close to death as possible through that whole scenario. (It was then that I questioned her about what she went through, and she told me the things cited above.) She seemed to be alert, but confused about what she had experienced. She said that she was aware that she was hallucinating.

She was very cold, so my husband and I went to eat, and to buy her some extra blankets. While I was in Walmart, I received a call from a male nurse who had been assigned to her at the nursing home for awhile. He said that he was very concerned (even though he was not her nurse right now) that they were taking her off the Oxycontin, and that they could not just “cold turkey” her like that. He said he feared that within a week, that could precipitate a heart attack, or open her up to all kinds of things. I totally agreed with him, and said that could not be done. (She has been on it for many, many years.) He advised that if I was her advocate, that I should demand that they give her the Oxycontin, and I said that I would, and I knew that she needed to stay on it. I told him that I had been told to call Debbie, the charge nurse, in the morning about the discontinuation.

He also told me that when he heard how she had been acting, that he could not believe it, and went to see for himself what her condition was. (She had always been alert and lucid when she was in his care.)

I told him that I had been her primary caregiver for 3 years, and that I had taken her to every doctor’s visit, and knew her mental status well. I said that she does experience some momentary confusion at times, but nothing long lasting, and had never hallucinated before, so this was TOTALLY out of character for her.

Between the two of us, we suspected that it all may have been caused by a sleeping pill that was given to her last night, along with her Oxycontin. I do not know for sure if that was the first time she received it, but a nurse I talked to there (also named Betty) said that it was prescribed PRN (as needed.)

I asked them to please take her off the sleeping pill, as the combination of that with the Oxycontin, and everything else she takes may have been too much. (But I was told that they discontinued her Oxycontin, and I told her nurse that within a couple of days, she would be hurting so badly that she could not function at all without it.) She has tried to come off of it before, but didn’t make it many days at all. She takes it for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, and Fibromyalgia (but mostly for the horrible pain of rheumatoid arthritis.)

I also discussed whether she could have been experiencing a low blood sugar episode, and they said that at supper her blood sugar was 200+, but no one checked it, when they found her roaming last night at midnight. They did say it was 95 before breakfast. That is low for my mom, as anything under a 100, and she starts dropping numbers very quickly. I guess it could have been a combination of her low blood sugar and the sleeping pill. I just don’t know for sure. She has experience some confusion lately, but never to this degree, and never long lasting.

While I was talking to the male nurse (from the nursing home), he said that the doctor there had decided to try again and have her admitted, because he was still worried about her mental status, and the pneumonia. I asked where she would be admitted, and said I would meet her in the ER.

So we all spent the night in the ER waiting for her to be admitted. She does still have a bedsore, and I worry, of course, about MRSA (staph) in that hospital. They did bandage it tonight. (For those who have not been following this, she broke her right foot, and her left leg, and was placed in a nursing home about a week and a half ago for rehab.)

She was totally exhausted, and I asked them to please give her a snack, as she always had a snack to get her through the night at home, so that she would not have low blood sugar. (I don’t think that they have been giving her one at night at the nursing home, and I told the nurse this evening that she really needed the snack to ensure that her blood sugar did not go low.)

My mom’s primary physician came in while we were in the ER. He also felt that the sleeping pill, combined with the Oxycontin, may have caused the mental episode. He questioned whether she had taken a higher dose of Oxycontin anytime lately, and she said no. (She has never abused it, and only takes what she is prescribed.) I know this because I get her medicine all the time, and we have to get a new prescription every 30 days, so I know that there is always just enough to get her through the month.

He also said that the pneumonia was not a “big pneumonia” and that he wasn’t sure that she had it, but he wanted to be cautious. (I am so thankful for that, as she has a really bad sounding cough.)

She was very upset that she had to wait there all day today, and again all night to be admitted. (I don’t blame her.)

But she is very, very angry in general right now, and I don’t really know how to deal with that anymore. I don’t know the answers to any of this, and since I’ve been having chest pains, and am near a nervous breakdown myself, I took this past week off  to try to rest, but I haven’t slept hardly any. The stress of this is unbearable every moment. It has really taken a toll on my health as well, both emotional and physical.

I must say that after my initial reaction to the phone calls (which was a momentary panic), a peace came over me that I have never felt before in a crisis, and has enveloped me ever since. I know that it is God holding me up, and strengthening me, because I have been a nervous wreck for a couple of weeks (because of the tension and stress in our family.)  So I am so thankful for His presence, as without Him, I could not go another step…

Please see other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

Some intense family problems have developed today, and I feel that I cannot take anymore. I made an appointment to see my counselor tomorrow, and I have to take a break. The stress of 3 years of this has been overwhelming, and I feel like I am on the verge of emotional and physical collapse. I will still write in my blog, but not precisely about this situation. I have had a really emotional, exhausting day, and have pretty much hit the wall. All prayers are greatly appreciated. Please check back if you are one of my daily readers, as I will be writing often–just not about this. I have had it, and my heart is totally broken…

Please see other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

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…

Please see other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

 

Sometimes the only way we can face our fears is to voice them. (That is not in keeping with some of my Charismatic Christian teaching.) However, for me it is truth. Sometimes a thing will torment me, until I can get it out, and down on paper. It’s almost like a deliverance of sorts. Once it’s given a voice, the fear of it diminishes. Of course, I do not recommend dwelling on fears, because that is when fear will consume you. It loves to be the focus of attention, and it will dance with all its might, given a chance. (But this is not about that.) This is a type of fear therapy. It’s almost as if it has more power if I try to repress it. By bringing it to the light, it is not a hidden monster, festering in the depths of my anxiety-ridden soul.

When my step-dad (since I was 7 years old) died about 3 years ago, it was so unexpected that it threw everything in my life out of sync. He had retired to take care of my mom, who had been close to death’s door, at least twice, in the not too distant past. He was always a rock– so solid, unshakable, dependable, and strong. He was 6’4″, and the biggest man that I had ever laid eyes on, at the time I met him. He wore a size 13 shoe.

We did not get along at first. It took a very long while for a friendship of sorts to emerge. It actually took until I was grown for us to realize that we’d been through so much together, that it would have to make us close. While we didn’t share philosophical discussions (because he just wasn’t that type), we did share a history-a past that meant we would  forever be a part of each others lives.  Sometimes the three of us would sit in their living room watching TV, and just out of the blue he would say, “Lonnette?” And I’d look his way, and then he’d say, “I love you.” I came to trust him–almost. (The truth is I don’t really trust anyone much.) But what I did trust, was the fact that he would always be there.

I have always called my mom “Betty”.  I guess it was because we lived with my grandparents in my early years, and everyone in the household called her “Betty”, and I can only assume that no one taught me to do differently. It seems odd, and it is one of things that I’ve never gotten an answer to. I often wonder if she wanted me to call her “mama.” As it turns out that was what I called my grandmother–that, and a “mammaw” kind of word. My grandad was “pawpaw.” And my male cousin, Jack, who was 4 years older, also lived there because his mother had died. So everyone called her “Betty.”

At any rate, she is an insulin dependent diabetic, with a million other health concerns-rheumatoid arthritis, fybromyalgia, previous heart problems, etc. She is getting very feeble due to her conditions and the arthritis, and she sometimes gets off balance and falls. And her blood sugar also goes low unexpectedly. I have saved her from going into a coma numerous times since my dad died, and no matter how many times I’ve done it, it never ceases to be frightening, until she is herself again.

When my dad needed triple bypass surgery, we all assumed it would be like so many other things in his life-difficult, but doable. He had been through numerous back surgeries (as well as other kinds) throughout his lifetime, and though they were always unpleasant–he was always strong and resilient. As my regular readers know, he made it through the surgery fine, but he died from hospital acquired complications-pneumonia, staph, and serratia. (Not to mention general hospital negligence.) And though we were constant advocates for him, our voices were not heard. We felt helpless to fight a system that is patronizing and cold. I spoke up continually, always fighting the fear of alienating health-care workers that were vital to him. But no one would listen. We could see that he was deteriorating–dying. But they had him in physical therapy, and treated him like he was just another patient with a broken arm, or a knee surgery. But he was dying right before our eyes, and our screams of anguish were ignored until near the very end, when it was far too late to save him.

So that is background to what I need to say tonight. Ever since he died, as I said, my life has been out of sync. It’s as if someone took the carpet of my life, snatched it out from under me, shook it hard, but never put it back down. And now everything’s out of place. I don’t think I’ve ever breathed the same again, or had the same carefree moments I must have once had. It’s as if I’m climbing a mountain every day, and swimming an ocean at night. I do not rest. I never stop thinking. I never really relax. My nervous system has had an almost fatal blow, and to some degree has shorted out. I’m a mess. Mentally and physically. (But sometimes I hide it well.)

I thought initially that I would have to keep my mom alive. I thought that I was responsible for her happiness, for her health, and for everything in her life. I tried to be what I could not ever be–(Sam), (and also God.) But there was only one Sam, and surely only one God. And I was just Lonnette.

Counseling helped me through a great deal of that kind of thinking, and though I may still think that way occasionally, I understand that those perceptions are flawed. I fluctuate between hyper-vigilance, and trying not to care so much.

My daughter had provided all the drama that was needed, from the time we adopted her at 3, until she left our home at 18, and at the time of Sam’s death, I was already starring in “The Diary of A Mad Mother.” I thought my stress level had already peaked. (Boy was I wrong.)

So here I am. I’ve been given 5 weeks to lose 8 pounds, or go on the needle for my diabetes. My blood sugars have been too high for over a year now. (Maybe two.) My mom and my bio dad (Lonnie) both turned out to be Type 2 diabetics (mid-life) on the needle. So I am exercising, eating right, and praying, and nothing seems to be working. My body fights like a warrior to hold onto this extra weight, and of course, no one will believe that I am doing all I can. (However, my husband (who is an attorney) said that he will send a sworn affidavit with me to my next doctor’s appointment. 🙂

How do I feel about all this? Fearful. Lonely. I know what diabetes does to a person. I have watched it ravage my mom year after year. I also know what it’s like to go low. It is frightening, and many people don’t even get the warning signs (my mom doesn’t) and they die…alone. More than the needle–that’s what I’m afraid of. Going low all the time like my mom.

My husband has always been there for me whenever I’ve been sick. He has nursed me through many illnesses. But diabetes is different. It just is. Anyone close to you needs to really understand it, and I confess that for many years I did not know as much as I should. There has been a tendency for both of us to be in denial. My diabetes was not diagnosed in the usual way, and we were not convinced (for many years) that I even had it. (And I did not act like I did.) Now we cannot deny it anymore, and I just don’t know if he realizes how scary this is for me. I just don’t want my life to change forever, which is what I see happening, if I go on the needle. But if I don’t get the blood sugar under control, this hideous disease will do its dirty deeds, and life will also change forever that way. I am so willing to do whatever I need to do to avoid being on insulin, but nothing seems to work. I feel hopeless at times. I guess with all the other stress in my life, this has been the last straw.

So there, I’ve said it. Stress just adds to health complications. I have been under horrific stress for as long as I can remember, and I’m just weary. Just plain old weary. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. (Don’t know where that saying comes from.)

There is nowhere I can turn–except to God. I cry out to you Jesus…

Please read other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

Tuesday was a very rough day for me. I had a doctor’s appointment in a city about an hour away, and my husband went with me this time. (I was so glad that he was with me.) He originally thought he could see a client while I was at the doctor, but that didn’t end up happening.

I knew that it was not going to be a pleasant day. For the last several days that I have checked, my blood sugar has been 243-300 fasting, so I knew that wasn’t good. Also I have had several urinary tract infections in a row. (One was just treated with Cipro in December.) A few weeks ago, I started getting very bad side pains, unlike any pain I’ve ever had with a urinary tract infection. It lasted about a week or so, and then went away. Then unfortunately, it came back. Needless to say with blood sugar that high, and in pain, I was not feeling very well.

As many of you know, there has been a lot of stress in my life continually, for the last three years or so. My step-dad (since I was 7 years old) died almost 3 years ago in May, leaving me as the primary caregiver for my elderly, ill mom. And there were many problems with my teenage daughter before she moved out (after graduating from high school.) Lots of drama. My health has not been good for awhile, and there have been some major life stresses lately also. (Stress is terrible for diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol.)

When I went today, the tests showed that my A1C was 10.5, an all-time dangerous high for me. But for the last year, I have been having high A1Cs.  (Not that high though.) I had a lot of glucose spilling into the urine, and I also had a urinary tract infection. (More Cipro, and I’m disgusted and disappointed. Seems like I live on antibiotics lately. My doctor says the high blood sugars make my immune system weakened. That may be true, but I think there’s more to it. Seems like no one should have this many UTIs.)

You’re probably wondering why I’m not already on insulin. (I’ve been on oral diabetes meds for quite a long time–many years.) I fully understand the dangers of high blood sugars. My mom and biological dad were both insulin dependent diabetics. (My bio dad died just a little while before my step-dad.)  I also know what life is like going low unexpectedly, when you’re on insulin, and that frightens me also. We’ve had some very close calls with my mom, and usually when I was with her. I have saved her life several times. She doesn’t get the symptoms of low blood sugar in time to help herself. Then she begins to act confused and almost drunk, and I know she is going low quickly. I have to spring to action immediately. No matter how many times I go through it with her, it is always frightening until I pull her safely out of it. I spend a lot of time alone, so going low is definitely of concern for me. And trying to find the proper dosage, the shot factor, etc. I know I can learn to do it if I have to, but I sure don’t want to. (Indulge my rant, please.)

Anyway, the verdict is, I have one month to show a decent weight loss, to bring the sugars down considerably, and to exercise. I am not terribly overweight, (I wear a size 12-14, but I am short and every pound shows.)  They say that getting the weight off helps all of it–blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, etc. Losing weight has not been easy for me in recent years.  (Menopausal lady that I am.) I usually will drop a few pounds in the beginning, and then I get stuck. But my best diet is Sugar Busters, an earlier version of South Beach. Basically it’s protein, low carb, (whole grains only), vegetables, and some fruits. It’s a very healthy diet without white starch–like sugar (my favorite), rice, white potatoes, white bread, etc. (It’s no fun, but neither is the needle.) She (my doctor) wants me to lose 2 pounds a week (pray for me), by the time I come back, in a little over a month. It may sound easy to you, but I just don’t drop weight easily. However, if the needle doesn’t motivate me, I don’t know what will. Trust me–I’m motivated!!! Really, it’s not just the needle, as I know I can get over that. I already have to take my blood sugar several times a day. It’s the weight gain, the hypoglycemia, the domination of your life, etc. that goes with insulin. (I’m sure many of you are probably on it already.) You become a slave to it, and it changes your life forever. I can vouch for that, having taken care of my insulin dependent diabetic mom for quite awhile. But it keeps you alive, and I realize that when the oral meds no longer work, there is no other choice.  Diabetes is a devastating disease that can harm every organ in your body. I hate it!!! (Another rant!!!)

So we will see if I can get my act together, and start getting on my treadmill daily (first thing every day), and exercising to my aerobic workout videos. I went grocery shopping tonight, so I have the right foods in the house now. So…tomorrow’s the first day of the rest of my life, as they say.

But for now, I’ve got the blues…the lowdown-no good-diabetes blues…

Please view more articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

Today was another day spent with my mom. It started with me rushing out the door, without any makeup, barely dressed, to take her to yet another doctor’s appointment. For some reason I cannot get it together anymore. I had to call and say we would probably be 10 minutes late. Several times today I felt like I was losing it. After letting her out at the podiatrist, I called my husband. I had to just hear his voice to know that I would be okay. He did answer, and just hearing his voice stabilized me a little. Then I fixed my face, and went in to help her get back into her socks and shoes after having her toenails cut. She has had diabetes for many years, and her toenails are very tough, and need to be cut by a professional, as she really can’t get to them well anymore either.

So then I came back by my house to pick up a present for her next door neighbor-a beautiful Christmas basket I made for Ruth, who is 85 years old, and also lost her husband recently. I picked up a couple of checks to cash and headed out.

I had left my mom in the car to try and figure out what denominations of money she would need for us to withdraw from the bank to give to relatives for Christmas. I gave her the car manual to bear down on, to write. When I returned to the car, she was reading the manual, and had clearly never thought of working on the money situation. So I patiently sat and tried to figure what she needed. I had to show her umpteen (a girl word) million ways that her figure of $280.00 to withdraw was $100.00 short of what she actually need. She finally was convinced.

Then my mom said she needed her checkbook. My husband’s bookkeeper had it at the office, balancing it for her. So I ran by the office and picked it up. At that point, we both realized that it was 7 minutes until the bank closed. (We never once considered this before.) We went rushing to a nearby branch of her Credit Union, with my heart beating wildly, wondering if we would make it. We did, with only 4 minutes to spare. Then when she went to write her withdrawal check, she couldn’t write December. She kept saying, “I can’t make the ‘D’.” The bank teller was waiting, so I said I would write it, but she turned to another check, and finally wrote it. (So what the heck was that about?) There is clearly something going on with her mind. I practically threw the check at the bank teller, praying she would still wait on us after this long. Meanwhile, the girl at the next window, was closing her shade abruptly. We got the money and drove off.

Except I couldn’t breathe, and I had chest pains. Too much stress every minute-every thing we do. Two or three times today I felt them.

For the rest of the day, she absolutely drove me crazy. We went to eat at a restaurant that was well known in our town for being good, though neither of us had ever been to it. When she got out of the car, she could barely keep her balance. There is no way to explain to you what it is like to try to hold her up, and guide her, but she will not use her walker. She simply refuses. We finally got seated, and then she needed (understandably) to go to the restroom. (Another major procedure just to get there.) I finally got her seated again, and I commented on how beautifully the place was decorated for Christmas, with a fireplace and a fire, and a white mantel with crystal bowls with deep red ornaments in them. Lovely red tablecloths, and even a man softly playing piano. Finally, I could breathe. But she wasn’t happy. Not with her coffee, not with her food…She never tries to hide her displeasure, or smooth over it. She is simply blunt. It’s okay that she didn’t like the food, but surely she could have been a little pleasant about something. I said, “I’m sorry.” She said (sort of) that it wasn’t my fault, and admitted that she was grumpy. Well DUH…I knew that, but when isn’t she? (Answer: Very rarely.) By the time the meal was over, I was almost in tears. Nothing is ever right. I got her back to the car, and we headed for Kmart for a few things still needed for Christmas. That part went okay. When she can push a buggy, she is much more stable.  Then I took her through a subdivision near where she lived, that always has a lot of houses decorated for Christmas. She seemed to like that okay too. Then I took her home. We worked on putting her appointments for next year (that we already have through May) on our calendar pages that we keep. (Our entire life is written there.) I made her hot chocolate with whipped cream. And then I drove home.

I told God that what she needs is a good “Whooping” LOL!  Just Kidding!  But she is like a spoiled brat at times, (a lot of times) and she makes life so difficult for me. I try so hard to please her, but mostly it just can’t be done.

So then my poor husband has to hear how I had chest pains all day, and how grumpy and unpleasant she was to me. We have no life between my grumpy mom and my grumpy daughter. And quite frankly, the whole thing is making me…well…grumpy! Can you tell?

So this is my life, which is unbearably hard, because she insists on being the way she is. Life could be so much better if she would just try to be a little pleasant. If she would just realize that I am giving up everything to take care of her, and I’m glad to do it-if she would only treat me better.  Lately, I’ve been coming home crying after these days. It’s just too exhausting, too painful, but I am helpless to change any of it.

Maybe she treats me mean because I remind her of my dad (who I was named for.) Even though their marriage wasn’t pleasant, and they were divorced when I was 2, she never misses a chance to talk badly about him. I know he did not treat her right, but she never lets me forget it. He changed a great deal over the years,(even became a Christian), but in her mind there is no possibility that he could have changed, and she never lets me forget it. I think that is cruel, because he is my dad, and he died recently, and it hurts me.

She does hugs me when I leave, and I know she loves me (in her own way), but she has never really given me the nurturing I need. I need a mother even now. But it’s not possible.

So, just another day in my life…She called today “A Hard Days Night”, and though I never fully understood what that meant in the past, I surely do now…

Yesterday was a very sad day for me. It started in the afternoon, when I was supposed to meet my mom at 1:30, to take her to a town about an hour and a half away, for a glaucoma specialist’s appointment. When I got there, she was very frustrated and upset,  because she couldn’t get her medication list finished. The computer was acting crazy, she was late putting her clothes on, and she seemed on the verge of tears. (My mom does not cry easily or often.)

I tried to soothe her, and get her in the car, because she needed me to take her by the bank on the way. She was a bundle of nerves, and when she gets like that, I have to fight very hard to keep everything together. I kept reassuring her that we would make it on time, and headed for the bank.

But when we got to the bank, she realized that she had forgotten her glasses. She is almost blind in one eye, due to diabetic complications, and since we were going to an eye doctor, we both realized that we must go back and get the glasses. She agreed to wait in the car, while I made the search inside. I found them on her dresser in the bedroom, and started out to the car, when suddenly she appeared in the house. She said that she wanted to get a bracelet she had just purchased, and we picked up a couple of oatmeal cookies from the kitchen, to keep her blood sugar from going low on the way.

Rushing to get in the car, I knew we were going to be a little late now, but again, I reassured her that we would just call on my cell phone when we got close, and let them know. She was a nervous wreck all the way, looking at her bracelet constantly, which was in the place her watch usually was. (But she had forgotten her watch.) My mom always does this-constantly looking at her watch, as if looking enough times will cause us not to be late, or perhaps it is a passive- aggressive way of letting me know that I was not on time (which lately seems to be a pattern with me, though this day I was on schedule, but she was not.)

Just a few miles down the road, she started to cry. She said she felt like she was losing it, and that her mind had been adversely affected lately. We had recently talked to the doctor about the confusion that has set in. (She took Aricept for awhile, but the side effects were horrible, and she had to quit. She was given another drug for memory problems, but has not yet started taking it.) She is very aware that her mind is not functioning as it once did, and this causes her great sorrow. She is very afraid of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

So here I am, driving as fast as I can get away with, and now she is crying. I reached over and patted her neck and head, and told her that I understood her frustration, and knew that she didn’t feel well, and tried to reassure her again that everything would be okay. (I was not at all convinced myself that it would be, but I said it anyway.) Then she told me that she feels like she is going to fall down every time she stands up, and I asked her to please use her walker, but she won’t-except to go to the mailbox. (She insists on going to the mailbox-it is the highlight of her day.)  I understand how important the mail is to her. But I just don’t get that she won’t use her walker in the house, because if she falls and hurts herself, her life will change forever, and so will mine. But she is quite stubborn.

I told her that if she continues to be dizzy, we need to go back to the doctor, and have her checked again, but he already knows that she is off balance, and blames it to some degree, on her blood pressure falling when she stands, but I know that it is more than that.

So as we are barrelling toward the doctor’s office, and she is trying to scratch down her list of the remaining medications that she was not able to write down earlier, because the computer went insane. She spills a couple of the bottles into the floorboard, as we gobble down our oatmeal cookies.

It was a tense and harrowing ride to our destination. Traffic was bad, and we were racing the clock.

We called to let them know we would be a little late, and when we arrived, I let her out at a bench near the entrance, while I parked the car. I ran all the way back from the car, afraid to leave her alone for very long, and also painfully aware of the time.

It seems that I am always breathless since my dad died, and I have taken over the care of my mom. I am always running, or dashing about, or lifting things that I shouldn’t be lifting.

I won’t bore you with the details of the visit, but she was happy that this doctor felt that possibly next year, he might be able to remove a cataract. Another doctor had told us that the improvement would be so slight, as to not be worth the risk. (So at least that brightened her day a bit.)

We ate at a cafeteria, with a man carrying her tray, as I carried mine. (This left her to do her usual acrobatic wobble all the way to the table, with my heart skipping beats as I watched.) I always hold her hand everywhere we go, as she is very off balance, and can’t see well.

We went to one store, and then as when we drove back to our town, she said that she needed a few groceries, and so we did grocery shopping at the lovely hour of 10 p.m. (My mom can no longer drive due to her condition. This also was a very tragic loss of independence for her.)

Whenever I help her with groceries, I put all of her groceries on the conveyor belt, and usually back into the basket after they are bagged, unless the clerk does. Then I have to help her with her credit card, as she gets confused, as to how to run it through the machine properly. (But then don’t we all at times? They’re all slightly different.)

 I do the same for my groceries, and then I get her into the car, and I stand in the cold or the downpour, to load all of our groceries into the trunk. (Bear with me here.)

When  we get home, we always fumble for the door keys, because the sensor light almost never comes on, and I  finally get her safely in. Then I unload all her groceries. One trick she thought of, because I have a torn rotator cuff, is for me to use her walker (which has a seat and a basket) to wheel the things to the front door. We call it “The Cadillac” and it helps me tremendously. (At least it is used for something.) Then we struggle to get the bags into the door, and then to the kitchen. (I usually hand her all the refrigerator items to put where she wants, and then I put away her cupboard things.)

Now you can only imagine how tired I am at the end of these type days, and I still have to drive home, and unload my own groceries. (I just wanted to give you a feel for the way life is for us.) I take her to all her doctor’s appointments, and errands, and I do believe that we have a different doctor for each body part.

She wants to continue to live in her house independently, for as long as possible, and I agree totally, but it is heart wrenching for me to leave her each time, knowing the shape she is in. She recently fell 3 times in one week. She is also an insulin dependent diabetic, and goes low unexpectedly at times. Between my brother and I, we have managed to save her every time so far. Of course, I stay worried.

When I got home, my husband brought the groceries in. He had to stay up later than he wanted, to wait for me to get home. I had called earlier and requested his help, because I was too tired to lug the groceries upstairs to our kitchen. (Yes, an upstairs kitchen.)

I ran straight for the shower, as if I thought I could wash all the sadness and fatigue off, and have it go down the drain with the dirty water, but it didn’t.

When I walked into the kitchen, I began to cry, and (this time) he responded in a way that helped. He just put his arms around me and let me cry. (Perhaps I’ve finally taught him well.) 🙂 I didn’t cry for long, but it helped. I cried for all that I have to go through physically and emotionally since my dad passed. I cried for the person my mother would never again be. I cried because I was afraid of what could happen to her. I cried because I might lose her. I cried because she might live longer than she wants to, and be in pain or blind or crippled.  I cried for how much worse things could get with her. I cried for everything I could think of for about 2 minutes, and then I stopped.

They say (whoever they are), that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, and if that’s true, I sure wish He didn’t trust me so much. (A friend on the Grief Board first said this a few days ago, and I liked it.)

(If you would like to read about some of the ways I am coping with the care of my widowed mom, here are some articles:) http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/372772/caring_for_an_aging_parent_when_the.html

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/422813/what_widows_need_to_know_how_to_prepare.html

The struggle of living two lives has me totally overwhelmed. I am by nature, an organized person, but at this point my house is a wreck, I’m behind on everything, and I may not even put up a Christmas tree this year. I will decorate the house in other ways, and with a couple of very small trees, but I have to do the family dinner and Christmas party, and it will take me almost until Christmas, to get the house in order, plan the dinner, buy the groceries, wrap the presents, etc.  I don’t have a lot of full days at home, so I have to do a little at a time. (And I have not been well myself for awhile.) When my house is not in order, my brain is not in order either. I hate clutter. But I think the way it is now, is a symptom of the way my life is. (Upside down, and inside out.)

I long for the days when my dad was alive.  He took wonderful care of my mom, as he was so much healthier than her. Why did he have to die? So many men have a triple bypass, and feel like a new person. Sometimes I hate the hospital for all that happened to him there, but of course it does me no good. I can’t bring him back, and I can’t change what happened.

So this is my life now. Endless days of chaos and exhaustion. Recently, I think that I had my first panic attack. I suddenly had the thought that if my mom died, I would be an orphan, and I convinced myself that I would have no one left. It isn’t true, but it felt like it at the time. I do have a brother, though we’re not particularly close, and I have a daughter, (but things have been difficult with her, to say the least), and I have my husband.  That’s about it, except for a male cousin that I was raised with as a child, until I was 7. I realized on my birthday this year, that other than my mom, and husband, (and a sweet cyber greeting from my teenage daughter), no one else remembered or cared. It’s a lonely feeling. My birth father died just before my step dad. He used to faithfully send me a card, and a present or some money. My parents got a divorce when I was 2, and I never got to really know my dad, the way I wanted to.

Okay, I doubt anyone is still with me. I really wrote this one for myself. I had to get some of the feelings out, because they were suffocating me. Thank God for my writing, because without it, I would feel so alone. I really have no one who understands what this has been (and is) like. Just God and me.

My mom and I have become closer though. We haven’t always had a great relationship, but now we are bonded more than ever, by our shared experiences. I love her very much.  Except that now, I am the parent and she is the child, and I long for the days when it wasn’t this way. I just wish I could find some peace…