Caring for your aging parents

My dad called yesterday afternoon saying that my mother was having a medical problem. She couldn’t speak for a few minutes.

I told him that was a sign of a stroke and she needed to go the hospital immediately. They meandered home from work and I went to my parents’ house to take my mother to the hospital with a sense of urgency they apparently weren’t having. My dad had to deal with their dog and eat dinner. (My dad is like Shaggy on Scooby Doo – always needing to eat!)

Her speech became slurred in the car going to the hospital and that was scary. When we got there they took her immediately back. (If you think your parent is having a stroke or stroke-like symptoms please tell them that and don’t wait in the ER.)

After checking her in the ER they decided she had had two mini-strokes and admitted her for more testing.

When she woke up this morning she immediately combed her hair, brushed her teeth and put on lipstick. She was offended when the nurse told her it was written in her record she was confused. She said I was perfectly clear on the fact that I couldn’t talk. (I love my mom!)

They’re running a bunch of tests today and she’s meeting with a neurologist. My brother is sitting with her now so I could come home to keep the baby. My brother, whom you recall had a heart transplant last summer, was happy it wasn’t him in the hospital bed for once!

She seems fine now but they’re searching to see if there are any blockages in her body. (She’s not overweight. Her cholesterol level was awesome but her blood pressure was high, which is hereditary.)

I knew at some point I would take care of my parents and I’m happy to do that. I’m just surprised it’s so early. My mother is just in her early 60s and is fairly healthy and active. She could leave the hospital just needing to take an aspirin each day. That’s what we are hoping for.

I may be in and out over the next few days while we’re figuring out what’s going on with my mom. So I’m sorry if I don’t get a new topic up every day.

Have you experienced an aging parent needing your help? How did you handle it? What are your expectations for the care your parents will need in the future? What do you do if you don’t live in the same state or town as your parents?

79 comments Add your comment

Jeff

May 25th, 2010
12:26 pm

Welcome back TWG. My thoughts are with you during this ordeal. My parents aren’t having health issues yet, so I’ll be absorbing some of your advice today.

Photius

May 25th, 2010
12:31 pm

I am very sorry about your mother; best wishes towards your family.

My mother died in her late 60’s after suffering a series of mini-strokes – then the big one came. High blood pressure runs in the family and she died earlier than expected. How about caring for a dying parent or a parent with health issues? It is hard – it will make you angry – it will make you resentful at times against friends and family and even your parent. You just have to cope and pray. Behavior studies have shown consistently that siblings who stand to gain no inheritance will put forth very little effort in the care of a sick parent, regardless of how close/far they live. Behavioral studies also conclude that siblings with the most to gain via inheritance usually show up frequently. This is not my opinion but is a proven fact in behavior sciences so if you have siblings with an elderly parent, odds are this is how it will fall out.

Very scary to have your mother suffer a stroke; my prayers for your family. Peace be with you all.

iRun

May 25th, 2010
12:38 pm

I’m there with you. My mom is in her early 60s and my dad in his upper 60s. I don’t live in the same state but two of my brothers do and one of them is actually living with them (job loss, back to school, getting back on his feet). Both my parents are medical professionals so I think they’d take any sign of anything seriously. The brother who lives nearby is also a medical professional so he’s close enough and aware enough to help.

But I’ve recently come to the realization that I might have to deal with this any day now. My mom is super healthy. My dad…overweight and diabetic, though he doesn’t have cholesterol or blood pressure problems. Both are fairly active, though.

Still…my dad is 67. Just today there’s an obit for a man 68. I see that and I just can’t deal. I’m not ready.

I just keep in mind that my dad’s dad lived to 93, his mom to her mid-70s. My mom’s dad died of an accident before she was born (tragic, eh?) but her mom is still alive! So, maybe I DON’T have to deal with this just yet….please.

Theresa,

Here’s to hoping your mom doesn’t have another stroke. And that you don’t have to deal with more tragic outcomes quite yet, either. Best of luck to your mom and you and your family.

motherjanegoose

May 25th, 2010
12:39 pm

T…so sorry, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

iRun

May 25th, 2010
12:48 pm

Photius…all your comments about inheritance, etc, and it’s hell-bent negative skew, fact or no, just makes me glad I was raised in the family I was raised in.

Unless they’re pulling the wool over our eyes my parents are probably going to leave their “estate” to us equally, all 5 of us kids. What their estate is sums up to their house/property and the principal of their retirement. My dad sold his dental practice to my brother and sunk that into his retirement.

The only thing I can imagine would be specifically directed to any of us might be personal items they wanted each of us to have and these things won’t have a GREAT deal of monetary value. I imagine my mom will want her granddaughters (I gave her a grandson) to have her jewelry. She might have some specific pieces for me and my sister and my sisters-in-law. Same with specific pieces of furniture. My dad has ALREADY given all his tools to my dentist-brother. He also has an extensive weapon collection. He mentioned once that we’d decide what to do with it when the time came.

I think the only thing I’d speak up and ask for would be to raid my mom’s garden and greenhouse. If I can put some of her plants in my garden then I will have her with me forever.

I am not ready for them to go!!!!!!

1sus

May 25th, 2010
1:10 pm

Theresa – hope your mom is ok! Not medically related . . . but I just got a call from my mom. I was expecting to pick them up at the airport at 2 today. They had it down on the calendar for tomorrow! I’m sure there was a big fight in their house over that! Luckily she called or I would have been looking for them at the airport! I SHOULD have called her yesterday and we would have avoided this. They are in their mid an upper 70’s.

JATL

May 25th, 2010
1:11 pm

I’m so sorry to hear that Theresa. Hopefully she’ll be fine. My family has a lot of experience with strokes, and when they catch them at a minor level and start good medication, the outcome and prognosis is often very good about not having any more.

I was all set to do some intensive caring for my mother starting last fall. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor and set up for surgery and then radiation after healing from surgery. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately if this had to happen at all because it wasn’t a good prognosis from the start), she didn’t recover from the surgery and died a week later. She was 64, and never in a million years did I think she would die then or have any major health issues at that age. She had some problems -high blood pressure being the biggest -but she was vigilant and proactive about that and keeping on top of being healthy in other ways. I think we’re all still in shock about what happened to her. I had prepared for my parents to basically be living with us a good bit during my mother’s treatments, and for me to be at their house 2 or 3 days per week (I wasn’t working then) as needed.

Now I worry and wonder about my father. His family seems blessed with longevity and good health, and I’m thankful for it and hope that’s the case for him. He’ll be 73 this summer, and I am noticing the memory not being what it used to be, but I don’t think it’s anything more serious than aging. I really worry though -and I worry about my MIL, because both my husband and I are only children. There’s no one else to help but us. In my father’s case, he’s done very well for himself and if we had to look at in home care or assisted living in the future, the money is there. For my MIL -not the case. I don’t know what we’ll do if she experiences a long illness or needs a lot of care. I’m really afraid in future years one of us may be working solely to pay for her care -or our children’s college funds may get wiped out for it. I hope to God that doesn’t happen!

Right now my dad wants his other knee replaced. I’ve been talking to him about how this is going to go down since I’m working full time now and can’t take a bunch of time to go help him. He’s also VERY large (not fat -just a really big man), and I don’t know that I could support him getting out of bed, to the toilet, etc. anyway. I think our plan may be for him to have it up here and stay at our house until he can be mobile enough to be on his own. That’s several weeks, but sometimes you just have to suck this kind of thing up!

Hope your mom is better and back to normal soon!

iRun

May 25th, 2010
1:23 pm

JATL… :( about your mom. My mom is going to be 64 this summer. Not ready! NOT READY!

God, I think I’m having a mid-life crisis and I’m only 35.

iRun

May 25th, 2010
1:23 pm

I guess 35 is just about mid-life, though.

FCM

May 25th, 2010
1:30 pm

TWG You may recall my Dad had a stroke in Sept 2008. He is much better today and we are glad of it.

I will keep your Mom in my prayers!

With Dad, his gait has slowed. He “lists” to one side when he is overly tired (so we watch for that). He does slur words occassionally. His mind is still sharp-like in recalling detai– but he does process the information differently. His patience was never a strong suit, and that has dimished too. I tell you this to say that some subtle changes may well show up, then again maybe not. Everybody is different.

JATL

May 25th, 2010
1:38 pm

@iRun -thanks, and it’s not a “normal” age to say good-bye these days. I know what you mean about the mid-life crisis! I hit 40 in January, and I keep telling myself, “I will not be a cliche. I will not be a cliche!” LOL -there are certain things that I think just “hit” us in our late 30s and early 40s -no matter what is happening with parents, kids, marriage, etc.

DB

May 25th, 2010
1:47 pm

Theresa, your family is in my thoughts and prayers. I hope your mom ends up with something that she can manage easily.

My parents are in their late 70s, and my father is in declining health, with, frankly, no options to improve. I live 400 miles away, so I am basically useless — I try to get up there every couple of months, but it’s mostly to give my mom a sanity break, as she spends her days now ferrying my dad from doctor’s appointment to procedure to check-up, etc. She is very stressed, and I feel guilty since I can’t be there to help her more. I call her often and give her a chance to talk — my dad is 90% deaf, so she misses the daily, inconsequential conversation that most of us enjoy with our spouses. When I get on the phone with her, it’s like a data dump — she talks constantly for almost 20 minutes, as though all the things she hasn’t been able to talk to people about comes flying out. My husband smiles, because when I’m on the phone, I’m not saying a word — just listening. As my mother once commented to me, she feels as if she has already lost her husband — “this isn’t the man I married”, because the change in him is so radical from just a couple of years ago, from a confident, I-run-the-world mentality to an almost child-like fearful person. It’s sad, and it’s an adjustment that’s hard for all of us to make.

You’re never ready, I don’t think. Even when my grandmother died at the age of 93, my father, who was 60 at the time, commented sadly, “Now I’m an orphan. . . .”

JATL

May 25th, 2010
1:50 pm

@DB -I think you really hit it with your last remark. I was telling my Dad when my Mom died that I knew I didn’t know how he felt because she was his wife, and he told me, “And I don’t know how you feel because my mother is still alive.” I told him I felt stupid for feeling this way, and it was no reflection on him -but I felt cast adrift and like an orphan! I’ve since read so many things about grief that say no matter what your age -when you lose a parent, you usually feel that way.

Uconn

May 25th, 2010
1:53 pm

@Theresa… You and your mom are in my prayers. I hope all your mom needs is the aspirin! my dad was 59 and passed away from a heart attack in November. He had had his attack on Wed night and was gone the following MOnday… However, all through the ordeal I was ready to take him home with me.. ( he was married to a woman who is 6 yrs older than me and there was no way she would allow him to cramp her lifestyle!) even when it looked grim.. my dad needing a heart transplant I was ready to care for him. Of course I am an only child and have no siblings to help but that didn’t matter to me, that was my dad! he took care of me when I was little so it was the LEAST I could do. My mom (his ex-wife) was ready to come and help as well… He would have been 60 next month…. I guess to answer the question, I will be more than ready to take care of my mom (who is going to be 60 as well next month) if and when something ever happens to her… Knock on wood tho… she is fit and healthy… Goes to hip hop dance classes LOL….I guess you are never ready for it when it happens even though it is always there in the back of your mind that it will happen someday. I was just wishing someday could have come later for my father…

Michelle

May 25th, 2010
1:53 pm

Theresa, I’m so sorry about your mom! It sounds like things were caught early and she has a defense for the future. She needs to make sure her blood pressure is under control!! I hope she gets out soon!

It was good that you were thoughtful and proactive enough to get her to the hospital right away. In a stroke (or heart attack) time is of the essence!

I have been truly blessed with family longevity! I still have 3 grandparents living (all over the age of 80!) My parents are all living as well, and relatively healthy too!

I live 10+ hours away from my parents and family. If something happens where they would need more care, we are lucky that several of the siblings still live within 10-15 minutes of their house! When my brother was in his final stages, my sister moved him into their house.

All of my parents still seem so vital, so I can relate to those of you who say you just can’t imagine anything happening! My mom just turned 60, dad will be 61, and my step mom will be 59!

If push came to shove, I would go home if I needed to. I have a profession (thankfully) that I can use anywhere! I also still have resources back home! I don’t see that happening though because of our very large family structure.

JATL-what a tragedy about your mom, but perhaps a blessing in disguise if she had a poor prognosis from the beginning. I know that doesn’t make it easier though. I’m sorry for your loss.

Uconn

May 25th, 2010
1:56 pm

@JATL … When my dad passed, I felt lost and that some piece of me was missing and that is the only way I could describe it, even though my mom is still with me…

@Irun …. My mom is going to be 60 and I don’t know who is not ready for it more… Me or her… of course with every birthday I have.. She says to me “when did you get so old?”

motherjanegoose

May 25th, 2010
1:58 pm

1sus…while I am sure it is annoying, just be glad your parents make the effort to come to your house.

Did they have their tickets for today or tomorrow?

My husband’s parents never came here…in 25 years. My daughter will graduate from HS tomorrow and her grandparents will not be here. My sister was planning to come but it did not work out, due to schedules.

It will be just our family and my sister who lives here in metro Atlanta. The way it has been for most holidays/celebrations, for many years.

@ JATL…I am not sure I have entertained a midlife crisis and I am 50. What should I be doing?

iRun

May 25th, 2010
2:11 pm

Uconn and JATL – I am so sad for you. Part of my sadness is, of course, applying this to myself. This whole topic is making me tear up a LOT.

It’s only been in the past year that this concept of losing my parents has begun to feel like an inevitability. And it frightens me a lot and makes me want to put the breaks on like.

My son will be 9 in a few months. My husband said he wished he could stop him from growing for a while. I don’t feel that way about my son. I am getting a great big kick out of watching him grow and I can’t wait to see what kind of young man he’ll turn into, who he’ll marry, and what my grandkids will look like. Not that I don’t already miss some things. Like how my husband and I used to be the complete center of his world and bit by bit we’re not.

But I guess that doesn’t make me so very sad the way thinking about losing my folks does.

JATL

May 25th, 2010
2:13 pm

@MJG -I never really understood people’s midlife crisis issues (unless it was a situation I could view and see years of repression,etc.). It’s not really conscious deliberation or anything, but I find myself feeling panicky sometime at how time is flying by -and I never felt that way before. I seem to feel this almost overwhelming urge to get out and grab all of life’s gusto NOW before it’s too late (and I think sometimes people really play into this one and that’s when you see red sports cars, affairs, blown 401Ks, etc.) It’s definitely one of those things that play your logical mind against the random things your mind throws into your thought processes. I’ve always been a “gusto grabber” and so far I’ve had a great life -but there’s suddenly this awareness of aging and perhaps some things slipping away (taken for granted good health, the ability to have children as the menopause years beckon, etc.) that seem to feed an anxiety I’ve never had before. I’m not horribly bothered by it, but I certainly understand why some folks go bats**t in their 40s!

iRun

May 25th, 2010
2:16 pm

MJG – I think it’s different for everyone. I think I’ve been kind of lucky with my mid-life crisis (which, if I am having one, started when I turned 33). It’s turned me into an athlete when I never was one for the first 33 years of my life. And it’s a lot of fun being a middle-aged athlete. All my joints are fresh! And it gave me the same figure (well, minus the pregnancy induced stretchmarks) I had at 20.

But it’s origin had to do with wanting to see what kind of young man my son grow up and worrying that if I didn’t take better care of myself I’d not be able to do that.

iRun

May 25th, 2010
2:17 pm

Hey, JATL summed up my experience with mid-life crisis perfectly…

FCM

May 25th, 2010
2:18 pm

first–UConn, and JATL HUGE HUGS to you. Irun and DB HUGE HUGS to you as well for different reasons.

I am blessed that my father has had such a great recovery. However I think that if you have parents who were active in your childhood — they remain your base anchor no matter how old you get. So it makes a great deal of sense, to me, that you would feel adrift when that anchor is no longer there.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 25th, 2010
2:18 pm

I appreciate everyone’s prayers and you guys sharing about your parents. Michael lost his mother when he was just 19. His brother was only 13. It has impacted his life so greatly. He has always said you and your brother would be lost without your mother. And it’s true. So would my dad. She was in good spirits when I left her. She’s got her damn purse on the the hospital bed with her like somebody’s going to rob her. I got her to give me her wallet and jewelry to bring home with me.

FCM — I do remember that now about your dad — I will watch for the small things. We are waiting for the MRI results which should tell us if they see damage — the catscan doesn’t show the same things. We’ll know more this afternoon.

Not really thinking too clearly and have a terrible headache!

iRun

May 25th, 2010
2:23 pm

FCM – thanks for the hugs and I am very glad that your dad is recovering well, otherwise I’d have ANOTHER reason to feel sad right now!

Oh, this afternoon’s run will be well-needed…

Michelle

May 25th, 2010
2:24 pm

@Irun…I keep thinking the same thing about being a good role model for my son (he just turned 7). I’ve just had this nagging plantar fasciitis that makes any length of activity miserable! I guess I need to break down and see someone! (which is pathetic to say since I’m a nurse!)

I want to be around for as much of his life as I can! (and I want to be active in it as well, not just there on the sidelines!)

iRun

May 25th, 2010
2:33 pm

Hey Michelle,

I know about plantar fasciitis. I am hypothyroid and if my hormone replacement therapy is off I start ot suffer from it. The best thing to do for PF is to do exercises that strengthen your arches. If you google it you will find some things you can do at home. Also, proponents of barefoot running will tell you that it clears their PF. You could do some laps in the grass in your back yard. Being barefoot forces you to land on the balls of your feel, which makes you work out your arches. Just don’t do too much.

And it was when my son was 7 that I started this “mid-life crisis” and worrying about my health!

Uconn

May 25th, 2010
2:38 pm

@FCM … Thanks! I am glad to hear that your father is doing well.

motherjanegoose

May 25th, 2010
2:39 pm

@ t…we were very close to our wonderful neighbors when we lived in Texas. They were in their 70’s and none of their adult children lived close by. She had to go to the hospital and we carried her husband back and forth. While there, I got her jewelry to take home. I showed her husband where I put it, in a pouch I had, in his dresser drawer under his socks. A few days later she was in tears as she had asked where her jewelry was and her husband did not know. I assured her that it was in a “safe” place and showed it to her when we took them both home.

It is sad when parents regress and turn into children. I am certain they are frustrated with themselves too.

I admire those of you who have wonderful relationships with your parents. We do not have that on either side. We have had wonderful relationships with other’s parents, as the adult children lived too far away to be involved and we stepped up to the plate. Fond memories here today.

motherjanegoose

May 25th, 2010
2:40 pm

@irun…we saw a man running barefoot the other day…maybe that was why?

iRun

May 25th, 2010
2:47 pm

Well, barefoot running has become popular after the release of the book “Born to Run”. And truthfully, we are born to run and to do it without shoes. It forces us to run in a biomechanically efficient manner. In other words, it makes us run the way nature intended.

Of course, nature didn’t intend asphalt or concrete, either. So, you can get a pair of Vibram Five Fingers to protect your flesh while still getting in the benefits of running “barefoot”.

FYI, it’s supposed to be better for your joints, too, because when you run barefoot it makes you land on the ball of your foot, not your heel. When you land on the ball of your foot you land with a flexed/bent knee, with your foot landing on the ground just slightly in front of you. This is supposed to make it so your thigh and calf muscles take the force of impact rather than your knee and hip joints.

And hey, you got my mind off being sad.

Michelle

May 25th, 2010
3:10 pm

@ Irun, I may have to try that. It seems like when I actually go barefoot (in the house) I am even MORE miserable! I don’t go outside in the grass too much because of those darned fire ants! :o) When I lived in Indiana, the grass was SO soft and GREAT to be barefooted! Ahhh the memories!

Interesting about the thyroid too! I take medication b/c I had my thyroid removed. My levels are within a normal range (according to my labs), but I sure don’t feel like it!

JATL

May 25th, 2010
3:17 pm

@Michelle -I had horrific PF and a very large heel spur (used to think they were basically the same, but was told by my doctor they are different). The only thing that helped was MONTHS of no running or distance walking. You can swim or ride a bike, but what I enjoy is walking and running! I finally got rid of it though and am now enjoying walking (working back up to running) again. I had to wear this boot thing to bed for a few months. I DO highly endorse the suggestion from iRun to try barefoot -off asphalt -running. If you keep your shoes on -you MUST land on the balls of your feet and not your heels! Good luck getting over it!

@iRun -yep, I think one of the biggies for “inducing” a mid-life crisis is watching your kids get older and becoming VERY conscious of the type of body image and lifestyle you want to impart to them! Mine aren’t 7 yet, but I become more aware of the fact every day that I do NOT want them to see us out of shape and think that’s okay!

JATL

May 25th, 2010
3:19 pm

@FCM -thank you, and I hope your Dad keeps hanging in there! It has to be so incredibly difficult to have diminished capability.

Mattie

May 25th, 2010
3:53 pm

We are going through this now. My father died in Dec after being diagnosed with cancer 6 months before. He was 85 though, and never had any pain, so we consider ourselves fortunate that he lived a long full life and died peacefully.

My mother is in NC, and even though I have 6 siblings, I am the closest child by a good 450 miles. I make the trip up at least once a month, and still don’t feel like it’s enough. Next week would have been my Dad’s 86 birthday, and I know it will be a difficult day for my mother to get through. But, I need to take my son to college orientation, and can’t spend the day with her. I am trying to come up with a way to support her from afar.

Although in good health we got one of those medical alert bracelets that she wears at all times. All she has to do is push the button, and an emergency team will respond. It’s great for our peace of mind, as well as hers.

Jan

May 25th, 2010
4:29 pm

My husband’s mother has Alzheimer’s and his dad had a stroke a few years ago. The doctors didn’t think he’d be able to take care of himself, much less her. So, we made the decision to sell their house (they lived several hours away) and move them in with us. After a year or so, dad started to improve. So much that he could probably live on his own now.

Well it’s been almost 3 years that they’ve been with us, and we still face challenges daily. Dad is resentful that he gave up his home and his life, understandably. However, I don’t think he realizes how it’s impacted our lives. I could go on and on, but won’t.

Mom’s condition is slowly degrading. She can still take care of personal hygiene, but that’s about the limit. I feel bad because I don’t feel that I do enough for my mother. She is in her 80’s and lives alone. She’s still in pretty good health, but is becoming feeble. It’s frustrating on all fronts, but when we made the decision to move them in with us, all we had to go on was the doctors’ prognosis – which wasn’t good.

If we could have seen the future, we would have left them in their own house and hired caregivers. All I can say is that I hope that I never have to live with my children.

Mom in the Middle

May 25th, 2010
4:39 pm

I’m in my mid 50’s and we have 3 children in their 20’s, in various stages of independence. My mom, 88, moved in with us after my Dad passed away. She is in excellent health for her age and still drives to places close by. While it is sometimes stressful and awkward with her living with us, I am thankful my children are getting a chance to see what family is all about.

TechMom

May 25th, 2010
4:47 pm

What a timely topic… I haven’t had a chance to surf today because I was super busy with work this morning and then we got the call at 11am that my husband’s grandfather has passed away. He was 83 and had a massive stroke 9 years ago. When he had the stroke he was fairly healthy and still active though was beginning the initial stages of dimensia. He went through therapy and gained about 80% of his function back until about 5 years ago when he started having minor strokes. Over the past few years he’s become wheel-chair bound and about a month ago took a turn for the worse. We honestly weren’t sure he’d live this long though and I think everyone breathed a sigh of relief today because it’s been such a long journey. His wife, my husband’s grandmother, has taken care of him day in and day out and I feel relieved for her in the physical sense but I also know that emotionally she’ll suffer. She refused any help until about a month ago when he could no longer even help support his body weight and even then all we kept hearing was, “these home health nurses just get in my way.” They live about 3 hours from us but she does have one daughter and a couple of grandsons nearby (though only 1 ever offers to help). My MIL has been down there almost constantly the past month. We were lucky that Mema is as healthy as she is and he didn’t have to be put in a nursing facility.

Anyway T, not trying to bring you down with this, just thought it was odd timing.

Uconn

May 25th, 2010
4:49 pm

@mattie, I hope that you are able to get through your father’s birthday as well as your mother. I know how rough that it will be as I am 4 weeks from what would have been my father’s 60th… But I know somewhere he will be smiling on that day… it always brought him such joy to know that he was 12 days younger than my mother and he always let her know it… :D

Uconn

May 25th, 2010
4:50 pm

@techmom… So sorry to hear that…My prayers are with your family as well. Its never easy to lose someone.

TechMom

May 25th, 2010
4:51 pm

Oh and barefoot running- I started running in my Vibram Five Fingers about 2 months ago and LOVE them. I was having knee and hip pain and decided to try them out. I ran a 5k this weekend in them without issue. I too run on grass as much as possible though. The funny thing is that I was going to try to run a farther run last week and went back to my running shoes since I was going to be on cement completely; I felt like I was wearing bricks for shoes! My running shoes are pretty light but obviously nothing compared to the Five Fingers.

JATL

May 25th, 2010
4:55 pm

@Mattie -the birthday is a hard day! My mother’s was April 29th,and she would have been 65. Don’t feel bad about needing to do something for your son instead of being with your mother. I spoke to my father about it, and we actually didn’t get together that day. I kind of think he wanted to be alone for it. Just call her and tell her you know it’s rough and that you miss him too.

@Jan -I can’t imagine! That’s what I’m so scared about concerning my MIL. She and my husband have a good relationship, but they pick at each other and are snippy with each other after about 10 minutes. I don’t know that I could handle her living with us! I have a special consideration for people like you who have aging parents living with them. I know it has to be terribly hard.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 25th, 2010
5:24 pm

Oh TechMom that is depressing! so sorry for your loss. I’ll be thinking about you. Still don;’t knwo anything and am heading back to the hospital now. But first I have been ordered to go to my mom’s house and dvr dancing with the stars and idol for her. my dad is there but he doesn’t know how to do it!!!!!

Becky

May 25th, 2010
5:38 pm

Didn’t get a chance to read all of the post, so hope I don’t miss anyone..Sorry to anyone that has lost a parent or is having to deal with any major illness with their parents..I lost my Mother when I was 28 (20yrs ago) on Sept. 11, not quiet a month before I was to get married.. She had suffered from cancer for over 10 years prior to
passing away.. Even though I am the youngest daughter, I was basically her primary care person..To those that live a good distance from their parents, I don’t think I could do that..Not judging anyone, that is just me..Heck, my ex wanted me to move from Cobb County to Douglas County while my Mom was sick and I said h3ll no..

Theresa, so sorry about your Mom..Hope that it’s nothing to be overly worried about…Hugs to you and the rest of your family..

G.R.I.T.S.

May 25th, 2010
6:36 pm

prayers from here for your family theresa….my grandmother had a series of those ‘mini strokes’ and lived for several years…you really couldnt tell anything happened at all….not like a ‘big’ stroke…she was a lot older than your mom….im sorry for all who are going through this..it is rough to have to be the caregiver of parents, but its the cycle of life you know?

1sus

May 25th, 2010
6:57 pm

@motherjanegoose . .. I wasn’t mad or annoyed in the least. Just felt really bad for them for the hassle. Sad that my mom probably gave my dad a really hard time for messing it up. Wished I had called and spoken to my Mom rather than my Dad yesterday and we probablly would have figured this out in time. I’m and truly blessed and so glad they are coming to visit. They did miss the flight and were willing to buy another ticket for tomorrow, but were able to fly standby tonight. Heading to get them in an hour.

motherjanegoose

May 25th, 2010
7:41 pm

1sus…good for you! As a frequent flier, it is wonderful they were able to get a standby ticket and head out today. It will be hectic this weekend. Have fun!

fk

May 25th, 2010
8:04 pm

Hi Theresa ~ Thoughts and prayers are with you, your mom & family. My dad, then about 80, had two mini-strokes and never told anyone, other than my mother, only because she was in the mall with him,when, all of a sudden, he could not talk or move. Then, he was fine, he got up off the bench, and they went on their way. Fast forward 18 mos. and my dad was hospitalized for a bad infection, but before they had diagnosed his illness, he had undergone a battery of tests, and that was when the mini-strokes came to light. Oh, they remembered episode quite well, and they both described the instance in detail to the doctors. At 85, he had stents put in. He will be 91 on June 18 and still going. He had slowed quite a bit over this last winter, and my brothers were doubtful that he was going to attend my nephew’s wedding in early May, but he there he went – and everywhere else we went during our whirlwind visit. He is on the rebound once again. He uses a cane and, at times, a walker, and if it’s a big outing, they pack a wheelchair if he tires. He’s planning on Saratoga Springs for the horse races in August. Your mom has her age and her overall health on her side. Best advice is to be supportive and enjoy your times together :) Have a great summer!

catlady

May 25th, 2010
9:30 pm

Teresa, I feel a great deal of concern about your DAD. That he was unable to recognize the symptoms, and then unwilling to change his course of action and get her to the hospital after you told him really worries me. I would suggest a thorough evaluation for him, looking at blockages and cognitive functioning tests.

One reason why I am so concerned is because I saw my mom do the same thing about my dad, and it cost him his life earlier than it had to be! It turns out that what I saw as her rigidity was symptomatic of impairment on her part.

I lived 200 miles from my parents, and am an only child, a single mom with three children of my own. Fortunately for me, my children were nearly grown when I had to deal with their deaths. Also fortunately, they had plenty of money so I did not have to worry about medical care they needed, in addition to their Medicare and insurance through the federal government (my dad was a rocket scientist–for real).

I had always counted on my aunt, an Episcopal priest, to be there to guide me when the time came, but unfortunately she was killed in an accident 7 years before my dad died.

It is a very tough row to hoe.

Please insist on a thorough evaluation for your dad right away!

iRun

May 25th, 2010
10:21 pm

All, thanks for the conversation…shortly after my last post I left work (a bit early because it was the last day of school), went for a 5 miler, then took my son, with my husband, to the movies. I just focused on enjoying being alive, healthy, and having a great family and feel much better. Not to mention I got a little gardening email from my mom.

Theresa, my best wishes to your mother’s recovery. I don’t pray, but I send thoughts.

Good-night, all!

penguinmom

May 25th, 2010
11:36 pm

My prayers are with your family Theresa.

My mother turned 71 this last year and has Alzheimer’s. So, in a sense, we’ve already lost our mother. She’s in a nursing home and isn’t always coherent when we visit. When she passes away it will be a mix of relief and sorrow. As a Christian, I have confidence she will be restored to a fully functioning mind and that I will see her again. So, for me, it will not be a sadness at her passing but just a sense of missing her. Since I already don’t have meaningful conversations with her though, I think I’ve already worked through most of that.

Personally, for me, I’d rather die quickly of a heart attack or stroke than fade away with this cursed disease. My mother lost her ability to communicate meaningfully a couple of years ago so it’s really just been a matter of waiting since then.

I know caring for my mother has taken it’s toll on my sister mentally because she worries about money and decisions. Physically, my mother has become too difficult for my sister to care for which is why she is now in a nursing home.

I will say that I’m thankful my father had the foresight to add my sister and I to their checking account, to make a list of all accounts (with computer passwords), and to have us included on their medical power of attorney. It made things after he passed away so much easier because my mother was already at the point where she couldn’t sign or make decisions. I always suggest to my friends that they get their parents to do this, if they can convince them to.