All day I have been asking myself if I am doing the right thing.  Am I rationalizing EVERYTHING to suit myself?  It seems that I spend most of my life being pushed and pulled among the needs of so many people.  What is right for one person may be the polar opposite of what is needed by another.  Doing the right thing in one direction, upsets the balance in another direction.  It’s the old “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” conundrum.  I don’t trust my judgement about what is actually the BEST way to handle things.  I am so confused so much of the time.

I spent my day dividing my time between the situation with my mother and my job.  Both are important to me.  Both need my FULL attention, but unfortunately, there is only one of me.  Today was one of those days when it was almost impossible to find the time to do such frivolous things as eat or use the restroom.

What makes this difficult is that in a “normal” situation, a person would drop everything, including work, to be by the side of their sick mother.  Two years ago, that’s what I did.  When Dad died and Mom’s care was in my hands, I took day after day from work to sit by her side in the hospital.  She would get better and be released.  Several weeks later, it would begin again.  I burned through my personal days.  I burned through my sick days.  While those at work were supportive, I could begin to see a change in how they viewed me professionally.  I could see it begin to have an impact on my kids, too.  My focus was all messed up, as were many other things in my life two years ago.

As the only child of a chronically ill woman, I have had to learn to prioritize my life, my children, and my career along with my obligation to my mother.  It’s not easy.  All too often there is a cloud of guilt surrounding me.  Each obligation that I meet usually means that there is something (someone) else that I am neglecting.  It is a terrible, stressful balancing act.  Thank God for T.  He is invaluable in his ability to listen and to advise me on what is best for everyone involved.

Mom is currently in the hospital.  I talked her into allowing me to admit her.  She was dehydrated and unable to eat or drink.  Going to the hospital to regain her strength is the only chance she will have to continue to live on her own.  She is settled and resting comfortably.  IV fluids quickly perked her up and helped to resolve her fever.  There is no cure.  Slowly, painfully, and way too gradually, her body is shutting down.  While the hope is that she will be able to return to her apartment, I am doubtful that it will happen.

I left Mom to attend a meeting late this afternoon.  It was a good meeting, and I was excited as we discussed a new initiative that we’re hoping to get underway in the next year.  Ah….once again I was stumped.  The people that I was planning on meeting during my trip this week are crucial to this new plan.  What to do?  What to do?  Of course, no one at the meeting knew that my mom was in the hospital.  Everyone assumed that I was still taking the trip.  What to do?  Once again, I felt tugged in two directions.  (Add another direction as the meeting ran long, and I knew they were waiting for me to get home to make dinner.)

I called Mom as I drove home.  It was dark.  I was tired.  I didn’t feel like going home to do  more work.  I just wanted a friend.  I wanted to sit down.  I wanted a shoulder to lean on.  I was so tired of making decisions, so tired of always being wrong in one direction or the other.  Someone is always upset with me.  I called Mom,  and I asked her what she wanted me to do.  Did she need me?  Was she afraid to be in the hospital if I was not minutes away?   If I go on the trip, I will be more than two hours away.  She told me to go.   There was no need for me to sit at the hospital.  She didn’t need me to sit there, and even if I didn’t go on the trip,  she still wanted me to go to work.   I thanked her for making the decision for me, and I made her promise not to hesitate to call me if she needed anything at all.  T would be home, and I would gladly come back home if necessary.

Tonight I am packing.  I’m going on an abbreviated version of the trip I had planned.  I’ll head out tomorrow afternoon, take care of business and be back the next day.  The leisure portion of the trip has been eliminated.  😦  That’s OK.  I’m looking forward to the quiet of the drive.  I’m looking forward to not having to cook for a day and dinner with a friend.  I’m looking forward to some moments of peace and quiet.

I’m scared and worried.  I miss my boys.  I’m tired, and I am sad.  Life goes on.  It keeps on going on and on.






Gloomy Monday



True to all expectations, November is turning out to be a pretty crappy month so far.  I have been trying my best to see some light through the heavy layer of clouds hanging low in the skies.  In fact, I have been looking forward to a couple of much-needed days out of the office this week.  I was planning to take a short trip, a mixture of business and pleasure, with people whose company I enjoy.  Enter November, the month were all joy is quickly extinguished, and it looks like I won’t be going anywhere.  Even as I made these plans, there was a knot in my stomach.  I worried that something would happen, and it has.

This morning I received a call from a nurse at my mom’s assisted living facility.  This person informed me that when my mom hadn’t shown up for breakfast, she had gone up to Mom’s apartment to check on her.  What she discovered, according to this woman, was a “shit storm.”  My God!  Who uses words like that to an elderly person’s family member?

Mom is sick again.  She had apparently been ill all night long, and all over.  Her mattress has to be disposed of.  (Today I will mattress shop at lunchtime.)  The recliner in her room is going to have to be cleaned.  The carpets and bedding were a mess as well.  Mom is running a fever, is unable to eat or drink, will not be able to go to dialysis today, and is refusing to go to the hospital.

I understand.  Mom is ready to give up.  There has been one episode after another all strung together.  She doesn’t want to get better.  She doesn’t want to be away from the things that are familiar to her.  She doesn’t want to go to the hospital, and I understand all of that.

Here’s what I don’t understand.  I don’t know what to do.  The nurse said that they can’t make her go to the hospital.  They can’t call an ambulance while she is conscious and refusing to go.  (If she passes out, then they can call an ambulance.)  They can’t make her go to the hospital, but they can refuse to allow her to stay there under these circumstances.  Where in the world does that leave me?  She won’t go to the hospital, but it sounds very much like she is being kicked out of the assisted living facility because she is too sick to take care of herself.

Thankfully, the nurse I have been dealing with is kind.  She is going to allow Mom to stay there for the day to see if she turns a corner….one way or another.   God, I understand.  I certainly understand hard-headedness.  I understand why Mom is basically saying, “Enough is enough.”  I’m just not sure what my role is in this.  I don’t know at what point I am to intervene.

Oh, how I hate November.