Dixie Peach: Flip a Coin

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Flip a Coin

I want smooth sailing. I crave the even keel and I get twitchy if routine gets off course in a more than minor way.

That's the end of the sailing based cliches.

My life isn't one that allows a lot of flexibility because my husband depends on me to care for him. It's how our lives are structured and I like it that way. So when something comes up that make me have to make big, if temporary, changes, I balk. I freeze up. I can't decide whether to shit or go blind and I can't make a decision with confidence. I get worried that if I decide wrong I'm going to make things bad for a lot of people.

I called my sister yesterday and she said "Well I have to tell you about Mother.". I'd spoken with my mother last week and I was already aware that she's starting the downhill slide with her Alzheimer's but I can't see how bad things are. I can't see that she's having more hallucinations that are causing her to do things like take her very sharp tweezers and pick at her arms until their littered with dozens of little wounds. I don't see how she's unable to handle any of her own money and she's had to surrender her checkbook and her ATM card to my sister along with her car keys. I'm not on the front lines and so I only get a fraction of how bad things really are.

And then one of the talks that I knew was inevitable but I was hoping to avoid as long as possible came up. My sister said "You have to make your own decision based upon your own responsibilites and your own priorities and how you feel about these things but if it's important to you to be with Mother while she's still able to be who you think she is, you need to think about coming home soon for a visit.


I'd thought about planning to come home for a visit next spring. Maybe April, 2007. I just feel better when I can take my time planning things for my absence. And I need to arrange for my MIL to steer the ship (sorry...had to slip one more cliche in) while I'm gone. Even that's becoming more difficult because taking care of my husband is physically demanding and at the age of 72, it's a bit more than she can handle solo. Now I have to consider perhaps moving things up to this fall - say, October. It's a bit more of a rush for me but I don't want to wait too long. Or would spring be too long after all? Do I roll the dice and hope that in the next eight or nine months my mother won't have slipped down so far that she's no longer the woman I remember or does it even matter? What if I did wait and she did get drastically worse in that time? Can it still be considered a wasted trip anyway or is seeing her at all in any condition good enough? I'm not even sure how I feel about it.

I have to consider who's going to keep B going while I'm gone. Do I rely on just my MIL with selected friends pitching in when things get beyond her strength or do I hire a professional? B did some research and found some agencies that offer nurses from Poland or the Czech Republic that will come stay in your home for 24 hour care with a price ranging from 1000 to 2000€ per month (German nurses would run me about 5000€). I likely wouldn't be gone for more than two weeks so it wouldn't be as expensive but still and all, a stranger caring for B? Can I put my worries aside for that? My MIL would be here, of course, to supervise but it would seem so strange. Then again, what are my other options?

I hate this. I hate having to make these decisions and having to rely on others to take up the slack while I'm gone. I don't like things being out of sorts. I want to crawl up on the sofa and curl up in the corner and pretend that I don't have to feel pulled in different directions. I don't want to make the wrong decision. If I don't go, will I regret not seeing my mother one more time? If I go in the spring, am I going to be able to handle it if I've waited too long? And what if the person I hire hurts B? Is that really going to happen or am I just borrowing trouble?

I can't just do nothing. I believe it really would haunt me if I didn't go see my mother one more time. Time isn't on my side in any of this. I'm even approaching the time when I won't be able to travel at all because once my MIL is too old to aid in caring for B at all, that's it. I really don't know if I could leave him alone without her watchful eye on him.

I'm in need of some clarity in all this. Some quiet time for me to digest this all and to make some decisions without letting the worrisome, childish part of me taking over.


Blogger melusina said...

I think this is something many expats struggle with - but your situation is compounded by your husband's needs.

I wish strength and clarity for you while you work this out in your mind. I won't even try to give advice because if I was in your position, I'd be in the exact same place.

11:29 PM  
Blogger sari said...

You know, I don't think it's childish at all to be having these thoughts. You have many responsibilities, and being so far away from your mother makes it harder as you can't just pack up and go see her if something happens.

I'm sending you my good thoughts and a few prayers too, my friend. I hope for a good resolution for all.

12:05 AM  
Blogger marshamlow said...

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, for your peace of mind. I too live far away and am a care giver. Within the relm of posibity it is posible for me to go, when there is a need, but just because I can, should I? I have struggeled with this particular demon and know a bit of what you are going through. I know it is hard and everyone needs you right now but I hope you find a little bit of time to take care of yourself too.

1:24 AM  
Blogger Kirsti said...

It really is tough - I'm worried enough about what I'd do should anythign happen to my folks or Sal, and that's even with a partner who can take care of themselves.

It sounds like you have some options, and if your MIL is around, she can perhaps act as a "supervisor" for any paid carer?

Listen to and honour all the voices inside you. And take care of that worried child too. *hugs*

3:33 AM  
Blogger Mahala said...

I don't envy you making these decisions and I don't have any words of wisdom to share. You're in my thoughts.

3:53 AM  
Anonymous TitanKT said...

I'm sending you long distance (((HUGS))) and my thoughts and prayers. Even if I had some wise words, the only thing that matters is what you think and how you feel. I am sorry about your mom, though. Very sorry.

6:14 AM  
Blogger Miz said...

It took 3 months for my Mom to go downhill and pass away. Time may not be on your side. You will have to deal with the guilt if things progress fast and it is too late in April.

You need a plan in place not only for a visit to you Mom, but for help for B if (God forbid) your laid up in the hospital or pass before B.

I vote for the nurses and a 10 to 14 day visit with your Mom.

I will include you in tonights prayers, for clarity, solutions and for your Mom. {{Hugs}}

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about a camera on your computer and a computer with camera for your mother. You could see and talk to her in real time without actually being there.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Belinda said...

Oh, I like the webcam idea. I'm so sorry that these are even decisions you have to be burdened with.

And you've been tagged in the infamous BlogHer Blog Me interview festival. But I did it before I read this, so don't feel obligated in ANY way. It's just a fun thing, no biggie.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous candace said...

How about asking B how he feels about it? The need not to hurt him in any way is paramount, but he should understand the risks and be able to tell you whether or not he feels comfortable with any of the options. He probably would want you to go if there's any way possible.

And I think, if at all possible, you should go sooner rather than later. I think you'll want that time.

I'm sorry about your momma, hon. I dread that time. May you have strength and peace. And regardless of what you do in this situation, you aren't being selfish.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

You're a sweet thing, Dixie, taking time to answer me when you've got important things on your mind. Thank you.

As for your mother, I'm for taking time for your heart and mind to become quiet and letting the answer come to you. You know what to do, you know what you want to do. And whatever you decide, rest in the knowledge you're doing the best you can and leave it at that. Keeping you in my thoughts.

11:25 AM  
Blogger zoe xx said...

I'm with Lisa. I suspect you already know the answer, but your heart and mind needs some time to talk through the options and sort everything out.

So sorry that you have to deal with this, but I bet B and your MIL be there for you and help. I would also guess that this is a conversation your sis has been putting off having, so by having it she must mean it if you see what I mean.

Love and hugs

3:22 PM  
Anonymous kara said...

I've got no advice on this one, dix, but I'm thinkin' about you and sending hugs your way.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Y'all are pretty great, you know that? Just knowing that y'all are praying and sending your good wishes and support means the world to me.

I feel a bit better today. I know what needs to be done, now I have to get going with doing it. As it is I think I'll try to get back home this fall.

12:15 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

My heart is with you on this, Dixie. So glad you have the support and love of many people to carry you through!

2:37 AM  
Blogger Jemima said...

What would your MIL do if you hadn't met B and been compatible? People, even in awkward situations are adaptable and find ways of coping or at the very least surviving. It might be that you'd want to get someone involved occassionally earlier on, to make sure any helper understood the set up and was trustworthy. Who knows when you might need someone to lean on. I don't envy your situation over this at all. If you were a bad person you wouldn't care though, I reckon being bothered for everyone is what makes things hard, but no one wants to be selfish. (do they?)

9:57 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Well if I hadn't come along then by now B would be in a nursing home. And likely dead by now since those with spinal cord injuries don't tend to have a very long survival rate once they're put in nursing homes.

I can hire a nurse with no trouble. I can hire the home health care company that have been doing his quarterly care inspections for the health insurance company for the past ten years - they know him quite well. My hesitation with leaving his care to another is I worry that something could happen to him in my absence. My MIL had the same fears when I took over his care. It's just part of the whole thing when you're someone's caretaker.

It's just something I have to get over, that's all.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Colombian Goddess said...

I'm sorry you're having to go through this. It's hard when we're far away when loved ones need us.

You're a good soul and I know you'll make the decisions that are the best. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

11:40 PM  

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