Once again I accidentally skipped a medication dose. Thursday evening I forgot to take my divalproex (used to treat seizures, migraines and bipolar disorder), making me less stable, more irritable, short-tempered with my husband, overwhelmed, emotionally fragile, raw and vulnerable. F*ck. So that’s a bit of background for how I felt Friday and Saturday.
Am I doing right by my parents? Am I failing myself and my son?

Friday Texts to Owner of Board and Care

Kitt: My mother’s speech therapist told me to work with my mom daily. I’m not up to that b/c I have bipolar disorder and my son gets sick, migraines, depression & anxiety. I must protect myself and my family’s well-being. I do not think that the caregivers are up to speech therapy exercises. Maybe I underestimate them.
Owner: Hi, Kitt, I completely understand your concerns & your concerns for your family. I agree with your assessment that caregivers are not really well qualified to do that, but they can try doing it, & we will see how it goes. It will get better.

Friday Texts with My Sister

Kitt: FYI, the speech therapist today said I should work with mom every day on speech therapy exercises. Staff at board and care are just “caregivers.” They cook, clean, help with bathing. I talked dad into showering today with mom’s help. Mom refused to shower.
Sister: I wonder why mom won’t take a shower? You do not need to follow the demands of a speech therapist. You can do the speech therapy exercises when you are available. They will not control your life. You will control your life and time.
Kitt: This is what she wrote. Do not know what she meant.

She is having trouble with receptive speech, with understanding what is said to her or asked of her. But she knew we wanted her to shower b/c she gets gestures and if restate putting in context.
Sister: Do you think she needs a chair in the shower?
Kitt: I bought one. It’s in their shower.
Sister: Maybe she wants it out then? Or she’s worried dad is going to jump her? ? love in the shower?
Kitt: If she wanted it out, she could take it out.
Sister: Yeah. Probably more the second idea?
Kitt: Thanks for the smile. I’m pretty stressed. I know you are, too. On the positive side, she made huge strides after one session with this guy.
Sister: Good!

Hope that Speech Therapy Books Will Help

Purchased these books online. Hope that I can delegate exercises for my dad to do with my mom. He has moderate stage dementia, so not sure how it will go. I know he wants to help, though. It will give them something to do together that will benefit them both cognitively. Obviously, I’ll have to break it down simply. Will get them a calendar with instructions (page x in book y),  shower schedule, and physical therapy and speech therapy schedules.


24 responses to “Freaking Out”

  1. Yeah. I go see “the man” in 2 weeks

  2. We each have our own mix. Mine has changed over time. Depends on how well I’m doing.

  3. Well at least it’s not meds I guess. Didn’t have luck myself with depakote. Doing better on abilify.

  4. Honestly, I do not get completely derailed, just prickly. I’m really sensitive, and stressed. The combination of stressors probably pushed me more than missed dose of Depakote. That my mother’s speech therapist told me I had to do speech therapy every day with my mom really freaked me out. Simple can’t do that.

  5. do you mind if Mom asks you a personal question – that is, do you think you are on the right mg/combo of meds? Just wondering because missing one day shouldn’t completely derail you. If you have enough in your bloodstream, you’ll usually be good to go until the next dose – or when you remember later in the day to take it. I realize we’re all different and take different combos of things, but I did want to mention that maybe a visit to your own doctor just to be sure could be in order.
    That having been said, I think you are doing a wonderful, wonderful, job, and it’s extremely hard to be in “sandwich” generation – sandwiched between kids and older parents. Sometimes, the filling gets squeezed. Please do take care of yourself. I hope I have not offended you. You really are doing a remarkable job.

  6. No. I will simply simplify my online life for now. I actively use Facebook and Twitter. Twitter is my favorite medium for sharing others’ work.

  7. That’s right, Kitt! You must put you and your family’s health first, and you know that because I saw it in writing! 😉 Just keep remembering that…..and know that you are truly a remarkable woman. I’m glad your sister was able to reassure you during that phone call too. Now on to read what the (&)()((* is happening with Google !!!!!! :0000 Want me to beat them up for you???? 😉 XOXOXOOX

  8. I live in Southern California. They are relocating from the San Francisco Bay Area to Portland, Oregon. They have three boys, so she has her hands full. Come summer, once she has settled in and her kids are out of school for the summer, she can help out.

  9. Thank you! My sister reassured me over the phone, too. We both agreed that it’s important that I not become overwhelmed and take on too much, and that even if my mother doesn’t regain her speech, our parents are aging together. My mom’s a survivor. She’s outlived expectations due to her fight with lymphoma.

  10. Thank you, Michael. God bless you.

  11. My sister and I were discussing that it’s a miracle that my mom has survived this long. She was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma over 30 years ago, was stage 4 at least twice, and underwent clinical trials for monoclonal antibody therapy now FDA approved as Rituxan. Her body has taken a beating. Our father and mother have known that my father has dementia for many years, yet my father continued to drink even though the neurologist told him not to, for alcohol is a neurotoxin and worsens dementia. What is most important is that they can age together, and that I can visit them assured that they are fed and cared for.

  12. Great article. Thanks for sharing it.

  13. Thank you for the information. I’ll see what I can do to make it easier on my mom.

  14. You got a lot on your plate Kit. Can your sister help more? <3
    Diana xo

  15. p.s. LOVE YOU!!!!!! Big, big hugs!

  16. Life is hard enough for us with bipolar disorder when everything is relatively smooth. Right now life for you in this situation is sandpaper. You are being faced with enormous challenges, my dear, and you’re continuing to be strong and proactive.
    I was impressed with your cogent text to the Owner, and I liked the reply you got – it could have been far worse!
    Good for you for locating those speech therapy exercise books. And remember, there’s a window for doing the speech therapy like my Mom the speech therapist shared, and if it doesn’t happen every single day it will still be okay. I’m very pleased to learn that your mother made tremendous progress during one session. You are being the daughter any parent in distress would want during a time like this. You amaze me.

  17. Ditto! Take care Kitt! virtual hug

  18. Self care is important and as we progress through these seasons of change we will and do become overwhelmed as our daily activities and responsibility change. Are you doing the best that you can ? Are you trying to learn more so that you can do better ? If you answer yes than I do not believe that you are failing your son or yourself : ) and that you are doing right for / by your parents. My mom is 77ish and still actively working so I have not reached this phase of supporting my parents. I am grateful that you are willing to share your experience with us. Never got a book on how to be a good kid or a good parent so I am still learning as I go : / May the God of your understanding give you the Grace ( Ability ) to continue to be the Leader in Recovery that you are and Comfort you on your daily journey : ) with Hope and Joy sealed with Peace !!!

  19. As you know it can be totally overwhelming when your parents need care. I felt overwhelmed and inadequate, at the same time honored that I was invited in to do it. But really if you can boil it down to “love them” that is enough. Everything else is gravy! (((HUGS)))))

  20. I have read that older people dislike the sensation of water when their skin thins and for reasons having to do with frailty: “An aversion to taking baths often occurs late in life, experts say, particularly in men. The reason: Taking a bath or shower can seem like a lot of work, and they have fewer reasons to clean up. “You’re probably not getting yourself gussied up for a hot date anymore,” says Brenda Avadian, founder of The Caregiver’s Voice. “The motivation’s just not there like it used to be.”
    For others, fear and frailty prevent them from bathing. “We see many older adults who can’t bathe as often as they want to,” says Moscowitz. “Taking a bath or shower can be dangerous if you’re frail, and it’s common for older adults to develop a fear of falling, because they know they won’t be able to get up.”
    Even so, pride keeps many people from telling family members that they have issues with bathing. “So we have many older people who are just giving themselves sponge baths,” Moskowitz explains, “and that’s not enough.”

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