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My mom is still in the hospital because her cancer has returned. They did a CT scan and it isn't in her head, so the mental problems are "just" the Alzheimers I guess. She doesn't understand any of this. She won't do anything, she hardly eats and I can't help her. The pain, I think, is under control, somewhat, but who can tell; I'm not sure she even knows or is able to verbalize whether she is in pain or how much. The medical people throw something new at me every day. They think she should go to a skilled nursing place after release early next week. I hoped to bring her home, but came around to thinking that it might be best, at least until we see how she does. Now, the physical therapist put in his report that she "is ok to go home with daughter with services," whatever that means, so now it is in question whether the skilled nursing will take her. I think a normal person, who could understand the concept of cancer, would either decide to fight it or decide not to and try to just be comfortable, either decision I could support. My mother, because of her mental inabilities, can't do either. She just isn't capable of fighting it, but not capable of trying to relax either. I don't think she can improve and if she goes to skilled care, I am afraid the next step will be a nursing home. But now I am wondering if it would be best, because our home is really not safe or healthy for her. We moved her upstairs to my daughter's room, and she is taking hormone therapy, but I am not optimistic. I have a full-time job and she would be alone for three or four hours at a time. I don't think she is even capable of taking her medicine; afraid she would just lay there in misery until I got home. There are incontinence issues now too, not sure whether it is physical or mental. This week, I have been working half days and going to the hospital for the afternoon to sit with her. At first I was going back after dinner too, but have stopped that. Not sure if it is understandable, but I just couldn't do it anymore. Not sure what is expected of me, but I have limitations. We have one friend who sort of "gets it" and I have confided in her, but I think it is time to give her a rest. The other day, Mom said she'd like to throw herself out the window (it is thick glass so she couldn't). I didn't even answer, because the only thing I could think of to say is "I know how you feel." My husband has been my rock, but we learned last night that his mother's lung cancer has returned. I have never been close with my mother-in-law, but I still feel terrible about it, and selfishly I am thinking that my husband will probably not be able to be as much help to me now. My place of employment has been very good about this and kind, but not sure how much longer I can continue taking off every afternoon, as the reality is they wouldn't employ me if they didn't need me there and I also feel bad that my great co-workers are having to cover my job. Not sure how much longer this will be understood, especially when the major thing is mental and I'm really just being there for moral support, not actually providing any care. I am really not even sure where I stand legally on that part, as far as FMLA goes, which I am technically on, intermittently. Every night I try to justify to myself that I am doing enough, and each morning I wake up feeling I could do more for her. Beginning to wish I was the one dying.
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Gosh, how I feel for you and so understand your conflicted feelings. The one thing you need to remember is you did everything you possibly could do for your mother so don't EVER feel guilty or question yourself.

Your mom's Alzheimer's disease is probably going to progress a little quicker, due to the stress of the illness, the cancer, and the changes in her life, going to the hospital, going to another facility, or even going back to your home. Change is very confusing for them. Hell, everything is confusing for them. The only security they have is remaining in their surroundings, wherever that may be.

You sound as if you are nearing the end of your rope or maybe you've reached it and are barely hanging onto it. In either case, it is time for you to think of yourself. Remember, you are useless to your mom if you lose your own health and that is a huge mistake we as caregivers make, not taking the time to care for ourselves.

I certainly cannot tell you what to do, but it concerns me greatly to think your mom would be left alone daily for three or fours hours. I know she was ok with it before, but now with continence issues and her confusion increasing even more, you don't know what she might do. She may have an accident and decide to clean it up herself, but forgets how to do that and hurts herself trying to clean up, or just leaves the house, out of a state of confusion, trying to find you. It just isn't safe for her any longer, at least that is the way it seems to me.

I know these decisions are extremely difficult and now your husband, who has been your rock, has his mom to care for. Bridget, you need someone to talk to. I hope you can find a counselor to go to for just a few sessions, to help clarify things so you can make some decisions. Above all else, please remember, you have done everything you could possibly do for your mom. My thoughts and heart are with you,
Thank you so much for saying these things. Her Alz seems to have gotten really bad in the week she has been in the hospital. She gets more agitated as the day wears on and sometimes it seems like my being there or calling agitates her further! You know, all I want at this point is for her to die in peace and with some sort of dignity and I can't even help her with that. Everyone around me tries to be as kind as possible, but it seems like some people think the cancer isn't as big a deal since she has Alz anyway, when actually, it makes it way worse. I have come to agree that our home just isn't safe for her anymore, but if she winds up having to come home, Hospice may be of some help.
I'm sure hospice would be of tremendous help to you, from what others have said, who have had experience with hospice. Bridget, you've been caring for your mom for a very long time and if I remember right, you have no siblings, so you've been handling everything by yourself - yes with your husband's support but still all has been on your shoulders. It is time to get help for your mom, and for you.

I believe it is very common for people with dementia to become very disoriented when hospitalized, which ends up causing you more stress and concern. It's an extremely tough situation you are in and I completely "get" where you are at. Bridget, keep posting...we are here to listen and support you.
Warm regards,
Hi Bridget:

I am so sorry to hear about your mother (and your MIL). It is such a hard time when they are in the hospital... It is hard to make a decision but with working, it would be a very heavy load on you. You have to, as Mimi says, take care of yourself. I think that it is hard to fight the guilt no matter which way you go.

Perhaps sit down and write out the pros and cons of each decision and that may help clear up the decision-making process for you. Either way, you have been a wonderful daughter to your mother and will always be. Meanwhile take care...

Love and Hugs from Glenda

My heart really goes out to you dear lady. You have done, and are doing everything you humanly can do for your dear mom.

We are in the hospice program because of my mom, and I can not say enough good things about them. When hospice accepts a patient, they take in the entire family. They will give you loving support, and perhaps can help find a volunteer or someone who can stay with your mom while you work. You will also have kind and loving people who will be there for you to talk to, and will help you through this most difficult time.

Please do keep posting ... we all care about you.


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