I am relatively knew to this - have been primary care-giver to my mother for 4 1/2 months. She is dying of kidney failure and congestive heart failure, and has taken a drastic turn for the worse in the past 2 days. Her doctor is starting her on liquid morphine as of this Friday (4/9/99). I can deal with the vomiting...the lack of appetite (she tries so hard to eat)....the inability to DO anything constructive through the day....the long naps that seem to lengthen as time goes one...anything except the mental slippage which is happening more and more. She still knows my husband and I, but is beginning to talk of things foreign to all of us, and doesn't remember the incidents afterwards. I am still running a paralegal business out of my home so I can be at her beck and call 24 hours a day, and my boss is quite considerate any time I can't take a phone call.
But I have been virtually home-bound for 4 1/2 months, and have even lost the desire to go anywhere myself. My husband travels in his job, so I am alone with Mother quite regularly, and she is at the point where the least little exertion causes her to need oxygen (we have the little portable tanks). So I stop several times a day and hook her up. She is sooo very patient but this deterioration is so hard on HER, as she is losing her dignity and self-esteem and the effect it's having on me is at times unbearable. I cry several times a day mainly out of frustration and also after watching her try to struggle with different small tasks that normally come as second nature to her.
I have handled all of this pretty well up until this week, but find I am breaking down several times daily and don't want her to see what I am going through as it just upsets her more. How do I learn to deal with my loss - even though I am quite comfortable with where she is going when her soul leaves this earth? I do feel at times like I am losing my mind that this is happening to someone else - surely not to me. I need help from someone and I don't know who, for anyone who has been a caregiver would laugh at the amount of time I've been involved in this to be already letting it "get to me" as it is.
The closeness between Mom and I is the problem, and if I didn't love her so very much I could let go so I will close for now.