Hi, I take care of my 85 year old mom. Pretty much by myself. She has home health but that's only a nurse visit and a little pt.  She has non small cell cancer that has been treated with 10 visits of radiation. She goes back in April for another pet scan. She also has copd, CHF.  She has badly damaged lungs that's even more so since the radiation.  Her oxygen levels are dangerous when she sleeps at night , she wears oxygen 24/7. But mornings it has fallen into 50,s level. Last night her oxygen was off to shower. She became out of breath and I got her out. Checked 02 level it was 51. Her Dr is useless , her doesn't get it. She recently got out of hospital because she had quit breathing at home and I called 911. 02 level was 57 and she was unconscious.  She was on ventilator for 2 days. Had phemonia that was antbiotic resistant.  In isolation.  I don't know each morning if she's going to wake op or be dead. Scares me to death. How do you deal with the stress of it.???

Original Post

Hi Charlotte.. welcome..

The stress of caring for a loved one especially where O2 levels drop so low is more than stressful for both of you. Have you tried finding another doctor?

Your mom is 85 years old. Are you able to communicate with her on a deeper more soulful level where you speak with one another from the heart? If she is alert you might want to ask her what she truly wants.  Maybe she doesn't want all the radiation etc which destroys the quality of her life and time that is left. 

I know when I cared for my husband, mother, father and pets, I would become afraid of their dying alone with me... What I began to understand as I reached out more and more to heal myself as well as love them unconditionally as I cared for them was that our spirits or souls do not die.. these shells we call our bodies are an illusion.. we just transform. Unfortunately, we think we are human beings having a spiritual experience but our true essence is spirit having a human experience. 

Throughout our lives we have been conditioned by our parents, families and societies that death is so horrible.. while in all indigenous cultures they celebrate the passage rather than mourn.

Caregiving is an opportunity to look within at our beliefs around mortality, death, etc. It is also an opportunity when your mother is lucid to share precious moments where perhaps she can she her fears, you can share yours, and you can connect on a deeper level so that their are quality moments of connectivity between both of you.

As for pet scans and radiation... ask yourself and then ask your mom.. if it might be better to forego all the invasive harmful treatments that aren't working.. and make the choice to keep love surrounding both of you... keep her breathing treatments up.. help with her pain to stabilize her on her journey. You might even consider hospice which provides nurses and aids in your home.. as well as loving support for both of you.

Let me know what your thoughts are.

Richest blessings in all you are doing... breathe deep angel.. you are a gift to your mother... and many heartfelt lessons can be experienced for both of you.

Gail

Hi Ladies,

I'm new to the site and these forums- and I only answered this one because it is the most recent post (as the others are all from years ago).  So, I don't have any info on oxygen, but I recently moved across the country to become a caretaker for my grandmother who had  a stroke.  

I understand the concern of wondering if you are going to wake up to a loved one's death, as I do the same.  And- to be honest- I've worked in senior health care (one of the reasons I moved back to live with my grandmother) and daily death is part of the deal when dealing with the elderly, so it's something you just have to compartmentalize and get over the emotional attachment of being a family member and be "professional" when dealing with your "patient" and then be a "family member" when dealing with your "loved one".

What I was looking for was more skills for care taking, not really the hand-holding, emotional support side of it.  

If anyone is interested in starting that type of discussion, I would love to be involved.  And I apologize if I offended anyone with my opinion, but being a caretaker is just one of those jobs when you have to break down and cry, you do it while taking a shower. Otherwise, it's gotta be business as usual or else you are not benefiting your patient.

Best of luck to you all!

Hi Zoe,

Welcome.. unfortunately many people don't respond to the messages but they do read the posts. I honor your move to care for your grandmother. You both must be incredibly heartful souls.. Since you are involved with health care, you can understand the challenges caregivers face when learning how to detach from your loved one emotionally.

I think if we can master the phrase, "after me, you come first," one gets in touch with how important it is to take care of our own health no matter the circumstances so that we can better care for them.

What types of skills are you looking for so that we may respond?  I think it is most important to share what your needs are?

Richest blessings in all you are doing.

Gail

Hi Gail,

i absolutely love your "after me, you come first" saying because it is so true and yet easily forgotten. 

And having the background is helpful, but it's a horse of a different color when you are dealing with a family member! I  Think my biggest frustration is dealing with the home health professionals. Since I do have a good background, what I've stressed to them is I really need help with bathing because that's not something I know how to do. After almost 3 weeks, I still have not had somebody show me how  to bathe someone.   If anyone has any tips, I'd appreciate them. Or if it's more of a "learn as you go & wing it "style, that's fine too. I just feel like maybe I'm missing something that I should know before I go ahead and try to bathe my grandmother. 

Hello Zoe,

My apologies for not having responded sooner.. I have been away on a silent retreat for the past week with no access to the internet.Your response reminded me of my correspondence with Dr. Elizabeth Kubler Ross. Here was a women that advocated for proper end of life care through hospice and so much more but when she was in the hospital, the staff was rough, uncaring and treated her awfully.

I can understand the times we are living in where people are working long hours for very little money, the stresses etc but many people in the health care industry just do not have the patience and caring, nor the heart that is truly needed. Of course, needless to say, there are millions who are doing the work of God in the care they provide.

I am not sure if you are needing to bathe your grandmother in her bed or in a shower or tub. I did do a search on google for:

videos on how to bathe an elderly person

and I did one more search for 

instructions for bathing elderly people

Many of the videos are on you tube for free. There are ones that show bathing in bed and several for a bath tub and shower.. with info on grab bars, bathing stools etc. I am sure if you watch one or two of them, you will find the best way to assist her.

Let me know how you make out.. This is my best suggestions.

Your grandmother is blessed to have your loving care and I know that even though it may not always appear to be a gift, caring for her is a huge gift for you.

Blessings in all you are doing.

Gail

Hi Gail,

Thank you for the tip. I'm not sure why I didn't think to try YouTube, but that's a great suggestion! 

I had tried YouTube when looking for instructions for helping grandma on & off the toilet. She's pretty mobile with her walker and can use the toilet herself, altho I do supervise. The funny thing about YouTube was that they had a bunch of videos on "how to back up to the toilet", "how to sit on the toilet" and even "how to get off of a raised toilet seat"....but you know what the problem was? No one ever showed how to do those steps only using one hand/how she should pull down her pants and pull them back up again! (I laughed cuz it really was a problem for someone with a balance problem but couldn't find how to do it properly- lucky, we worked it out and she can do it on her own)...but it's things like that where I am stumped and don't kno if there is a correct way to do it or if "winging it" safely is the right thing to do! (Ha ha).

luckily, she can bathe in the shower and tries to do most of it herself (she may have had a stroke but is ornery and determined so often she just says that I am a pain in her you-know-where. Lol).  But I will def try YouTube because I can't seem to figure out how NOT to get everything else in the bathroom wet! 

Thank you again for the help and happy to bounce around around any other ideas or suggestions if you need. 😀 Zoe

Hi Zoe,

Seems like you are handling it.. reaching out, getting support and feedback... an most importantly winging it. Just breathe deeply when you feel stuck and answers will come to you,

It's great that your grandmother is trying to do as much as she can especially showering .

The best thing is to keep asking for what  you need and I will respond as quickly as I can...

There is life after caregiving and I have become an artist so I spend a good deal of time seeking out connections etc.. My work is custom installations so I don't need to do much at home.. just on site work.

Keep your spirits up... diaglogue with your grandmother as much as you can as I am sure she can also contribute to what works best for her. It might be good to invest in a bathing stool for her in the shower or the tub, grab bars etc to make it more secure for her and easier on you.

Keep us posed.



Gail

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