Hi eveyone.....my sister and I have been through a lot with my Mother and I just wanted to get some advice. Here is our history. My sister and I are both 27 now and for as long as I can remember my mother has been addicted to something, at first when we were little it was pain pills. She would get mean and hit us, my sister more than me. She would get to the point where she couldn't walk or talk, I remember many times watching her vomit all over herself and going right back to sleep. I remember playing outside while she was passed out and coming in to check to make sure she was still breathing. She actually did time in prison for abusing Dr's and stealing perscriptions. About the time I went to college we found out she was using heroin She always had weird people over and was always nodding off. She finally came to us and said she was going to treatment, she did, for about an hour and left. My sister and I finally moved out because we couldn't take it anymore. About that time my mother had a stroke, we believe it was related to heroin or heroin withdrawl. She lost most of her speech and is weekend on the right side. That was about 7 years ago and she has just been getting worse. Im not sure if she is still using or not, I dont like to go to her house, but she is in bad shape. She's in a wheelchair 24-7 and a severe diabetic, but she doesn't take her insulin like she should, her sugar has been as high as 500 and is rairly below 200, she needs help. She had nursing coming in to help everyday but lost that when her Dr dropped her because she was non compliant. My sister and I have moved about an hour away from her and my Aunt keeps saying we should get power of attorney over her and place her in a nursing home...but she doesn't want that, she is only 54 and Im afraid she would hate us if we did that. I do believe she will die if she doesn't get the medical help she needs, it's just a matter of time...part of me wants to fight for her and do whatever I can, and the other part wants to walk away and let her do what she wants...its her life and she put herself in this situation. Any advice out there???? Thanks
I'm not gonna say I've been where you are, because I havent. Having a family member, especially a parent suffering from alcoholism is it's own little hell, worse then it being any brother, or a sister, or a friend (which is where my vantage point comes from). There are probably much deeper, more severe feeling going on then anything I had to deal with, so as I said I'm not even going to try to say that I know what you're talking about or going through, because I probably have have just the vaguest of understanding at best.
This I can tell you though, you're not the only one, and there are people out there who have been where you are, and will do their utmost to help you. The people I'd suggest going and talking to are the people at AL-ANON, they have been where you and your sister are, and will give you the probably the best support and advice you're going to anywhere. AL-ANON is a support group for family and friends of alcoholics, similar to how A.A. is a support group for alcoholics themselves. They will give you all the understanding, information, and support you'll need to hopefully get your mother the help you feel she really needs. To find where and when these meeetings are, you can either check your local churches or or place you know where A.A. meeting are and see if they also have AL-ANON meetings there for families, or look online for local meetings, or in the phonebook for AL-ANON who will also be able to tell you where local meetings are. If for some reason you arent able to find a number or listing for AL-ANON itself, then just call any A.A. number you find and explain to them what you're looking for,they'll likely have the information about meetings, or be able to point you in the right direction.
The people that I met at the meetings helped put things in perspective for me, understand what was going on with her, what was going on with me and what I needed to understand with the relationship and interaction between us......This is going to be where you'll have to listen because believe it or not her problem isnt just her problem, its also your problem, and in all likelihood you're going to have to change your relationship with her, and how you deal with her illness.
I realize its probably not what you were looking for, but most of us here can just relate to your situation, and maybe give you our opinion on what you should do. The people I'm suggesting you speak with will be able to tell you the right answers and how to deal with your mother, as well as how you yourself can cope with what you are feeling, as well as how to react to all those little (and big) things she is doing that I am sure are driving you and your sister absolutely crazy. Listen and learn, and really understand what "Enabling" and an "Enabler" are really all about, its one of the first steps to turning things around for her and you both.
As I said, I may not know exactly what you're going thru, but I do remember how hard it all was.
....So best of luck with everything to come,
You have my respect for surviving what you have gone through. All I've had to deal with is a Mom who's always been a touch odd (aren't we all???) who then developed Alzheimer's. So I do know about nursing care and how you go about it. This info is just to give you an idea of how it works and what you are getting into. I might not have the facts perfect and exact to your area, but it's darned close.
First, you would need to get guardianship, not a POA. Basically, since your Mom is fighting the situation, you would need to go to court and be declared her legal guardian. This means she would be declared incompetent. (I'm assuming you are in the U.S.) This would take money. I did my Mom's guardianship on my own. It's not that the paperwork or court hearing is difficult, but it would be a job to get it done especially if you are in a large city. Working w/ courts in a small city is much easier. With your Mom not in agreement, you would probably be best to have an attorney. (Power of attorney is used when someone is competent and is making a decision that they want person X to control things if they become unable. The person is doing it of their own free will and the person accepting the POA is agreeing to the responsibility.) Legal guardian trumps POA.
Next, your Mom would almost certainly need a detox prior to being put in a nursing home. Most nursing homes are not prepared to detox someone. So if she is drug tested and fails, that would be the next step that a guardian would have to organize.
Last, very few nursing homes are equipped to take someone who is combative. If she causes issues, she will be removed from the nursing home. They can't and won't allow other residents to be at risk. Would that be a possible problem? And if anything else happens, guess who gets the call in the middle of the night? Any time my Mom has been taken to a hospital I have to drop and run. It happens about 2 or 3 times a year. As guardian, you have to be there. You are speaking for her.
Most larger cities have one or two nursing homes who cater to "problem" residents so where she could end up placed might be limited. If you consider following through with this, you should start doing some drop in visits on nursing homes near your residence. But just because you like a place, it doesn't mean she will get into that particular one. Unfortunately the better ones are frequently full.
Even though my Mom never had any money and is now in a nursing facility, I get calls all the time from the pharmacy, doctors and hospitals. Legally they are not supposed to harass someone who is "only" the guardian --- as in, I'm not her husband who they could hold accountable for $$$ -- but trust me, it does not slow them down. I've received calls about $8 owed to a podiatrist who does nail trims. If she settles in and actually ends up content there will still be cost to you. Right now I'm supplying womb care pads for my Mom that cost $45 each and last anywhere from 1 to 7 days. Medicaid won't pay for them so they call me. What do you do? Say no, let her get bed sores?
Talk to others and get more of this kind of information. If it were me, I'd let her go. She is never going to be "well". That ship has sailed. I think it's amazing that you still have enough love for her to want to try and save her, but I don't think she has ever wanted saved and doing it now after all of this massive damage is just too much for a young person who has a life ahead of her.
I know this got long winded but you are young and I want you to have an idea of what you will be getting yourself into if go down this path. The next time your Aunt tells you to get a POA, let her know you would support her in any way if she decided to do that. I don't think she has any right to suggest that you drain your life's energy this way. Don't get me wrong, if your Mom was sincere and asking for help, have at it. But that's not the case.
Just wanted you to know that there are Al-Anon meetings online in many different formats. Also, Al-anon has just published a book titled, Discovering Choices, that concerns our relationship with a loved one who is alcoholic. I have not read the book, but feel that it probably could be a helpful tool as you make your way through this difficult time.
My mother had a long, difficult struggle with addiction herself (pain meds and heroine). There is no right or wrong in a situation like this.
The one piece of advice I can give is that you have to take care of YOU first. You need to do whatever you need to do in order to protect yourself and take care of your own emotions and feelings.
It is such a difficult thing to watch a parent go through something like this but you have to know that there is nothing anyone can do for her unless she wants it for herself.
With my mother I eventually had to remove her from my life. It was too painful for me to deal with having her in my life when she had no desire to get help for herself.
She died last September from a heroine overdose...such a sad way for a life to end but I truly believe in my heart that she is at piece now.
Good luck with whatever you decide. If you have Naranon or AA in your area that is a good place to go where you can speak with people who know what you're going through. Also seeking personal counselling has helped me SO much.
Thank you all so much for your replies, you gave me a lot to think about. I dont think Im comfortable taking guardianship for my Mother. Your right resolution, it would be different if she were seeking help and truly wanted it. Since I have moved away from her I've had so much piece in my life. I do worry about her, but her lifestyle is not in my face. I dont have to see her passed out on drugs or talk to the weird men at her apartment. Just today she had to go to the hospital for an infection in her foot that she has let go for about a month. They had to cut her foot open and wanted her to stay for a few days to get IV antibiotics, she left AMA. She does this stuff all the time. Thats why she can't keep a primary Dr. And thats why Im afraid of taking guardianship and putting her in a nursing home. She will most likely be kicked out for one reason or another...then what? She will NEVER live with me or my sister again. We couldn't handle it, not sainley anyway. It would be so much easier if I could cut her out of my life completely, but I love her...she's my mother. I want her to be healthy and it kills me to watch her kill herself. But I DO have to do what is best for me. I have to live my life. And I will look into the Al-Anon meetings....that would probably be really good for my sister and I. Thank you again