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TopamaxKillsMe 10-17-2007 01:10 PM

I feel like a horrible person
My mother has had multiple myeloma for over a decade. I lived in Los Angeles and my two siblings that lived near my mother weren't helping. We come from an extremely dysfunctional family. My mother's condition was worsening, my life in LA wasn't going so well so i decided it was time to step up to the plate. At first, I wanted to move her to LA (I hate Florida) but I was worried that taking her away from her doctors would cause problems so I moved here. My background is in Entertainment so I haven't been able to find a job on the level I had in LA. My mother and I share a very confined space (it's a studio apartment). I took her care of her for the first few months I was here but then I started having problems with my epilepsy medication. Additionally, since I"m uninsured, I spent a lot of money and was forced to go get a job to pay my bills (I have a car, credit card payments among other outstanding debt)...not quite what I wanted but I am temping in an office.

My mother has friends from church who used to help her when I was in LA. One of them was taking my mom to the doctor when I was sick from the Topamax or when I was at a job interview, and now working. Her friend from church committed one day to take her to chemo and then the morning of, she canceled because of a family emergency. WE have a phone that is very loud so I heard her friend saying that I should take her to the hospital and I answered that it was impossible because I had to go to work. could we try to get someone else from church? I want to say that if worse came to worse I would've taken my mother to the hospital for chemo and risked losing my job; however, I felt confident that she would be able to get another ride. After all, when I was in LA, she would always manage to find someone from her church to take her, or even the Cancer Society. IT all worked out except for the friend suddenly got angry. She called me that afternoon on my cell phone with a very antagonistic tone, wanting to know why I wouldn't take my mother to the hospital. I told her that i was at work, couldn't talk. She hung up on me.

To attempt to make this story not as long as it is, I will wrap it up by saying this woman came over to my mom's last week to bring her cold medication. On my way home from work, I had asked my mother if she needed me to stop to get anything. She said her friend was going to get her some. That night the friend showed up very antagonistic. When I told her that my problem with her was her calling me at work, she started screaming that I am useless, pathetic, I don't love my mother. My mother was clearly getting upset and I asked the "Friend" to stop and leave because she was upsetting her. Instead she screamed "I don't care" and continued to scream at me, finger in my face, spit flying out of her mouth. She told me I should go back to New YOrk (I lived in NY BEFORE LA). She finally left but I have been very upset about this. i wonder if my mother has said anything to her to prompt this behavior.

I have had thoughts of leaving although I do'nt think I will be able to live with myself if I did. I am so deeply unhappy here. I have thoughts of just getting in my car and driving...anywhere, just away from this.

I have done everything for my mother that I can but I don't feel that it's ever enough and with her friends outburst, I wonder if my mother shares her opinion about me.

I don't know what to do. i feel very depressed and like my life has reached it's lowest point. I get little support (emotional or otherwise) from my brother and my sister seems to think that I'm just prolonging my mother's life which will end soon enough. I don't believe that. That's why I came here. I believe that with the right amount of care and treatment, she still has a few years left (she's only 75).

Anybody? Am I crazy?

kr045 10-17-2007 10:57 PM

Re: I feel like a horrible person
I don't know about in your area, but most areas have a caregiver support network at little to no cost. You can have someone come out for a while and just sit with your mom, read to her, play games, watch tv, whatever she's interested in and you can take a break. I used to go sit at a park for an hour or two, or even just go take a hot bath that lasted an hour or two every so often. It sounds like you need to do something for you. As for that "friend," if your mom is of sound mind, ask her honestly what's going on. She may not give you an honest answer, but if you sit down with her and discuss how upset the friend made you (and sounds like understandably so), she may think twice next time if it so happens that she did say or do something that caused the friend to act like that. Either way, the friend had no right to go off on you. If that friend honestly felt you were putting your mom in danger in some way, you'd think she would have called the appropriate authorities, not have gotten in your face. If all else fails, try to deal with the friend the best you can if that's all your mom really has other than you. Maybe try talking with the friend, keeping your own feelings of rage to yourself until after she leaves, and talk calmly no matter what. Ask the friend what prompted her outburst and explain to your friend that if you didn't care about your mom, you wouldn't be there with her or be talking with the friend to find out what's going on in the first place. Caregiving is hard work, it's a full time job all on it's own, plus some because of the emotions it causes. If you don't take care of yourself, you won't have anything left for anyone else.

Just to suggest what to look for in the way of assistance, here it's called "Center for the aging" and they're WONDERFUL!

Good luck.

kr045 10-17-2007 11:00 PM

Re: I feel like a horrible person
You know, just an afterthought, but that friend may be feeling left out too. Not that it excuses her behavior, but if she's a good friend, she may be feeling like you're "taking her place." See if that's a possibility. She'd most likely deny it if you asked, so you'd have to figure out a way to find that out on your own without asking, but it's a good possibility that it's a form of jealousy.

kr045 10-17-2007 11:01 PM

Re: I feel like a horrible person
You know, just an afterthought, but that friend may be feeling left out too. Not that it excuses her behavior, but if she's a good friend, she may be feeling like you're "taking her place." See if that's a possibility. She'd most likely deny it if you asked, so you'd have to figure out a way to find that out on your own without asking, but it's a good possibility that it's a form of jealousy.

kr045 10-17-2007 11:04 PM

Re: I feel like a horrible person
Oh wow, not sure if it was my internet or what, but somehow that double posted! :confused: Sorry!

TopamaxKillsMe 10-19-2007 01:33 PM

Re: I feel like a horrible person
Thanks for your responses. I haven't been able to find any sort of support group (and I've looked). THe only place I found is the Jewish FAmily Center where I am seeing a therapist. My siblings aren't much help. In fact, they think I should leave her and get my own place. I didn't move to Florida to live, I moved to take care of my mom. IF I were to move out, I'd go to NY or Chicago or some other city that is more appealing than Tampa. Regarding her friend, whether she's jealous, serious or just crazy and proud. I want nothing to do with her. I've told my mother that I never want to see her again. she crossed a boundary and had no right to make any of those comments especially when she doesn't know me or my history with my motehr (i left LA for a month to care for her a couple of years ago when she had her bone marrow transplant...I was working remotely for a month which ended up causing problems in my office and I ultimately ended up losing my job. I don't regret what I did (coming out to help her). I just tend to get angry when someone attacks me and screams (to the point that spit is flying out of their mouth), that I don't love my mother, that I'm pathetic, a rotten daughter, etc. It infuriates me. If I never see this woman again, it's too soon. IF she's "jealous" of me, then maybe she should see a therapist. I have my own problems.

Thanks for listening to me rant. i am so far gone, I can barely see out of the darkness.

Jennita 12-18-2007 01:41 PM

Re: I feel like a horrible person
Ok, my advice, grow some balls;) Seriously, you are doing something wonderful for your mom and this is the thanks you get?? You moved across the country, that alone most people would not do. That woman who chewed you out should be banned from your presence...if you see her at your moms, promptly leave and say you won't be back intil she is gone. What nerve to judge you like that! You are the only one who stepped up to help, and helping does not mean you should be over-stressed, over-worked or plain pushed around!

I didn't have as bad as an experience but my mom had a fall and cannot do much. Now, although my father is still alive and well (just old and slow but still can get around) it suddenly became my job to get every bit of food in the house, go to all appointments, etc. which is not good for me because I have 2 kids still at home, a house, two dogs and a husband.

I didn't mind the errands but it was every other day, sometimes every day. I had to go to their store, not mine which was more convenient, I had to buy exactly what they wanted in exact quantity(which meant they'd run out in two days), etc. I brought in a load one day, the next day they were completely out of milk so I had to go drop off a gallon of milk of all things.

I had to pick up prescriptions even though my dad still drives. They refused the free prescription delivery service their pharmacy has, refused meals on wheels, refused low cost transportation for seniors to go to doctor's appointments.

So I started going to my own store, bringing larger amounts of items and they got ticked off. I explained I can't be running back and forth everyday. I found out too, that my brother was there like 3 times a week to use their computer because he doesn't have one(not for work, but ******* and surfing) so I said why not have him go pickup a few items since he is already there? But no, they would wait intil the next day he was gone and would call me.

This is not a daughter's duty to be abused like this. I had no problems with helping them at all. But it became clear they wanted to run me as though I owed them something. We do owe our parents some considerations, love and help but there has to be a line drawn when it comes to abusing the situation.

You also had been abused by the friend of your I wasn't, but my mother-in-law who lives in the same neighborhood mentioned one of the neighbors came to her sort of complaining that my parents were left high and dry (What, I was there like every other day for weeks!!!) So if my mother-in-law had not jumped to my defense with the neighbor, perhaps I would have found myself in the same position you did that day your mom's friend unloaded on you.

My daughter took a women's study course and she explained that throughout history, daughters have been expected to do more than sons. But see, now in this day and age, daughters do more, they work, they have a right to be treated with the same consideration as sons. Thus, my new philosophy is to grow some balls.

Now, my parents finally got the message and my dad has gotten off the couch and takes care of some things and guess what? He walks faster, can do more things and the house is running much smoother. He was becoming a vegetable on the couch doing nothing. My mom still can't do anything other than use a walker to the bathroom and such but again she refused to see a back doctor(even though she has multiple fractures) so now that's her choice.

The fractures heal but without medical help, physical therapy, etc. she doesn't make any progress.

Anyway, my advice is, do help your mom but don't take any form of abuse, make sure you have some "you" time and time for your family who are also important. Do things in a way that will cause you less stress and less time or don't do it at all. Next time anyone complains on how you take care of things for your mom, say well, maybe I should just go back to LA since I'm not of any help here and see how fast they shut up. And do it if things don't change!

TopamaxKillsMe 12-19-2007 09:46 AM

Re: I feel like a horrible person
Jennita, I want to thank you for your post. It really made me laugh and it made me feel not so alone. What you've described re: your parents and what they expect of you is very close to what I go through.

More drama re: the friend and I've basically told my mom that I have no desire to see her anymore. Also, we have just moved to a bigger apartment and I'm hoping things get better. If I need alone time, I can just shut the door.

Have a great holiday and I'm working on growing my balls as a new years resolution.

JulJul22 12-19-2007 01:54 PM

Re: I feel like a horrible person
Topamaxkillsme-You are doing a wonderful thing for your mother. As far as her friend, I’m sure that she loves your mother and is fearful of her health and just feels helpless and scared. You have to look at it from her point of view too. They are probably around the same age and she is seeing her friend who is very sick and doesn’t know how to handle it. Never the less, her behavior towards you was uncalled for. I would ask your mother how she feels about your caring for her and if she’s happy and appreciative, I would just laugh it off. Some things in this world are just not worth worrying about, you know?

You are in a very stressful situation right now and you have to take some time for you too. I haven’t kept up with your threads but I know that you also suffer from epilepsy, as well as myself, and that’s enough to break you down sometimes. I am a 22 year old single mother with a 5 year old daughter. I have also been the caregiver for my grandmother for the last three years. I recently had to put her in a nursing home because she suffers from Alzheimer’s and no longer remembers me. I think that what you are doing is such an unselfish act and deserves some appreciation. You have changed your life around to care for another person. What else could you possibly do to show your love?

delrae4753 12-20-2007 08:46 AM

Re: I feel like a horrible person
your in tampa and I am too my mom passed 18 months ago she was under hospice care and they have a caregiver support group along with respite care for when you need to gets things done call them they are so helpful

Jennita 12-20-2007 01:44 PM

Re: I feel like a horrible person
Topamax, I'm so glad I could help you feel better. When I decided to complain to my parents....another example one day my dad needed callous pads from the drugstore, I knew my brother was there the day before and my dad didn't ask him. I knew this because like I said, my mother-in-law lives in the same neighborhood and she told me!

So I called him on it, gave him a little hassle about it. I started complaining every time I was being inconvenienced (not when I wasn't of course).

My mom is typically a huge complainer and also a bit bossy (this was most of her life, not since she became ill) about everything so I thought hey, I can use that and I started being the same way! It actually worked, they started getting more things for themselves and asking my brother when he'd come.

I used to have to go along at doc appointments because of the hassle of my mom's wheelchair, despite the fact the doc's office said they'd help with it. One day, my sweet son offered to go instead of me, he said it would help me and also he hadn't seen them in awhile so he would like to hang out with them. So I said ok great, what a good son I have!

Well, he was about 10 minutes late, because my mom always insisted on getting the first morning appointment and my son is a bit of a night owl. This really ****** my parents off at me sending him instead of going myself.

I said hey, I didn't "send" him, he wanted to help, he expressed a desire to spend time with them and I thought that was just fine. What's wrong with that so what if he was 10 minutes late that doctors office is always busy in the morning anyway. Anytime I've gone with them, I've watched the clock and it's always a long wait but this time they claim it was a long wait because of my son being a bit tardy.

When I told them I always watched the time other trips and the wait was just as long, they didn't believe me. See, the doctors office clock is inside the front office, you can't see it from the reception room but I have a cell phone I would check every so often so I knew!

So I said from now on, how about this, make the appointments later in the day because even I have a busy morning, take my daughter to school, etc. and sometimes its hard to get out early so promptly to get to their house.

My mom was so stubborn about being told when to make the appointment she actually decided after that to take a cab to the doctors, whatever, fine with me!! I'm telling you, you have to put your foot down because parents sometimes start to act like spoiled children when they demand stuff!

You are doing a great thing Topamax, but you are worth some consideration here and if you have to demand some consideration, so be it. That's all I did....demand some consideration.

I never said I wouldn't help or didn't want to help. Since then I offer things but mom is so proud/stubborn she won't ask. Fine, that's her decision!! I still go visit weekly, bring some lunch and sometimes a movie. They seem to be doing ok now on their own anyway. All that hassle for nothing.

Of course, this year, my mom was complaining the tree isn't up yet. Well, last year while she was in rehab for the fall, my dad bought a very small artifical tree that you literally take out of the box and sit on a table. It's that simple!!! I even offered to do it but she said no. I'm sure he'll get it out anyway soon, there's no work to it, but she just had to complain!

Do I feel guilty? A little, but really there is no reason why I needed to be stressed out and harassed simply because they needed a bit of help.

I also think I learned a valuable lesson, not to become like that. In other words, if I need my kids help someday, I will not expect it as a given but just be grateful they do help, be thankful and when the urge comes to complain maybe just remember how much resentment that could cause. Even my son, who was so happy to help, ended up disgusted as while they waited for the doctor, my mom started complaining about me, and even about my dad when he won't do things she wants, etc.(I've seen him run for her and take care of her just fine) and the whole time my son wanted to hang out with them, instead all he got was a bunch of complaining and it was no fun at all.

In fact, he came home saying he was exhausted from the whole experience and it was a huge downer and he didn't think he would like to do it again anytime soon.

Man, I want my kids to enjoy helping me, not resent it or have it become a stressful event in their lives because I'm sure they will have their own set of life stresses to deal with as it is.... I shouldn't add to it!

I'm glad you have made that New Years' resolution, you know, having a pair is kinda cool, it's very liberating. No wonder men are so into talking about having them!:cool:

TopamaxKillsMe 12-26-2007 12:47 PM

Re: I feel like a horrible person
I signed a year lease to live w/ my mother. It's a long story but my sister wanted me to pay rent for a tiny studio my mother was renting from her for an obscene amount of money. You would've thought we were living in NYC or LA, not Tampa Florida but for whatever reason, my sister wanted to stir the dyfunctional family pot. I refused, she threatened to sue me. I told her that for what she wanted me to pay her, I could rent a 2-bedroom....and I did, the problem is my mother's ungrateful. After that drama, I made a conscious decision to not have any contact w/ my sister (after all, I moved here because she did NOTHING to help my mother). My sister bugged my mother to come over for Christmas eve. I said no but told my mother she was welcome to go. She did. I stayed home and unpacked, tried to clean up, watched some Mad TV to lighten my spirits. Rather than come home and try to spend quality time w/ me, she gave me this speech about how I hurt my sister. I was amazed.

My mother constantly tells me that she loves all 3 of her children the same even though she knows I have done the most for her. My mother told me that I was self-centered. My mother is also paranoid. Without going into too much detail, she thinks that people from her past are all in cahoots w/ each other and break in and steal things or hide them just to annoy her. She is also very much like you described your mom: Bossy and demanding.

I understand she needs help and that's why I moved back here after 17 years of independence. I am not a fan of Florida. I don't know if it's because I have so many foul memories from my childhood or it's the state. Somewhere buried in my subconscious is the truth. The bottom line is that I left a state I loved (cAlifornia) and moved here for the sole purpose of caring for her.

I made a mistake signing that lease. I really feel like getting out of here most of the time and the rest of the time I feel this profound sadness about how dyfunctional my family is, and how my mother is sick and I'm afraid she will die and we will be on bad terms. We used to be so close, but I guess when you're 3,000 miles away, it's a lot easier than when you're sharing a tiny space.

I tried telling my mother how something was going to be done...she demanded I drive to the old apartment and pick up her ratty red bathroom carpet and I told her that I had too much to do so I would pick it up the following day. It escalated into a huge fight and she started praying in front of me while I was trying to talk to her. She also told me that she couldn't wait to die.

I don't know how I can get through the next year.

Jennita 12-26-2007 03:57 PM

Re: I feel like a horrible person
All that drama over an old bathroom carpet? You know what, you have to start patting yourself on the back for all the help you give, don't wait for her to do it. Tell her you have already sacrificed your wonderful life in California (I live there and so I know what you've already given up... I love it here!). That alone should be enough.

Yes, I'd be the one who wouldn't leave my home state for any reason, so I already give you uberpoints for just the move alone!! If I had a child that would do that sort of sacrificing, I'd be praying in front of him or her like your mom did, only it would be me praying to God thanking him for the wonderful a child I had!!

You really do have to grow those things we mentioned. It's that time where the child must become the parent, now she must realize you are the boss and that's that. Too bad if she doesn't like it. Seriously, you hurt your sister???? She didn't think it might have hurt YOU that your own sister wanted to take you to court and sue you????

I myself had a tif with my brother over my mom awhile back over some planning of doc trips...he got all macho and sort of yelled(It was e-mail caps) at me. So I let him know I didn't appreciate it and to from now on don't e-mail me about plans but rather discuss directly with mom or have her ask me.

My mom actually tried to put the guilt trip on me over it, when in fact it was him that started the fight, not me. I told my mom I could forgive but no way was I going to apologize for anything since I was the one who was attacked... not him. I said if he was willing to forget the whole thing (I don't need an apology) I could too but she actually thought I should talk to him and apologize.

For what, simply telling him I don't put up with being bossed? I don't think so!!! I told her in no uncertain terms that if I had done wrong by him, I would apologize but since I did not, no way in hell!!

So the thing seems to have smoothed over but I don't have alot of contact with him anyway, even before.

I must admit, I have an advantage you probably do not. I have a very sweet yet extremely intelligent/independant daughter who talked to me and really gave me a clear picture of what was going on. That does help to have someone around to defend you, however, I've also learned it's good to defend yourself as well. You know, yes, she's your mother and you are honoring her in your own way but who said you owe her anymore than that?

Becoming a mother doesn't give one the right to make a child's life a living hell...what about the parent's supposed unconditional love?

Heck, then lets' just say a parent is allowed to beat a child, drug them, abandon them, malnourish them, etc. etc., simply because they gave birth/life to that child and then say that child should't say anything about it and still bend over backwards to please that parent for all their lives .... I mean, where do we draw the line on this thing???

Yes, we are supposed to honor our parents, but sometimes they forget that parents are supposed to have unconditional love for their children. It' a two way street, people!!

I do feel, however, it's ok for the child to cut the parent some slack. The parent, think about it, is near their time, usually not feeling well, may have some depression and disabilities. So yes, we feel sorry for them and try to help....but that's it. That's as far as it should go. All the other crap shouldn't even be a factor, get rid of that, don't allow it!!

If it's any consolation to you, I know I'm just a stranger to you but in my opinion, you are a great daughter and everyone else who doesn't think so is just full of it.

It's getting close to New Years, time for that resolution promise...:cool:

TopamaxKillsMe 12-30-2007 08:52 AM

Re: I feel like a horrible person
Another episode with mother this morning. It got really ugly.

She is on a cycle for Myeloma which consists of revlimid and dexamethasone. She takes revlimid every day for 21 days and 10 dexamethasone pills each Saturday for 4 weeks. Yesterday when she went to take her dex, I noticed ten pills more in the bottle so that means either she missed a dose or the pharmacy messed up. My guess is that the dose was missed on the day we moved which was two Saturdays prior to yesterday. Her friend, the crazy one was supposed to help us move on Sunday but instead she called first thing in the morning and said she was coming over "now". She was helping us so what were we to do? That threw off the whole rhythm and its possible that she forgot to take her meds. I was not myself that morning as it was my dad's bday (he passed away) and I can't stand dealing with my mom's friend and we ultimately ended up getting into a fight.

Well today I woke up at about 3am to use the bathroom and my mother was up. She had the lights on and was frantically looking through her paperwork (even though she can barely see). I asked what was wrong, she told me she couldn't sleep. I went back to bed seeing how frantic she was.

This morning she asked for the dexamethasone. Iasked why. She said she wanted to keep it with her meds. When I went to give it to her, she immediately tried to open the bottle. Again, I asked what she was doing and she said she was taking her dose. I said "you took it yesterday" but she said she had to take her missed dose and I said to her that we should consult her doctor. My stubborn mother insisted and we struggled with the pills (I was trying to get some balls, after all too much of this stuff could kill her). I then hid the pills and she said all kinds of rottten things to me. Like I treat her terribly and abuse her, she's a victim. Nevermind that I'm the last of her kids that can stand to be around her and have flown cross country numerous times when she was in need. And of course I ended up moving here. She tells me that I will feel terrible about how I treated her once she's dead. Almost as if to curse me. Am I really supposed to believe she loves me? I wonder sometimes.

My temp job ends Friday. I am considering just getting in my car, getting further in debt and leaving. Where? I don't know. I just don't think I can take this anymore. It's making me crazy.

Jennita 12-30-2007 02:41 PM

Re: I feel like a horrible person
oh my, good god your mother could have definitely OD'd on that stuff. Every pharmacy instruction pamphlet, every drug information guide I've ever read explicitly says if you miss a dose, do not take the missed dose!!! She would have doubled her immediate dosage, which could have been dangerous...that dex is a powerful, nasty drug!!

You are definitely in the right, here. I would say when she dies, you should think of how you sacrificed and literally protected her from herself.

Do you have any of the drug literature? I'm the type that would find it on the internet if I didn't have it already, print it and highlight the part where I was right and really rub it in!!!:mad:

Also consider steroids really change the personality, it is a listed side effect, so maybe some of her behavior is related to that. Is the doc giving her the lowest possible dosage for her condition? Sometimes the dosages can be too strong for some people and thus more apt to cause more noticeable side effects. If she is too irritable, manic(sleep problems included) perhaps get her doctor to use a lower dose. Sometimes a dosage change makes alot of difference. In fact, if your mom becomes extremely irritable, has problems sleeping perhaps you should be clear to the doc that those effects are becoming unacceptable and a change should be made.

Try to stay the course or at least don't do anything that will cause you to get into debt..although I'm not sure what you meant by that but anyway, think of her yes but also your own situation.

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