A Week in the Life of an Elder Caretaker

To say the last 15 months have been difficult for my mother and the rest of the family is a gross understatement. I can’t think of anything more difficult than having to watch someone you love suffer in tremendous pain. It’s like being in one of those war movies where you are forced to watch the enemy torture and kill your best bud right in front of you.

Since August 2014, my mother has suffered with a fall, a concussion, a slashed forehead requiring stiches, a broken 5th metacarpal bone in her right hand, a partial cast that pained hand arthritis, worsening arthritis in her back, psoariatic arthritis, tooth infections that were escalated by an autoimmune drug she had been taking, dental surgery, nausea to the point where she can’t eat, physical therapy, MRIs, cat scans, XRAYS, multiple bouts of sciatica, and finally spasms that rocked her entire left leg, leaving her in excruciating pain.

We took her to the ER. That was a fucking nightmare. What she went through deserves mountains of expletives for the simple reason that a trauma occupied every single doctor for hours while my mother screamed in pain. For hours. Multiple times, I was a sobbing mess. At one point, I lost my cool and screamed into the ER for someone to please help my mother. Nope. No doctor. No pain management. All you other non-life threatening people problems can just sit and suffer. I’ve never heard of anything so atrocious. Last night, I felt an anxiety attack coming on so I took half a pill I got from my primary care. Five minutes later, I was sobbing.

Once my mom was admitted, the care was a billion times better. Four days on, she’s doing much better. My mom’s taking antispasmatics and pain meds. PT has come by and done some stretching. She’s had two MRIs, a sonogram, and an echocardiogram. From what we know so far, tightness in her hip and pelvic area is at a max and throwing her body out of alignment. She looks better even though she still has some pain. Tomorrow, she’ll probably be discharged with meds, an RX for PT, and a plan to get her out of pain. None of us know whether some of the back pains she’s been having were because of the tightening in the hip and groin that seem to have her body in a grip. We’ll see.

I moved back to my hometown a couple of years ago so we could be there for my mom when she needs us. I haven’t regretted the move for a second. I only wish she could be in less pain. Here’s to hoping that she’ll have a future with a lot less pain and more mobility.

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5 Comments

  1. I’m so sorry you and your Mom suffered such a horrendous experience; you’re one of the most loving and amazing daughters that ever lived. I know your Mom must agree! I’m glad she’s doing better compared to how she was before she was admitted. take extra-good care of yourself – you’ve been through sheer hell!!!

  2. Thank you, Dyane. I’m in shock still. I find myself having anxiety attacks that spill over into sobbing. I withdrew from my memoir writing course because I had no time for the assignments & now I have no time or ability to delve into painful memories about my own medical and personal issues. It will have to wait. I will spend some time outside today. Not sure if I’m going to the beach or a hike in the woods. Thank you for your words of support! I need them & appreciate them!! xoxoxo

  3. I wouldn’t wish what happened to Mom on my worst enemy. No one should suffer like that in an ER and not be able to receive help for hours. It’s not right. Mom would have gone alone, spent more hours by herself, and not been able to advocate for herself. She couldn’t even tell the staff one morning that she didn’t get the right meal and ask for more food. It’s a problem. Talk to you soon! xoxox

  4. It totally makes sense that you need to withdraw from the class, as disappointing as that was – it can wait, the memoir will wait, you’ll return to it. I’m really happy you’ll get out in nature because that’s one of the absolute best things you can do, especially now. I don’t blame you for having those anxiety attacks – I’d feel the same way. So hang in there and know I’m sending you good vibes. You’re very strong and wise for making the right things in your life the priority! XO

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