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I own no land, instead I have wheelestate. I’ve been a full time RVer since 1997. Working summers as a Park Ranger takes me to many beautiful places and playing during the winter takes me to many more. This blog is simply the story of my life's adventures.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Trials and Tribulations in Texas


Gulf coast
I’m rather at a loss. What can I say about my most recent trip to Texas to see my parents. I really don’t want to spill my guts about a lousy childhood, nor I’m sure do you all want to read about it. Suffice it to say that my Mom and I have never really gotten along.

Mom

My toe nails haven't been painted in 30 years
I don’t want you to think there was no fun. Mom and I had a great time getting a pedicure, a first for both of us.

Dad
We visited my Dad in the nursing home several times. He’s had several strokes and can only communicate a little.

Aunt Kay
I reached a breaking point and walked out of Mom’s house on Sunday, rented a car and went to stay with my Aunt for two nights. She is truly a sweetheart, a retired RN, and probably the only person that knows and understands my Mom. We had a wonderful visit.

Stormy sky over Texas
Now I’m back home with much to do. Part of that is coming to grips with what to do about Mom. I believe that she’s bi-polar, possibly delusional, and a danger to herself and others when she drives. I’m not asking for sympathy, but am open to suggestions. I have a lot of research to do and will likely blog more about this.

24 comments:

Craver Vii said...

Gaelyn, my instructions were for you to enjoy each other. Now, you get five minutes in the time-out chair and think about this.

I know, I know... I shouldn't be joking. Friend, I wish I could just give you a hug and assure you that it's going to be alright.

May you and your mother find a way to take baby steps towards reconciliation. Can I pray that way for you?

Ruth said...

I feel for your situation, not because mine is similar, but because I often see families like this at work. If your mom is competent in a legal sense, there is really nothing you can do. Bipolar disorders are recognized with less stigma now, but probably not in your mom's mind. Take care of yourself. It is good to be able to look at these events from a distance before you act.

Lisa Wilson said...

It sounds like you had some happy moments and nice visits with your dad and aunt, also. Hopefully the weather was nice and warm!

Could she have some form of dementia? My grandmother has dementia and refuses to seek treatment. She doesn't think anything is wrong with her. The family is at a loss of what to do, also. I pray that you find a good solution!

Natural Moments said...

Difficult family members can be looked at as blessings in disguise. With them in our lives, we are propelled towards higher consciousness with the contrast to not become that which we do not desire for ourselves. By quarreling with such people, we become polarized and out of alignment. When we let go of how they should be in relationship to us, we find freedom with additional energy to be in the moment. We can just smile at their world and become centered then on our own personal dream.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Gaelyn: So sad to hear about this problem. As people age it gets really hard to help them.

Elaine said...

It is very hard when a parent has problems like your mother and it is very difficult to know what to do. Do your research and talk to as many people as you can about it. Eventually you will figure out a way to deal with it. Above all, try to find your way to acceptance and to reach out to her while she is still alive. You don't want to look back after her death and feel regret that you didn't.

Visiting my mother in her last years was always bittersweet for me too. I found myself in tears several times when I left, and then I decided that I had to accept who she was and consider the things in her life that had made her who she was. I accepted that I couldn't change her and I could only change how I responded to her. I know that she did the best she could raising me and that she loved me. She taught me a great deal and gave me many wonderful memories, and those memories that were not so good I have worked to put behind me and accepted as part of what has made me who I am.

Good luck to you on this very difficult journey.

Barb said...

It's good that you went, Gaelyn, and it's good that you live in AZ, where you have some physical distance. I'm wondering if your mother sees a DR that specializes in geriatrics? Also, is her behavior something new that you feel is age related or is it a long-standing behavior that has been part of her for years? It is very difficult when you have to worry about her being a danger to herself and others. Good Luck - I sympathize but have no answers.

Brit Gal Sarah said...

Oh Gaelyn hugs, I'm sorry it was stressful and I'm also sorry about your dad, my grandpa had the same problems and it's so hard to deal with.

As for your mom, I feel your pain, my mum & I have a love/hate relationship too. Inevitably when she's here for 4-6wks I always end up on my bff's doorstep in tears, it's just a given now.


On th upside - nice toes!

Ms. Fiddlesticks said...

What is it about mothers and daughters? I remember my mother being at my grandmother's house for maybe 30 min and she was outside smoking and drinking a coke mad at my grandmother. I wish I could relive that time and know what the set off was. We lived in Ga and grandmother in Fla. What can I say. Mom and I had the hardest time when I was a teenager. Finally in my 40s I decided to stop arguing with her. She has to be right no matter what. As the child we have to suck it up and I am so glad you had a place for R and R.

I am a mile away from my mom and right now pretty much have to be. She is getting where she cannot see to drive and she is so independent that it is defeating her.

I wish I had a magic word for you but the only thing I can think of is live it day by day. Your mother probably is not ready to give up any of her independence and any medical condition she has will have to be treated by her doctor and he could stop her from driving. Keep in touch with her. I hope she has friends. It could make a big difference for her as well as you.

Kathiesbirds said...

Gaelyn, what a hard point to be at in your life and theirs. I hope you get it all figured out. I am sure I wouldn't know what to do. Tough stuff to be sure. Glad you have your aunt to help you. Hugs.

Firefly said...

I'm not going into a long story on what you should do cause I don't really know. But post about it if you feel you should. I'll be that person who doesn't give advice but still lends an ear.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

One of the toughest things I ever had to deal with was the increasing senility of my mother as her Alzheimer’s progressed and I saw the mother I had always known fade away and become a child again. I looked after her as long as I could but there came a day when I had to put her in a home where she could get better care from trained staff. It was one of the worst days of my life.

So be strong Gaelyn, think of what is best for her and do it. I know it is not easy, but sometimes the tough way is the only way.

Hugs

Bibi said...

What can I say except that it's a hard deal...I am nearly in the same predicament. Will try to find time to write you about this very soon at your email address.

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

Time bears no grudge.

I think Mom will work out but never the way we like them to. I am a pain in the ass to my kids at least some of the time, but as I have gotten older they say I have mellowed a lot. I try but sometimes my jargon will set one of them off.

I am glad you guys got the pedicure. And I am happy that you have an idea about what bipolar is all about and I do know there are a few kinds of medicine that seems to work well on some people for this condition.

While I am not dillusional, or don't think I am, I can say that I also have extreme highs and lows and while they are not as bad as they used to be, I did solve the lows back then by buying something like a new fountain pen which put me up high for a few days as I worked with it, my brain reeling with ideas on how much money I could make writing with this pen in my handwriting and calligraphy business. I still have a box of expensive pens and seldom touch them but use gimme ballpoints.

There might be some treat or something that may change your mom's ups and downs and maybe she hasn't found it yet.

Sorry about your dad. I hate the idea of strokes as I have seen them make patients out of perfectly good parents. And the worst thing, to me would be having a stroke or going blind.

I hope things all work out for you.

Diane AZ said...

Gaelyn, so sorry to hear about your mom. I'm glad you were able to spend time with your dad you had a nice visit with Aunt Kay.

Anonymous said...

Gaelyn, I love you. Darlene

Jo said...

Oh Gaelyn, my heart goes out to you and your parents are in my prayers right now. I 'm with all the positive comments above - do your research and keep sharing it with all your caring online friends. I'm so glad you had your "aunt" Kay to go to as well. Be comforted, dear friend. (((Hugs))) Jo

The Good Life in Virginia said...

many hugs to you ... i cannot offer you any solutions but, hugs and love. my Auntie I will be visiting in Rome, Italy has health and emotional issues and in past visits to her (7 years straight) we have our moments, and then things clear up. She actually apologised last year for her actions. She is so like my mother (mom has been gone now for 20 years) and it is like dealing with her (memories of that flood back). I find the older I get, the more I realize that acceptance is a good direction to go. I treasure the moments I have and there aren't many more to treasure and the short time I have to visit her yearly. Sorry about rambling.

on the bright side...your african adventure is around the corner:)

Karen said...

I have no idea what to do. We are in the same boat with Jim's parents--they really need to be in a nursing home, or assisted living, but they refuse to give up their own place. Neither one of them is allowed to drive, so they depend on neighbors, friends, and the occasional visit from their adult children and grand children (all of whom live over a hundred miles away). They DO have two home health nurses who visit twice a week, and a paid assistant they found through the social services office at the hospital--but their money is running out for her.

They want us to come up there, but I just can not do it! The last time we were there, we went because they asked us to, and then they would not allow us to do anything to help them. It was very frustrating.

So, check with the hospital in her area to see if they have any progams like that. Do you know who her doctor is? Maybe next time you go you can schedule an appointment with him and just have a talk with him to get some understanding of what her problems really are.

Other than that, I have no idea what to do.

mountain.mama said...

You are siting on the horns of a dilemma. Is there anyone close to your mom in Texas that can help you? There are professionals, doctors and counselors, who could make the assessment of whether or not your mom is a danger to herself or others, but whether or not she would cooperate with them is another issue. Good luck with finding a reasonable solution!

I agree that acceptance is the key.

Martha Z said...

These are hard issues to deal with, Gaelyn. I was lucky, when I asked my mother not to drive she gave in easily. I told her it was because she was too unstable to walk once she was out of the car. That was true but only part of the reason.
Most states will retest if a doctor or family member says that one is not fit to drive.
To force help on one who doesn't want it is very difficult. Perhaps your aunt can help find a social worker or attorney that specializes in these cases to advise you.

Small City Scenes said...

Hooray for Aunt Kay> MB

Janie said...

That is a tough situation. Steve's dad is at a point where he shouldn't be driving - his short term memory is very bad, and his eyesight's not much better. But he wants the independence, and I'm afraid he's hanging onto the car keys for the foreseeable future.
Went through a similar problem with my mom, but she's now in an assisted living facility due to health problems.
Wish I had some answers for you, but I don't.
I'm glad you had your aunt to visit with, since she's close to the situation and could maybe offer advice.
At least the pedicure sounded fun.

Rambling Woods said...

Oh..wish I didn't have this experience... If Mom is competent legally, there is nothing you can do. You can report her to the DMV if you don't think she should drive. If you don't feel she is competent than you can take steps to have her declared incompetent which isn't easy to do and you might not want to be her legal guardian. I know I won't for my Mom. You can ask social services for seniors to contact her which they would, but can't help unless she wants them to help her. I am not so optimistic as some of your comments that this can be worked out or that it's normal. If she has mental health issues and she is a senior there may be nothing you can do. Look at my Mom. Three house fires and nothing I can do. You tried your best, but you aren't obligated as her child to get a long with or to take care of her. You have yourself to take care of.....

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