The last couple of weeks have been challenging with concerns about my parents and my mother-in-law. My parents are really at the point where they should be in some kind of assisted living situation. My mother, in particular, is not taking care of herself health-wise and resists any suggestions for help. She can now barely walk because her other knee needs replacement and she won't do it. One arm is useless because of a torn rotator cuff that was never properly repaired, so using a cane is even difficult. Besides all that, both of them fall at least once a week. My siblings and I have initiated "the talk" about moving to a place where they can get properly cared for and getting an emergency device to wear when they fall. Neither one can help the other get up when this happens. I've tried to tell them that one of them is going to break a hip and then there won't be much choice about where they live. If they get on a list for a place or two now, it would make it much easier. They have two homes to sell, not to mention a lifetime of accumulated possessions. My sister and I are scoping out a number of assisted living facilities so that my parents won't have to do anything but look at a spreadsheet and figure out which one they want - if they ever come around to the idea.
Yesterday, my 96-year-old mother-in-law lost her balance and broke her wrist. She has been living independently with little assistance. At the emergency room, they wouldn't cast her wrist, just splinted it, put her arm in a sling and said she had to wait until tomorrow to see an orthopod. Okay, she's under 100 pounds, uses a walker and now she has a broken wrist - they should not have sent her home. She takes a bunch of medications; I was watching her open every bottle, with difficulty, to get out her next day's pills and asked her if it wouldn't be easier to have one of those weekly pill boxes she could just fill once a week and be done with it. Oh, no, she said she gets by. The light in her bedroom is by her bed, which means walking in the dark to go turn it on. We suggested she put her other lamp on her dresser by the door - well, she didn't have a bulb for it and hadn't gotten around to getting one. She has two doctor appointments this week - it takes two people to take her because she needs help walking and while she's out, you have to run errands for her or take her grocery shopping. It's at least a half day's work each time.
I guess my point in writing about this is that this is an example of how not taking care of your own health - whether it be depression or something else - affects not just you, but everybody else in your life. Right now, I'm thinking there is no way I will let myself get to this point where my family has to stop their lives to wait on me because I won't live in a place where I will be taken care of, should I need that. One of the reasons I take care of my depression is so that my family doesn't have to put up with the fallout if I don't. When you think about it, it's selfish if you're only trying to prove you don't need help or don't want to give up a delusion of independence. I know that it's very hard with depression, asking for help seems like being a failure - BUT IT'S NOT!!
So, enough on this for now. I just felt like I needed to get that off my chest. Today's my 40th wedding anniversary and we are hoping we can have a nice dinner out tonight - provided somebody doesn't fall and need a trip to the hospital!
Published On: September 16, 2012