Momming My Mom

I’m Cathy; my mom’s Betty. She was a nurse, a working mom, household boss, spiritual warrior. She’s still some of those things, but now she’s old, and I’m some of those things for her. It’s hard on both of us, at times, and I long for the time when I get her into a senior facility and can live my later-in-life dreams. What I write here will be the high and low and in-between experiences with/for/about my mom, and probably mostly about the unexpected growth I’ve been experiencing along the way.
Thanks for reading. Hope it helps
… 🙃🙏💛

6/14/22 Local Café
My brother recently bought my mom (and, by association, me) a new, better wheelchair, and it’s been sitting, unboxed, in my living room, next to a stack of the giant, bright blue IKEA bags I loaded with stuff from mom’s apartment to sort through and get rid of. My husband, college-going daughter and I live in a very small townhouse. We have a cute medium-size dog, Austin, whose crate, fuzzy bed and basket of toys also reside in the living room.

I’ve been stressed about the extra clutter from Mom’s stuff, and overwhelmed by all the responsibilities of being the manager of two households and all the loved ones, human and canine. Today, I decided to finally get the wheelchair into our Subaru and bring it to Mom’s. I’d spent most of the morning walking the dog, cleaning up the kitchen, enjoying my small breakfast, working a word puzzle, and sipping coffee. Those things used to be the norm for my mornings; now it feels like luxury.

When I do get the chance, I’m able to eventually see what the next thing I need to do is, you know, organize my thoughts. Today, it was, “Aha! I’m gonna get that wheelchair into the car!” It felt good to actually feel like doing it. And even better to do it.

As I write this, I remember that my mom had called me while I was walking the dog. Her arthritic shoulder hurts a lot in the morning. I told her I’d come over to give meds and breakfast as soon as I got home from walking the dog. But I didn’t.

I thought I’d take 15 minutes for coffee and quiet, but then got caught up in doing just a little more of the chores in my house that I’d been neglecting. It felt so very delicious to be catching up! But, time passed. Oops! I jumped up and took the wheelchair out to the car. OK. Good! But then I got into a long conversation with a neighbor, which also felt delicious. Suddenly, my husband came looking for me. My mom had been calling and calling and calling me, but I’d left my phone in the house. I hurried in and my dear daughter was trying to comfort my mom, who was now in a world of pain. And she’d called 911.

Mom has significant short-term memory loss. She doesn’t remember why her left shoulder hurts so much in the morning, the pain radiating all the way down her arm. She doesn’t know why her body is stiff and sore in all of her limbs when she wakes up, even though she’s 89, and she (and I) deal with it every day. She doesn’t remember that in 8 days she’ll be starting treatments at the local pain management center. To her, she’s suddenly having pain that radiates down her left side. She has trouble catching her breath. This has been happening every day lately, and I go and reassure her that it’s her arthritic, aging body and that, in about 20 minutes, the medicine will take her pain away. (A side note: this happens at varying times of the morning, while she’s still covered by the pain medicine I gave her the night before.)

We’ve been to the ER several times over the past few years, once just recently, and her lungs and heart are OK. We’ve gone to all the physicals, ortho specialists, and all the usual appointments for an elderly person. She had a full nuclear bone scan a few months ago. These moments in the mornings are severe arthritis pain and some panic.

So, this morning, I asked the EMT’s the usual question. Her vitals are fine? Yes. I nodded and explained (again) what’s been happening. They left, and I tended to Mom, soothing her. “I need to see a doctor about this!” she said through her tears. <Sigh> I explained that we have this appointment with a pain management center in 8 days, and that, until then, I’ll come earlier in the morning and make sure she gets her pain meds before the nighttime ones run out.

Now, with all the morning Mom chores done, I’m sitting outside at a nearby café, sipping a large iced coffee, deciding to start a journal of my experiences with Mom. I think it’ll help me process and, maybe, see what I’m thinking and feeling in a different light. I’d so love it if it somehow helps you. Thank you for reading. —Cathy

3 thoughts on “Momming My Mom

  1. Sounds like you’re walking that tightrope pretty precariously. You are a wonderful human! I pray that you keep the load balanced and take the time to breathe. You make me realize how privileged I am to have some me time. My mom will be with us from 6/25 through 7/11. If you think your mom would be up for a visit we’d love to see you both. Keep writing, my friend, and know you’re loved and held in prayer.

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    • Heya—tyvm, my friend. Hoping (in faith, most of the time) that she’ll be getting relief from the pain center, and that I can get myself through the forms needed to get her into a place that will help with all the needs. I have you on my calendar for those dates and trust that we’ll be able to meet. I think it will be possible!

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  2. Pingback: Momming My Mom 3 | healingbookbybook

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