Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I've officially become one of those people. Someone who has a parent in a nursing home and doesn't visit regularly. I used to visit once a week, then it became every other week. Recently, it became every three weeks on my way home from my chiropractor appointment. Due to salon scheduling, I can't stop all of the time because on some weeks I need to get to the salon right after my appointment.

I am finding visiting my mother to be a chore now. That sounds so horrible and I am ashamed to admit it. I procrastinate, and say, "Oh, I will go tomorrow", but then tomorrow turns into next week and so on.

I think my biggest problem is that when I go to visit, she doesn't talk much. She asks a few very bizarre questions and that's it. In the past, I would sit there and watch M*A*S*H, since that was on constantly in her room. Now, she just lays there in silence.

I attend her care plan meetings. I am very involved in her care. I am assured that she is NOT depressed. I am told that she is very pleasant to be around and that the staff just loves her. I truly believe this. I've witnessed it.

Yesterday, I witnessed my mother, who is supposed to be in so much pain from neuropathy in her feet, get up on her own and go into the bathroom. This supposed pain, is her reason for not wanting to walk around, go into the dining room, watch TV or play cards and games in the social room. This supposed pain is so bad that she can't sit in a wheel chair. I witnessed no pain or even slight discomfort yesterday.

Yesterday, she asked me to remove her tape and gauze on her arm, from her dialysis treatment that morning, before I left. I then watched her call the nurse. When the aids came in to see what she needed, she asked them to hammer a nail in her wall to hang her clock. They said they would get the maintenance man to do it. After they left, I asked her why she didn't have the nurses remove her bandage, since that is what they are here to do, not hammer nails in the wall and she replied that she didn't think of that.

I can't tell if she is trying to punish me. I have nothing to do with this. Her lack of ambition is the reason why she is where she is. She could be in an assisted living facility or even living independently with minimal care, but she chose to stop living. If she is trying to punish me, she is only ending up punishing herself since it's making my visits less and less frequent. I am not the only one. Her best friend is coming less and less too. I am certain that she is at the same point that I am.

In the past, I always thought that it was horrible when people would have loved ones in nursing homes and then only visit every now and then. I now understand. I made the mistake of judging people and situations I knew nothing about.

I don't want much. I just want some conversation. I just want some acknowledgement that I am there. I just want to know that she is enjoying the sundae, candy or whatever treat that I brought her that she is woofing down without even chewing. I just want to know that she wants me to visit.


Kris said...

Oh, Rhonda, you are not a bad person. Time and time again it's the person closest to the one needing care who is the recipient of their crap (pardon my phrasing). But I think you know this. :) Hugs to you!

Betsy said...

I will talk to you at my appt tonight.

Lambrosia said...

Silence is louder than screams and stronger than a fortified concrete bunker. Big fleecy hugs for you, Rhonda, I've sat in your chair many times and it's harder to do than poeple imagine. We can only do what what we can, when we can. Keep the fleece, it will carry you through the rough patches.

Cheryl said...

God bless you, Rhonda. I can't imagine how difficult it is.

Gloria said...

My heart goes out to you Rhonda. I worked in a nursing home for years and it seems that there are no easy solutions. Can the workers there give you any kind of help or support?

Robin said...

The hardest thing to go through is to watch a parent become like your mom has become. I have never met your mom but I used to talk with her frequently on the computer. She spoke very proudly of you but I always sensed so much loneliness in our conversation. I feel guilty myself for never establishing a relationship with her and I have been ... Read Moretelling myself for the past few months that when I get back to Kittanning again, I must go see her. My best advice to you is to remember your mom at her best - remember the good times with her and keep visiting. I know that you feel so helpless and frustrated during your visits, but just keep telling yourself that although her silence upsets you, there are problems there that cause that silence. I know she loves you very much Rhonda - just remember that. Also remember that BJ and I are here anytime you need to vent - we have both dealt with alot in our old lives and we are here for you.