Just before Hurricane Sandy blew into town and turned the east coast upside down my Mom arrived in town and turned my house upside down. Just weeks before Sandy I got a phone call from my brother in MI that Mom is in the hospital. No big deal he says just
not feeling well. I wasn't satisfied with what I had heard so I call the hospital and got hold of a DR that after giving me a long long list of problems say but don't worry she's not dying today. I hung up the phone spoke to Bill and early the next morning
I was on my way to Michigan. I drove from 3 in the morning til 3 in the afternoon without stopping except for gas and to pee. I cried and prayed the entire way there with an occasional conversation with Mom's love, her sister mom and dad all who have left
this world but not my heart. Begging them to hold her in their hands til I got there. I got there and went straight to Mom's home and my brother. The condition of Mom's home was unlivable to say the least and with little or no thought I knew without a doubt
Mom would not be returning to this home.
My next stop was the hospital and a visit with my Mom. She was a mess. Her sugar level in the low 400's how she was surviving that is beyond me. Heart and kidneys failing her, no ability what so ever to control bowel movements, her ability to read or write
just gone. Mom was barely with us when it came to comprehending. After a little thought and a conversation with Bill I gave Mom a choice a nursing home or home to NJ with me. Not much of a choice I know but that was the only choices she was getting. Her allergies
made my one brothers home out of the question with his cats and the other brother was to sick himself to take care of her anymore so it was me or a nursing home. Let me be perfectly clear Mom and I are oil and water, there is a reason I live 600 miles from
my birth place. This was not an easy decision for her but she picked me. I didn't give my brothers time to think about it or even a chance to question it I just acted and within a week of her hospital release I was on my way back to New Jersey with one very
sick lady in the passenger seat.
Once we get home I get medical treatment started in my home and what I hear is so so disheartening. Dementia, heart and kidney failure, diabetes, thyroid problems. Mom was so far out of it she slept more than not and when she was awake she didn't talk read
books, knit, do puzzles or any of the things she normally did. Getting dressed was a big accomplishment each day for her. Every other day she had PT here at home as well as an aid to help her dress and stuff, and a nurse came daily to check her progress. I
restricted her diet easy to do because she was unable to help herself I made her meals and served them so Mom ate what I decided. Her days of free grazing and a steady diet of chocolate and candy were over. Through all of this Mom begged pleaded and cried
to go home. She wanted her freedom back and hated that she no longer had control. Bill and I stuck to our guns and kept telling her this is her home, she is home, and we would point out why it was better for her to be here, reminding her she was lonely living
alone with very few visitors and now she wasn't ever alone. This normally would calm her down she would enjoy life for a little while until another tug of war over whatever between her and I and then the I want to go home would start again.
Over the last 2 years things have changed a great deal. I started with child's books and Madeline. Mom began to remember how to read and Madeline began to learn to read. I gave her yarn and told her don't worry about what your making just knit, when I figured
out she can't really do a crossword puzzle I gave her word searches easy at first and then a little harder. She loves her word searches and is a champ at them. When she got a little stronger I started taking her to the library to pick out her own books. All
of this helped her mind and brought her back into the rational thinking world. While working on her mind and its alertness I was also working on her diet and eating habits. Something that just absolutely ticks her off and causes our biggest arguments. The
first time I said to her "you will eat that because I said so" I almost stunned my self silent realizing I was now the parent caring for and looking out her best interest. When Mom is having a clear day this fact just makes her so angry and she can be a little
ruff to deal with.
Working on Mom's diet paid off big time. Mom is half the size she was when she got her and she no longer requires insulin, her kidneys and heart are both working as best they can and are not getting worse. She is very strong now and can go for short walks
and long drives. Her mind is as clear as I have seen it in the last 2 years she reads, knits and does her puzzles. She also writes letters she forgets to finish, reads a book 3 times not realizing she had read it already and she folds her own cloths as well
as makes her bed and dresses herself.
The changing of roles between us has not been easy on either one of us. It is not easy for mothers and daughters who are best friends and it is not any easier for mothers and daughters that were never best friends. We both gave up a lot for this arrangement
to happen and we have both felt the strain of making this work. There have been raised voices and crosswords and at times it has seemed down right hopeless, like we were never going to pull this off. Even still to this day we have our ruff spots but all of
it is worth it to me because well I would rather be arguing with my Mom than not.