Out of the Fire into the Furnace? Print
Written by Jane   
I shall call myself "Jane" for lack of a better name.

I have been fortunate to finally get help for my parent, who is living 450 miles away, in good physical health but.... Three years ago, she was hospitalized for major depression with psychotic features, after a lifetime of terrorizing our family into never letting on that she was not well. Since then, numerous trips back "home" to rescue her, playing the "are you taking your meds?" game, and relapse have been the order of the day.
Last Christmas, I found her anorexic, pacing the floor endlessly all night, and believing that someone had broken into her home and was in there moving stuff around - including the two large meat cleavers she triumphantly brandished after pulling them out of her underwear drawer as her "evidence"...
Fortunately, I was ready for the next move: I had hired on a home health service which speciallized in such cases, including meds management. Best thing that ever happened!!!!! After her general practitioner called to tell me he had decided to drop her (the result of her meds games), the terms of home health service (they would become her primary health care) were easy to deal with.

I have learned the hard way that 1) Meds mean the difference between life and death for Mom; 2) Daughters are NOT in a good position to be their mothers' case managers; 3) I made the right decision for everyone involved - most of all, respecting my responsibilities to my husband and children.

It is not a "happily ever after" story by any stretch of the imagination, but I have been able to bring my daughter with me this summer to see Grandma, in as low-pressure and controlled an environment that I could muster. Mom was doing the "activities of daily living" that determine whether she is able to continue to live independently (although not much beyond that). And surprise, surprise, she is allowing her furnace to be replaced before the winter, which involved her having to overcome her fear of spending money - something which pleased me greatly, as last winter I'd had to call the furnace guy away from a New Year's Eve party for emergency service. Sure beats freezing in your own home.

Take care, everyone, and do all you can to enjoy life.