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To all my friends (and foes)

Sep 20, 2011 - 18 comments

This journal is written to all my friends (and foes) on MH, to let you know what's been going on.  Many of you know that I've been caring for my elderly aunt for some time now, with the past few months, having her in my home, with my husband and I sharing the care according to our work schedules/abilities to deal with her.

Anyway, last night I'd gone to bed fairly early, since I get up at 3:30 am...... about 9:30, hubby woke me up to tell me that Auntie had fallen.... This has been my worst fear for months.... I jumped out of bed and sped to Auntie's room, only to find her lying on the floor beside a small pool of blood..  there's a cut on the back of her head, that has already stopped bleeding; however, we called 911 anyway, just to be sure. The paramedics came, looked, thought it might not be bad, but as always suggested that it be checked out in case there was more damage than was visible.  We had them take her to the nearest hospital......

4 hrs, multiple tests (including a brain CT), later, the doctor told us that there's nothing to worry about and we can bring her home.  Super, we're good to go.  We got home about 1:30 this morning and I put Auntie to bed, then my husband and I went to bed.  

I had decided to take today off work, in spite of the fact that my husband was off today, because I didn't want him to have to deal with Auntie alone under these circumstances....not to mention the fact that since I'd gotten up at 3:15 am yesterday and didn't get to bed until 1:30 this morning, there was no way I could get up again at 3:15 today and go to work........ even super people have to sleep sometimes and there's nothing "super" about me....

Anyway, I got up this morning about 6:00, fed the dogs and put them out, went online for a bit, then went to get Auntie up at 7:00 to give her breakfast and her morning meds.  I knocked on her bedroom door, opened it enough to see that she was awake, asked if she could get up by herself, etc. She said she felt good and I watched her starting to get out of bed, looked like she was doing well, so I went off to prepare her meds and breakfast, just like we've been doing for the past 3 months.... About the time, I got to the other end of the house to get her meds, I heard a "thud" and muted yell.........

My heart sank and I took off for Auntie's room, only to find her on the floor (again).  We tried to get her up, but her left hip was causing issues.  LEAVE IT ALONE....... Again, within 12 hrs, paramedics are called........ got some of the same nice guys we had last night..  All said and done, Auntie is in the hospital with a fractured hip (and maybe broken arm).  

My husband and I have spent the majority of the past 24 hrs (2 trips) at the hospital. which is much worse than putting in a full day's work because there's so much waiting, but you're afraid to leave in case doctor comes in or something... it's exhausting...

Last we heard, Auntie is to have a pin put into her hip, either tomorrow or Thurs.......more time to spend at the hospital......  

I think I'm going to go to work in the morning -  I start at 5:30 and nothing at the hospital is to begin before that; they can call me and I will come at the drop of a hat......

Some of you also know that my retirement is only a couple weeks away, so I've been using my sick leave for days off, in order not to lose it, and to spend more time caring for Auntie .... now, I only have 1.5 days left...  20/20 hindsight says I should have kept some for emergencies, but when you get this close, you don't want to lose it either..  That's really just a minor irritant, simple because our human resources "scum hopper" was such an *** about this last year when Auntie was dx'd with breast cancer and I wanted to take time without pay to deal with her treatment - when I could have afforded it.

At any rate....... I wanted to let my friends/foes know what's going on since I  haven't been online much.  Plus, I wanted to tell everyone that has sent me PM's/notes, looking for comments on your posts....... I'm not ignoring you; I hope you understand that I will try to respond to PM's/posts as I can.......

This is a difficult time for me, but I know that with your support and that of my husband and family, it will all be okay.

Thanks to all.........

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Avatar universal
by bbxx, Sep 20, 2011
OOOOH goodness...and I didnt even see this till now. SOOOO sorry for bothering you! Oh, thats terrible. dont have any foes on here. I wish I could say something to encourage you, but please know I will pray for you all. Please dont worry about my message till things are back to normal for you. Again, I am so sorry to have bothered you. Hugs and I hope things go well for now on!

649848 tn?1534633700
by Barb135, Sep 20, 2011
bbxx -- of course, I have foes on here........ LOL......

Your PM was not a bother; there's just a limit to what MH allows me to do, and yes, I'm tired so, if I might have been short, please forgive me.

The fact that you will pray for me, my family and Auntie is good enough for me...... we need all we can get.

I've cared for Auntie for so long, I don't know what "normal" is, anymore.......

Thank you......

377493 tn?1356502149
by adgal, Sep 20, 2011
Ahh Barb.  So much going on in your world.  You are an amazing women to take your aunt into your home to care for as you do.  Not everyone would be willing to do something like that.  And I disagree with you...I think you might just be one of those super people!!

Don't you worry about us my friend.  We shall be here when you are able to return, and in the meantime wish you well.  And countdown to retirement!!  So exciting!


535822 tn?1443976780
by margypops, Sep 20, 2011
hey Barb known you for quite a long while now through thick and thin and your Auntie ....I am sorry to hear about this last trauma she and you are going through, I am sure she really appreciates you wishes ..I will be thinking about you and your DH and Auntie ..

Avatar universal
by jiji968, Sep 21, 2011
sorry Barb,this is not easy for you..wish your aunt a quick recovery..and may God gives you strength to keep on.

Avatar universal
by teko, Sep 21, 2011
Well dear one, you know what they say! What doesnt kill you will make you stronger! You are about the strongest person I know. This is huge and very draining on all of you. I pray Dear Auntiee comes thru this with flying colors. She is very lucky to have you in her life, and you her. So much going on in such a short period of time. Look up, stay positive and know that this too shall pass and before long you will be retired and things will hopefully calm down. Dont forget to take care of you during this time as well. Prayers and hugs for all of you!

483733 tn?1326798446
by TrudieC, Sep 21, 2011
Oh Barb, am so sad to hear this.  Things will work out at work.  Your Aunt is so lucky to have you.  I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.

649848 tn?1534633700
by Barb135, Sep 21, 2011
Haven't had time to get back here, but I really have to say "I have some of the most awesome friends there are"......

I'm off to bed soon because I "do" have to work sometime (remember, retirement is still 2 weeks/2 days off) - I've now used up all my sick time - but here's the update:

Auntie had a femoral ball fracture, which means the ball that fits into the hip socket was broken from the femur.  They did surgery today to construct a new femoral ball, and she came through it well. She will be in the hospital for 3-5 days, then off to rehab.  

Here's a statistic I learned this morning -- doing this type of surgery on a 92 yr old comes with a 30% mortality rate; I was disappointed because I thought that sounded pretty high........ until the doctor said "if we don't do the surgery, the mortality rate jumps to almost 100%"........  sort of puts things in perspective a bit.

Anyway, according to the ortho surgeon, they will get Auntie up already tomorrow.  Because she has been prone to not wanting to do anything lately (past 6 months, last 3 spent in my home), but sleep I'm thinking this might be a problem, but hoping the hospital staff can motivate her more than I've been able to.... she is the most incredibly stubborn person I've ever encountered in my life and if she doesn't want to do something, there's no amount of persuasion that's going to convince her otherwise; likewise, if she WANTS to do something - forget arguing, unless you want to suffer the "wrath".  

Sadly, I've suffered a lot of her wrath, because, she refuses to admit that she has either physical or mental impairment -- so refuses to let me implement procedures that would make life easier for both of us.  Stubborn? Who?  Auntie?  Not on your life......... LOL

My husband and are learning to find humor in the oddest places, over the oddest things (you should see the way people look at us sometimes.... lol)because if you don't laugh, you'll go nuts........

Thanks so much to all of you for being here for me......

Avatar universal
by bbxx, Sep 21, 2011
Thinking of you!

657315 tn?1319491387
by twehner5, Sep 21, 2011
I am so glad I logged onto MH tonight and decided to see what this journal was about !  It is about YOU and your Aunt !  I am so sad to hear that this happened to her and that you are going through even MORE stress.  I will be praying for her, and you and your husband.

Take care and let the hospital and then rehab take care of your Aunt for the time being.  You definitely need to re-charge your batteries.  The hours you keep and even the good stress of retirement (plus all the other things that have stressed you of late) take their toll on your body.  

Thanks for updating - even though I only found the journal this evening.

Avatar universal
by sweetpea03, Sep 21, 2011
I'm sorry to hear about the issues you have had with your aunt. Is she on any anti-depressants? I ask because many of the elderly are prone to depression and you stated that she doesn't want to do much, so it was a quick thought. Hope recovery goes well for her and that you can get some rest and recharge for a while.

649848 tn?1534633700
by Barb135, Sep 22, 2011
Twehner - sorry I haven't had time to answer your message yet, but now you see why.  I certainly didn't plan on making 2 trips to the hospital within 12 hrs, or spending nearly 24 hrs there.  

sweetpea - no, my aunt is not on anti-depressants.  The biggest reason she doesn't want to do much is her health issues, which includes, but is not limited to: severe osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and breast cancer. But yes, I'm sure there is a certain amount of depression, as well.  

Knowing that Auntie is taken care of, I've actually slept the past 2 nights, and with the weekend only 2 days away, I think I'll make it..........

Thanks everybody!!

Avatar universal
by artfemme, Sep 22, 2011
Dear  Barb,

I went through this with my beloved (grand)Papa, who was also a piece of work and lived to be almost 100. He too suffered 2 bad falls in a short time, the last one breaking his hip. He came through the surgery just fine, but the evening of the following day, looked up at the nurse and said "Well, goodbye then" and just passed away. He was a big reader, especially of history, and macular degeneration had taken most of his eyesight. He went to books on tape, but then because he'd frequently used a weed whacker without earplugs, the doc told him hearing aids couldn't help the kind of hearing loss he had. He was SO ready to go, even though he had all his marbles there wasn't much quality of life left. I miss him every day, he was always a big presence in my life and my best friend.

I also lost my mother a few years ago to what her doctor said was probably Alzheimer's with Parkinsonian symptoms, but which I am now positive was untreated hypothyroidism, as she had the pretibial myxedema rash and other recognizable symptoms. (But, of course a "normal" TSH) Her doctor, a family friend, told us to let her stop eating and drinking, that it was the most natural and painless way to die and that most old people know that intuitively. He said that the frequent sleeping was easing onto the pathway to death. My father, at 92, is starting to go down that path now, sleeping all the time even though he's still mentally pretty sharp. It's not laziness, it's nature.  It's hard, especially watching the process and knowing you're the next in line, and it's so kind and even heroic of you to take your Auntie into your home and love her so. You will never regret it.

I send you best wishes, much courage, and peace.

967168 tn?1477584489
by Mom2four85, Sep 22, 2011
oh wow so sorry to hear about your aunt; as a lifelong syncope sufferer it always saddens me when I hear others hurt themselves with faints & falls.  being so close to retirement and dealing needing time off I wasn't sure if your company had FMLA leave for you to care for your Aunt?

I know it can't be easy having health problems yourself and taking care of others; hang in there and take care of yourself

649848 tn?1534633700
by Barb135, Sep 23, 2011
Mom2four85 ---  FMLA is applicable, only, to immediate families, which aunts are not considered part of and particularly this aunt because she's a step aunt.  I tried for FMLA last summer when Auntie was dx'd with breast cancer and I had to use so much time for her procedures, doctor visits, etc.  I even wrote my congressmen to tell them the law needs to be changed to take in extended family or others that have no one else; didn't hear from any of them.

Once Auntie gets transferred to rehab, I won't have to do so much running and I was lucky enough to find a center within 5 miles of our home.  With only 2 weeks left to work, I think I can hold out.

996946 tn?1503249112
by LindaTX, Nov 27, 2011
Barb, I've read your journals about you taking on care of your auntie.  I did the same thing with my dad for 5 1/2 yrs until he passed away 10 yrs ago.  it was very difficult but i managed because I was 10 -15 yrs younger and besides I wouldn't have had it any other way.  Now I am contemplating taking on the care of my elderly auntie, 92 yrs old and with only one leg.  Currently, and for the past 2 yrs she's been in a nursing home, begging to get out.  Her son and wife say they can't do it.  I am the only one who could take care of her but it would require 24/7 care.  I don't know how much it would cost to get help.  She's an angel, very alert, weighs all of 68 lbs and very insistent on getting out.

If I do this, I need to make the commitment to see it through.  Do you, knowing what you know now, think its feasible  or rather possible to do this.  Are you finding resources within your community  to help with her care.  Is your dear auntie back living in your home?  Sorry for all the questions.  I should have pm'd you.  Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!    Linda TX

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by specialmom, Nov 27, 2011
My dear aunt has recently had a stroke.  She is in her late 70's only but in bad shape.  I too am begining to care for her.  I'll be doing day time with her while my kids are in school and then she has night time care after that.  She can't get about, has difficulty communicating, is disoriented and confused.  She was (and still is) one of the strongest women I know and I'm sure the emotional impact this stroke has had on her is immense.  To go from doing everything yourself and EXACTLY your way to requiring constant care has to create such frustration and pain.  Anyway, this is not your situation LInda as you'd have complete charge but I respect all who contiplate caring for those in need.  It is disruptive to our lives and hard work.  But I believe that bringing comfort to others is comforting to ourselves.  

649848 tn?1534633700
by Barb135, Nov 27, 2011
Linda - I sent you a PM.

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