JewBu Quest: From Abuse to Happiness

JewBu: a Jew who practices forms of Buddhist meditation & spirituality. This blog documents my quest to 1) heal from sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse, 2) come to terms with losing Mom and Grandma to Alzheimers, 3) find balance, explore the spiritual, stay present. Bascially, I've experienced some pretty crappy shit in my life and want to find a way to move past it and find happiness.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Time To Deal With the Emotions

Augh. I just dragged myself out of bed after a good 10 minute cry. Oakland and Kansas City were great, but they were also draining as hell, and the whole time I had to be focused on getting through and getting done whatever was needed and moving on. So, now's my time to deal with the emotions and let myself process it all.

I've actually be wanting to write in the blog for awhile, but haven't found the time. Thanks to all of my readers for sticking through with me through this scantily posting time. Today, I'm completely exhausted, and there's still lots to do, but I need to just get this all down.

Mom's so clearly a lot worse than the last time I saw her in early January. Sometimes she doesn't recognize me anymore. The night of first seder, she went up to my sister and said, "Do you know me? You look really familiar." Then later, I told her to sit down next to her husband, and she looks at him and says, "I like you. I'd like to get you know you better." My dad awkwardly laughed and said, "well, we've been married for 37 years!" I think we're all having a hard time with it. The thing is though, I know that this night where she was uber confused, she had received seroquil in the morning. I think that this anti-pscyhotic medication that she gets prn now really messes with her. It also makes her just completely exhausted.

I really want her to be switched to an anti-anxiety. I had the nurses at my mom's facility confirm that it seems that my mom is suffering from anxiety and is NOT violent. Here's how this thing all happened apparently: a resident was running away from Mom and apparently she will raise her voice to other residents and sometimes stand too close to them and give them dirty looks or something. So, someone at the ALF called the resident doctor, who was out of town, so his aide prescribed the seroquil for my Mom prn. She got it 4 times in the first 11 days that it was prescribed.

I spoke with the doctor who said that he would review it, but that didn't happen until I had left Kansas City. Dad told me two nights ago that when he spoke with the doctor, he was told that Mom won't be switched (I think Dad doesn't want her switched either). But here were the reasons:
  1. Anti-antiety medications are addictive. (Well, who cares because Mom has a fatal illness! And if they are prescribed delicately, this can be avoided.)
  2. Anti-anxiety medications have to be given all the time and can't be given prn. (I know this is completely false.)
  3. Anti-anxiety medications make you sleepy. (Well this is ironic since that's our problem with the seroquil, and if they didn't prescribe too high of a dose and of the right medication, that wouldn't be a problem.)
  4. The seroquil solves the problem with Mom, so why try something else. (Well, the seroquil makes her really out of it, but I think that it also worsens her confusion.)
Dad also said that he refuses to take Mom to a geriatric pscyhiatrist. He told me that all of this is his decision, not mine, and I've only been there a couple of days, so I don't deserve any say anyway. He was really rude on the phone, and I was really hurt. Also, I'm so disappointed.

I feel like this issue isn't just a medical one, but probably also related to the care that Mom receives. There are often no programs going on for residents of Mom's floor, and I imagine that the problems are developing when they're left unsupervised (which I saw a couple of times). I spoke with someone from the Alzheimer's Association, who was nice enough to even offer to come out and do a formal evaulation of Mom BUT I'd have to get Dad to sign a release, which of course, he's not going to do.

I feel so completely helpless. I wanted to call the facility on some of the things that I saw, but I knew that only being there a few days, no one would take me seriously, especially when Dad seems perfectly happy with how things are. I don't want to cause trouble. I just wish that there was some way to make things better for Mom. And while generally, I believe that people should trust and support the caregivers, Dad completely admitted to me that he's overwhelmed and kinda given up on Mom. Whatever the facility does, that's what'll happen. He thinks everything is kind of out of his hands at this point. And I think that this is a really dangerous thing for Mom, because the facility knows that they can ignore her issues as Dad does.

I don't mean to be too hard on my Dad - he does do a lot for my Mom. Its hard that other family members just completely dog the way that Dad does caregiving, and Mom's cousin even suggested as I was leaving that I sue Dad for custody over Mom. I don't want to fight with him - I just wish that we could work some of these things out as a family and try to keep what's best for Mom at the top of our priority. I also need to have permission to be at school and living my life here and now have that thrown in my face.

The whole trip was such ups and downs - I gave great presentations at the conference and had fun hanging out in San Francisco with a classmate, but I had bad experiences with the hotel, but I complained to the Hilton corp and got $100 taken off my bill. I had the best time playing with my niece and nephew who are starting to really connect with me, but I'm sort of fighting with my Dad and my brother in law was giving me a hard time constantly. I got to see Mom and do things for her like tuck her into bed, but it was so hard to see her doing so poorly.

Somehow tomorrow, I'm supposed to drive hours to see Jerry's family at some friend of his brother's Easter party, and I really just don't want to go right now, although part of me feels like I should to be a good girlfriend and am honored that he's ready for me to meet his family. I just want to be in bed and cry. Cry over what's happening with Mom. Cry over the family dynamics. Cry over the fears and grief that I've had to deal with this past week.

All the while, I'm having to jump into this next quarter of school and lots of work to do. I really just want to burrow up at home for awhile and not have anywhere to be or anyone to talk to. There's a silent meditation today at someone's house that I'm regretfully missing - maybe I should go up there even though its late??

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Anonymous Mona Johnson said...


I'm sorry things are so complicated with your mom's care. It's really hard to sort everything out - sometimes more than one person can do!

Sunday, April 08, 2007 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Marj aka Thriver said...

I was on seroquil briefly for some PTSD symptoms. I HATED it! It reminded me of when I was given Valium for back problems--I had barely enough time to make it to the bed before zonking out. And dont even get me started on the whole Easter charade..I'm not even going to go there. But, I'm thinking of you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Karma said...

Thanks Mona and Marj. The hard thing about Mom's care is that we're not all working together....sadly.

Ah stupid seroquil....if at least it were being prescribed by someone trained in the area instead of the GP.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Gail Rae said...

Wow, Karma, I have to say, your detailed description of what's going on in Kansas city with your Mom, her facility, your Dad and your family, well, I imagine that this kind of confusion and frustration is common in circumstances in which a family member is in need of care and is receiving it at a facility. I am SO GRATEFUL AND SO IMPRESSED that you detailed everything so explicitly and completely, even though I know it must have been exhausting for you, both to experience and to write.

Your analysis of her being medicated is absolutely on point, Karma. This is exactly how you should be thinking about these things. So is your analysis of the facility, by the way. I can only imagine how incredibly frustrating it must be for you to be treated like the "junior member" when, in fact, it is your perspective that is the most valuable at this point. I'm so sorry, and very anxious for you and your mother, as well, that this situation is reeling out of your control; although I can see clearly, from what you've written, why this is happening...and I am so angry at the elder care industry that this sort of thing not only happens, but, I imagine, happens frequently.

On the lighter side, I love the little anecdote about your Dad and Mom. What a cool thing that, even as she is forgetting him, she recognizes him as someone she likes and with whom she would spend more time if she could. Good indication that she married the right man! How many people, I wonder, would be able to say this about their relationships out of the depths of their dementia!

I also wanted to mention, in case you hadn't noticed, my gratitude for your most recent comment on my post about anger, frustration, emotional exhaustion and anti-depressants. I was so grateful that I did something I rarely do, I responded to your comment in a comment over there. Thank you, Karma!

I'm thinking you need some peace, so I'm wishing that for you, right now, even though I know it's been awhile since you published this post. Peace never comes too late or out of date!

Well, on to your next one!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 1:04:00 AM  
Blogger Karma said...

Thanks Gail! I'll go check out your comment now...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 9:12:00 AM  

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