Feeling the Squeeze

February 4, 2010 at 4:02 pm 6 comments

Growing old can be a roaring monster.

Well it’s Thursday and it’s already been a long week. I’ve learned a lot about life and myself. Now I have to step up to the plate quicker than I thought. So what am I talking about? Feeling the squeeze that’s what.

Okay I’ll be honest; I’m in my late fifties. So here I find myself trying to grow a business, help my grown kids out as best I can, be the best newlywed husband I can be, cope with a bad economy and now I’ve got to deal with my elderly Mother and her needs. You see she almost quietly starved to death. The doctor called it “failure to thrive.” It apparently is common among the elderly. They just stop caring for themselves. My Mother decided to keep it secret for a while.

My wife, Chris, and I have known for sometime that Mom didn’t like to eat much. She always hated to cook even when I was child. So we would take over easy to heat up items and take her out to eat. She would usually eat well at a restaurant. Sure, she was losing a little weight but surely she would tell us if she was getting too weak. Well, she didn’t. If not for a concerned call from my sister-in-law last Friday night I might not have caught the problem in time.

Now I find myself adding parent parenting to my list. Believe me it’s all new territory. I now have to be firm yet loving to the person who brought me into this world. I have to be patient like I should have been with my own children so many years ago. I have to put into practice all the wisdom and compassion I can muster. I have to now get good at mind games and excuse deflecting. You see my Mom is very much like a three year old now. If she doesn’t want to do it she’ll come up with every excuse why she can’t. I now have to pay better attention to her needs and convince her daily she needs to eat.

The next step, once she is stronger, is to get her into a facility that will make sure she will eat. She’s ready now and understands she needs to go, so that makes my job somewhat easier. My heart goes out to those sons and daughters whose parents refuse to give up their independence. As my Mom’s doctor told me, “If she doesn’t want to take care herself we can’t make her.” I know he’s right but I just can’t stand by and watch her starve herself to death.

So after less than a week and a lot of Mother/Son conversation I think she’s ready to allow me to take over for her. I now have her on an eating schedule and will be taking her tomorrow to have the doctor scope her throat and stomach to make sure there’s no obstruction. One of her complaints has been that she has a hard time swallowing. Once we clear that up then we will begin to work with her other complaints and get her moved into a new facility. Her living independently is coming to an end and I’m sure she’s very afraid. It’s a big lifestyle change to give up your independence. I’m trying to do it very slowly so she can adjust as easily as possible.

Now I find myself with yet another responsibility. I will learn to delegate and accept help from other family members. I will grow in tolerance and patience. I will get to know my Mom better because I will be spending more time with her. I will also learn to manage my time better as now I must add Mother-care to my list of duties.

As this process unfolds I will write about it and keep you apprised of Mom’s progress and triumph’s. Maybe in some small way I can help others facing this situation. All of this is new to me; I just hope I don’t make too many mistakes.

Thanks for listening.

In between helping my Mother with her needs I have some time to help you. Give me a call. I can help you tell your business’ story effectively and inexpensively. My contact info is:

Michael Irvin
Creative Project Manager
913.677.7060 cell: 913.530.7030
mirvin1129@yahoo.com

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Garbage In, Garbage Out Settling for Second Best

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lee Marlin  |  February 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Michael, my heart goes out to you. Best of luck with your mom. She’s very lucky to have such a caring son.

    Reply
  • 2. John K  |  February 4, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Michael:

    Your blog really hit home with me this past week. I visited my relatives in New Jersey to attend my Aunt Stas’ 90th birthday. She had a stroke a few months back and my cousin decided to have a party for her before she would pass away.

    I also spent time with my Aunt Vera who is in her 80’s and recently lost her relationship partner of 50 years and there were signs of her giving up. One fall, living alone, getting old etc. She was being asked to have an operation on a cancerous breast and was putting it off. My sister who lives in New Jersey has been keeping an eye on her and helping her when needed. The good news when I visited with my Aunt was that she was convinced by her family doctor to take the surgery. My Aunt, I suspect was very happy to see me and gave me and my sister financial gifts to thank us. I would have done this for both Aunts, just because both Aunt’s were so helpful in my growing up all along the way.

    I too recognized that sharing some very personal relationship challenges that I have been facing with my sister, I got to know my sister in such a way that I am relying on her good judgments to help me through my struggles. My little sister has grown up after taking care of my mother and is now also helping me.

    Michael you should be very happy and proud of your changing role and are handling it admirably.

    The best to you and your mother.

    Reply
  • 3. Steve  |  February 4, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    John made a beautiful comment above. Let me echo it by saying kudos to you for the compassion and caring you’re showing your mother. I am not looking forward to my own mother aging as she is one of those people who would also sooner die than give up her independence. My thoughts and prayers are with you and with all the folks who have to parent their parents.

    In some ways, I think it can be looked upon not only as a responsibility, but as a gift. They gave us life. Now we will try to return to the favor.

    Reply
    • 4. mirvin1129  |  February 4, 2010 at 4:45 pm

      Steve,
      You and John are so kind. I really appreciate you comments and support. This all a new adventure to me as well as a gift. I am choosing to embrace this experience and learn from it. I hope to be a much better person for it.

      Reply
  • 5. David Templeman  |  February 4, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Michael

    Bless you for being willing to care for your mom. This is a very difficult but necessary step that we as children should all be willing to take with our parents. My wife’s father has lived with us for the past 5 years. He’ll be 89 in June and we’re very blessed that his health has been reasonably good, save a couple small strokes and a heart attack. The challenges with him are a bit different, but still none-the-less difficult. I’m sure they’re tough for him too. He sold most of what he had 5 years ago and gave up most of his independence so we could care for him. I should say so my wife could care for him – the burden falls mostly to her. So there are sacrifices by both parties, but we make these sacrifices out of love. That’s what makes it worth it.

    Dave

    Reply
    • 6. mirvin1129  |  February 4, 2010 at 4:56 pm

      Dave,
      You and your wife are saints! I have a lot to learn from you. Please post some thoughts on this subject. You are way down the road and I’m just starting the journey. I could use the insight and wisdom.

      Reply

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