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Finding the right balance

(19 Posts)
vvviola Wed 27-May-15 17:47:12

It doesn't seem quite right posting here, having read through a few of the posts and what most of you are dealing with, but I think this might be the best place for some advice.

DM had a stroke on Wednesday night. She's 67, perfectly healthy before now, working two days a week as a nurse. She looks after my kids one day a week after school (because she wants to see them as opposed to being a childcare issue).

They keep telling us that the stroke was "minor", but while initial recovery was dramatic, she still has mobility and memory issues and is still in hospital. It looks like it is going to be long process until (if?) she gets completely back to herself.

DDad is being brilliant (especially considering he's the "ill" one - heart attack a few years ago, diabetes, various medications) but I'm already feeling pulled in all sorts of different directions.

I work full time. I took two days off last week to spend time with DM, but had to go back on Monday. My boss it out sick so a lot was falling on me. DH also works full time, but weird hours that means he can be home to pick up the DC etc - but it means we have a finely planned juggling act trying to make sure I get home in time from work to let him finish his hours.

I'm trying to get in to see DM as much as I can, but I'm getting passive aggressive texts from family members about them going in in the evenings and her being lonely - when DDad and I had been in most of the day.

And I can see needing to give DDad lots more support when DM gets home. He's already talking about me "covering" two nights a week when he does his hobby.

Sorry, I think I'm rambling. I'm just wondering how best to keep balance between helping out, getting some time for myself (which, I didn't even actually get before all this happened) and what my DH and DC need.

and AF was due this morning, so while it isn't technically late yet, that's another stress playing at the corner of my mind

Oldieandgoldie Wed 27-May-15 21:04:42

Oh Vi, I wrote a huge long post and list it!

Much sympathy to you, and you family.

Basically it said do what you can at the moment, but if your mum and dad were in good health, what would they say to you? I think they would want you to have your life, with your husband, your children, and your new life. They are obviously shocked, upset and worried at the moment, maybe the best thing you could do would be to research some (temporary?) help for them? If I had done every thing my mum wanted I doubt I would still be here and able to post. You must look after no 1 - you. You have to, think of your young family, they need you. And what would have happened if this was last year??

My dads one night (hour) out on his own kept him going, but I'm sure your mum can cope without him if it's something he has always done. Take care (and don't forget to have the POA talk while you still can).

(And as hard and as horrible as it sounds, once you've started doing something for someone with dementia, it's very hard to stop when circumstances change.)

Good luck.

vvviola Thu 28-May-15 08:07:31

Thanks Oldie. It's useful to see it spelt out like that. I do have a habit of trying to make everyone happy and gettinf stuck in the middle myself.

Do we "know" each other from around her (I'm useless with name IRL and online!) - because your reference to last year is very true - I would have been on the other side of the world and not able to do a thing to help.

That's a good point about DDad's hobby - and he has a lot of good friends through it too, so it's probably good for me. I was just seeing the stress of rushing home from work to be there on time and not seeing my DC at all that day - but looking at it from Dad's health point of view is a good one.

We had plans to go away this weekend and DDad is encouraging us to still go. We'll make the call later today.

DH is being brilliant and supportive but I neither of us had expected this to be part of our lives for quite some time.

twentyten Thu 28-May-15 22:04:37

Hi vivola. Sorry to hear about your dm. On this section you will see threads from many of us juggling parents, careers,dc and trying to balance it all. It is not easy. But do not neglect yourself or your dc. Focus on getting great support in place. The relatives are not your problem- do not let them get to you.
Your dm can recover really well- and do not neglect your needs. Rant away here- a place to share the unsayable thanksthanksthanks

Oldieandgoldie Thu 28-May-15 23:03:04

I'm a little jewel from a nice place, and on FB too.
(and nearly as old as your mum, so I feel I can see it from both sides!)

vvviola Thu 28-May-15 23:12:51

I'm bemused Oldie, my poor tired brain is trying to make the connection and just won't do it. I'll probably wake up in the middle of the night going "that's who it is" and DH will think I'm nuts!

DDad has insisted we go away as planned this weekend, seeing as DM is now staying in hospital for a few more days. I think it will be good for us, and give me a chance to get my head around everything.

I obviously want to help as much as I can, but I will have to accept I'm only one person. Am supporting DDad in his search for a cleaner as my first step smile

Oldieandgoldie Sat 30-May-15 08:03:40

Do you have Blubird over there! I think they're mainly carers but may do some domestic work too. Everybody speaks very highly of them.

vvviola Mon 01-Jun-15 19:17:37

I didn't think we would have them, but a quick Google says we do! From a first glance I think they are more on the care side, but they are certainly something to keep in mind.

I think the plan with regard to housework at the moment might be to say that we need a cleaner but she will only take us on if we do XX hours per week, which is more than we need, so will they share the hours with us. (So basically lie through our teeth - DDad would be on board!)

Slow progress being made but looks like she will be out this week at some stage. I think it will only really be then that we see how much extra support they both will need.

twentyten Mon 01-Jun-15 20:33:31

Hi. Love the cunning plan re the cleaner- I did the same and it worked well. Good luck with it all but don't take on too much yourself- it sets a precedent.

vvviola Wed 03-Jun-15 13:40:46

It's now looking like another weekend in hospital for DMum sad

Apparently her walking still isn't steady enough.

Weekend away was lovely but stressful in its own way - and the few "feeling miserable" texts from DMum didn't help (it wasn't trying to get at me, and I don't blame her for being miserable).

She misses my DC terribly - and keeps asking me to bring them in. But DD1 is a bit wild and seems to save up all her wildness and misbehaving for just the kind of places you need her to sit still for 2 minutes.

I'm already feeling guilty about not getting in there tonight - but I need to get home at a decent time and put the DC to bed at a proper time (they won't settle for DH at the moment despite his best efforts so they are awake when I come home, even if I'm late).

Am also going to have to make a call on cancelling DDad's surprise 70th birthday party in 3 weeks (which includes relatives coming from abroad and which DM and I Were planning together.)

twentyten Wed 03-Jun-15 16:28:52

Aww vivola - sorry to hear. Stick to your plan. You need to do what matters most gorgeous your family too. Look after yourself. thanks

Oldieandgoldie Fri 05-Jun-15 00:18:22

A difficult one. I think I'd be tempted to go ahead with party and to involve your mum as much as possible..in theory..but in practise, making all the decisions yourself. It may give her something special to look forward to. But, make all visitors aware of the situation and be prepared to move party/alter catering arrangements etc at short notice. (Hope you're going for bought-in catering)

Much sympathy; we had something similar with my parents Diamond wedding anniversary. It gave my dad something to aim for, although due to his illness celebrations were moved, and much reduced.

Something else to consider...would your mum be ok with others seeing her in a wheelchair (or other stroke effects)? My in-laws were very against this happening.

vvviola Thu 23-Jul-15 08:20:04

An update:

DM was in hospital for 7 weeks in total. It was utterly draining for everyone - her included.

The big party was cancelled, but we still held a small dinner the night before and DM was released from hospital for the weekend.

My brother travelled from abroad and was a pain in the neck and upset everyone DM was pleased to see him though, so that was the main part.

It's still a long journey - she gets very tired very easily and she sometimes struggles for words, but otherwise she is doing brilliantly. They even did a pre-driving assessment yesterday!!!

She has initiated a few difficult conversations with me re wills and powers of attorney that I'm trying to help with (there are few sensitivities with my brother that need to be handled carefully).

I try to go up twice a week to let DDad do his hobby. Once I bring the DC with me, and once by myself.

My brain is still about to explode with all the juggling and worrying and balancing.

Oldieandgoldie Sun 26-Jul-15 07:51:59

Glad DM is improving and that you managed to celebrate your dads 70th.

Re POA, although it can be managed from abroad, it makes it so much easier if the person making the decisions (and possibly signing papers) is nearby.

Hope your mum continues to improve.

twentyten Sun 26-Jul-15 20:33:23

Hello vv. good to hear your dm is making progress- but you sound frazzled. Are you getting a holiday at all? You need to look after yourself and your family. Could you get a sitter in for your dm on one of the evenings? Getting your parents to accept help other than you and reducing the fixed visits is important to allow you some flexibility. Please take care. thanksthanks

vvviola Tue 28-Jul-15 19:54:29

We got a week's holiday at the start of July twentyten, but it feels a very long time ago now!

We're going away with DM and DDad this weekend, which should be interesting. Original plan was a hotel with kids club, now it seems to have changed to a self-catering house.

I'm in a permanent state of frazzledness though - I can't really blame Mum's illness for that! Life is just very busy. Thankfully Mum's friends are brilliant so they have been popping around quite a bit to give DDad a break.

I think DH and I will be getting a babysitter over the next couple of weeks (which will cause issues of its own as DM will want to know why we didn't just ask her), just to get out one afternoon or evening.

twentyten Tue 28-Jul-15 20:43:01

Hope the weekend goes well. Good idea about babysitter- does dm need to know? Look after yourself- you are no use to anyone else otherwise!

vvviola Tue 04-Aug-15 11:15:28

Weekend was a partial success!

DM was great, having the DC around was great for her and everyone rubbed along fine for the most part. She seems to be bit more direct than she used to be (and she was always pretty direct), so I felt a bit overly criticised. And, as she lost quite a bit of weight while she was in hospital, the heating was on high a lot, which DH in particular struggled with.

She also seemed to be teasing DD1 a lot, who is very literal (and mostly in a way that was getting at me - just little things, but irritating), so that confused poor DD1 and annoyed me.

But otherwise we'll call it a success - but I need a holiday after the holiday grin

twentyten Tue 04-Aug-15 14:03:56

Ok- so how are you going to de frazzle??? Make it a priority!thanksthanks

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