Today I went out with Marcy and my niece and left Leiya home with Grandma. Marcy and I do a lot of talking while we drive around and the conversation always goes back to Grandma...
What are we going to do...?
The point is that she needs 24 hour baby sitting.
There are 7 of us living at my brother's house right now and we are all involved with Grandma's care to some extent. But we all react to Grandma in different ways and we all approach her failing health with different emotions.
I am in California for only a month. I see how much has been lost in the past year. My mother no longer participates in family activities being "content" to stay in bed all day sleeping or "reading" or staring out the window. Those words do not even express her anymore. She will not eat unless urged. She will not take her medication unless we stand over her. She cannot walk without a walker and even with one she is in danger of slipping or falling.
I am a worrier (I hate that word!) and a doer. Whether I want to or not I am willing to hover and help and keep her company. But I'm not a decisive person and I don't have any real suggestions for long term care. I do what is put in front of me and try not to complain or get upset.
My brother is a wonderful family man but he is not good with weakness and giving care. His extent of dealing with Grandma is to call through the window,
"Hey Mo! You'd better get out of that bed! You're not going to get any better that way!"
Marcy will light into him in a flash and it is all I can do not to jump on him and tell him to get out here and do some hands on care or at least take part in Marcy and my discussions. His attitude is, "Whatever you want to do is fine."
Marcy is a fun loving person. She is wonderful at keeping the family running, at making us all laugh, at touching and caressing, and her patience with Mother is abounding. But she is not a nurse and has no desire to become one. She has friends and schedules and often only seems to be at home for an hour the whole day through. Which means Grandma doesn't get her medicine on time or dinner might be a take out taco. And Marcy is annoyed right now because my brother doesn't really even help her with the decision making.
"Of course I love Grandma, but she is HIS mother! Keion ought to be more supportive."
Sometimes Marcy and I can get into "Keion Bashing".
Kiana is 14 (today!) and she is willing to take Grandma to the bathroom, to give her medicine and to just chat and answer the same questions that Grandma asks over and over again. She is developing a caring heart just by watching Marcy. But she is still just a young teenager.
Colin is 11 and he is getting into his hard to handle years. He makes derogatory remarks about Grandma and her feebleness and yesterday Leiya and I really lit into him and gave him a scolding. I feel bad about jumping on him but his disrespect puts a fire in my eyes. He probably won't say anything more negative about Grandma at least while I'm around. Poor boy. He's only speaking his mind.
And Leiya is wonderfully helpful and patient. But she cries easily. She sees the changes in Grandma and the way the rest of the family goes on having fun and leaving Grandma alone and it makes her sad. She also realizes what may lie ahead. Having to take Grandma out of her home or maybe worse, letting her stay alone and lonely and in danger of injury.
Emotions are running high around here.