Friday, June 12, 2009

My mom

Mental illness runs in my family. If you have never been touched by it, consider yourself lucky. It's insidious. My grandmother was bi-polar and tried to stab her mother-in-law. My grandfather was an alcoholic and abusive parent to my mom. My brother was bi-polar and committed suicide. And my mom is a result of all of these situations. She suffers from clinical depression but has tried all of her life to break the cycle. For the first 10 years of my life she didn't know how deeply she was affected by her childhood, but one day she snapped and there was an incident that changed us both for the rest of our relationship. After the incident, she sought help.

But since my parents moved to be closer to me, things have not gone well for her. She has had several surgeries that were meant to improve the quality of her life. The last was a shoulder surgery, only the surgeon dropped the ball and didn't check the stability of my mom's neck before operating and putting her in a huge, heavy sling for 6 weeks. Last week my mom's neck gave out and she is suffering from degenerative disk disease and two fused vertebrates that are pinching a nerve. Her surgeon intimidated her and when she tried to tell him how much pain she was in, he blew her off and said it was all muscular. Her physical therapist got hold of her and said it was absolutely NOT muscular and sent my mom back to the surgeon. He listened to the PT and gave my mom an MRI and my mom is now scheduled to have 3 sets of shots in her neck to do some sort of spinal block.

But this series of surgeries, the pain, the constant need to rely on my dad, my upcoming move...all of this has gotten to her. She was supposed to spend 3 days with me this weekend but had to have my dad come get her and take her to her GP. Not so much for pain as for her admission that she is spiraling down into a deep depression and she feels like she is "losing it." Her words, not mine. A lot of people feel that way sometimes and get through it, but in my family, when someone feels that way, it becomes life threatening and my mom...well my mom admitted she didn't trust herself with my daughter. Her GP has given her some ativan to try to offset the spiral, but...

I am a mess right now. All of this seems and feel so dire. I am afraid of what my mom is going to do if the ativan and her prozac combined can't help her. I feel ineffectual at being able to help her when I have so much to do to get ready for the move. My husband is out of town and offered to come home, but it would have caused a lot of issues for him. I am trying to stay strong and not worry my daughter, but I keep breaking down into these mini-bouts of tears. I am not the kind of person who can just have a good cry and get it over with. I huff and puff, clear up and then break down again.

I just don't know what to do. I'm not sure there is anything I can do. But I wish there was.

That's all. I'm still finishing up reports, so it may be a few days before I get another post out. But thanks for listening...


Green said...

Oh MW! I do not have a child and just have a roommate that I hide from in my room all the time, so I will cry for you and your mom, okay? Physical pain can really screw with a person's mind. I had people telling me I wasn't in as much pain as I thought I was in at one point - that can drive you nuts. Can you put your mom in a hospital, under a 72 hour hold? I think it's a GREAT sign that your mom knew she wasn't well enough to be around your daughter.

Hugs to you and sanity to your mom.

Mel said...

Just be there for your mom and listen to her, and if she isn't talking, just let her know that you love her no matter what happens. You love her and want her to get better.

It sounds like she has enough handle on herself and self-monitors her wellbeing so tell her you respect her and love her for taking care of herself. It must be scary for her. The fact that she is getting help means she is on the right track.

I've dealt with depression on and off for ten years and the biggest healer for me is knowing that people love me and would miss me if I was gone. Having a shoulder to cry on even if I can't speak.

Hang in there yourself. Cry if you need to, but if your daughter asks why try to explain what is going on with you. My family repressed almost all negative emotion around each other and it has been damaging to my healing process.

Anonymous said...

I think you're doing all you can do for her, so do what you need to do for yourself to stay strong for your family.

It's tough when parents get older and the role reversal begins.

Charli-tan said...

How did i miss this post??

I will give you the same advice you gave me. Take care of yourself. That is the best you can do for both you and your mom. Tina had the same shots that youa re describing, both in her back and soon, in her ribs. They take a minnute to help, so don't expect any change after the first one, or even the second one. but at the third one, the pain is gone. And if at some point she needs surgery onher neck, also know that Tina had that surgery and her recovery was around a week. Very short and she has had very few problems since. Try to hold on to that hope.

As for the medication, try to believe that they will work until there is reason to believe that they won't. Also, if those don't work, then there are dozens of others. There is something out there that will help your mom, the doctors have to be willing to find it. You can help encourage her to keep trying until she finds what she needs.

Other than that, big hugs to you! Hang in there!


Bubblewench said...

I'm soo very sorry. I know that is very difficult to live with.

Will keep your mom and you (as always) in my thoughts and prayers.