“Mom, you have not had that much to eat or drink today.”
That was how I spent my Friday and Saturday before Christmas – monitoring my mom’s food and beverage intake. Why? She had already been in the ER once last week. Seeing how little she was consuming or drinking was making me wonder if another ER visit would be in our future before the weekend was up.
“I have so. I am not a child!” was my mom’s response.
“You know what? I don’t want my Merry Christmas to be spent in the ER while they rehydrate you – again! I know food and all tastes like crap – but you have to drink and eat anyway. So what would you like?”
At one point she was hiding from me in her bedroom.
Seeing my mom not able to keep herself warm, barely being able to stand, was driving me nuts. Too many naps throughout the day. Too many “be quiet for grandma” was being said. Too many discussions with Dad about what we should make that maybe would entice her to eat.
It became clear – my mom was her own worst enemy.
And there was nothing I could do but nag her.
And doing that was only making me feel better.
I had to remind my brothers that the phrase for what Mom is going through is “chronic illness”. There was no magic pill – only a magic regiment of meds and diet that was going to fix this. The problem is – they have to discover what that is through trial and error. And Mom wasn’t helping things.
Saturday night, as we waited for the girls to go to sleep so that Santa could visit, I sat down and cried. I wondered if us being there was the best thing. Earlier in the day, we had gone to the department store to buy her a table top tree just so there would be something Christmas in the house. We had spent a lot of time cooking food that would make her feel better. And all I felt was stress. All she was feeling was annoyance and discomfort and like she was in the middle of chaos. And I was feeling like we were doing more harm than good.
And I was regretting the trip as all it was doing was giving me anxiety that I did not need.
And this was my girls’ time with grandma – seeing their mother nag them and Grandma.
Sunday proved to be a bit better. With each bite or request my mom made, we all silently thanked the universe that she was requesting it. We had all made a silent vow that we would do what you do with little kids when they are being temperamental – we were going to pretend we weren’t noticing as we were all keeping track.
She did better on Sunday, but was driving us all a bit crazy with her frustration with us. But it wasn’t stopping us completely – just making us change tactics. It was hard for the kids though – the grandkids actually – because Grandma was being grumpy so they ended up ignoring her. While I hated that for her, I couldn’t blame the kids. It’s a kid reaction. Grumpy adults are to be ignored.
The thing I was grateful for – my brothers learned that if they both bring alcohol to my parents’ house that my mom won’t say anything. Beer is good.
Yesterday, she did better. She actually was moving around. She was getting her own food. She was asking for more to drink. Her color was good. And I can only hope that trend continues.
All I know is that this was a hard Christmas for me. Hard to see her hurt. Hard to have to fight with her. Hard to get this all-to-real glimpse of what is to come in the future.
While I am glad we went down there, on one hand, I am simultaneously wishing we had stayed home.
It was hard.