Last week we moved my grandmother into a nursing home.
This was not an easy decision nor was it easy for anyone involved.
My grandmother is mad. She is 90 years old and in late stage dementia. Which means this decision my parents made to move her from her home 5 hours away to the assisted living facility has to be explained and reexplained several times a day.
Her home isn’t safe for her. The bathrooms have black mold and need to be gutted and nothing in the kitchen works. She can’t take care of herself anymore and her care is more than my baby sister, who has been living with her the last several years, should have to handle.
But she is just mad. She wants to be in her home. She feels like she has no control. She is scared. She feels abandoned. She just wants to go home.
Assisted living is the best decision for her.
I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like for her. The closest I can come is how I felt in the recovery room after Dylan was born. I had a C-Section which of course comes with a spinal block. I was in the recovery room for what seemed like forever. I remember laying there and starting to panic. I didn’t know where my son was. My legs wouldn’t move yet and I was sure I should have been able to move them by that time. I didn’t know if my son was healthy. I started to wonder how I was going to take care of two little boys if my legs never moved again. I was alone. Completely alone. And because of the drugs my thoughts were jumbled and didn’t seem to be working right. I wanted to sit up, to ask for help, to ask questions, but my body and my mouth wouldn’t cooperate. And I was so tired.
That scared, panicked feeling, that feeling of having no control over my body and my mind, is what I imagine my grandmother is going through.
It makes me wish I was better at people. It makes me wish I knew what to say and what to do to make her feel better. But I don’t.
My middle sister is great at people. She can talk to anyone. She can talk to my grandmother and take her mind off of everything that is happening. My youngest sister can take charge. She can get things done and make everyone feel like the situation is under control no matter what. But when it comes to people, I feel like I make the situation worse. I stink at small talk. I don’t put people at ease. But you tell me what medications she is taking and I will research the heck out of them and know everything there is to know by the end of the day. Not really super helpful right now.
And this situation has also made me think about what I want when I get older. How will I want my own sons to care for me when I am no longer able? Honestly, I can’t imagine myself at 90. I can’t imagine myself at 60. I’m struggling with 40 and that’s only a couple years away!
I just hope that when I reach the age where I can no longer care for myself, that my sons are willing to take care of me the way my dad is taking care of my grandmother. I hope my sons have wives who are as concerned and loving as my mom. I hope I have grandchildren like my sisters. And I hope that I have lived a life that is as worthwhile and full as the life my grandmother has.GranLois, Dylan, Christopher
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