Stay at Home Daughter
It was with love and uncertainty that we welcomed Mom to Colorado. She had suffered a stroke and we were told that she would not be able to walk again or take care of herself without assistance. My husband, Michael, suggested that Mom come to live with us and that we work with caregivers to provide round the clock assistance. So after much ado with finding the right house (main floor master bedroom for Mom), finding a vehicle that could handle a wheelchair, moving all of her possessions here, interviewing and finding just the right caregivers, I flew back to Arkansas to bring Mom home. I was already tired!
I was not prepared for the upheaval of constant caregiving for Mom. I knew it was time for a change when two weeks after her arrival she informed us that she was confused by all the caregivers and the constant changing of the guard. So with support from my husband and encouragement from my Mom, I quit my full time job as a paralegal and became a stay at home daughter. I found myself consumed by a full schedule of physical therapy, doctor’s appointments, making meals, assisting Mom with her daily routine and then falling asleep in bed as soon as my head hit the pillow. I struggled to learn the ins and outs of Medicare and insurance, how to do wheelchair transfers, how to regulate and dispense medications and how manage a caregiver schedule. I also learned that taking care of Mom also meant getting up several times during the night which led to a sleep deprived state. I engaged the caregivers to begin coming several hours a day on a daily basis and began to carve out some balance in my life and some time for myself. As we settled into our new routine, I found immense enjoyment in the time I spent with my Mom going to the art museum, taking long drives, even driving to Dallas to see the King Tut exhibit.
Now that I am working with Susie, I have learned that I could have hired a case manager to help me with the management side of things and I could have taken advantage of so many support organizations that would have eased some of the stress involved. Mom passed away several years ago and I have returned to work full time with Susie. Our family truly cherishes every moment of the time we had with her. Our relationship deepened in so many ways and the little girl in me got another chance to be with her mother.