How am I supposed to take care...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by flutterbee, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    ...of a depressed difficult child if I can't even take care of myself?

    I finally managed to bathe today. First time since Wednesday. I've been thinking about it for a couple of days, but Thursday was in so much pain I couldn't stand for more than a minute or two at a time and Friday and today, I've been so weak. I've slept more than I've been awake. I felt really gross, but I didn't have the energy to stand long enough to shower.

    I filled the tub tonight to take a bath and quickly realized that if I'm too weak to stand, I'm too weak to make all the maneuvers necessary to bathe in a small tub. I didn't realize how small it is. Narrow. So, I drained the water and decided that I would use the shower hose and shower sitting in the tub. That ended up being more effort than standing, so after I washed my hair and face, I stood to wash my body. I managed to get half of my hair combed out before I could no longer lift my arm and had to have difficult child finish it for me. I was too weak to even care that I was naked.

    My mom is coming up tomorrow. She's going to stop and get me a shower stool. Hopefully it works better than sitting in the tub. I also have 3 pounds of ground sirloin, 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 5 small pork chops and a pork roast defrosting on my counter. She is going to prepare several meals so all we have to do is heat them up. I haven't been eating right because I haven't had the energy to make more than a peanut butter sandwich...on one piece of bread.

    I have 2 baskets and a dryer full of clean clothes that I can't fold. The only reason they are clean is because easy child washed them. difficult child is doing the dishwasher tonight.

    Oh. And apparently, I'm having GERD symptoms. Sigh. My throat is raw from all the bile coming up. Called my GP today because I wasn't sure what I could take with all of my various medications and she said I could take prilosec and malox. Interesting thing....while reading about GERD it said one of the symptoms can be chronic earache. I've had that for a long time. Wonder if it will go away now. That would be nice.

    I know I'm fortunate to have my mom help me out so much. I know things could be worse. But, I have a very depressed difficult child. This can't be helping things with her. So, I have a pile of guilt added to everything else.

    I don't mean to be a whiner and I'm sure you guys are sick of it, but I just feel so helpless. My daughter needs me and I can't even take care of myself.
  2. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Sorry Heather :(

    I would suggest that you keep a couple of cans of Ensure in the fridge for the times you don't have the energy to make something other than a pb one piece of bread sandwitch.

    SO was taking that as a supplement at one time - said it gave him a little energy. I want to say that he got the doctor to do an RX for it so you may want to check with your doctor.

  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Ditto to Marcie's suggestion about the Ensure... even the generic store brands are fine (and much less expensive). I used to buy them for difficult child 1 when he was really sick with his Crohn's because he was so underweight and didn't always feel well enough to eat. Although he's a very picky kid and didn't care for them, I do like them as a lunch substitue for me :) They taste best over ice or very, very cold in the fridge. Chocolate is my fav. You get about 250 calories per can and lots of essential vitamins and minerals. Another option is to keep some Carnation Instant Breakfast packets and milk on hand... Not good to skip meals, especially when you're not feeling well.

    The shower stool will make things much easier for you to manage I think. Glad your mom is going to cook for you so there are quick and easy meals at the ready. I see that your difficult child likes to cook also... maybe this would be a good time to enlist her help -- feeling useful and important to others can sometimes be uplifting and maybe that will help the funk she's in as well.

    Don't beat yourself up. You don't exactly have control over the circumstances, do you? I think it's okay to lean on the kids a little during times like this.
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Those shower stools are great. Have Mom measure the inside of the tub before purchasing though, so you don't get one too big.

    Glad Mom is helping you out. You need to eat properly in order to keep up your strength and to just feel better in general. But I know that's easier said than done when just moving is a painful struggle. I also think the Ensure is a wonderful idea. Generic isn't priced too bad.

    As for difficult child's depression. I'm thinking some has to do with her anxiety over your illness and feeling helpless. I know Nichole would react (and does) that way. It won't hurt her a bit to have her step up to the plate and become a major help around the house. She's old enough to start getting cooking lessons from you, as well as laundry and cleaning lessons. You can supervise and tell her what a wonderful help she's being. Then when you're up to it you can treat her to a girl's day out or something. A matinee at the movies and dinner at Mc Donald's or something.

    This doesn't mean she has to do it all, but let's face it, whatever she is able to do is going to be a huge help to you, and to her as she's going to feel like she's actively doing something to help you get better. And it will leave her with less time to worry and fret. Which I'm sure she's doing. You can always pitch in and help when you feel up to it, getting things done twice as fast because 1. they won't be so behind and 2. because you're not trying to do it all when you're finally feeling good enough to move. (which makes it less likely you'll overdo)

    You don't have a darn thing to feel guilty over. Your sick. You have no control over that. And families pull together to help one another. That's what family is all about.

    Believe me, I've leaned on my kids many times over the years. It didn't hurt them a bit. In fact, I think they turned out better for it.

  5. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Thank you for the Ensure idea. I hadn't thought of that. Very good plan for when I just can't prepare something - although, I can often get Wynter to make some eggs. I don't know what she does, but she makes the *best* eggs. Maybe it's because I know she made them. :D I'll have my mom pick up some Ensure on her way up tomorrow. My car is in the shop (again....only $1,000 this time :hammer: ) and Devon works all day tomorrow.

    Lisa, thanks for reminding me to measure the tub. Wynter is asleep and she is the keeper of the tape measure - don't ask me why - so we'll measure in the morning. My mom is going to think I'm nuts. I've already sent her 3 emails tonight about the shower stool....she thought she could get one at walmart (I don't think so) and I emailed her about a pharmacy in columbus that has assisted living devices or whatever the heck they're called, then something else, then another one saying...wait...we have to measure the tub! LOL

    I'm just feeling pretty useless and very helpless when it comes to my daughter. Individually, I could deal. All together and it's often overwhelming. I do feel better now that we have an intake appointment for therapy. She has also spent some time with her tutor and we've been emailing and she is willing to spend time with her at least once a week. She's 23 and struggled with severe anxiety and depression at Wynter's age and Wynter connects with very comfortable with her which isn't a normal thing. So, I feel better with that now, too. Wynter really needs someone besides me that she can confide in and I'm totally comfortable with the tutor.

    I do worry about how this is effecting my kids, Wynter especially. I guess we have to make the best of it.
  6. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Heather, you may even be able to find shower stools at a local flea market, if you have one nearby. I always see walkers, shower stools and toilet risers at flea markets. Your mom could just sanitize it with bleach well and save you some money.
  7. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Hang in there. One other thing to remember if things don't get done right away don't beat yourself up about it. You are definately the mom but that doesn't mean that the kids can't learn self sufficientcy. They are both old enough. You would be haing them take on things even if you felt well I am sure. That is just the natural order of things. So they do a little more than you would like while your not up to par. It certainly isn't going to hurt them.

    Many hugs coming your way.

  8. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member


    I must have missed something somewhere along the line - what's got you feeling so poorly?

    It's awful when one's body will not cooperate with what their mind wants them to do.....but then it's also telling something; that you need to engage in some self care and planning about what will make this process a little easier for you.

    It is wonderful that your mom is able to help. Let folks who can help do so, even the kids. Learning how things function around the house is one of the best things you can teach them.

    If you are up to it, spend some quiet time with the kids as you recover, maybe even one on one. Sit together, listen to music....have one of them read to YOU, the turnabout maybe enjoyed by all, or just conversate.

    The advice you got about hanging in there and not beating yourself up is right on. It won't help and right now you need to conserve your energy and build your stamina in baby steps.

    Recovery is a complex process and as I have always, always, always said - physical illnesses also have quite the emotional component.

    Do the best you can - we're all thinking of you, Heather!
  9. Steely

    Steely Active Member


    Just wanted to send hugs.

    Slowly but surely I would try and set up as many activities outside the house as you can for Wynter. Since she is at home all day with the online school thing, I can see how she would be even more prone to depression, so maybe setting up one outside thing a day? Maybe even asking the tutor or mom if she can provide the transportation? I would make it part of her daily requirements that she go to these "extracuricular activities". They have great classes at the local recreation classes. Or even some school districts allow homeschooling kids to take their school's electives, like gym or art.

    Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up!!! It only makes it worse. I think you gave me the advice last time when I was as depressed as you - just set one goal a day, even if it is taking a bath. You did that yesterday!!!

    Have you already talked to your doctor about medications for your depression? Is Wynter willing to take her Lexapro again since she feels so badly?

  10. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I apologize, I only scanned the other replies. SO if I repeat, I apologize.

    A shower chair can be bought at walmart, or even menards.....more and more stores are carrying them, I saw one yesterday at my walmart. And yes, my shower is very narrow and my first shower chair did not fit very well. There is another type where the 2 legs on one side of the chair go inside the tub and 2 legs on other side go outside the tub, and you can slide across that type....I think it is called a shower bench, I used those for many of my home care patients. BUT they do cost a bit more.

    I can so relate to your fear re the kids, I first got sick in 99 or 2000, so at that time my oldest, my bipolar with panic was 11 yrs old, my easy child was 9.5 and my son was a week one, 4.5. and my husband was in a catatonic fuge at the time. and we were very outcast from all family. It was very difficult, very scary, and I never ever forget that time. I learned a LOT dureing that time. THat is when I REALLY learned compassion, acceptance, tolerance, patience. I really had no choice but to learn these things. I could not comb my own hair, brush my own teeth, dress or bathe myself, and I had no help except my kids. I HATED the mere thought of even TRYING to get my kids to help, first off, difficult child was also ill herself, how was I going to corral her? Not to mention how was I gonna keep her safe from herself? And my little guy, due to HIS diagnosis'es, he was not even potty trained yet, either. easy child was capable of a lot, but.....this was a real lot to put on her.
    Meals? cold cereal, depending what kind you get has a lot of nutrition in it. fresh or frozen vegs are usually pretty simple to prepare....especially in a microwave. If your difficult child can make eggs, thats great, eggs are healthy, and so is peanut butter.
    I have very long and had very thick hair (medications have now taken 3 quarters of my hair- it is no longer thick at all) and I love it combed HARD..but, my kids were not interested in bothering to comb I would cry over not haveing combed hair. How I missed my baths! Yes we got a shower chair and a hand held shower hose thingie.....but, it was still a problem just getting me there. AT the time, I was our sole support financially, and when I got that ill, I could not work, did not have medical insurance, but for various reasons, could not get Medicaide right away either. So, I could not get in home help-----it was a truly awful time. The way we lived, noone should ever have to live. BUT I learned a few things, like cold cereal for dinner will not kill anyone. Neither will not taking a bath or shower. Noone keeled over dead from me being unable to get to basement to do laundry. I did not LIKE things how they were, but.....eventually we did learn how to adapt, cope, accomodate etc. No, my kids did NOT ever learn to rise to the occasion or step up to the plate. BUT they did find out they could find the kitchen, find food and eat it. They did learn that sometimes they might HAVE to wash a dish if they wanted to USE a dish. They did learn that if they wanted to have a special outfit to wear tomorrow, maybe it is not wise to wear it today. I learned to accept that if I could c onvince them to throw some similar colors together in a washer of cold water, while laundry might not look like it did when I did it, it was still at least not stinky. Sadly my son now believes laundry stays in baskets and not closets or dresser drawers....becuz noone could be convinced to be bothered to put it away. and I think he thinks you eat what you buy at grocery store in car on way home...becuz for awhile I could not tolerate being at store long enough to buy much, and usually made it there only when we urgently needed bad that they would not even wait till we got home before they ate it.

    I learned to give up my desired style of clothes for more easier clothes, elastic waists, house duster dresses etc, things I could put on wile sitting or even laying, things I could access for bathroom easily without haveing to fumble around, lose my balance or use up my energy. I learned if I talked my girls into makeing my hair be in braids, it did not need combing as often....and it was not as obvious if it had not been washed that day. I learned buying EXTRA Bath towels so we could go longer between laundry days only meant a huger mountain of laundry when we DID manage to do the laundry.
    I learned and am now teaching my kids, if you cannot do it yourself, and if you need help- sometimes you have to accept the way someone else is going to do things. Other people might do things differently or have different priorities or whatever. if you criticize the way someone else does something when they are doing it FOR you, they are most likely not going to want to help you again.
    I learned if I HAVE to ration my efforts, and have to chose between doing the laundry or watching a movie with my kids, I am NOW going to watch the movie with the kids. Used to be I would do the laundry.or wash the floor......BUT I learned they grow so fast.....and we get old so fast........and none of us ever know when our time is up----and I want to use my energy and our time for things that noone else can give to us.....if I die someone else CAN teach my kids to do laundry, or they can learn the way I did- by trial and error, BUT our time spent with each other cannot be done by proxy.
    So, sadly, my once extremely immaculate home is no longer even close to immaculate, aw heck, thats a hugeunderstatement. Oh well. Life goes on.
    OOps, now I forgot what else I was gonna say, sorry. :-(

    DO what you can. DO not feel guilty. You did not choose your health status. ALL you can do is what you can do. Noone, nothing, is "perfect" ever. Appearances are decieving, I learned that doing home health care. Be patient with yourself, hang in there.....yur child might just surprise you. Self preservation is a strong inborn trait.
  11. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Heck...I can stand and use a shower stool. I'm just too lazy!! I've used one for years to shave my legs as I'm such a klutz I would fall. Now I don't have any hair so that excuse is out the window.

    You know what it boils down to, Heather, is you have a loving mother. Also, words sometimes speak louder than actions. When your precious daughter makes you those wonderful eggs...she doesn't care that you stand up and hug her, she just cares that YOU care about what she has done.

    When you need those clothes folded, ask one of them to push the basket next to the couch. You fold...then they can put away. Hugs...then tell them how much you appreciate their help.

    Bless your heart, dear. I can't imagine going through this. I hope you get some help.

  12. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Heather, you said you had depression at about the same age as Wynter. So did I. So do a lot of girls. It's a horrible age. Sometimes we get over it with or without our parents' help. Sometimes it takes major intervention. Wynter really doesn't want help. She's at a stage that she enjoys wallowing. Hopefully, she'll grow out of that stage. Quite honestly, I'm not convinced you could really help her even if you were at 100%. Yes, you could try harder, do more but that doesn't mean she would get better.

    To me, there's no question that your illness worries her. Like you, she feels helpless, probably even more so. She's a kid and her mother is ill. Her mother has almost died before and I'm sure there's a large part of her worried sick. Let her help you as much as you can. Yes, she'll whine and complain but I bet a part of her will feel good knowing that she's helping. She really is at an age that she needs to step up and help out anyway. Right now, though, she needs to do it just because it is the right thing to do.

    Let her know how much you appreciate any help she gives and how much it really does help. If necessry, have a family meeting and explain that you really can't do it right now. Ask for her input about what she can do on a daily basis to help out. Have HER write it down (nothing like your own writing to remind you that this was your idea).

    She's a good kid. So is Devon. Let them help you for now rather than you worrying about how to help them. Maybe truly helping you and feeling useful will be more help than anything you say or do right now.

    In the meantime, HUGSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

    Strangely, sometimes the best help we can give our kids is letting them feel useful
  13. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Thank you for the support, ladies.

    My mom came up yesterday and made several meals. She's amazing. She made about 6 meals in the time it would have taken me to make one. So, we have plenty of main courses in the fridge and I can just make some veggies or a salad to go with them. She did find a shower stool at walmart and I used it yesterday. It was awkward because I'm not used to it, but it was easier than standing and I had enough energy after to come out my hair so it definitely helps. I thought my shower hose thingie had a water saver on it, but it doesn't. I may change it out for one that does because I waste a lot of water showering that way. The soap dish in my shower is ceramic with a little handle like thing at the top that is cemented to the tile so it works well as a handle to get up. LOL (I use liquid soap so the soap dish isn't used so it doesn't get slippery.)

    Wynter and I talked last night and she is very receptive to learning how to do laundry. We will start with just hers and I will supervise. It will take a lot of repetition, but she'll get it. I have also noticed that she is becoming more receptive to helping - especially if I can do something - even if it's just a little. She woke me up last night because there was a bug on her bed (more phobic than me) and she had to help me get out of bed. She kept apologizing over and over and I told her I wasn't upset...that it was ok.

    I was supposed to have a neurologist appointment this morning and I couldn't get up. My son tried repeatedly to get me up and I guess I wasn't even coherent. He called them and they told him the next available appointment is Jan 30. I know they have appointments sooner, but, oh, well. He really hasn't done much anyway. I'm less than impressed with him.

    I have to have bloodwork done next week to check electrolytes because of my new blood pressure medication. I think I'm going to ask them to check for any vitamin deficiencies...just for peace of mind.
  14. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Sending many gentle hugs. Glad the shower stool worked out and Wynter is receptive to learning cooking and laundry.
  15. Sending many hugs!

  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, Heather, I am so sorry this is so hard for you.
    I'm glad you got the shower stool. You're very right--it does save you energy. I'm glad you are able to use the ceramic soap holder to hold the nozzle. Some day maybe you can get a handyman to drill a bracket for you, at mid-height, so you can either stand or sit.
    That's so neat that your mom came over and cooked all those meals! Way To Go!

    I am so sorry you missed your appointment, even though your neuro isn't that good. Scary that your son had difficulty awakening you and said you were incoherent.

    I'm in agreement that this may be a good thing for Wynter.

    I've got my fingers crossed and I'm rattling beads for all of you.