I’ve Got This… Really, I Do

View from My Parents' Old Beach House

Since my mother refused post-stroke treatment, behavior I could not control, I’ve been really busy. Bordering on mildly hypomanic at times, yet surprisingly stable given all the stress I’m under, I gained a sense of control by learning what I can about those things I can control.

Using skills I acquired in my careers in psychotherapy, commercial real estate and the law (granted, I was a legal assistant specializing in complex computerized litigation, not estates and trusts), I’m doing due diligence to be a good – no, an excellent – health care agent and advocate, power of attorney and trustee for my parents. These roles I share with my sister who is in the midst of relocating out of state (lucky woman, actually, she’s stressed out, too).

The past three weekends, I’ve met with several real estate agents, brokers and property managers. Now we’re taking a look at rehabbing and renting out my parents’ beach home.

Friday, after speaking to a gerontological psychologist who will meet with my parents next week, I visited a dedicated memory care community. Hate to keep moving my parents from facility to facility, but must find the right fit for them. My mom needs proper care.

My mother is receiving excellent care in their board and care, but it offers caregiving only, not specialized support or structured activities. My mother is not in control of her life right now and is losing hope for recovery. Before her stroke, my mother had panic attacks, social anxiety and some distorted thoughts. The stroke injured her brain’s front left lobe, exacerbating psychiatric symptoms and interfering with impulse control.

These traumatic brain injuries are trying for anyone. My mother and father were both first-born, high-achievers (as was I). Before her stroke, my mother always had to be in control, and like me, sometimes blew up when overstimulated by social contact or when criticized. Not being able to express herself verbally (she was former university debate team captain) or get her way must be nightmare for her.

33 thoughts on “I’ve Got This… Really, I Do

  1. e March 3, 2016 / 7:08 am

    So powerful Kitt & the best way to describe the space Im in right now!

    “…given all the stress I’m under, I gained a sense of control by learning what I can about those things I can control.” Stellar!

    Cyberhugs

    e

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley March 4, 2016 / 7:31 pm

      Yay! Serenity now… (That’s a Seinfeld joke & a reference to the Serenity Prayer.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. stockdalewolfe February 29, 2016 / 10:09 am

    You are in my prayers daily, you and your family. And you are handling this all very professionally, empathetically and efficiently. It is an inspiration to me. Though I have lost my parents and a brother, I fear for how I will be able to handle my husband if he should have something before me. He has been sick for two months now and there has been lots of tears and worrying, etc. I think about the unspeakable though I am learning not to look at that thought.

    Like

    • Kitt O'Malley March 1, 2016 / 12:17 am

      I am praying now for you and your husband. Two months is too long to be sick. I hope and pray his health improves soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • stockdalewolfe March 1, 2016 / 4:03 am

        Thank you so much, Kitt, i so admire you. You are a powerhouse of ideas which you then do. As it must be so hard on your mother, so, too, on you. I do pray you find the right place for your parents. And that they can be together in a shared bed, near you. Take care of yourself, too. Caretaking is one of the hardest things in life. Love you, Ellen

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kitt O'Malley March 4, 2016 / 7:14 pm

          Thank you, Ellen, love you, too. I moved them into Silverado Memory Care Community on Wednesday. They are getting excellent care there. Already they have participated in the social hour and taken a Zumba exercise class. The caregivers are attentive. They have 24-hour nursing staff, and a medical director. Their specialty is working with people with dementia, especially those kicked out of other facilities. They know how to engage their clients positively. They have dogs, cats, birds, and guinea pigs. Two golden retrievers met my parents when we first went in the door. Perfect. My mom sat and pet the guinea pigs, which is very helpful for calming anxiety. I’m hopeful. Going to make this into a post!

          Liked by 1 person

          • stockdalewolfe March 7, 2016 / 9:20 am

            So glad for you and your parents!! Great work, Kit, finding such a good place!! Congratulations! Hope you can relax a little now!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Kitt O'Malley March 7, 2016 / 3:44 pm

            Me, too. There is still much to take care of. I handle their finances, do their taxes, and am getting bids for renovations to their house to ready it for rental.

            Liked by 1 person

          • stockdalewolfe March 7, 2016 / 5:22 pm

            Yikes, Kitt! It never ends. Lots if things going on with us. Husband and I sick a long time. Husband decided, with lots of input from me that it’s time to retire and he plans to work part time. Has filled out all the forms, done the taxes and, please say a prayer, finishes a month and half of work Wednesday.

            Plus selling our little barn. I am helping job search and find part time jobs and whatever. Busy times.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Kitt O'Malley March 8, 2016 / 2:54 pm

            Wish you both well, as you settle into partial retirement. Hope both of your health improves. Will keep you both in my prayers.

            Liked by 1 person

          • stockdalewolfe March 8, 2016 / 4:36 pm

            Thank you so much, Kitt. And you and your family are in mine. Love, Ellen

            Liked by 1 person

  3. cardboardcuisine February 22, 2016 / 10:07 pm

    Oh and by the way, cardboardcuisine is me, Debbie Eisenstein! It’s my wordpress blog that I never published. Maybe someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley February 23, 2016 / 11:06 am

      Hi, Debbie! I must get up to visit you one of these weekends. I’ve been out to my parents’ place on weekends recently to deal with their house. Would you like to meet up in Hermosa Beach? You and Jay could join us (or just me) for a weekend at the beach.

      Like

  4. cardboardcuisine February 22, 2016 / 10:05 pm

    All my love to you, Kitt, you are amazing. I’m so impressed and hope I have the strength, compassion and will to do as much as you do if and when the time comes.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA February 21, 2016 / 6:07 pm

    I can see you “get it.” When I experienced my father, the strong get ‘er done guy, in a locked-in state, no control at all, I realized what Hell must look like.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley February 21, 2016 / 6:35 pm

      Yes. Terrible to see. They’re there, but cannot communicate. Locked-in is, of course, the worst imaginable. My heart goes out to you and your dear departed father. He was blessed to have been well-loved by you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA February 21, 2016 / 7:08 pm

        Thank you, Kitt. He was, as all of us are, imperfect LOL how absurd does that sound?! But watching him suffer so, although I dreaded the moment, I was relieved for his sake when he went. He suffered as gracefully as a person possibly could. But the injustice of taking the power of expression away from a teacher, an artist, a musician…it shook my faith. He met the test…he couldn’t stand a quitter. He died as he lived. I think that might be true of everyone….

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymous February 21, 2016 / 4:57 pm

    Wow you are pulling it all together and taking excellent care of your parents! I hope I have someone as dedicated as you to care for me if I need it! Great job Kitt! And lots if hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dyane February 21, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    You’re amazing. I know you’re modest and you won’t like my throwing a bunch of superlatives at you, but I really want to do it all the same.

    Few adult children have the insights, perseverance, and combination of intellectual gifts that you have to help your parents in the way you described, especially your mom’s case. You’re remarkable.

    Any parent would be incredibly proud of the daughter you are.

    My heart also goes out to your mom for not being able to express herself as she previously did, especially due to her background. Thinking of you often, sending you my love. You’re in my heart, always, dear Kitt!

    p.s. the view from your parents’ old beach house is spectacular!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. M. R. Wilson February 21, 2016 / 3:09 pm

    Let me add my voice of support, Kitt. Your stressors are huge, yet you are very much at the helm. Hats off to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. blahpolar February 21, 2016 / 1:55 pm

    Strongs! You’re dealing with a lot, I think your mother’s lucky to have you on her team.

    Liked by 2 people

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