I Said “No!”

  
My mother’s speech therapist (a great guy and excellent speech therapist) called me today so that I could participate in her speech therapy. Friday, when I first met with him and my parents, he told me to work with my mother daily. Afterwards, I freaked out, was bitchy and short-tempered with my husband and son, and finally called my sister who reminded me that I do not have to do what the speech therapist tells me to do. 

Tuesday when he called, I was too busy to join them. My son had school (or at least was scheduled to attend school, he got a migraine and stayed in bed). My father’s brother and sister were visiting from Chicago. And…I had psychotherapy (which I needed). So…I told him that I could not make it. 

He called again this morning. At first I agreed to meet him at my parents’ board and care. Then, I thought, no, I need to relax today. Tuesday was eventful. Wednesday, even more so. 

Yesterday I arranged for my son to Skype his morning class (I forget why he struggled yesterday. Each day is a new struggle.). Then I sat on the panel as a (former) mental health provider (I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who maintains her license but hasn’t practiced psychotherapy for over two decades) to teach NAMI’s Provider Education course (teaching it every Wednesday afternoon this month through the first week of February). Then…I had dinner with my husband, aunt and uncle. VERY BUSY day for me. Social demands stress me. I needed to recuperate. 

Needing moral support, I talked to my son who agreed I should cancel (not his job to offer me moral support, but he was handy). He, after all, is sick again today, and he is my primary responsibility (yes, I know, I’m not his responsibility, but I need him to help out more now). So…I called the speech therapist back and told him I couldn’t participate in my mother’s speech therapy due to my need to take care of myself (as I have bipolar disorder) and my son (as he has chronic health issues). He was very understanding. Afterwards, I called my sister for congratulations which she enthusiastically gave me. Yay!

Freaking Out

Once again I accidentally skipped a medication dose. Thursday evening I forgot to take my divalproex (used to treat seizures, migraines and bipolar disorder), making me less stable, more irritable, short-tempered with my husband, overwhelmed, emotionally fragile, raw and vulnerable. F*ck. So that’s a bit of background for how I felt Friday and Saturday.

Am I doing right by my parents? Am I failing myself and my son?

Friday Texts to Owner of Board and Care

Kitt: My mother’s speech therapist told me to work with my mom daily. I’m not up to that b/c I have bipolar disorder and my son gets sick, migraines, depression & anxiety. I must protect myself and my family’s well-being. I do not think that the caregivers are up to speech therapy exercises. Maybe I underestimate them.

Owner: Hi, Kitt, I completely understand your concerns & your concerns for your family. I agree with your assessment that caregivers are not really well qualified to do that, but they can try doing it, & we will see how it goes. It will get better.

Friday Texts with My Sister

Kitt: FYI, the speech therapist today said I should work with mom every day on speech therapy exercises. Staff at board and care are just “caregivers.” They cook, clean, help with bathing. I talked dad into showering today with mom’s help. Mom refused to shower.

Sister: I wonder why mom won’t take a shower? You do not need to follow the demands of a speech therapist. You can do the speech therapy exercises when you are available. They will not control your life. You will control your life and time.

Kitt: This is what she wrote. Do not know what she meant.


She is having trouble with receptive speech, with understanding what is said to her or asked of her. But she knew we wanted her to shower b/c she gets gestures and if restate putting in context.

Sister: Do you think she needs a chair in the shower?

Kitt: I bought one. It’s in their shower.

Sister: Maybe she wants it out then? Or she’s worried dad is going to jump her? 😳 love in the shower?

Kitt: If she wanted it out, she could take it out.

Sister: Yeah. Probably more the second idea?

Kitt: Thanks for the smile. I’m pretty stressed. I know you are, too. On the positive side, she made huge strides after one session with this guy.

Sister: Good!

Hope that Speech Therapy Books Will Help


Purchased these books online. Hope that I can delegate exercises for my dad to do with my mom. He has moderate stage dementia, so not sure how it will go. I know he wants to help, though. It will give them something to do together that will benefit them both cognitively. Obviously, I’ll have to break it down simply. Will get them a calendar with instructions (page x in book y),  shower schedule, and physical therapy and speech therapy schedules.

Change is Anxiety Provoking

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Great news. Monday I am moving my parents into shared rooms – and most importantly, a shared bed – at a board and care close to my home. To that end, I’ve been busy with electronic paperwork and facilitating the transfer of my mother from skilled nursing stroke rehab and my father from assisted living memory care. Delegated the moving of queen size bed and my parents’ clothing to my husband. Sunday we move the bed and clothes, and I sign the papers and cut the check.

This change, which I expect to be wonderful – which I hope to be wonderful for both my parents and my own family – still is anxiety provoking. So much is riding on it. I pray my parents are happy with the set-up.

Anyway, I’ve been so stressed out that I’ve colored a crap load of images using Colorfy in the last few days. Take a look at the slide show of images and see how busy I’ve been.

Today I finally took a clonazepam hoping it would help. Nada. No difference. I feel like I’m about ready to jump out of my skin. Instead, I write and share with you how moving someone else affects me.

You can imagine how hard it might be to move myself, son and husband. Whenever I have moved in the last ten years, and we’ve moved numerous times, I’ve had a set-back, experiencing deep and sometimes debilitating depression.

We moved our son five times during elementary school. He, too, is sensitive to change. My childhood growing up, we constantly moved. Because of it, I tend to hold people at arms length, never getting too attached for I may be leaving soon.

Guilt Rears Its Head

Even with caregiver help, it’s been tough. Friday one of my mother’s occupational therapists told me she had asked nursing staff if my mother had been receiving any visitors. After being “on” since 11/14, I took time “off” to recuperate. My mother did not respond well. She refused to go to physical therapy and instead packed her bags. After a nurse called me, I raced over with my father to calm her down. Tough. I’m wracked with guilt.