In The Circle

The Sandwich Generation

The Sandwich Generation (Photo credit: MediaStorm)

All things unfold as they are meant to, in the circle.  Its been a rough week here in my neck of the woods.  I’ve posted before about being in the middle of the sandwich generation.  We are now gearing up for the full-on sandwich buffet menu here.  I have a filial duty to my mother to provide respectful and empathetic assistance as much as I can.  I intend to honor that, yet finding the line to walk it is proving difficult. I have much to consider besides my parent – not the least of which is my own family and their needs, as well as my own.  I’m more than a bit stressed, to stay the least. Its the busiest time of year for me at work with the end of the fiscal year looming, our annual fiscal audit coming up,  and recontracting with the state for FY 13 in process. I couldn’t possibly be more busy and there couldn’t be a more inconvenient time for my parent and step parent to be having health issues….  I know, that sounds extremely selfish, and I feel like a horrible person for even thinking it, never mind actually writing it down.   I know I’m not alone in the boat,  I have my sister and my step siblings to assist them as well.  Yet, THEIR  house is not where my mother shows up in the middle of the night because of her anxiety, and THEIR phone is not the one ringing at 4 am because my mother happened to see a light on in my living room…. (Yes –  there are definite drawbacks to living down the street from one’s parents, just so you know).  OK, enough kvetching for one post (I’m sure  you’re tired of reading it anyway).

I went with Mom yesterday to her annual physical.  She brought the health care proxy forms and signed the HIPPA releases so my sister and I can be informed about her health and speak with her providers. HIPPA can be SO flipping RIDICULOUS – her health care provider would not even allow ME to tell HIM any information until those STUPID forms had been signed!    I said a quick prayer before heading out to this appointment yesterday.  A prayer so that I could remain focused,calm, and objective in advocating for my Mom.  It seemed to have worked.  Things unfolded naturally and I was able to communicate what I needed to -to both my Mother and her health care provider – in a respectful and caring manner.  I’ve been angry and frustrated with her –  I won’t deny it – and my Aunt (her youngest sister) reminded me gently to try my best to put it aside and focus on the goal – which is to help my Mom.  Since I knew I couldn’t do that by myself, I asked for divine assistance – and got it.  I am now more confident that her HCP is fully informed about what’s been going on with her and left her doctor’s office feeling a bit more positive about the situation at hand. Also, I left there knowing that my mother heard what I had to say because I said it without anger. My Mom’s other sister has also been instrumental in helping me focus and I truly appreciate the fact that my mother has such supportive and caring siblings – and I have such supercalifragilisticexpealidocious Aunts! Not only does it take a village to raise a child, it takes one to care for the sick and elderly.

Today was my stepfathers day to see his dr.  Mom called me after lunch today to let me know he’d been admitted to the hospital to run some tests. (nothing too serious) I could hear the relief in her voice that they will be able to get some answers and treatment for him.  Hope springs eternal that her anxiety will remain lessened, and my phone or doorbell won’t be ringing in the wee hours.  The family has some planning to do, certainly,  in order to assist  them with their health and safety – and to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible.

I am eternally grateful that my sister and I did not have to deal with all this with our Dad. Despite the horrible ache of not having been able to say goodbye, at least we didn’t have to watch him on the slippery slope of old age and  ill health. Because it SUCKS – Royally……

Here’s the song reference:

Lebo M. – Circle of Life (From “The Lion King”)

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18 thoughts on “In The Circle

  1. Pingback: Speaking Up | My Magnificent Mess

  2. Pingback: Illuminating Blogger Award « Dr. Sherry E. Showalter – "Keepin It Real"

  3. Having just spent a week long vacation with the elder slice a bread on the sandwich (of course, for full disclosure, our sandwich is open-faced, as we did not have the young slice, and therefore experience this only vicariously through the many slices of nephews and nieces), I empathize with helping parents, et al. get through the health appointments and treatments. Also, being in health care professionally, we often see what is coming. Our frustration is when we want to provide suggestions that our parents are not ready/willing to hear.

    By the way, regarding the HIPPA frustrations, from our side of the regulation cycle, if an MD (hospital, therapist, et al.) does not have those forms filled out, they could be at risk of a violation of federal regulation (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services). If found in violation, that health care agency/provide could be barred from ever providing services through the Medicare program again. One violation could lead to closing the doors. Being in the bureaucracy business, you know how important dotting “i’s” and crossing “t’s” is.
    Oscar

  4. My Dearest Donna, I hope you know that I do Love you and Susan, always have and always will…I know from experience that the road that you’re on is a tiring and sometimes trying one…. Be brave my dearest one…..I’m always with you in mind, and my spirit will be there for you to draw upon…….Auntie S.

  5. Linked to your blog from my friend Barneysday. It helps to write out your experience, doesn’t it? Best wishes on your search for balance (and some fun along the way)

  6. Wonderful post. It takes courage to share your inner thoughts, particularly the pained ones that show our weaker, but human side. Good job and my thoughts are with you.

    • Thanks Barney! There is just no going “gently into that good night” I am so grateful that my folks have family to support them and that I am not alone in doing so. I know my feelings and frustrations are normal, so I have to put the guilty feelings aside, as long as I can see that anger and frustration for what it truly is ultimately – sadness at the heralding of my parents mortality. and the inevitable passage of time.

  7. Hugs Donna! You’ll be needing that blueberry coffee soon! Have you sent me your address yet? I haven’t seen it in my mailbox. Tell you what – put it up here and I’ll quickly jot it down and you can delete it after. What do you think? HUGS, Sharon

  8. You realise of course that when I hear that song from now on, I won’t be able to get those lyrics out of my head 😉 It sounds like a very emotional time for you and your family, stay strong. Much hugs!

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