ABlogAbout: Alzheimer’s- You Are Doing Fine

Another in the old posts from the days caring for my mother. This was one of the most profound moments I had. In fact, hearing this and REALLY feeling it has given me a sense of peace in many areas of my life. But it is most important for families of people with Alzheimer’s, I think. It’s so hard to know if you are doing the right thing, and often your loved one can’t really weigh in on the decision.

This week’s Alzheimer’s thought: You are doing fine

Something is stuck in my head today. It’s something that one of those exceptional colleagues I mentioned previously said to me – actually a number of times. It is this:

You are doing fine. You are doing the best you can at any given moment. Of course you are – who wouldn’t be doing the best they can in this type of situation?

I’m doing my best. At every stage of the game, I’ve second-guessed my decisions. I’ve agonized over doing the “right” thing, I’ve heard cruel words that cause me to want to back-track. I won’t lie (this blog isn’t about sugar-coating), I have gotten very angry at my mother. I’ve yelled. I’ve acted like an angry teenager. I’m not proud of that, but it is the truth. What goes on in my head – and what I’ve shared out loud with others is that my mother, Alzheimer’s and all, is still a champ at finding those buttons only a mother can push.

Rubbish.

Oh, maybe at some point my mother was capable of that. My father (who did not have Alz) did the same thing. He lashed out at the person taking care of him (me), for running and “ruining” his life. I fully expect that one day I’ll be angry  about that too. My mother is not consciously pushing my buttons. She’s expressing her sadness and frustration, and I (being very much like my mother) am responding in kind, though not always kindly.

Still, I have to make decisions. Things Must Be Taken Care Of. Medicare Open Enrollment just came around – did I need to do something? I need to do her taxes – did I save the right receipts? My brother and I found a really great place for her to live. Is it the right place? Will she adjust, or will she sink further away from us? Decisions are tough. I know about the RAPID decision-making model. I am the “D” – the Decider. I’m also kind of the Recommender, the “R” (along with my brother and a whole host of trusted advisors). Hm, I am the Approver or Authorizer (the “A“), Performer (“P“), and the “I” or Implementer as well. I should be able to make these decisions based on a thorough analysis of the data at hand.

Ya… it doesn’t really work like that. Good theory, not always possible. Sometimes I need others to help me step out of the emotional side of the decision and see things objectively.

I’m doing my best.

So are you.

Say it with me now: I am doing my best.

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