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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Some Days are Just Frustrating...

Yesterday I had a zillion things on my mind I wanted to get done, but my Mother in law had other plans for me. She moved in with us in October and if I am asked how it is, usually I say "she is a pretty easy housemate." Lately though, my answer has been "tough!" My Mother in law, like many older people seems to have no natural feeling for thirst anymore. Getting her to stay hydrated is practically a full time job and yes, it is my job. She sighs, grumbles, complains and argues every time I hand her a drink. Some days it is worse than others and yesterday was one of them. I have tried all sorts of methods to get her to drink the eight glasses a day that is needed to keep her healthy. Often it feels like I have a fourth child to care for, but this one is quietly oppositional. She will act like she gets the importance of staying hydrated and then turn around and ignore my pleas to drink. When she is on her own, she never pours herself something and can go five hours without even a sip of water. You may be wondering why this is so upsetting to me, so let me explain. My Mother in law is 83 years old and in my care. I don't take this job lightly, after all she is the Mother of the man I love more than anything else. Many symptoms come out when she is not hydrated and I find it frustrating that something so simple as drinking 8 glasses a day is so difficult to accomplish. Her memory function decreases when she is dehydration and she repeats herself constantly. She has had several UTI's that also cause her to be overly tired and very oppositional. Her gait is off and she has been dizzy, even fallen a few times because of not drinking enough. This week has been especially frustrating. She is currently battling another UTI. Also a new medication made her nauseous, causing even more dehydration because she could not drink or she thought she would be sick. Every day is a challenge to get her to drink those eight glasses and often we fall short by at least one and often two. So everyday I feel like I'm trying to catch her up. When she slept all day on Monday, she barely drank, so Tuesday I pushed fluids harder, but with much resistance. The care of her has been changing quickly as her health seems more and more fragile to Mark and I. I know I am doing the best I can, but somedays I just wish it would be a little easier. Mark calls me on his way home everyday and lately I am just ready to explode as soon as I talk to him. I want so much to get his Mother well and keep her as healthy as possible. Some days all I feel is her passive aggressive attitude toward me and it hurts. I think I am trying to understand the losses of independence she has experienced and that it is not me she is really angry at. As she often says "getting old is not for sissies."

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