Saturday, August 19, 2023

I'm Getting Weary, But I Don't Know What the Answer Is

I took Beth to the optometrist last week to get some new glasses. We went a few years ago but her prescription hadn't changed so she decided to keep her glasses. It still hasn't changed much but she was ready for some new ones. They're close to the same shape she has now, but they're a different color. She should get them in a few days.

 We left there and went straight to the dentist. Got two done in one day! The hygienist was very impressed with how her teeth looked and Beth told her that she brushes "in the morning and at night." Leah told her she was doing a great job. We love her, she always talks to Beth, not just to me. She remembers Beth's activities and her family members and talks in a way Beth understands. She's priceless!

 Writing is like therapy for me, so I want to talk a little about Beth's recent health issues. 
When we went to Iowa last month, we walked into the airport and got in line to use the kiosk to check in. I could tell Beth was starting to look lethargic and when I asked her how she was she doing she mumbled, "Okay." I grabbed her arm and tried to get Chuck's attention. He was in line at the kiosk while Beth and I waited in the back with a crowd of people. I could feel her getting weaker and hollered to him that Beth needed to sit down. I began to panic because the airport was doing construction and we were all crammed against these tall barriers. Thankfully Chuck's 6'3" height allowed him to see some chairs in a different area and he helped her to them while I got all the luggage. She was so pale. I began to fan her while Chuck went to find water. After about 10-15 minutes she was feeling better so I was able to get her to a bathroom. She couldn't tell me the last time she had had any water. She did okay through security but then started walking very slowly. Chuck found a wheel chair at a nearby gate so I pushed her and he pushed the luggage to our gate, then I took the wheelchair back to where he found it. I bought us all some bottled water and we waited for the flight.
 Using both hers and Chuck's walking sticks
By the time we got to O-Hare, she was feeling great! So... off the plane and making our way through the airport when she begins to slow down again. I mean, really slow. Barely moving. She said nothing hurt but she couldn't tell us why she was going so slow. We asked for a wheel chair and an employee pushed her to our gate. We learned that you can ask for a wheelchair when you first check in so we did that when we landed in St Louis.

 Since we've been home we had some blood work done and her thyroid levels were way off. Come to find out, she stopped taking her medication! She takes two medications and a few months ago, just quit taking them. She's always been so faithful about it. When I've asked her why she stopped she doesn't answer. She won't - or maybe she can't - tell me. She doesn't have the language to explain why.

Either way, I'm now monitoring her meds. Checking with her every day to make sure she takes them.
We're also taking measures to dramatically limit her dairy intake. She buys the same food every time she goes grocery shopping and most of it is sugar... and dairy. I've struggled with this because she's 38 years old. I don't monitor what my other daughters eat. They wouldn't be very happy if I did. So I've tried to let Beth make her own decisions - good or bad - for herself. But it's coming to a point where it's really beginning to affect her health. And she can't take care of herself in many areas so Diana... encouraged us to step up our game.
This week we found some healthy alternatives to her snacking and at the grocery store she showed me how she found a small package of m&ms (instead of the large family size) and a small licorice. I told her those were great choices and she was doing such a good job! And, those were the only junk food she had! That's huge!
Chuck and I have family members on both sides that are hoarders, and Beth is too. It's not like you see on those TV shows but it's bad enough. I'm trying to spend more time in her apartment (our daylight basement) helping her clean but I noticed today an area we cleaned a couple weeks ago is starting to fill again. And it's not that she's attached to any of it, she just won't throw anything away. Literally. Old shoes, empty kleenex boxes, grocery bags, old papers... she just tosses everything on the floor. And she's got a big trash can in the kitchen and one by her desk.

I don't know what the answer is. 
Do we put her in a group home? (I don't want to.) Do we hire someone who specializes in clearing out hoarders homes? Send her to a psychologist? Quit my job so I have more time to take care of her? 

Please pray with me that the Lord would show us what to do. That He would heal Beth, and  provide the answers we need and bring the resources to help us through this. Thank you!


Debby@Just Breathe said...

Keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers. These are some tough decisions you need to make. I'm thankful you found out why she was having those issues. She obviously needs to be monitored. ((HUGS))

Terri D said...

Thanks for sharing with us and asking us to pray for you all and for some answers to these concerns. I have no experience to share so really have no answers for you. I will be praying, though!! Seeking professional help is probably a good start! Do please keep us posted. Hugs.

Cathy said...

I have no advice to give. But I will gladly pray for you all and that God will give you the wisdom to make the decisions that need to be made.

Doris said...

I get your mama heart! I also struggle with not wanting to say too much, not push, not overstep my bounds with Ellen. She loves junk food and has gained more than 20lbs in a year. And she does not like to part with anything. Will certainly pray with you! We are pursuing the next step in a living situation for Ellen... I really don't want to but we are getting older and it's time. Don't want a group home either. It's all so heavy on our hearts!! Sending hugs!

ellen b. said...

Hard decisions on your plate. Praying for wisdom and good counsel. said...

My darling friend, you have raised such a beautiful family. And have done so well with Beth. She has a sense of independence by having her own space in your home, doing her own shopping, making decisions.

Maybe you can inquire about having someone work with Beth to get to the bottom of the housekeeping issues. Sometimes our children tune us out but hearing the very same thing from someone else can make all the difference. If you can afford to get some counseling for Beth, that might help. But it would have to be with someone who is the right fit for Beth with her communication struggles.

If you feel like a group home situation might be beneficial to everyone, you could begin looking into them. Maybe take Beth to visit some, maybe they allow prospective residents to eat a meal or participate in an activity. Start testing the water a little with that option.

I remember having to begin thinking about what would be the next best place to move our mom. One move was during Covid, or maybe 2. It was so hard because we couldn't take Mom to see the places. We took pictures, tried to get her excited about having a new apartment, new friends, better food (we hoped), a brand new facility. All of that helped.

Praying for you. This is an unique challenge that many of us don't face. Not in the same way. You are loved and admired for the wonderful way you have raised your children...all of them. You will figure this out.

Susan said...

My friend had to make a decision too and her adult daughter went to a group home and loved it. I think she had Willie Prader syndrome. I am glad you found out what was making her sick. It had to be so scary for you! I will be praying for you.