Polar Bear

Polar Bear
My Boy

Sunday, September 5, 2010

When thinking of yourself last is genetic...

My grandmother moved in with my parents three years ago.  My mom offered for her to come live with them-requiring a move across the country when my grandmother started falling in her senior living condo.  Neither of her siblings even made an effort to be concerned about their mother.  Neither offered to take her in.  Keep in mind that my mom was never my grandmother's favorite child.

Three years later now and my grandmother is 96 years old.  While still mobile, she has accidents in the middle of the night, which is why my parents had a doorbell installed in their room so my grandmother could alert them.  My mom doesn't sleep most nights because she is on alert waiting for something to happen-make no mistake about it, my mother waits on her mother hand and foot, and yes sometimes my grandmother takes advantage of this and milks the spoiling.

When my grandmother moved down, it was with the understanding that if my mom got a chance to spend a few days with my Dad on the road (he travels for work), then my grandmother would stay in the senior hotel which offers short term assisted housing for seniors.  However, when she came down and was settled in, her tune changed.  She refused to go to the senior hotel flat out.

Then she was hospitalized and had surgery for an intestinal blockage, was in ICU for a month, had a heart attack in the hospital, and respiratory failure twice requiring intubation.  The whole time my mother was at her bedside.

I moved back from across the country to help out and I do as much as I can.  I returned to find that all the good that was done when I brought my mom to the gym everyday had gone bad.  She has gained about 30 pounds in her midsection, which carries alot of weight due to her genetic composition which included the death of her brother and father by the age of 50 from massive heart attacks, as well as her own high blood pressure.

What's worse is that she is a prisoner in her own home.  She is scared to leave my grandmother with anyone, as my grandmother requires prescriptions four times a day and a very rigid diet and exercise schedule.  Needless to say, that other than myself, my mother refuses to ask for help from anyone.

I have seen her downward spiral, both mentally and physically, since my grandmother moved in.  While I love my grandmother, sometimes I secretly wish she would pass in her sleep-so my mother doesn't.  I know this isn't a nice thought-so spare me the reprimand.

I, too, find myself offering help to everyone and never saying no.  My husband is the same way, so we can't train each other to be a little selfish even when it is in our own best interest.
The thoughts occur to me:
Am I offering my help because I am fat and I want people to like me?  I know I have said earlier that maybe it is good enough just to be acquaintances with people, and that I don't care what they think of me.  But is that really true?  Is their professional respect enough? Down deep, doesn't everyone want to be liked?  And how far will I go to get approval?  If I am anything like my mother, I will go to my own deathbed in order to make everyone else happy and to gain their acceptance.

Will I gain back this weight if I have a child-not from pregnancy, but from putting myself last?  Will I then desert my children to an early death?  Will I put myself in the ground while struggling to gain the acceptance of those I love?  Will my fat follow me-will it stop my heart-will it suffocate me?

How will I buck my genetics and ask for help-be able to see the fat killing me, face it, and say no.  I would love to stay skinny for life after I drop it all, but I'm not delusional to think that regaining doesn't happen, since it has happened to me twice now.  I don't know how to reverse my genetic disposition, but I plan to find out, and soon.


Mom to the Fourth Power said...

Hi there.. just popped by and wanted to say hello. I just read this post and although I do not know you at all, (and you don't know me), I have many friends that are similar in "pleasing" others and struggle with saying "no".. in fact, my hubby is like that. A great book to read is called "Boundaries" by Cloud and John Townsend. I had a therapist recommend it to me and it really is good at clarifying issues like this.
I also wanted to wish you good luck on your health journey! I hope you are able to take care of yourself and that somehow your mother gets a break! God Bless!!


Lanie Painie said...

I hope you will choose to take care of yourself, knowing that a strong healthy you can take the best care of others.

You are in a difficult situation for sure. We took my mom in for 2 years and luckily for us she decided to move back in with her favorite before she got too bad. Selfish of me? Maybe - but I am not a nurse, never wanted to be one and never intend to be one. If that makes me a bad daughter, I chalk it up to bad parenting. It's not that I don't have compassion for my mom and her other daughter, but my daughter, husband and self have to come first.

You and your mom are wonderful people to be able to do this for your grandmother. I think the boundaries books sounds like it would be helpful. You can't let grandma rule your life. Call United Way and see if there are any respite programs that your mom could take advantage of in your community - or even go on their website.

Good luck!

Polar's Mom said...

Margene and Lanie-Thank you so much for your well wishes and votes of confidence, I really appreciate the sentiments. I will check out that book and the United Way-and *gently* pass that info on to Mom.

Polar's Mom

Lala said...

Thanks for coming to visit my blog!

That is a really tough situation for your mother, but I'm glad that you recognize that the tendency to never say no has destructive consequences. I hope your mom finds a bit more balance for herself and I am glad you are asking those important questions of yourself.

Allan said...

Different thing entirely...
How to sear tuna !!

First, heat the skillet on very high heat. When it gets hot, add the 2 TBS olive oil.
Meanwhile, salt and pepper each side of the tuna. Place tuna in the hot skillet. With a 1" thick slice of tuna, allow the slice to cook (you'll know because it turns white) about 1/4" deep. Immediately turn it over, and repeat cooking another 1/4" deep. Remove from the heat and plate.
That is all

Polar's Mom said...

Thanks for the recipe, Allan, I do like Ahi! If you have any blackened fish recipes, let me know.

Thanks for visiting, Lala, feel free to come on back whenever.

Polar's Mom