And then there was more trouble. This is the only place I feel really safe to talk about it. I've written about my mom many many many many many times. I believe she has Borderline Personality Disorder. She's difficult. She's toxic. She's stubborn beyond belief, negative, arrogant, thoughtless, manipulative and just an all-around unpleasant person to be with. She's fought to control my life and my brother's and sister's lives with guilt and outright manipulation. To a large degree, it's worked.
She's also obese, addicted to diet soda, and has diabetes which is basically out of control. I don't think I blogged about her falling out of bed in the middle of the night back at the end of May, right before my sister's wedding. She couldn't get up and spent the night on the floor, where her housekeeper found her the following morning. For some reason, it never occurred to her to call anyone (she could reach her phone, I believe). I had to miss a big chunk of the bachelorette party I planned for my sister in order to spend the entire day with her at the hospital and then accompany her home, but that was ok - she's my mother, after all, and she didn't plan the timing. But in the hospital she was told by everyone that her diabetes was out of control, that her diet was the single most important thing she needed to change in her life, and that her weight was of course making things much worse. She acted completely surprised, which seems impossible. And since then, she has not changed one single thing, except to possibly make things worse.
Her inactivity has gotten so bad that she can barely even walk around her house. She is extremely obese, I found out today that her BMI is at least 36. Her feet are swollen beyond belief. She claims to have no clue why she is doing so badly physically. Every time I go to her house, there are empty ice cream cartons and diet soda cans everywhere. I have nagged her about exercise and diet for years. I've tried to motivate her, I've offered to accompany her, to walk with her, gotten her to sign up for a very senior-friendly gym. None of it ever works. I have basically given up. I accept that you cannot force someone to change who has no desire to actually make any changes.
Today, while visiting her with the kids, she fell and couldn't get up. I tried to lift her, but she couldn't provide any assistance, she couldn't even get her feet under her. I can't dead lift 230 pounds. I called the fire department. They came and told her she should get one of those devices that calls for help if you fall and can't get up, but she said she didn't need it because she's starting physical therapy next week. She still magically believes that she will get better without making any effort at all. Ten minutes after I left for home later this afternoon, she called to say she fell again, and asked me to come back, so I did. She refused to call the fire department again, so I called her neighbor, who wasn't home but told me which other neighbor could help. My mom's first time meeting her neighbor was to have him haul her off the floor. He was a big guy, but could still barely do it. I was embarrassed for her.
And I'm at a loss. I have no idea what to do. The last time I suggested assisted living, she practically spit in my face. My brother lives a several hour flight away, and has his own family. My sister lives nearby but works full time. Everyone acts like my mom is my responsibility, even though I have small children and a life of my own, and it's a 45-minute drive to her house. I hate to see her suffer, and I feel bad for her, but I have been struggling to create boundaries and protect myself from her toxicity. And I don't know what to do in any case. I would love to move her into a retirement facility, but she would be miserable. The most precious things in her life really are THINGS ... her furniture, expensive statues, house decorations and knick-knacks, giant closet of clothes, etc. She has no hobbies, she just likes her stuff. She's too old to realize that it just weighs her down.
So that is my venting. And my desperation. I feel trapped yet again. I feel like it has reached a point where there is no hope for improvement, either mentally or physically, and I just don't want to deal with it anymore. How to you distance yourself from your mother, when she is old and alone and very sick? But how do you deal with your old, lonely, sick mother when she is such a toxic presence in your life?