Thursday, June 16, 2005

It's Always Something

Sometimes I forget that nonmedical people often are not aware of potential health disasters.

My ex-mom-in-law has diabetes. She's had it for years, and it's never under good control. She lives with one of her children (not the one I was married to, but uncomfortably similar), and he has a hard time denying her the high fat, high sugar foods she craves. And will then forget to check her blood sugar or give her insulin.

I don't see her often, although I am fond of her. I visited for a while after the divorce, but my exhusband used that as an excuse to not see her -- which upset her -- so I drive my son to see her, but I don't visit unless she's ill. And the ex STILL isn't seeing her, but now he has to think up other excuses.

She's gossipy, bossy, opinionated, barely literate, and believes everything the TV preachers and The National Enquirer tell her. She tries to do the right thing, though, and actually trusts me enough to sometimes take my advice -- amazingly, because in the beginning, she was very much against educated women; she changed her mind on that -- and other things -- over the last 28 years.

I have talked to her kids about diabetes. I have told them to check her feet every day. Her circulation is poor, and her feet are always purple, and sometimes blue.

Her daughter tries as best she can. But her sons just don't get it; they can't seem to understand that they can't wait and see if things get better when her health is so fragile.

A week ago, she complained to one of her kids that her foot hurt. Her daughter checked it, and there was a tiny sore. No one checked it again FOR A WEEK...mainly because the daughter was out of town...and only when she was unable to walk, did they check it again.

The 1.5 inch wide, .5 inch deep tunneling wound on her heel was enough for the kids to realize she needed to go to the hospital. Which is a good thing, because if they'd waited even a day longer, she probably would have lost her foot or her leg -- and she may yet, if the debridement doesn't heal well.

And finally, FINALLY, the kids agree that she really needs to be in a nursing home, because they themselves have not been able to give her the care she needs.

16 comments:

Leann said...

That was such a sad post. My mom is having health problems also, but all four of us children are on top of it. All FOUR!! It's sad that no one can be bothered. Perhaps it's the lack of education and knowledge? Who knows?

Rhodester said...

poor lady- well, it's a good thing she's related (somewhat) to you. On your next trip to Kaleefornya will you check my BP?

Jodie said...

You betcha, Dave. :) Leann, it IS sad -- I think mostly it is the lack of education; their church really discouraged it (something I still haven't figured out!).

Lita said...

My husband's parents are (and were - mom passed away) elderly and his sister lived out of state and the care ALWAYS fell on my husband. My sister-in-law finally moved closer but she continued to be removed from the caregiving.

I don't know how my husband does (and did) it. I help him but I do not have the emotional attachment that he does so I approached it from a different angle.

It is very frustrating when all the care falls onto one person.

Penelope Marzec said...

and believes everything the TV preachers and The National Enquirer tell her

But some of what the National Enquirer prints is true. They print it before the regular newspapers do. :^)
(My mom loves the Enquirer.)

Third Degree Nurse said...

This breaks my heart. To have to go into a nursing home because you've let your health go for too long...

I come from a blue collar background and my parent's generation, particularly, was good about taking care of themselves. They were 1st generation Americans, dependent on their bodies' ability to do physical labor for their livlihood. I grew up with the mantra "If you've got your health, you've got EVERYTHING." Which is the bottom line. Because if you don't have your health, nothing else really matters. You can't enjoy any of the other good things in life.

I think subsequent generations have forgotten this.

Meepers said...

How terribly, terribly sad. I hope she recovers. My Mother-In-Law takes care of her parents because they both have enourmous health issues, but she works so hard that neither of them has to be in a home. And her mother has had diabetes for almost 40 years. Makes me realize how good she is at what she does.

Shannon said...

I hope that your exmother in law recovers soon. I see a similiar situation with my Grandparents and my Mom. My Mom has three sisters and somehow my Mom is the only one that helps out my Grandparents.

Rusty said...

People have a tendency to expect the best, despite everything.

Death of a Salesman, as an example.

They also have a tendency to not appreciate things until they are gone. I hope that family doesn't have to lose her to appreciate her.

kath red said...

i hope that your ex mother in law is ok. and that you are better too. loved the cleaning story. I am much the same, I let things go because I just hate to clean, but then when I do it feels good.

Jay said...

That's really sad that no one takes care of her. It is so important to manage diseases - and for goodness sake, loss of limb is so possible with diabetes, I can't imagine letting something like that go!

Keeefer said...

Ok where are you?
Have you become obsessed with cleaning now you finally can?

Anonymous said...

Hey, haven't seen a post in a while. I hope you're doing okay and the hip is still behaving for you. Your backtack goodies are on their way to you. A short jaunt of 2,000 miles give or take.

Glod said...

I miss your tales, and the bitching about cardiology.

Anonymous said...

Bueno........ Como Estes........ su hermano es loco!!!!

girl_in_greenwood said...

Jodie, the internet misses you!