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So, yesterday my sister, The Squid, had the unmitigated gall to suggest that maybe I’m not the best person to be taking care of Mom. Her reasoning—because I hate Florida (I posted on my FB page the night before a picture of the weather showing 80 degrees through the night and my displeasure at that,) because I sometimes can’t get Mom to take her supplements and vitamins (she hates swallowing pills,) and because being a full-time caregiver is hard, and I express it occasionally on FB and my other, non-anonymous blog.
Well Excuse Fucking Me
She’s my older sister—and since the days when she backed me into a corner to forcibly cut my bangs, and nagged me incessantly that I shouldn’t be wearing black mascara when I had brown hair—she’s always thought she had some deep insight into me that gave her the right to tell me what to do, how to do it, and what was best for me.
News flash—she doesn’t and has never known shit about me or my relationship with Mom.
It started yesterday with her sending me an email about some new-agey, snake-oil salesman thing she’s seen about ways to eliminate Alzheimer’s (Mom doesn’t HAVE Alzheimer’s, she has cerebral-vascular dementia) through something called functional medicine. The article was an interview by some half-quack who’s been all over PBS—much to the astonishment of those of us who revere PBS, about how he can do special brain scans and tell all sorts of things about people. It’s hype, akin to fortune telling (Brain Scans as Mind Readers? Don’t Believe The Hype, Wired). She also mentioned that there is a functional medicine clinic in our town, and that she’d be willing to pay for the $900 initial consultation.
I’d rather she bought us $900 worth of groceries, or made my Jeep payment for almost two months, or paid the final installment to my bankruptcy lawyer when she files my claim in court.
So, in my attempt to be emotionally intelligent, I did not respond. Oh I wanted to. I actually typed something like, “It’s not covered my Medicare. Mom doesn’t respond well to stuff that is not old school. Change and new things just frighten and confuse her. And in any event, we like her doctor.” Instead, I just hit delete. A few hours later, she sent another email for another functional medicine practitioner nearby who offers free consultations.
Well, that changes things! Not. This clinic offers not only functional medicine, but acupuncture, medical cupping, and thermography screening. And they very thoughtfully offer financing for procedures costing as little as $1,000 and as much as $5,000!!!!
Did I mention I’m filling bankruptcy? Yes, I have power of attorney over Mom’s finances, and could, in theory, apply for credit on her behalf. Not the fucking point. Mom and I are in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need territory, at the bottom of the pyramid. Food. Shelter. Shit like that.
I’m not against alternative remedies. I use and can’t live without my essential oils. I’m diffusing a lovely little blend now that helps me let go of anger and frustration. (This blog helps with that, too!) But Mom is almost 87. I can’t get her to understand that the plant-based, non-toxic dish soap we use doesn’t form suds, because suds are toxic. Yes. I can just see her getting hot, glass cups applied to her body to suck out the air for three minutes.
Also, I believe in science. I need to see the science. The Squid will believe anything that is flashy. She does nothing in moderation. That’s fine for her. Have at it. But don’t come into my home, and tell me that because I don’t believe what you believe, I’m not the best person to take care of Mom.
The Chicken Wasn’t The Only Thing Getting Roasted
She came over for dinner that night, and I could tell something was up. She launched into, “What did you think about that article I sent you?” I said I wasn’t all that convinced about the science, or that it is a good move for Mom. Her response, “You don’t believe in whole-body health??!!”
Not what I said. This whole-body health is all about supplements, lots of them, almost all in pill form, and expensive.
Mom—old school. Mom—hates taking pills. Me—broker than a church mouse. Not covered by insurance. Me—not about to start giving Mom supplements without consulting her regular doctor, regardless of what The Squid says, thinks, believes, has been sucked into.
So, then she launched into the, “Maybe you’re not the best one to be taking care of Mom.” Because I hate Florida. Because caregiving is hard on me, and I don’t try to fake that it isn’t. Because I sometimes let Mom skip her multivitamin and, apparently, when Mom is with The Squid, she takes everything The Squid gives her.
Well, let’s just analyze that shall we. The Squid, for years, called Mom a toxic parent. The Squid for years emotionally abused Mom by keeping her distance from her even though they lived a few miles apart. The Squid held Mom responsible for every bad thing that has happened to The Squid her entire life, into adulthood. The Squid made Mom feel so uncomfortable to be around her that Mom would call me terribly upset that she didn’t know what she had done to lose her oldest child. Mom didn’t feel like family in The Squid’s house, on those rare occasions, she felt like an unwanted guest who needed to eat Thanksgiving dinner and vamos right after the pumpkin pie.
I told my sister that of course she takes every pill she gives her. Mom is afraid to offend her. She’s on pins and needles all the time with her. Mom and I butt heads occasionally. That’s our relationship. Open. Honest. Unabridged. Unconditional love. Nothing like their relationship, where Mom feels like she has to be on her best behavior.
Ok, Squiddy, if I’m not best for Mom, then who/what is? I told her flat out Mom doesn’t want to live with her. (And of course she didn’t counter that because she would never agree to that anyway.) I told her flat out the failed attempt over two years ago to live with The Squid’s son resulted in Mom being absolutely miserable. (She kept her mouth shut there, too, because she knew I was right.) So, then what, assisted living? At $3,000 a month? Who’s gonna pay for that?
Besides, Mom and I have always talked about me taking care of her. I promised years ago and ever since that I would not put her in a home. Just because this is hard, doesn’t mean I would go back on my promise to her. But that’s what The Squid can’t comprehend. She’s a narcissist. She doesn’t care about Mom. She cares that I won’t do everything she tells me to do.
So the end of the conversation was with her telling me that I don’t want anybody’s help. Funny, I don’t remember anyone ever once asking me, “What do you need?” Oh I get her and my brother telling me what I should do, and how to do it, based on their incomplete, fractured, self-serving assumptions. So, when I don’t bow down to the crap they offer, like a $900 consultation to some hack—well of course that means I don’t want help.
Wrong. I want help. I need help. I need the kind of help that actually WILL help.
Diffusing—Young Living Release™, a blend with a relaxing aroma that facilitates the ability to let go of anger and frustration. It also promotes harmony and balance when diffused. If you would like to learn more about Young Living and how essential oils can benefit your life, contact me, and I will come out of anonymity for you!
Music—Foo Fighters Radio on Amazon Prime Radio
Every word I said was true that you’ll see
It’s all right if you’re confused let me be
You’ve gagged and bound
They’ll come back and knock you down and I’ll be free
One day it all will fade
It returns and when it lands words are due
I looked in and I was shown
You were too
One day it all will fade