I’m exhausted. I am trying to get a list together of my parent’s pills. I’ve been working on this for about 3 months! I never seem to get the info I need. I get the “I’m too tired. Not right now,” kind of responses. A terrifying day yesterday where we thought dad was having a stroke made it so I put my foot down and demanded the information I need.
I finally got the copies of all the paper lists (compiled by mom on the back of envelopes and notepads and carried around in her Mary Poppins size purse) for both parents, I put the drugs into an excel sheet. I sort them in alphabetical order. I noted the dosage and time of day to be taken. And when I call to ask mom to confirm everything… she can’t remember which doctor prescribed what and where she gets the prescription refilled. You see, there are the pills that come from the VA and the ones delivered by mail from Optum; then there’s the Costco batch and the Publix Supermarket pharmacy ones. I am trying to ensure that I have a list of the pills needed in case there is a non-communication ability issue and I have to get their pills refilled.
After we finally have gone through all of the lists and a lot of “I think it is…” answers, I’m about ready to take a nap. Mom gets up and says “one second” and then pulls down the box with all the actual medicine bottles and we go through the entire list again with “Who did I say renews this Rx?” “No, that’s not right, it’s Dr. blah blah blah.” And this goes on for another 30 minutes! Could we not have done this from the start? NO! That would make my life much easier. My time is not a concern for my mother who has all day to work on one project.
Mom had asked me to make a list with check boxes so she could mark off that she and dad have taken each specific pill on each day. The requires having all the medicines and what time they are taken so you can run the drug names across the top of a separate excel sheet, then have them separated by morning, noon, dinner and bed time, then allow for 31 days in a month to check mark them… kinda like the features list you see for national parks and camping sites and such.
And you know, I kinda have a feeling that her filling out this chart is going to last about 2 days and then it will be “a bother” and “I forgot” and so on. So why do I waste my time… people ask me. And you know, I don’t know. (Insert heavy sigh!) I feel like it’s my responsibility to give things to my parents that make their lives easier. If mom asked, I try to comply. And in a few days when she changes her mind I will be frustrated and resentful for about an hour and then just move on. How about you? How many things do you do for your loved one that you know are going to amount to a waste of time?
For me, in addition to the phone calls made where I find out mom actually already called even though she asked me to make the call, or the doctor appointments she cancels the day after I make them because she changed her mind, or the times I go to order something only to find out there’s something much better than what I got because someone in mom’s community told her about it… there are also the purchases I make (the compression sock helpers, the external catheters, sheets to fit the extra long hospital beds, the wrong detergent, the wrong first aid creams, not the exact right this or that…) that I have to return. The things I buy that mom later gets for free from the VA and I have to return. It’s all wasted time that I could be using to do my work, my book writing for clients and so on. It makes my life frustrating and unpredictable. But then I see friends with no parents or only one parent left and I get a little embarrassed that I am whining. I am grateful to still have both my parents.
It’s all part of being an adult child caring for aging parents. I am not alone. You are not alone. We’re all frustrated (and grateful hopefully) together!! LOL
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