Monday, June 13, 2011

Time--------------friend or foe?

Time can sure be our enemy can't it?  Time can bring healing or it can bring decline.  It is so easy to get complacent when things are stable and that is especially true when dealing with mental illness.  We take each day one at a time but always with our breath held.  Every once in awhile I become acutely aware that being so close to the situation doesn't always give me the clearest view.

I've become accustomed to the fact that my brother's state of mind fluctuates not only from day to day but literally from moment to moment.  Yesterday we took Mike to lunch after church (our usual routine) and I was aware that Mike was (for lack of a better term) a little foggy.....kind of in a haze.  It was subtle but it caught my attention as well as Ron's.  Because he appeared to be otherwise Ok we took him home and he let us know he planned to just stay home the rest of the day and do a few chores.

We heard from him several times throughout the day but he seemed fine.  Then about 7:00 pm I got a call from him and he really sounded confused.  He told me he was anxious and had taken one of his as needed medications (for anxiety) but he couldn't tell me what had made him anxious.  The only answer he could give me was, "my memory".  He also told me he had called the home health agency and asked them to send someone immediately.  Mike is unable to differentiate between what is a crisis and what is simply a minor problem or inconvenience.  I talked to the aide who had responded and she assured me that Mike was OK and that she would stay with him.

All of this led to Ron and I have a lengthy conversation about Mike.  I think we need to have several plans in place; an emergency response plan, a plan for emergency care (facility) and a long-term care plan.  Our options for long-term care are still limited because we have yet to find a nursing home that is willing to accept him.  So, in the meantime we still need to have a plan in place if it becomes unsafe for Mike to be alone in his home.  Of course I believe that I am the only option and I want to figure out how to make it work the best way possible.  What support systems do I need in place and where is the best place to care for him.  Is it my home or his?  Do we need to consider moving?  Should I look at buying a duplex or something with  separate living quarters for Mike, just to give us some separation.  

I am also anxious to get a neurological evaluation done.  I think I may be too close to the situation to realize just how his cognitive abilities are declining.  I need more information in order to make informed decisions about his care.  I also need time.............time, the unseen enemy.  Of which I have none.  I feel like I am navigating a mine field........I'm dodging cancer mines and schizoprenia mines and I have no clear spot on which to stand.


Betty said...

The duplex sounds like a good idea. With some sort of intercom system, perhaps. Of course, I am projecting my own feelings. If I had to take care of two people with health or mental problems, all of us in the same house, I'd end up in a rubber room long before either of them suffered their individual crises. lol Good luck with whatever you decide.

oklhdan said...

I know what you mean Betty. It is a balancing act for sure.

marciamayo said...

Ugh, the honeymoon is over, isn't it, and life is still right here where it always was.
As always, I think you are strong and brave and smart and you will do the best you can for both of your men.

kenju said...

despite your concerns, it sounds to me as though you really have a handle on how to take it from here. The duplex does sound like a good plan, but it could get "hairy" too, as he declines.