Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Thanks everyone for listening to my rant yesterday and for the words of encouragement and advice.  Ron and I talked last night and we have decided to see a therapist.  We need someone to talk to about all this and just guidance on how to cope.  Ron wasn't thrilled with the idea since he is a very, very private man but he'll do anything if he thinks it will help me.

Mike on the other hand was on his BEST behavior the rest of the day.  He went to the senior citizens center by himself and joined a western line dancing group.  I can ONLY IMAGINE..... but I had been trying to get him to go to the center to give him more things to do.  He's going back on Friday for Tai Chi.  He also limited his phone calls last night and we were actually able to relax and think for a change.  I told him this morning that he did a great job and how much we appreciated it. 

I think I need a therapist to help learn how to set boundaries with Mike.  I'm not good at that.  If someone looks at me with sad eyes or looks scared I fall apart and will jump through fire to make it better.  I have to learn how to say no sometimes.  I'm such a wouldn't believe it.

I know this is behavior that I learned as a kid.  My mother suffered from chronic depression and when I was young I thought I could make her happy.  I wouldn't leave her side for anything.  It was hard for me to even play at a friend's house because I worried whether my mother was sad or not.  I never slept away from home until I was 13 years old.  So I have a long history of trying to fix other people.

My daughter Julie learned she will have shoulder surgery within the next few weeks.  It is a result of the fall at the beginning of school when she fell in the hole in the playground.  She has had nothing but crap from worker's comp. and it has taken 6 months to finally get to see an orthopedist who says she needs surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.  The other teacher who fell in the same hole had surgery immediately and came back to work 8 weeks later.  What a mess.

Our only option for Mike is a nursing home.  There are no facilities anywhere that we can find that would be suitable for him.  A nursing home will only be an option later down the road I'm afraid.  We are just going to have to keep on keeping on.  He's too cognitive to agree to a nursing home right now and because he's not been declared incompetent he could leave anytime he wanted.  I've avoided the whole incompetent thing because I do not want to be made his legal guardian.  If I take that on I'll never get anyone to admit him anywhere.  I was legal guardian for my mother and it cost us a bundle in legal fees even after her death.  I couldn't get any nursing home to admit her either so it all fell on me.  I'm trying to avoid that with Mike.

With the mental health funding cuts long-term care is all but obsolete in Oklahoma and I live in a town with a state mental hospital.  The hospital is a ghost town now.....all the buildings are empty and I don't know if there are any patients there at all now.  Very sad........

I've talked to the Choctaw Nation concerning long-term care for Mike but we have to be living within the Choctaw Nation and we don't.  We'd have to move about 170 miles S. E. of here to be within the Nation.  I'm not ready to do that.  Even at that I'm not sure what if anything would be available for him.

My niece is in a rehab. facility operated by the Creek Nation.  It's about a 100 miles from here but she will only be there 27 days.  At least it is giving my older brother a break from taking care of her.

But for today calm has settled in Metropolis.  Batman is at his aerobics class and my world is a little calmer.


Aunt Betsy said...

I am so glad you had an evening of calm! Your idea to see a therapist is wonderful. Having someone to talk to outside of family is such a big help, and a therapist is even better. I think you will be so glad you did once you have had a few sessions. Your husband sounds like a wonderful man! The mental health budget cuts are horrible. I think I told you instead of a psychiatrist I will now be seen by a nurse practitioner at the clinic I go to. Hang in there.

Olga said...

I understand about your need to fix unhappiness and brokenness around you, but I have truly learned there is no way to fix someone else no matter how hard we try. I think that a therapist is a good idea, because you can "fix" or at least adjust yourself.

Betty said...

A therapist is a good idea. He/she might have some good ideas about coping. Good luck.

Deb said...

Hi Dani,

I'm so sorry you're having such a hard time with Mike. In the 1990s my friend Pat, 50, and facing health problems herself, was the mother of a developmentally delayed adult son who had some severe behavioral issues. She couldn't care for him herself any longer and she couldn't find a placement for him.

She wanted him to live in a group home where maybe half a dozen adults with similar problems could live with a team of six caregivers who would live in, tag-team, so everyone had time off.

Because she couldn't find anything like that she put an ad in the paper, and got replies from about a dozen families who had children or siblings in the same situation.

Together they formed a non-profit association, assessed the resources they had, applied for grants and held community fundraising. Within a couple of years they had bought and adapted the first house, and moved in their first residents.

They now have expanded into the "Community Living Association", and serve hundreds of families in Alberta. I know it's a big job, but it's one which many people helped with and it brought Pat a lot of peace of mind. Terry is happy, has friends and a stable family.

I don't know if you are the "organizing" kind, but if you can start the ball rolling, someone will be. There are enough others in Norman and OKC who share your situation that you might have success.

Just a suggestion. I've seen how much pressure this took off Pat.

Warm hugs,

oklhdan said...

Wow Deb! I've had thoughts of just that sort of thing! I've imagined a sort of compound or communal living where residents have meaningful work such as gardening their own food!

Deb said...

Hi Dani,
Alberta actually has put together guidelines and standards for groups homes because they are seen as much better options for people than institutions. The guide is on-line here: . It might give you some ideas. A garden, a greenhouse, crafts. Residents often get together to choose meal plans and help make meals, they go out and lead regular lives. I know Pat's first place (the only one we ever saw, had a "safe" room, with soft flooring, soft lighting, a futon on the floor and a door that latched from the outside because some of their folks had violent outbursts and just needed a quiet place to let the angry outburst take its course without having to be restrained, which most find frightening. They could be supervised, so if they got into trouble help was at hand.

I think communal living is a great idea for seniors too, especially those who are alone or find it hard to cope with all the housekeeping, shopping etc. and don't want to burden their kids. Independence is overvalued in today's society. Our Old Ones and the disabled ones used to live with their families, but it was a different time. The younger women were home all day, families were large and often there would be 10 brothers and sisters to share the care of an elderly parent or a disabled brother.

My family is Oklahoma Native too, not BIA but the culture was still there. Maybe that's why this seems so sensible to me. Lots of people I talk to think it's a crazy idea. Their floor is sacred, nobody else get to walk it! ;)