Helping the Best I Can, But It's Still Not Enough
Several years ago my sister pressured our mother to give her power of attorney, health care proxy, and primary health caregiver when the time came. Neither my brother or I protested. We discussed it and agreed that she was best suited for the job particularly since our mother had raised her four children. We felt it was a fair exchange that she take care of our mother.
In the meantime, both my brother and I continued to help out our mother. This has often been difficult for me as I am disabled.
I work for myself since I lost my job because of my medical issues and numerous doctor appointments.
Working for myself means I still have to put in an 8 hour day in order to make a living wage. Even though I live 1 hour from my mother I helped her once or twice a week with laundry, doctor's appointments, and shopping.
This angered my husband as I would be in a great amount of pain immediately afterward. The pain keeps me from sleeping which makes me tired during the day which causes my work to suffer.
Even though she knew all this, my sister would call me and yell at me that I wasn't helping enough.
The past three years she and her husband have spent the winters in Florida, leaving my brother and me to pick up the slack with our mother.
Mother would call me every day wanting me to pick something up for her or do something for her that I could have done while I was with her.
I told her I couldn't keep neglecting my job and spending $75 or more on gas every week by running for her constantly. I told her that she needed to make a list and I would get everything she needed and do everything she wanted on the days I visited her.
This didn't always work, even when I asked if there was anything else she needed. I even took her to the doctor when she was very sick with a cold on a blustery snowy day that increased my drive time to 2 hours one way.
Still, she complained that I wasn't helping her to my sister who called me and yelled over the phone at me.
Mother became very ill several weeks ago and was hospitalized. Instead of being reasonable and keeping me in the loop, my sister screamed at me when I arrived at the hospital that I had taken too long to get there.
The hospital is 1 hour and 30 minutes from my house. My brother walked away, not wanting to get
involved. I said nothing. I was embarrassed and didn't want her hysterics to turn into a full-blown argument in the middle of the emergency room.
Mother is now recovering in a rehab facility. She is unable to care for herself any longer and the decision was made to get her into assisted living.
My sister jumped on doing all the phone calls, and all the things involved to get her in the right place.
I'm still taking the 1-hour drive two to three times a week to visit Mother and sit in on meetings with her social worker and the different assisted living homes, the latter at my sister's insistence.
My sister went on a seven-day camping vacation with her family last week. I drove to my mother every single day my sister was gone.
I took care of any needs the rehab center wasn't doing, like her laundry and getting her outside to enjoy the nice weather, even though I'm not supposed to be pushing her wheelchair.
My sister came back from her camping trip and immediately called me, yelling at me over the phone that I did nothing to help, that I left Mother alone all weekend and that I was no help at all.
She said she's had enough and can't do it all and she's sick of it. I couldn't get a word in. I tried to tell her if she needs help she needs to ask for it, but she wouldn't listen.
I am neglecting my business and haven't had a paycheck in weeks. I may lose my clients. I'm putting money I don't have into my gas tank and putting a lot of miles on my 10-year-old car.
My home is being neglected as is my husband who has been truly supportive and understanding during all this. My sister won't listen and she won't tell me what she wants me to do. I'm at my wits end.
She doesn't understand that just because I run my own business doesn't mean I can adjust my hours any way I like.
My clients have deadlines and expect them to be met regardless if I have a sick mother or not. They won't pay for work not done.
I'm in trouble and I'm sick over all this and don't know what to do. Most of my husband's pay goes toward medical insurance and bills.
I have to work to pay the house bills and I can't keep taking five hours or more a day to help with my mother. I've been denied SSI so I must work. I'm doing all I can, but for my sister, that is not enough.