Can’t and Won’t Are Different Things 2


I’m going to start this by saying that I love my mother and father dearly because I may say some things that indicate otherwise.

I’m tired sleep deprived.  I don’t get to sleep well very often.  I’m always doing something for someone, whether it is waking up every two hours to get my mom food and water or waking up every morning to wake my dad up (even though he has an alarm clock) or waking up to cook dinner for them.  I’ve become a mother to my parents, and that might be okay, except I don’t want to be their mother and I don’t feel like I can keep doing these things for them.  I can’t quit, though, because it isn’t a job.  And I try not to complain because I know that they both don’t feel well and I know that my dad does some things around the house that I can’t do.

Still, I want to quit.  I want to run away and hide somewhere where they can’t find me.  I want to leave and never come back.  And I know that that is selfish, but I just cannot deal with this any longer.  I feel like shit and I need to sleep, but I can’t because someone always needs me.  So, the more sleep I miss, the grumpier that I get and the worse I feel.  I try to point this out, and it is remembered for all of two seconds before I get my marching orders again.

My mother fell last weekend and cracked her ribs.  She wouldn’t go to the doctor for the first few days after the fall, but just kept whimpering like a hurt animal.  She said she couldn’t go to the doctor because my dad wouldn’t take her.  She hadn’t told my dad she needed to go, and he can’t exactly force her to go.  (He knew she needed to, but I don’t think he wanted to try to convince her.)  So, I told him that she needed to go, and I told her that I told him that she needed to go.   She went to the ER last week and found out that her ribs were cracked.  The doctor at the ER couldn’t give her any extra pain medicine (because she’s on one with an opiate antagonist in it), so he gave her Flexeril.

My mom doesn’t do so well on Flexeril.  Every time she takes one, she ends up sleeping through days and wondering around in a stupor.  She gets whiny and she gets more clumsy.  And this leads to her falling more often and to her making claims that we either don’t love her or don’t take care of her or don’t pay attention to her.

Case in point, she fell last night.  She had already fallen about 12 hours earlier and managed, with some help, to get up on her own.  (Keep in mind, when she broke the ribs last week, she got herself off the floor with absolutely no help.)  Last night, though, she wasted her energy holding on to a door frame during the fall, so she was too tired to try to get up when she finally completed the fall.  We had to call the ambulance.  Even though she was fine, other than that she was in a drugged out state and a little sore, she decided she had to go to the emergency room.  There was nothing wrong, but she needed to have tests run to prove that to her.

When my father and I were going to call the ambulance, she first accused us of not taking care of her and not loving her.  This was after I’d managed to hear her call (over Mims’ “Like This”), run to her, then run to my dad’s room and gotten him up, and we’d both spent about 30-45 minutes trying to help her get up.  My dad had tried to basically pick her up, even though she weighs about 100 pounds or so more than him.  I’d moved pieces of furniture toward her that I thought would help her get up easier.  My father was out of breath and worn out.  I was about to pass out or vomit or both.  But because we headed toward the phone to call someone else to help her, which she had asked us to do a minute earlier, she determined that we didn’t care enough for her.

When the paramedics got here, she enjoyed slinging some barbs at our expense.  My dad drove to the hospital at 3:30 or so in the morning, even though he has trouble seeing at night, so that he would be with her at the ER.  (I stayed here, as I usually do.)  When she got home, she had my dad fix her 2 breakfast burritos.  A couple of hours later, she woke me up with an order for a bagel and cream cheese.  And at about 1 pm, she asked me to fix her 2 small frozen chicken biscuits, her 32 oz. cup of water, and hot chocolate.  That wouldn’t be such a big deal if we had a decent microwave, but since the biscuits took about 5-6 minutes to cook, as did the hot chocolate, and I didn’t feel like I could waste the energy sitting down and standing up, I ended up standing up during the 12 minutes it took to do this.  A while after she had eaten that and had gotten up for a minute, I ended up having to move her back onto her couch.  And she was still in the “my family is awful to me” mood, which made it that much harder.  (Somehow, the moodier she is, the less cooperative she is.)  She even said it a few times, which I wanted to scream at her over.

I get that she is in pain, but she is stuck in this bubble.  She thinks that no one takes care of her, which is ridiculous.  We do everything that she asks for and she still gets pissed off at us.  And she’s doing more of her “I’m worse than you are” comparisons again.  She’d stopped for a few days, but she’s back at it.  If I tell her that I’m going to faint, I don’t exactly want her to try to one-up my statement.  I want her to say that I should go sit down or take a break or something that I would think a mother would suggest to their daughter when their daughter said something like that.  And, this may sound petty, she always seems to fall more (and have to go to the ER) when I have an appointment with a doctor or someone that I need to see.  She may not plan it, but it almost always happens that way.

So I’m frustrated.  And I’m sitting here with a splitting headache, and I know that I can’t take anything for it because my mom might need me and my dad is getting in his much-needed rest.  So I’m going to try to avoid talking to anyone on the internet until I get a little bit of sleep because, until then, I am going to be bitchy.


About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.


2 thoughts on “Can’t and Won’t Are Different Things

  • Jenn

    “Can’t and won’t are two different things”. Very well said. This is something I’ve tried, without success, to drill into my brother’s head, and even to a large extent, my mother’s head. And I totally get that you love someone, but may still be unhappy with them and unhappy with situations that you’re in with them. So I get why you “disclosed” on this post, though for me there was no need to, because I definitely understand. 🙂

    If you don’t mind me saying so, it seems like your mother falls a lot, and that you and your father have a lot of trouble helping her up (is she very heavy? or just uncooperative?). Would a live-in or even daytime/nighttime nurse be an option? Someone who could help her with basic needs including food, bathroom trips, medication dosing, etc., so that some of the burden could be taken from you and your father?

    I’m sorry that between your health issues, your mother’s, and your father’s, that the three of you are in a situation where you’re unhappy, and unfortunately lashing out at one another because of that unhappiness.

    Cracked ribs sound painful, and it sucks that your mom couldn’t get anything but Flexeril. It’s amazing how drugs affect people differently. “Flexies”, as I call them, just make me feel very malleable and warm and fuzzy and sleepy. Do they help your mom with the pain at all?

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