Trying to enjoy fall while dealing with Mom’s anxiety

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fall is my favorite time of the year – leaves changing colors, cooler temps and no mosquitoes. I can sit on the deck in the morning, enjoying a cup of coffee or in the evening with a glass of wine or water and my favorite guys. The air smells amazing, the Northern Lights put on a show some evenings and a huge harvest moon is always a welcome sight.

I had planned to accomplish so much outside this past weekend – emptying flower pots, cutting back perennials, and putting up my fall décor. An 8:15 a.m. phone call put an end to my plans before they even began. It was a paramedic calling to tell me they would be transporting my mom to the local emergency room. She was having another anxiety attack (the previous one had been Thursday evening). These calls have become commonplace, and have brought my sister and I to our wits-end. Mom is 77-years old and in great physical health for her age; and should be embracing all that life is offering her but the anxiety/panic attacks make her afraid to leave the house.

This ER visit turned out different than the others when the doctor (who has seen her in the ER three times this month) called in “Crisis Management.” A man, who looked to be in his early 30s, visited with us and gave us some options – including adult foster care, an two-to-three week stay at a facility for observation and therapy or staying with one of us until a program between a therapist and her general practitioner could be worked out. After a visit to a private home adult foster care, we ended up bringing her back to my sister’s house. A friend, who has dealt with anxiety issues in her family, came over and gave the three of us some good advice and hints for mom to use in order to decompress herself.

My sister had to work Sunday, and after a little while by herself, mom called me to go sit with her. By evening, her meds seemed to be helping (doctor upped her high blood pressure dosage). She was a bit nervous at the thought of being by herself while my sister and I were at work, but made it through by talking to friends and family on the phone. We talked with the crisis management man again and he will be setting up appointments with a therapist and behavior modifying specialist. They will work closely with her doctor in an effort to get her going in the right direction. We also discussed having my ex-husband’s girlfriend (yes, we all get along) spend a couple hours in the morning with Mom and driving her to appointments once she is back home. She isn’t working right now, Mom can afford to pay her for her time, and she is someone Mom gets along well with and trusts. She would also be able to help with heavy cleaning, painting and odd jobs Mom can’t do anymore. It may be a long road, but I am hopeful. The call to crisis management just may have been the answer we were praying for.

Below are a few fall-color pictures I took last Friday.

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  • TERRY631
    Sorry that I'm late seeing/commenting on this...So sorry to hear about your mom, Leanne. I wonder if part of the evaluation should include an MRI to rule out other somatic causes such as early onset dementia or a brain tumor. Sometimes dementia presents itself in this manner. Sometimes seniors who are struggling with the beginnings of memory loss find the rest of the world too difficult to manage and become overwhelmed, hence the panic attacks. Best of luck, and I hope the docs can figure out what to do to help. Hang in there. Sending hugs.
    2487 days ago
    So sorry to hear about your mom. It's so tough when parents need us to care for them. Glad you and your sister are teaming up on this. Hope mom gets to feeling better soon.

    Love the fall pictures. I have a little tree outside my house which changes colors (not common here is SoCal). It usually keeps it's colored leaves until then end of December and then goes bald until around March. We named him "Baldy" :)
    2493 days ago
  • OTEN36
    Hi Leanne
    I hope your Mom is doing better. It's a hard thing when a parent gets older.
    I hope you keep your strenght up to deal with all these family issues. You need to stay healthy. I'm also glad your sister is there to help you.
    Best of luck there. I hope you can pick up your plans of gardening this weekend. I plan to get some fall garden clean up next Wednesday.
    I'm hoping it doesn't rain and I can collect the leaves and get them into the garden to decompose.
    2494 days ago
    I do hope that things do work out. I'm sure it would be nice to have your ex'es girlfriend help your mom out as she is able.

    I want to see the northern lights so badly. I live too far south in Michigan to see them.
    2494 days ago
    Your poor mom, and poor you and your sister. It sounds like you have a good plan in place. Hopefully the therapist and behavior modifying specialist will be able to help and that's great your ex-husband's girlfriend can help, too. Sending hugs!!
    2494 days ago
  • DEE107
    the pictures oh my so cool

    praying for your mom
    2494 days ago
    OK, onto the photos!

    I love autumn, too. It's my favorite season and I hope that we have a long one this year!!

    Your pictures are so warm and comforting. I almost taste the apple cider!

    2495 days ago
    Oh, Leanne. You sure get your challenges.

    Hang in there and reach out for help / ideas. This isn't something that most of us are good at (fortunately, if you don't have a lot of experience with this!). You and your sister can build a network of support and you don't have to do this alone.


    You know that I'm thinking about you and your guys!

    2495 days ago
  • FRAN0426
    Thank goodness the doctor realized the need to call someone in on you moms problem. I so hope this is the answer you have been needing for your mom. I think it is great you get along with your ex and his girl friend, makes it much easier for the boys too. If your mom likes and can trust her, by all means having her go over to help your mom is a great thing. Hope you will be able to get more done now.
    Love those fall colored trees, ours have started turning color, but not at peek yet. I see the 70 degree day promised for tomorrow has been down graded to mid 60's--so much for weathermen getting predictions for more than a day out.
    Keep enjoying the cup of coffee or glass of wine outdoors, soon we will be wishing we had the summer weather yet.
    Have a great week.
    2495 days ago
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