Who's In Control?


Who's In Control?

cockpit-271490_640We've had our ups and downs lately. Elly is holding her own and feeling more out of control so she's putting the screws to us in some areas. It's just the little things that will explode into an argument. I seem to be able to navigate around the control issues put on me but AwesomeHubby just isn't as tolerant these days.

The explosive situation had happened while I was gone for a couple of hours after dinner but when I came home, I was told to have AH come on in, "There was something that had to be discussed!" she commanded. Elly explained her desire to make sure the dishes were loaded in the dishwasher "her way" and she was NOT HAPPY with the argument that AH gave her as she corrected him. Her conclusion was that AH "is not happy here and something needs to change." AH continued the argument impressing upon the fact that he is an adult and knows how to properly stack the dishwasher. He even told me to give our renter 30 days notice, it's time to move!

It took quite some time before the raised voices calmed down and Elly stopped shaking. I explained to Elly that some things we may need to relax about and preserve the relationship unless it is dangerous, unhealthy, or costly. I worked hard at not taking sides but appealing to both of them with my logical reasoning. AH then began with explaining how he appreciates Elly as his grandmother and mother-in-law. I asked the hard question about where Elly would rather live if not in her own house with us as caregivers. She quickly back-pedaled and said she appreciated that we live with her and hope we are comfortable (LOL). I told her that I didn't want her to live in a nursing home like her mother, that there was no reason to think that she couldn't stay here in her home, but that not everything can nor will be done just like she would. She actually agreed with that but we know she doesn't really mean it about the dishwasher. We ended on a good note but she is very stuck on "THIS IS MY HOUSE AND YOU WILL DO THINGS MY WAY!" AH has realized/re-remembered that he can't be at home alone with Elly or else he will be set up for the same scenario. So, we are still staying with Elly, finishing our 5th year, beginning our 6th year in what was supposed to be a short-term arrangement because of her declining health.

On a brighter note, Elly and I had been talking about how there weren't any cats roaming around in the backyard anymore. We have a tree squirrel(s) that is very brave and needs to be chased off. So, we started talking about getting a cat, an outside cat to patrol the yard. I wasn't sure where we would find one but I checked with a good friends who had one too many cats in her apartment and after about two weeks they decided we could take their indoor cat and work it into being an outdoor cat. Sophie, the cat, thrives on affection, has always loved to catch flies, bugs, anything that moves so it seemed like a good fit. Sophie is now at home, doing quite well in our enclosed patio. She is slowly getting comfortable with the outside noises and our routine. Elly's cane and noisy walking still panic her at first but will come over for some loving. Sophie gives Elly something to watch over and keep an eye on during the day. We first had Sophie in the garage where she promptly found a shelf to sleep the day away upon. Elly has been overly concerned about the cat being on the shelf, "She'll fall off that shelf!" I think as we summer-ize the porch Sophie will be more ready to explore the outside world full of flower gardens, bugs, birds and the squirrel (I think it's mainly one). We are hoping that she will want to stay just in our yard, Sophie is motivated by affection plus there are dogs on either side of our fence!

On the health front, Elly still has issues with her lower leg skin breaking out, not sure if it's a fungus or just the effects of kidney failure. I am working with the plan we had from the wound clinic using witch hazel for washing the legs and feet, Desitin on the breakout (on one foot around the ankle), moisturizing then the compression socks with Juxtalites. It isn't getting much better. The skin breaking out is a result of one month of no care that Elly wanted after my son's wedding (too much freedom). I started the routine again in February but for the past two days, Elly has gone to bed before we got home and not gotten up before I have left for work. Is she just adjusting to the time change or using this to control her environment? She does not like to be "cared for".  I've addressed the situation but she insists there is nothing wrong with her skin, just dry and needs to "air out". As she headed to bed, she agreed to let me wash her legs in the morning but then didn't get up this morning (by 7:15)--odd since she always gets up and gets her cup of tea at 6 a/m. I am not pushing it but dread the consequences. She is incredibly intentional! Is that positive or what??

Elly continues to be in a good mood with me, having a very good sense of humor and that is what I use every day to diffuse any negativity or control she exerts towards me. The dementia hasn't shown up lately and from experience, I believe it's the confrontation that sharpens her mind. She was very on-track with the visit on Sunday with her niece and her husband. Her niece even mentioned how well Elly was doing as compared to last year.

I write these things to remember the trials or situations with Elly, so that I may have things to share down the road with family or just to remember the lessons for myself, hopefully I continue to grow and learn in this adventure called CareGiving!.

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Thanks for the feedback Hussy and Denise, I do like the His and Hers dishwashers!\r\nWe do get away for at least 2 meals a week so we enjoy a little away time, but having the house to ourselves while Elly dines out is such a great idea!! You are a genius Denise for asking me that, I am going to call BabySister now!!


Hi,\r\n\r\nI think it's frustrating to help and then be rewarded with criticism. It's also aggravating to make a lot of sacrifices so Elly remains at home and be rewarded with more criticism.\r\n\r\nI think you've done a marvelous job navigating all this, EG. I love that you've added a cat to the family--such a good idea! \r\n\r\nI wonder if giving AH some control in other situations may help? For instance, does he feel better when you guys get away every other weekend? I know the answer already but am just throwing this one out: Any chance a family member or friend could invite Elly to dinner once a week or so which gives you and AH the house to yourselves? It's hard when you don't feel like you have your own space and privacy, especially when you're doing something like loading the dishwasher. :)\r\n\r\nI'm so glad you wrote. Please continue to keep us posted as you can. It's always great to hear from you.


Thank you for your compliments! There is OCD on both Elly and AH's parts! I so appreciate AH's help in the kitchen and continue to encourage it in other areas besides the dishwasher now. :)

Lillie Fuller

I think you are doing a great job. You are in a tough situation and I look forward to seeing how Denise and other's reply. You seem so sweet spirited from the chats we have had, I bet it's hard for you to be between Elly and AH. My prayers are with you and good luck to Sophie and the squirrels!