It’s my fault you’re in pain.

Mom has a lot of guilt. It takes so little to cause her to feel it.

I’m exhausted today – both mom and dad had physical therapy yesterday morning – dad had balance therapy, mom had water therapy, close times, so I brought them at the same time. Dad had a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon that took a while.

Dad’s therapy does not tire me – I bring him there, he does all the work. Mom’s does wear me out. I have to help her into her suit, and get her a shower and dressed afterward. The bathroom/shower we use is handicap equipped, but there isn’t a lot of room for two people if one is in a wheel chair. The shower is very small. I get really sweaty and wet helping with the cleaning and dressing process.

I’m also in pain. Lifting the wheel chair and walker in and out of the car several times can do that to me. I’m also pretty burned out, to be frank.

As I was getting mom in bed tonight, she’s in pain and doing her usual song-and-dance about needing to get in to see “someone” who can tell her why her buttocks and leg have pain. She began to cry while she had her pill bottle in her hand ready to take her PM meds and when she reached for the tissue the bottle slipped from her hands and… yes, I yelped, and yes I sighed. I admit it. Picking up pills off the floor was not on the top of my list of favorite things to do. This made mom cry more.

I told her that I’m in pain and I sound a little grumpy and it’s more to do with me than her. “It’s my fault you’re in pain” she wailed. “Well,” I told her, “I was in pain before you came here. I had back trouble before you moved in. I even stayed up too late before you came here. I’m afraid you can’t take credit for all my pain and trouble.” True, doing more caused some of my pain today, but her fault? Nope.

It’s difficult seeing my mother so different from she was when I was growing up. Her memory and comprehension have suffered, and she struggles with days and time of day, seasons… but this guilt is familiar. Mom always took on the responsibility and guilt for every scrape, bump, fall, hurt feeling… you name it. It’s just multiplied now.

Dad, on the other hand has become easier to live with, which is saying a lot.

Things are what they are now. I can’t control mom’s guilt, I can only to my best not to encourage it. The only person I can potentially control? Me. Darn. I’ve stayed up too late again…