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Yesterday, I received a call from Brookdale Senior Living saying that they were running low on Ducolax, a medication that Mom takes.  I supply this for her because it is an over-the-counter item I can buy in bulk and one that Brookdale can distribute to Mom along with her other medications.

The thing is, I received this same call, and request, 2 weeks ago and replenished it then.  At the time however, rather than give it directly to a Brookdale staff member, I went straight to Mom’s for a visit.  That was mistake #1.

Mistake #2 was bringing the Ducolax grocery bag into Mom’s apartment which triggered her curiosity which then led her to ask questions.  I said it was just medication and I’d take it to the front desk on my way out.  I knew I should have avoided the whole scene because Mom, to her credit, always wants to be helpful.  Sure enough…here it comes… “Oh, I can do that for you! Please let me do that for you,” Mom says.  Ugh.  She seemed fine that day, and I knew I should have said “No.” However, before I could say “No,” I heard myself say, “Sure!”  Mistakes #3 and #4.

Sure enough, the two super-size Ducolax bottles I purchased and left in Mom’s care to give to Brookdale to distribute, were never seen again.

When I received this second call from Brookdale, I searched Mom’s apartment before letting Brookdale know it was my fault it went down the “Black Hole.”

This time I didn’t go back to the store.  Instead, I asked Brookdale to use their own in-house pharmacy supply and add Ducolax to Mom’s daily medications for distribution thereby taking myself out of the Ducolax loop.

This very same thing happened about a year ago with Mom’s Ibuprofin.  This, too, went down the proverbial “Black Hole” along with other non-descript items such as clothing, Kleenex, writing cards, pens, new coffee mugs, new canes, books, etc., all disappearing down the same “Black Hole.”

What Is True For Me

Dang it!  It’s so easy for me to get faked out when Mom seems “perfectly fine” on any given day.  I say “Yes” to something I know I should say “No” to, or that I know I should avoid altogether.  When I paint myself into a corner like this, I get this false sense of optimism because part of me wants to believe Mom is still capable and responsible.  Another part desperately wants everything to be the way it used to be, before the Alzheimer’s moved in, sat down, put its feet up and never left.  Plus, no matter how delicately I phrase it to Mom, I’m saying “No,” which, by that very word, crushes her dignity and that is absolutely the very last thing I want to do.

The truth is, every time I ignore our reality, I pay for it in time, effort and money.

Couple of remedies:

If your situation is like mine in that your loved one lives in an Assisted Living facility, my first recommendation is have the facility provide everything they can for you 100%.  Keep it simple for yourself and take yourself out of the loop.

Second, if you supply items for your loved one, which I did for several years, I write the date on item(s) along with Mom’s room number, then make a note to myself as to how long this supply will approximately last.  This keeps tabs on both Mom’s consumption, and the facility’s consumption, since the facility is distributing them for me.

Also, inasmuch as we live with Mr. Murphy’s Law, don’t make it worse by involving our loved one in any way.  Give items to the staff member on duty, or if you have something in hand, use “compassionate information” and say something like “The grocery bag is mine.”  Out of sight, out of mind, no black hole, no discussion, no problems.

If your loved one lives with you, or lives on their own, and you’re not sure whether they are taking their meds properly, I bought one of those pill box organizers, a “WEEKLY AM/PM,” which worked until it didn’t work – meaning, there came a time when I noticed medications not taken in order, or not taken at all, in part because Mom wasn’t sure what day it was, and/or in part, because she simply forgot.  When I asked her if she’d taken her meds, her response was always, “I’m sure I did.”

However, regardless of what Mom “said,” the evidence of what her pill box looked like told the real story.  This was one of several obvious indications I needed to bring in help.