Mama, if you are caring for an aging parent while raising your own children, you are part of the “Sandwich Generation.” You are the meat (pun intended) and the muscle that keeps the world rolling for some of the people you love most.
How do I know this? Because I recently undertook the responsibility of getting more involved in my mother’s medical care while working full-time and raising two tiny humans full of personality. For the past 20+ years, my mom has lived with Type 2 Diabetes. While she is on insulin, her diabetes is not very well managed and she’s had quite a few stints at the hospital as a result. Can’t forget to mention that she doesn’t like being told what to do, is incredibly stubborn, and doesn’t care for medical professionals all that much.
In mid-August, I returned from a beautiful island vacation to my mother in the hospital. It was scary. She could have died. While I have a couple of older siblings, they both live out of state, and as the oldest child nearest by, in times like these, I have become the one who is responsible for her.
Prior to her last visit to the hospital, we made plans to go to her upcoming doctor’s appointment together. It was her first visit with a new practitioner and I wanted to make sure they knew all the ailments plaguing her. We (read: me) were able to ask all the questions we wanted concerning my mother’s health and left with a laundry list of appointments we needed to schedule.
The following Friday I had a day off from work and I called to set up multiple appointments on her behalf that would be compatible with my work schedule so that I could accompany her. Aside from the appointments, there is the emotional and mental load of following up with her on checking her blood sugar, taking her medications, and following doctor’s orders. It can be exhausting and frustrating – remember, she’s a stubborn one.
There’s some levity in our new dynamic as she jokes that I am now her mother, but I will do what I can to keep her earthside as long as possible all the while leaning on my village and ensuring I am taking care of myself, first. I know I couldn’t juggle my place in the sandwich generation all alone.