Friday, February 8, 2019

She had a glimmer...

I think 2019 is my year for saying 'enough'.  It is not even 6 weeks in and I have set some strong boundaries with a few folks that needed it, and I resigned my position today, without notice, as things had devolved until I was in most untenable situation and was being treated in an hostile, unprofessional, and abusive manner.  I am sad because I love the agency, the people we serve, and my dedicated staff, but I could not stand one more moment.  

I finally shared with my hoarding mother about Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.  She was so angry, but supportive.  I was shocked.  She offered to let me stay at her home and acknowledged it was beyond her.  (I will pass... But appreciated the thought.)  Today was the day.  She then used things as a springboard to talk about work issues from 50 years ago...

At least there was a glimmer.  I have ugly cried all day, and I need to get myself together as a friend is picking me up to go to another friend's art showing.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

It is time for... From The Mouth Of A Hoarder...

So she has been a LOT worse lately... 'She' being my hoarding mother.

She was talking about petting her one cat (that is about 9 or so) and after a painful, weird, and convoluted-verbal-vomit salad she finally came to the point to the story, one of the cat's canine teeth is broken off.  She then started railing against her estranged sister who she last had in her home summer of 2000.  That is right. Eighteen and half years ago.  She began with the accusation that her sister shut a cat that I grew up with in the door, and ranted that it probably happened at the same time and... 

I cut her off.  I am not even going into that people are not singular natured- if she decides she is done, then the person is the most horrible person ever...  Ugh.  

The cat she was accusing her sister of harming was a kitten when I was twelve.  She died at 21 years of age.  So I was 33.  I am now nearly 50.  So, 17 years ago.  And the alleged injury was discovered probably 5-7 years before that, but after her blow up with her sister she decided it was her.  I broke it down for her like that.  She de-escalated briefly, but then told me tale of the tail (see what I did there?) word for word.  

I also pointed out that her current kitty has been to the vet recently, and that would have been noticed as the gum is swollen.  

She demurred and changed the subject.  That poor cat.  I keep asking her when she is taking it to the vet.   Every time I talk to her...   Now, there is a possibility that none of this is true.  That makes it so hard.  

She is having cataract surgery at the end of the month.  Bet that will be fun for the neighbor (her new wonderful stranger and I suspect, flying monkey).  I hate to tell her, the fall from the pedestal is a hard and fast one.  With that being said, I am glad she has someone to take her.   

Hoarding, no one wins.  No one.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Looking forward to a new year, because 2018 has been rough!

I am so ready for the opportunity of 2019.  In the last couple of weeks I lost my little aged kitty love.  The one that had been so sick, and was 17-20 years old.  She and I had 7 months together, and although I did not think it was enough, I had to make a hard decision.  I hope it was the right one.  

Of course, my hoarding mother was urging me to stop exploring options and put her down.  Then when my vet and I came to the decision, she endlessly talked about her latest cat that died, and her fears for three of her own.  

Very quickly, I had a board member at a local rescue reach out to me.  She knows that the other cat does not do well without a companion, and my baby was despondent.  She really, really, got close to this kitty. I made the decision to jump, and I adopted a 10 1/2 year old shy girl who is super-obese.  We have our work cut out for us... But we will work on this together.  All of us.  My resident cat has adapted quite well.  When the 'excitement' of that wore off for my hoarding mother... She has 'hit the gas' on manufacturing her own drama.  This includes:

  • Calling on a weekend and dramatically intoning her new roof was leaking on the porch and running down a litany of petty complaints about the contractor, and she wants someone to 'make him' pay for fixing it to her satisfaction... Since I run a residential program I would have a magic wand...  I told her to call the Better Business Bureau or take him to small claims court if she could not find it to allow him to correct the issue, which I recommend.  She did not like THAT.
  • Stating the next door neighbor is in 'cahoots' with the hated neighbor that moved away, accusing him of the same types of nonsensical acts of theft or vandalism that she accused the 'neighbor in the turn' of.
  • Complaining that she expects to be arrested any day due to the interaction she had with the sheriff when she made her last complaint.
  • Hyping high drama with her last bone scan results, and then refusing any treatment.  It is not if, it is when, a bone breaks.
  • Also hyping to the highest level of bathos that she has a mitral valve prolapse.  She was angry and walked out of her cardiology referral due to the doctor stating it was not an issue, discussing that it was common in her age bracket, not allowing her to perform her 'dog and pony' show.
  • She had a neighbor take her to a nearby (larger town) for a consult for cataract surgery.  She was shocked that she had been in there in 2009, and that her cataract had gotten worse in the last 9 years.
I could go into more, but you get the idea.  My mother's neighbor is correct, she wants something to be seriously wrong/critical in nature.  I have remained very low contact, and I get off the phone when she starts her 'scripts' or rumination, ruination, and petty grievances.  

Hoarding.  No one wins.  Happy 2019!

Friday, November 23, 2018

It is past due! From the Mouth of a Hoarder...

I have to laugh or I would scream...  FMTOAH time!  I have called my hoarding mother twice since last week.  Oy, why do I do this to myself?  Anyway... Here it goes!
HM:  So, what has your experience been with ground turkey?  I saw a recipe on 'Cooking Light' and [nattering insufferably about how skeptical she is to whether that will be 'right' despite the fact she cannot cook due to her microwave and oven being out of order and her range top hoarded solid...]
Me:  :::Stunned silence:::
HM:  Well?
Me:  Um... You do remember that I have a Type I allergy to turkey and capon, right?  
HM:  What does that mean?  <Harrumphing>
Me:  That I have to have an double epi pen because I go into an anaphylactic reaction...
HM:  I don't remember THAT.

Now, I have had issues as a child with severe facial swelling, and it was around holiday time but no one toppled to the connection (or no one cared enough to try).  One of my few last visits to her house (1997 or so) she fed me turkey loaf... Cooked lovingly in the microwave.  I had a severe reaction with my face, lips and throat swelling. I looked like Quasimodo, and I nearly died.  I had continued exposure, and it only got worse.  SHE WITNESSED THE START OF IT.  Now I know that the weird, 'sudden' allergies are part of my overall condition (actually a co-morbidity) caused by Mast Cell Activation.  This has been a 'thing' for over 20 years of my life.

HM:  So you don't know whether ground turkey is good in that or not?
HM:  I keep meaning to ask... You have several degrees, right?
Me:  What?
HM:  You have multiple degrees on something right?  You finished school for something or something?
Me:  Yes, you were at my graduation for my undergrad.  [I tell her my degrees, and licensure].
HM:  Someone asked me, and I could not remember...  

Yeah.  I am not important in her life, but I knew that already.  Thank goodness for friends who are family and my furry family.

Thank you for reading!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A snow day in the northeast!

I am at home, working from home.  My little feline loves are quite happy!  My newest kitty (the one that is 17-20 years old) has had a health crisis, and unfortunately, one that may result in kidney failure.  I am doing everything humanly possible, and she is improving.  We take it one day at a time.  That is all we can do.

So... My hoarding mother.  She cannot get out of her own way to save her life.  Not much changes, and I fear the house conditions continue to deteriorate.  She did get the roof replaced this month, only 3-4 YEARS after the hail damage.  She- in discussing other things- has disclosed that:

  1. Her dishwasher no longer works.
  2. Her microwave no longer works, and she has a new one that 'she cannot get out of the box or lift onto the counter' so she cannot use it.
  3. Her washing machine no longer works.  And she is not always continent and has C-Diff.
  4. Her A/C does not work.
  5. Her refrigerator is on its last legs.
  6. Her oven no longer works.
  7. Her hot water tank will not kick off 'vacation mode'.  
I am sure there are other things, but when I last saw her house in 2010 (and I had not been in the house since 2000 the time before) it was firmly a Level 5 hoard, and a Level 9 on the Clutter Image Rating.  It has not gotten any better.  For folks that hoard, it seldom does.  Especially when other mental health issues, like Narcissistic Personality Disorder, are present.  Her cruelty and pettiness are absolutely breaktaking.  Her lack of boundaries knows no limits.  I continue low, low contact.  I plan on not ever setting foot in that house again, and I will never see her in person again.  That is what I have to do to keep me healthy.

She is aware that I am going through the diagnostic process of something.  I will not tell her what, because she has often stated directly "I want to know what is wrong with you because I am sure it is wrong with me, too."  No, it isn't.  I am finalizing a process that has been years in undertaking, and I just now need to figure out genetic markers and co-morbidities, but basically, I have a genetic connective tissue condition that is degenerative.  I will most likely end up disabled, and organ failure and other charming things will be a challenge.  I am lucky that my progression has been slow, most folks are disabled in their 20's or 30's, and I am 49.  I still run, but I struggle to do so.  My sub 10 minute miles are now sub 15.  I have gained some weight, and my fine motor skills are noticeably impacted.  I am losing the ability to write legibly in longhand, even to sign my name. I had something happen, and long story short I was asked to not get a hotel room at a conference and drive it every day, about an hour each way.  The first day was a 12 hour day, and I nearly wrecked several times going home because I was so exhausted that I was having trouble keeping my car in lane that was a long term construction project.  I was in a single lane surrounded by Jersey barriers.  Do to some unfortunate disclosures by folks that should have known better, it became 'a thing' the next day when I delayed my arrival a bit because I needed to rest, and I was unable to attend the third day.  I was not ready to disclose, and I had that choice removed.

Now, I have had times where I have been really, really impacted, but I have always rebounded.  I hope, hope, HOPE I can do it again.  But I fear that I have fallen so fast and hard, I am unlikely to rebound to the level I had.  This my be my new normal, I fear.  And the pain has gotten worse.  But, I take no prisoners, and make no concessions.   I will NOT let this thing define me.  Where this relates to my hoarding mother is although I do not tell her much, some of it seeps out.  Most mothers know if something is not right.  She is oblivious, and if she did know, she would make it all about her in some way.  No thank you.

I have been working 70-80 hour weeks.  No exaggeration.  She is aware that my organization is struggling to recover.  She does not ask about anything or offer empathy.  She is aware that I will, most likely, be saying goodbye to another furbaby.  She does not ask anything helpful or offer encouragement.  And I do not expect it from her.  I am struggling to wrap my mind around the (potential) enormity of my diagnosis.  This may change to trajectory of my career, and of my life.  I had a gentleman express interest in me, and ask me out.  I have not responded, but I don't think so.  Between work, health, and cats... I do not have much bandwidth.  I know I have dropped from most of my friend's sights, as I do when I am dealing with something, but I just do not have much to offer right now.  I will bounce back, but I know the self isolation is not good for me, but I am in harness, at least for a while, with a grinding work schedule.  I did not make plans to visit friends due to work and my sick cat, but a friend surprised me and is coming to visit.  We will have a lovely Friendsgiving holiday, and another dear friend made plans to share the day as well, so it will be the three of us.  

That sounds perfect...

I will be okay.  No matter what happens with health or any other challenge, I will land on my feet.  But sometimes, that is an isolating and exhausting 'superpower'.

Hoarding... No one wins.  No one.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 8, 2018

A funny and an update!

Wow.  I am sorry it has been so long!  First the humorous...  Or not.

Little changes for my hoarding mother.  She is continuing her downward spiral, but that is fodder for discussion on another day.

She has a 'hoardy' person that lives nearby to her, and I would not say that she is a friend, but an acquaintance... A transactional acquaintance.  She 'collects' all kinds of crap to recycle, and she mentioned that she had an infestation of what my hoarding mother calls 'ground moles'.  Now, apparently my hoarding mother read in a book or an article (probably 'Hints from Heloise' who I refer to as the Patron Saint of Hoarding') that used kitty litter will drive them away.  So, she collects a few days worth of her 6 cats' pee and takes it to her.  And in hoarder fashion, bugs her every day to see if she used it, etc.  


Apparently several days passes, and the friend opens the bags.  Later, my hoarding mother calls, and this friend exploded, screaming that she was allergic to cats, that it stunk so bad that she had to air out the house, etc.  My mother was mortally offended. 

Now- what I think happened...  My mother kept pushing for this woman to try her solution, and receiving a noncommittal answer, sent the pee bags over.  Eventually the person got into whatever she left on her from porch, and out of curiosity opened the bag.  My mother has no sense of smell, and despite her claims to the contrary, her house reeks of cat pee and hoard and probably now, adult diapers.  (She now has C-Diff). 

You can't make this stuff up.  
So, my last update was my little vocal one died.  I only had her 18 months, but we loved a lifetime.  My other kitty was stressed and sad, and I started looking for a companion for her a couple weeks later, although I was not ready, she needed someone.  Long story short, without planning, I ended up with an elder kitty that has mobility, health, lower GI issues, and is hard of hearing.  I got her 10 minutes before closing, and she was going to be euthanized the next day.  She is a pretty, sweet dilute Calico, and she gets along with my hard to get along with resident cat.  I find them napping together sometimes, sometimes lightly touching.  She is older  that presented...  The rescue said 8 years old, I estimated 12-15 years old, and the vet thinks she is 17 or older.  She was kept in a cage the last two years of her life, and she has simply blossomed in the 5 months I had her, and is a cuddle bug.  My heart breaks when I think of those fur babies I have lost, but we are reaching a new normal.

Work and health have not been a smooth ride, but I am dealing.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 9, 2018

A little light in my life went out today.

About 2 hours ago I put my sweet gray kitty to sleep.  She been declining, and the vet confirmed she was in pain, and anything we did would most likely, at best, have very short term results that would mask the underlying condition, if they worked at all.  I am in shock, but after discussion with my vet, it was the kindest option for my sweet girl.  I held her the whole time.  I have sobbed intermittently and paced, stressing my other old girl out a bit.  She fierce, she was full of sass, and she loved me.  I am heartbroken.  I will miss her headbunts, her raspy voice, and her scowls when things did not go the way she thought they should.  I will miss turning on and off faucets for her, and her startling me sitting in strange locations.  I will miss her.  Now my other cat and I have to adjust to a new normal without her.  I worry that my other kitty will miss her, and will be lonely.  I dread going to bed without her.  She would manage to hog the bed, and I wondered how 8 pounds of cat could cause me and the other cat to wake up on the edge of the bed.

I also am overwhelmed by my friends and their kindness. Texts, emails, calls, social media responses and comments... Three of my friends ordered dinner delivered to my from my favorite (Vietnamese) restaurant, and figured out what I like from pictures.  I had not even thought of food, and most likely would have gone to bed (if I do that tonight) without eating.  I am so grateful.  I am SO grateful.  I do not know what I do to deserve the wonderful people in my life, and I do not take a single one of them for granted.

I spoke to my hoarding mother today.  I mentioned that I was worried about my kitty and headed home to check on her.  This launched a monologue about the last kitty she lost.  She called as I was driving to work to pick up my laptop and returning home to spend time with my kitty before our emergency vet visit.  

You know who has not called to check in to see how the visit went?  My hoarding mother.  Honestly, I am thankful for that, but it reinforces how perverse her relationship dynamic is with me.  And the outpouring of support and love for me and my kitty?  She would have little frame of reference since relationships are transactional, not reciprocal.  I will most likely wait a few days before I check in because I just CANNOT.  Earlier this week she was alleging someone came into her yard and dug a hole near her storage building (to pry a panel off and steal from it...) and they stole the dirt from the hole.  Really.  She then asked her neighbor to set up a baby monitor to listen since she can't hear well.  The neighbor said no...  The neighbor called me, it was not a baby monitor, but a driveway alarm.  These folks work, and would like to sleep at night!  When telling this, she was indignant that they refused, and I told her they should, that is intrusive and an inconvenience.  

Wow.  Just wow.

Back to working on my presentation for tomorrow.  I have to say I am having a hard time working on it as my heart is not in it.  I also found out that I am being recognized at the end of the month for my work in anti-violence.  I did mention it to her, and her response was, "Why would they honor you?  Did you ask for it?"

Le sigh.

Have a good evening.  Please hug those who are important to you a bit tighter when you see them, human, feline, canine ... (As long as they consent!)

Hoarding, no one wins.  No one.