Mom’s middle sister, Patty, is what one could charitably call a control freak (it runs in the family; Mom is famous foremost for her um… tenacity of will). I have known about this tendency for going on 25 years now – it’s pretty hard to miss… in either of them… – and I knew that when she was added to the caregiver mix, there would be at least one or two unpleasant ramifications.
It didn’t take her long.
In order to make sure that Mom is never alone, I make up a very detailed and meticulous schedule week by week. I print up a blank month, list the days of a week across the top, and then list the caregivers down the left hand side. There’s a space for Bill’s work schedule, a space for me, a space for the short-term, alternate caregivers (the folks like the home health aids who can only stay for an hour at a time or those, like Bobbie, who can’t do full care) and a space for where my kids are going when I’m with Mom. It’s clean, it’s easy to follow, and it works.
Well, Patty has decided that she can improve upon my system, and this morning she sent me a spreadsheet grid and this note:
Attached is a grid which I made up, which might make it easier for people to understand. I can add 1/2 hr increments if it would be helpful.
I’m not going to tell you that I wasn’t pissed as hell when I opened the file. First of all, she’s just coming into this situation; the implication that she knows better than I how to manage Mom’s care is downright arrogant. Second, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the system I have (and neither does Mom who, even hopped up on the maximum dose of meds she can take, can read and understand the schedule). Third, Patty added my grandmother in as a caregiver. Gramma isn’t part of the team and, more importantly, it isn’t Patty’s place to volunteer anyone (especially since, dispite loudly proclaiming that she’s willing to help out, she’s turned down every request I’ve made of her since the family meeting on Wednesday).
After my initial bout of who-the-fuck-does-she-think-she-is, white hot rage, I have come to realize that, yet again, this isn’t about me or my abilities. The fact is that this is about Patty and her inability to play well with others. She hasn’t quite figured out that she doesn’t have all the answers. More to the point, she hasn’t figured out that behaving as though she does is a real turn-off.
I sent her a terse little “thanks anyway, but I’m going to stick with my own system” email. It’ll be interesting to see how this goes down.