Saturday, December 09, 2006

What does a guardian do?

Guardians come in all sorts of arenas. They have different levels of legal ability to assist the person in their charge. A guardian could have a limited ability to handle financial, legal, or medical matters. It is possible to have all of these responsibilities, but also very challenging. In our case, I have a full guardianship in order to protect, make decisions, and determine mom's needs.

Handling the financial and legal matters is pretty much objective. The harder part isn't that I have to handle medical, but that some of the decisions are painful. I have to find a way to separate my emotions from my necessary duties sometimes. Mom's doctor is positive that she has tremors from her psychotic meds. I've been telling him that she has had these tremors for at least 10 years-before she took any psych meds. When he lowers her psych med without telling me, we end up in the E.R. again. She has a melt down and thinks snakes are biting her. Then he plays with her tremor meds. sigh. And she loses too much weight because she can't eat from the overwhelming shaking. THEN we so seriously have a chat-again. The medical part is the hardest for me.

It took over three years to get the judge to award me full guardianship. The change in the law (no, I don't know the exact year) makes it incredibly hard to help a mentally ill family member. It's like common sense flew out the window. We had to go through countless episodes, police visits, and an endless amount of doctor's visits where mom refused treatment that would stop her from going blind. I couldn't do anything but watch the downward spiral because I didn't have any power to help her. And she went blind.

Having full guardianship means I'm able to send her to the doctor, sign for medical treatment, and protect her from harming herself with poor decisions. Then the nursing home calls and wants me to decide on death and burial procedures. I know what needs to be done. It's still hard to do it. Despite the frustrations, I'm glad her life is now on an even keel. I'm glad that I have to decide on death and burial issues rather than her becoming a Jane Doe. It's still hard to do it.

Everything in life can help someone else. One of the things I want to do is explore all this in my writing. The next book I'm starting has a lot to do with the experiences mom and I have had. The working title is What She Didn't Know. Maybe it'll help someone else in the process. How do we reach the heart of our readers? By mining our own hearts. Otherwise, we don't have much of a message, do we?

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