Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Help me with some coping strategies for my mom, or perhaps with my
mom is the correct grammar, because this affects how I relate to her
as well as how she relates to others. She&'s in rehab after a complicated
medical process that had my four sisters and me taking shifts in the
hospital and ICU for three weeks. I&'m the only one without a job so
I&'m on duty now that she&'s in the rehab center (approximately three
weeks is what the docs project). I can&'t tell if she&'s gotten more
impatient, or if I have. But we are snapping at one another, and I’m
watching her snap at the nurses and aides. I feel like she&'s being
incredibly unreasonable given the workload of these folks and how well
she&'s doing compared to the sad lumps in the other rooms. I&'m around
her 12+ hours a day. Is it a matter of just putting up with it or is there
something I can do to make this stay less unpleasant for all


Dear impatient:

Most of us get more impatient as we age, and especially so when we
feel helpless, and unable to take care of our own needs. Being in a
rehab facility means being at the mercy of other people schedules, and
generally having to do things we don&'t want to do: eat bad food go to
PT etc. My suggestion is somewhere between coming up with some
signals for her as in when you think she is being exceptionally crabby
and unnecessarily demanding having a cute like, say, wiping your
brow, or two fingers held up to your ear or I. Some kind of visual
reminder to her to take things down a notch.

But you&'re only going to get there after having had a rational
conversation that you&'re going to have to work up to. Something that
says mom this is going to be a long haul for you for me and for all
concerned so let&'s look at what your biggest complaints are, let me
figure out how I can help make those as least horrible as possible. And
in exchange I&'m asking you to try and speak more softly and kindly to
everyone around you, including me. Also 12 hours straight is a lot of
time to do anything. Make sure you have a book and laptop, perhaps
be there in four hours shifts, and limit your total exposure. I hope she
gets well soon