Keeping Mom Safe Requires Constant Vigilance

Empty food cartons

Six empty containers littered my mom’s bedroom floor this evening when I returned home after getting my hair done. She had beaten me to her bi-weekly shipment of meals and consumed more than half of its contents.

By RuthAnn Hogue/Whiptail Publishing

I understand what it’s like to be hungry. I stayed home from work this morning. Why? Exhaustion. Pure and simple. I wasn’t sure I was up for driving, even though I went to bed last night at 6:30 p.m. I don’t keep much food in the house so most meals are consumed at work. I keep a few things on hand that I can heat up, but not much. Staying home usually means meals will be lean.

Not so, for my mom. I always have food on hand for her. I hide it in the freezer. I stash it in the back of the pantry. I have even put it in boxes in the laundry room. As her daughter and caregiver, I make sure she has enough food for breakfast and lunch before I leave for the day. Upon my return I stall her with apples and oranges until dinner time. She asks repeatedly for hamburgers, pizza and whatever else she thinks I might have stashed away. We didn’t have a lot in the house when we left, but what we did, I left for her when I headed out for my six-week hair appointment.

I was a tad surprised to come home and not find the expected package she receives bi-weekly from Mom’s Meals. Oh, well, I thought. Sometimes it is a day late, and I had at least one more meal left in the freezer for Mom.

When I stepped inside the house my first thought was that my mom might be hungry. I heated up some leftover pizza (which had been somewhat mysteriously left untouched) and delivered it to her in her room. What I found scattered all over her room floored me. Here’s a list of the contents that were missing from a pile of empty food containers that had to have been consumed between 2 and 7 p.m. today:

1 Hamburger Patty with cheese and seasoned vegetables and a wheat bun
1 Chicken And Vegetable Pot Pie
1 Mini Pancakes with Turkey Sausage and Sliced Peaches with Granola Topping
1 Beef Frank with Baked Beans and Vegetables
1 Asian Style Rice with White Chicken Teriyaki
2 Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1 Orange
2 Gelatin Cups

This was supposed to have been her lunch for the next five days. It’s already gone. The UPS delivery truck must have come while I was out. She somehow was able to drag a 40-pound box of food inside the house and into her room. This is how I can be sure of when she ate all of this, because none of it was in the house when I left. I checked what she had left against the packing slip and empty containers.

We are going to have to make the five remaining meals last. I have moved them into my freezer (the one without a handle on the door) so hopefully they will be safe overnight at least.

I’m not mad. I’m not angry. I don’t even know that I’m upset. I’m definitely concerned. We just cannot afford to sustain this sort of appetite, and I know it is not healthy. I don’t want her to be hungry. But I don’t want her to overeat herself into a worse case of diabetes.

Oh, and yes. She finished eating her warmed up pepperoni pizza. Both slices. So, I guess it’s time to slip in to make sure she takes her evening medicine. Then I’m going to put myself to bed.

May we both, daughter and mom, be blessed with sweet dreams.

RuthAnn Hogue is the owner and founder of Whiptail Publishing’s and She is an award-winning author and journalist with an Internet Marketing Master of Science and a B.A. in Journalism/Political Science.

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