I'm a caregiver dealing with what was thought to be Alzheimer's in my Mom (81). Turns out she has had syphillis for almost 40+ years.

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I'm exhausted, what she really has is called neuro syphillis, it mimics Alzheimer's.
My mom is also a sociopath, who never thinks anything about her is wrong, hence walking around living with this diease for 40 yrs. I never remember going to a doctor ever while I was growing up. I'm burnt out and also disabled, from a car accident. The doctors tell me it's like a train wreck with trying to medically deal with her mental capacity. The neuro syphillis has ravaged her body, so many cardiovascular issues and of course it's eating away at her brain. Alzheimer's causes memory loss, neuro syphillis drives you mad. She does not want to go to daycare, in her mind that means something wrong with her, by the way she is also in denial about the neuro syphillis. I'm also afraid of what she might do in daycare, like I said she is a sociopath, she abused me as a child. I forgave her, because it was more for my peace of mind. My therapist in my 20's requested she attend a session with me, but she would not go. We didn't think she would, but at least we tried. I sought counseling as a adult to help deal with the abuse, it helped tremendously as well as my faith in God. Having her re-enter my life again, has been a world wind of calculated mind games and lies, but I know her so well at this point I call her out on her mess as soon as I see it. As I've mention she is a sociopath, when she first arrived it was pretty bad. My brother who is even worst off than her, was abusing her financially. I had my daughter go get her from another state, I flew there a couple of years ago to take her to the doctor, when I noticed she would constantly repeat herself in our daily phone calls. The Dr there diagnosised it as Alzheimer's. Little did I know at the time what really was the issue. Once I got her back up North, I took her to my neurologist who did a battery of test. Being a new patient, they tested her for everything. It was discovered then that she had the syphillis. Like I said, she is a sociopath and she makes up stuff and will even lie. I'm afraid if I force the daycare, she might cause them problems. Sorry for the long story I just felt I needed to give a little background information. Here's example of her abusive ways, whenever I would confront her over something she has done, she would say your screaming at me and abusing me. She only will do this if I confront her over things she has done that she knows is wrong. So to make sure she was not hearing voices or anything, I told her "now look, you're going to be going to these new Dr's here, they are not going to be playing around with you" Yes or no are you hearing voices telling you I'm screaming at you, or are you making this up? because the last thing you're going to want is having a Dr place you on meds for mental illness and you making it all up. She then proceeds to say, I'm whatever you say I am and I immediately tell her stop it and right now. She thens tells me ok ok I lied sorry. So this is the kind of thing I'm worried about, as far as the daycare goes. Accusing someone of abuse because you don't like them corrected you is a serious matter. If anyone can help, I'd appreciate it, I just don't want anyone else to have to deal with this maddness
Thanks M

6 Comments

I'm questioning why you are dealing with this madness?

That you have forgiven her? Awesome!

That you want to see to it that she has her needs met and gets good care? Commendable!

That you want to protect her from a son who is exploiting her financially? Good for you!

That you personally should do the hands-on caregiving? Um, that is where my understanding breaks down. It just isn't healthy, in my opinion, for either of you.

(And please don't threaten her with drugs for mental illness, because that may be exactly what she does need.)

A daycare center should be told the full story and allowed to decide if they are willing to try to handle her. No hard feelings if it doesn't work out. But you might be surprised what professionals can do to minimize problems.

I suggest you talk to the doctors about possible placements for her, and that you do your looking out for her interests from a distance.
In fairness to her, she probably got antibiotics and assumed she was cured. However syphilis is a spirochete (spiral shaped bacteria) that becomes dormant and hides in the body for years, even for decades.
It's really more of a parasite than an infection, because it can stay with you a long long time and do a lot of damage.
Her MD can confirm whether or not she is contagious. She probably is not.
Day care may be good for her BUT in her delusional state, if she tells someone you are abusive or neglecting, APS will be at your door.
She will think being the center of attention is delightful and will embellish all details for the most ooohs and aaaahs.
Personally, I would not take that risk, I would be looking for a memory care facility. I think the Neurologist would agree.
Thank you Jeanne, I thought when the Dr said trying to treat her at this point was pointless was just the end :(
Thank you too Pam, that's what I was concerned about too her making these false statements and here while being the caregiver, I get accused of something she's making up. I surely would not want a innocent person at a daycare to be caught up in that type of situation. The neurologist did say, the damage that the disease has done is irreversible. He told me the untreated stage she has caused all her cardiovascular conditions, and her ramblings. He said they will schedule a spinal tap, try to determine treatment then.
I agree with everything said.

Get her into custodial care, visit her as the loving daughter you most assuredly are, and protect yourself (as well as others) from false accusations. "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help," are famous last words.
It makes me wonder if she was ever treated. Forty years with syphilis? You would have thought that would have shown up on some test before now. How old is Mom? Just remember in my wild days, that there was so much education about VD and that then people tended to be very careful about it. Sure don't hear much about it now, maybe it is the age we are in and the awareness of the importance of using condoms?

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