Mom won't go to the doctor until she absolutely has to. I feel alone, scared and, most of all, helpless.

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Hi there. Quick story...My sweet mom is 75. In the last year, she has had sudden headaches. She has now had two MRI's, including one last week, that came back fine.

She seems fine. And is fine. And then, bam, suddenly she will get a splitting headache, can't move without wanting to vomit, can't eat or drink. She has spent the entire day sitting in a chair with the lights out. (This is not like her, she's an active, busy woman).

My internet research keeps showing migraines as a possible cause. I know they can be wicked.

But my frustration is that she won't go back to the doctor at all. My family are the type that you just suck it up/man on. Which is quite scary when someone is 75.

I've begged, I'm pleaded, I'm trying to reason. She just won't go. She shrugs it off to a million different things. My dad is well meaning but...well, he just doesn't know what to do either so does nothing. We are both standing around doing nothing and I'm slowly losing my mind to all this nothingness.

Maybe it seems silly but I don't really have a question for you. I just am asking for support, any kind of support. I feel so alone. I adore my mother, she is a wonderful woman that I admire tremendously.

Hopefully this is migraines and nothing more serious.

But if it is more do I live with the guilt of not doing more.
I mean, DO I do more?

It's funny how something like this happens and suddenly you really don't care about
much of anything. Little petty things, traffic, thankless job, wrinkles, who cares about any of it.

I just want to do the right thing and don't even know what that is.

Please, any support you can give, would mean more than I can say right now. Thank you.


Emanze, many of us have problems with our parents not wanting to go to the doctors. Sometimes I think that they get tired of going and don't want to be bothered. Other times I think they are afraid of what they might learn. I think you are right to try to get her to go. There are 2 or 3 types of headaches she might be having and the doctor may have a medicine and advice that will help with them. Tell her that even if she doesn't want to go that you and your father want her to. Tell her you are worried about her and it wears you out to worry. Sometimes it works for me to make the parent feel like they are doing it for other people.
I really do hear you. My mother is 82 years old, schizophrenic and diabetic. She oftens refuses to see the doctor and we are forced to request the doctor to pay her a visit. This works sometimes and sometimes it does not because she may become hostile. When she is hostile, we invite a nurse or doctor who injects her with medicine to calm her down while being held by two other people (male). This works and she may be mad with us for a day or so but she later calms down. I think you owe it to yourself, your mom and family to try and get a doctor to see her, otherwise you will blame yourself for a long time.

Wishing you all the best.
JessieBelle's and Ndutakarii68's answers are worthwhile and well considered. They deal with really two different types; a woman who's schizophrenic and people perhaps who don't want to be bothered or are afraid.

I would like to suggest, however, another reason that Emanze's mother might not want to go to the doctor about her headaches. This might strike folks as way out there or a little nutty, but I'm speaking as a 75 year-old man, the same age as Emanze's mother. I don't think anything about my attitudes are unique -- I mean unique in the literal sense of the word. If have them so do plenty of other people.

She might not want to go to the doctor because, although she doesn't want to die per se and is not suicidal, she might have reached the point where her attitude is, if I die, I die. I just don't want to deal with a lot of treatment and a reduced quality of life in the long run. So I'll just wait it out and see what happens. And, whatever happens, happens.

I think younger people would be surprised at how many people from their mid-seventies onwards have this attitude.

That said, of course Emanze should continue to try to convince her mom to go to the doctor, and I like JessieBelle's idea of trying to get her to do that for you if not for herself. But there is no reason for guilt, Emanze. You can only do what you can. There's no magic formula to getting your mom to do this. You can do no more than try your best. And because you are trying/tried your best, there is no guilt that can reasonably adhere to you.

Good luck and best wishes to you and your family.
Fifty2Ninety, That is very sage advice. My mom is certainly that way and no matter of begging or pleading will get her to a doctor. She fainted at her AL and they forced us to go to Urgent Care or would not keep her. The doc there administered an EKG and came back ashen faced wanting us to go to the ER and even contacted the Heart Institute. Well, short story mom demanded to sign papers to release her absolving the Urgent Care of any responsibility. She will not follow up. So now I'm always waiting for the next shoe to drop but I won't feel guilty. I struggled with her with this subject for YEARS and I'm done. There is no more I can do. Let go, let God is now my attitude.
windytown, I'm glad for you that you realize that there's no more you can do and your refusal to feel guilty about it. That's what I was saying. I hope that when Emanze reads your response, she'll be able to adopt this attitude for herself, too. She's clearly a good person trying her best to do the right thing. And that's all anyone can do.
I never understood Let Go, Let God until recently. Our loved ones, whether they have dementia or not, are the ones that must deal with their fears, beliefs, and fate in their own way. We can only love and support them.
As a migraine sufferer, I can tell you that they are excruciating. However, there is very little that doctors can do. The medications for them - the prescription meds - are dangerous, and frankly, I'd be afraid to take them NOW (at 52) and terrified to take them at 75. If she can take aspirin, give her that, with some tylenol and a sugary caffeinated drink when she starts to feel one coming on. You can also buy Excedrin Migraine (which is aspirin, tylenol, and caffeine). The combination of those 2 pain killers plus the sugar and caffeine really do help. And being in the dark and quiet, help too. If they are migraines, and they sure sound like it, she's not in medical danger, but they can be very upsetting, so just kind of accept what they are and just help her deal with them. Try my "cocktail" treatment (I'll take 2 aspirin, 2 Tylenol, and a can of Coke or a hot cup of sugary coffee when I start to see "sparkles" and feel tingly in my face and a little nauseated, and it usually makes the headache pass much more quickly. Hang in there!
Check if your area has a visiting physician group or better yet--- nurse practitioner. They are able to bill insurance. Also available-- any tests ordered can be performed in their home, from x-rays, lab, and even dental.
I suffered from incapacitating migraines for years. I am loathe to take medication. Finally I allowed a doctor to prescribe a migraine medication which, if taken when the migraine is just beginning, will cause it to go away completely in about half an hour. This type of migraine medicine is called a "migraine abortive". What an improvement this was for my quality of life! It is true, as the other poster said, that an over the counter pain reliever (for me, Advil is what works - it seems for some Tylenol helps and for others Advil) and caffeine in combination can also halt the migraine, but it has to be nipped in the bud so perhaps helping your mom to recognize her early symptoms of a migraine so that you can take care of it without the stronger medication will help. I used to wait until the headache was excruciating, a full-blown migraine, to try any medication but by that point I'd often be throwing up and unable to keep the medication down, plus it often won't help once the pain is that bad or I'd need several doses for it to work. I've finally realized that just taking Advil when the symptoms are mild will usually prevent the progression of the migraine and precludes the need for stronger or multiple doses of medication. It is definitely worthwhile not to suffer. And yes, I agree that my family also suffered when I had a migraine so maybe you can emphasize this point to your mother to get her to at least try the over-counter pain reliever at the first symptoms. Best wishes - you sound like a wonderful daughter.
Fifty2NinetyOnl, thank you for your input. I know that my mother has the same attitude.

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