ociesev Asked April 2011

My sister is suffering from swollen legs and hands that are so gnarled she is immobile, but still she refuses rehab. How can I help her?

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My sister is suffering from legs swollen and hands so gnarled that she is immobile but her mind tells her to refuse rehab. Doctors are perplexed. She was falling often for about 6 months ,then her legs started swelling and she started sitting all the time saying she could not make herself walk. Can anyone suggest help for her? Thank you and God bless you.

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EXPERT Carol Bradley Bursack Apr 2011
The swelling legs could be any number of things, including a heart problem. She seems to be retaining fluid for some reason. Consider if alcohol or drugs (prescription or otherwise) are an issue. Side effects of overuse of medications or alcohol can cause many problems that baffle doctors if they have all of the facts.
Make sure the doctors are aware of all medications, herbs and other substances your sister takes- even vitamin supplements. The gnarled hands sound like arthritis, but could be something else. There are over 100 types of arthritis - the falling and even the legs could be from some type they haven't considered.
The only thing I can suggest is another medical opinion or counseling to help her see she needs medical help. In the end, she has the right to make her own decisions, but it's painful to watch, so if she will see yet another doctor, please try.
Take care,
Carol
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lcs Apr 2011
Do you know WHY your sister doesn't want to go to rehab? - maybe because she is probably in pain and doctors are "perplexed" so she has become depressed and just given up hope? Have you been to the doctors with her and yourself heard that they are perplexed about your sister's symptoms? Your sister is lucky to have you "in her corner" so I hope you can find out WHY she may have given up. One of my sisters does not trust doctors much so she will go through agony before she will seek a medical opinion. She has to be handled with "kid gloves" so I kind of know what you are dealing with. Good luck with trying to help your sister. Please let me know if you make progress.
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Ask your sister if she refuses rehab because she's already in intolerable pain while sitting still. Then you may understand why she doesn't want to go to rehab and have her intolerable pain increased. She is the ultimate judge of the quality of her life and what she wants to do to make it better, or not make it worse. Try to respect her wishes if she is lucid. Good Luck. God Bless you.
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If she is in pain then I would have it addressed as soon as you can, why suffer if there is help?
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195Austin Apr 2011
I would try to have her at least go to outpt. PT and give it a try and then let her decide if she wants to continue the therapist will do an assestment gently and find out what her baseline movement is and will be able to make recomandations-maybe you could tell her if she went for an assestment you would let her decide if she wants to continue-you will just get yourself crazy about this and if she is doing it for attention she will just keep refusing you may just have to let it go-which is hard but some people can not be helped.
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N1K2R3 Apr 2011
Well she doesn't need re-hab, she needs hab. Find the right physician ( s) who will treat her properly. Start with a good Internist. Keep on it until she gets results.
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Eddie Apr 2011
SEV:



Swollen hands and feet from idiopathic edema can often be reduced by lying down for several hours and reducing the amount of salt in your diet. Some doctors treat idiopathic edema with ACE inhibitors or progesterone, but this does not consistently treat the condition. There is no health risk associated with this swelling, so rest and reduction of salt seem to be the best treatment.
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Eddie Apr 2011
SEV:

Just for clarity, "idiopathic" is a medical term which is used to describe a condition which has no known cause; meaning that the doctor does not know what caused the condition. The term comes from the Greek words idios, or “one's own,” and pathos, or suffering. While it might be tempting to blame the doctor for not being able to figure out what is causing a medical problem, some diseases really do seem to arise spontaneously, with no known explanation or cause, and berating the doctor will not be very productive.

Your only option, then, is alleviating the symptoms. In addition to rest and reduction of salt, try aquatherapy and modifying the diet to prevent the weight gain associated with the lack of movement and exercise. Good luck.

-- ED
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ociesev Apr 2011
God bless you for trying to help.My sister died April22 of a heart attack She is out of pain in heaven.
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