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It's all about her head to toe ailments. She wants to go to doc every week. She's driving me crazy. She's 91, in AL (she demanded to go there, to "save me from having to work so hard"), and hates everyone and everything. Her GP has an email system and she writes them every week. She wanted me to take her to the doctor to ask if she can quit taking her one Advil.

She kept getting UTI's and ended up with a catheter. Solved the UTI's but now she hates that doctor and is bitter about that whole thing. Gripes about every aspect of that, including the type of tape, every piece of equipment, having to keep it clean, etc. The equipment supply people and I are on first name basis because she keeps changing what she wants and her supplies are NEVER right. She doesn't even consider that she hasn't had a UTI since getting the cath. She just hates the doctor for not telling her the paper tape doesn't stick well. Her next appointment is with the nurse she doesn't like...I'm really looking forward to THAT appointment (not).

She tries to micromanage her bowel functions. She's always done that, but it's gone over the top since she has nothing else but her body to think about. She won't do the many activities the AL provides because she "might have to go to the bathroom". She won't ride the bus on their outings, yet wants me to take her to the same places.

Dad wasn't dead five minutes before she grabbed his walker and started using it, well before she needed to, "in case she gets weak and might fall", so now she DOES need it. She's stooped over from leaning on it, her legs are now weakened and her back hurts. Her doctor tells her to go to their chair exercise...she refuses...might have to go to the bathroom, don't ya know. She tells her to do the activities...nope, refuses. She tells her ways to reduce her extreme depression...Mom won't do any of them. She measures her urine output and examines the color. It's nuts! Yet the whole time she's doing all this, the minute she sees me, she hangs her head and says she wants to die. After years of trying to fix every complaint she has had, I'm at my wits' end, exhausted, and feeling guilty for not being able to fix her gripes and guilty if I stand up to her and say no, I won't make a doctor appointment to ask if you can stop taking that Advil pill...just stop! Solving one issue is like taking your hand out of a bucket of water...another one immediately takes its place. I am blessed with wonderful siblings willing to help but she doesn't want them...she wants me!!!!! I know the answer, I just have a hard time dealing with the guilt and pressure...and needed to vent. Thanks.

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This sounds very tough. I tell you, I would have a hard time. My brother in law,
his mother is not quite this far along, but she does seek contact through medical
issues, handles this beautifully. I admire this. Not quite sure how he does it, he
is a nice man. He is decisive, focuses on relating to his Mom in other ways, and ignores his sisters less than helpful input. I am not helping much here, guess I am just saying I know someone who is using a "kindness" behavior modification strategy that seems to work. Could I do it, I think not.
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I know you feel in a lose...lose situation. But know this, until YOU make some changes Mom WILL NOT. I know from personal experience. Why do you think she only wants your help and not your siblings? I bet if you think about it it's because none of the others try to make everything better. If she wants to go somewhere the bus is taking residents but won't ride the bus, tell her no you won't take her when she can ride the bus. Afraid she might have to pee? Well, guess what? Welcome to everyone woman over 60's world. She can do like the rest of us and wear a Poise Pad (or whatever) in case she has an accident. Wants to go to doctor to find out if she can stop taking the 1 advil? Tell her you called the doctor and he/she said it was OK. No need to come in.
She has lost control of her life so she is grabbing at you, the only thing left that she CAN control. I had to say No over and over. I had to call my Mom on her stuff and stop allowing her to passively/aggressively take over my life. But I did it in a loving and kind way. I just didn't react. If I said No to a doc visit and she got mad I just let her be mad. I would tell her she could pitch all the fits she wanted but it wouldn't change my mind. Or, when she would act out and be all mad, I would tell her that I'm going home because it's not enjoyable for me to visit when she acted that way. Or I would suggest she call one of my siblings if it was that important. Your Mom is like a child now and, like a child, is pitching fits to get her way. Did you tolerate that behavior from your children? Having said all this I do know how difficult this is so I will say one last thing. As has been said, she might need an antidepressant. YOU might need an antidepressant. For certain, seeing a therapist/counselor would help you deal with your guilt. It did for me. I learned how to set those boundaries without any guilt. And when my Mom passed I never once said to myself..."what if I had...." or "if only I had". And I didn't carry resentments. When I took care of myself it got better. Good luck!
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I had an aunt whom lived on her own for years and she went to this doctor that would treat her and she was the same way. The doctor was not a very good doctor and yet instead of sending her to a Psyc to treat the problem he would give her sugar pills and enable her behavior. Doctors often enable behavior such as that to make money not only for themselves but the pharmaceutical companies at large
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Babalou, my mom did that too, with the Imodium. OMG, that was awful...it kept her in the hospital extra days because of blood in the stools and need to clean out under medical supervision. She would eat nothing with fiber, had hypothyroidism, constipating meds, and no physical activity to speak of....and let's top that off with a little Imodium. I told someone I thought she would be happy if she never had to poop again and I think it was true.
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My mother did this for 3 years. She would wake up with her symptom of the day and obsess on it. A spot on her skin would turn into lung cancer. A rash would turn into a deadly disease. She had numerous "yeast infections" that no one but her could detect. And sometimes she would misuse a medication, which caused mystery sicknesses that would linger until I discovered what the problem was. Her hypochondria got a lot better when the doctor she liked retired. We started going to one she didn't like, so the dreadful diseases became almost nonexistent.

Going to the doctors so much wore me out. She would call to make an appointment and would get so angry if I said no. She was a super bully. Looking back, I don't know how I put up with it.

What Vstefans wrote is so true. It was obsessive thinking, coupled with the fondness she had for her doctor. She told me that he made her feel better because he always cared. I'm sure that Mom probably drove the poor man crazy with all her imaginary problems. I know she almost drove me crazy.
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Try to distance yourself from making her life perfect, running to the Dr, fixing the supplies, etc., and learn to just empathize with her plight. Say something like , "gee that sucks, you are so brave to handle all this bad stuff, what an amazing woman you are". When you aren't jumping fixing her incessant complaints, she will stop. Sometimes empathy and admiration get you a pleasant loving person. It's worth a shot. At the very least it will remove the burden of trying to fix old age.
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Another thought, my mom was becoming something of a recluse, not going out because of bathroom issues. A light bulb went on one day, every time we went to the doctor, she listed citrucel and immodium among her regular meds. She was taking immodium to counteract 'diarrhea" (any hint of looseness is diarrhea and life threatening to my mom) and requires immodium. So she had screwed things up really badly and was having bouts of fecal incontinence (feces leaks out from around a blockage). She ended up in the hospital finally and we switched to a geriatrics doctor who actually listened to her. So maybe when she says "I might have to go to the bathroom" you might try to ask some more questions.
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BTW, the stooped over posture might not be from the walker use alone - that actually should not happen if the walker is adjusted to the right height. She might have osteoporosis and/or Parkinson's that could be treated!
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Unless she is not cognitive enough, which form reading this I very much doubt, talk to her about what she is afraid of. Work out the details of an advance directive. Hypochondria is an odd combination of magical thinking (if I worry about it enough it will protect me from it happening) and anxiety/obsession. A low dose of an antidepressant would make perfect sense. Make her medical attention regular and less contingent on her having to complain if you can - let her hand in her notes - in a booklet without too many options or spaces to put in too much detail - to someone who will look at them and tell her she is doing fine maybe every M, W, F.
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Exhausted101, you really have your hands full with your "hypochondriac", I know it isn't easy..... but re-read what you wrote us and read it like someone else had written it... you eventually will see the comical side of all this, play along with her but don't make the appointments. Just curious, what color is her urine today?

By the way, do you visit your Mom the same schedule each day? I remember reading on here where someone had their Mom in a nursing home and all Mom did was complain about everything, didn't want to do anything, didn't want to join the activities, or eat with others, etc..... then one day the grown child stopped by the nursing home at a different time and lo and behold, there was Mom in the middle of a group activity enjoying herself.... boy was she surprised to see her daughter standing there :)
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"I know the answer" means tough love. I need to stop trying to respond to her every complaint, trying to fix it if it's just a picky little gripe. I need to learn to say no. She gets angry at me for not saying no to my family because it takes away from my attention to her. I've talked to her doctor about antidepressants but her doc wanted to try the methods she suggested before putting her on medication. Since Mom refuses to do the suggestions, it might be time for meds.
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Is she on antidepressants ? Some of my mom's ocd about her bowels cleared up when her geriatric psychiatrist put her on antianxiety and antidepressant medication.
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BTW....I just glanced back at your post. You said, I know the answer......
What did you mean?
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Is it time for some tough love? Have some scary DNR, no food, no treatment paper drawn up and whip it on her the next time she Just WantsTo Die. Don't be mean and scary with it. Say, Mom we've talked a lot about your troubles and I very much want to respect your wishes. Sign this and well just let nature take its course. Too crazy? I don't know. Might make her put up or shut up.
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