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My mom has always been the type of person who never has an ordinary cold, but is at death's door, is hypersensitive to every ache and pain, and has acknowledged psychosomatic behavior in the past.... And seemed genuinely happy to just give up on everything once she was diagnosed with hep C, and let the rest of the world take care of her. So, now I am her caretaker and I'm never really sure how sick she really is. Every day she wakes with a list of minor aches/pains/dry skin/etc that she tells me about in detail. However, it's nearly the same thing every day, and I tell her, yes, of course you have this ache/your tummy's upset/whatever - you have hepatitis c! (and I haven't been able to get her to visit a doctor in about 2 years!!) She's physically quite able when she decides to be, can walk up and down the hill to the mailbox, make her own bed, load and unload the dishwasher, but if it's something she doesn't want to do, she is just too sick. With all the complaining about little things, I don't know how well or ill she REALLY is, and I don't tend to react with much sensitivity to her complaints anymore. Also, she washes her hands so much, she's starting to get sore spots (which she asks me if it's ringworm. sigh.) And, finally (and this probably deserves another post) she never, ever stops talking or respects my own personal/mental space.

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Sometimes you don't want to play games with them. You are DONE!!!! Insanity.
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The daughter needs to find support groups in her community. Also, she may benefit from counseling herself, sounds as if this a life long situation.

The mother's care may be beyond the daughter's ability to provide, so an alternative living situation may be indicated. Support groups may be able to help the daughter find the resources that can help her explore options.

It is sad to think this daughter has to give up her life for her mother, as a nurse I have seen this often, in home health work. It takes courage and a lot of support to stand up for yourself, but this daughter deserves to be respected and to have the freedom to pursue her own life. It will take courage and a great deal of support for the daughter to face her mother and make the changes that appear to be indicated.
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Jessiebelle, I understand. Sometimes you need to play mind games with them, like playing airplane when feeding a baby. My mom isn't a hypochondriac, but can be super-fixated on herself and her issues. She is also stubborn and a know-it-all. When she details her bodily functions, I put my mind on autopilot and just nod and make sympathetic noises. When she was convinced a "young boy" was stalking her at the nursing home, nothing I said made any difference. Finally, one day her aide said, "Oh, he got fired! He's not allowed in the building any more!" Of course there was no young boy, but after the aide told her this, she never mentioned him again. God bless that aide!
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Psuds1970: In re the vacuum, her faux trickery continues!
Jeezy Peezy! Annoying!
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hugemom, this makes me think of something I did just recently. My mother has been dizzy for about 4 years, but always thinks it just began. We've tried things, but nothing worked. So what the doctor and I decided was to take her off one of her meds and tell her to drink more water. Less med???!!! That didn't set well with her, but it's what we're doing. And you know. I think she feels a bit better.
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I dealt with this for years with my own mother. If her physician put her on a new med, she would read the sheet that came with it and have every side effect printed there. After the third time she called 911 in a week because she had loose stools, her social worker and I decided she needed skilled nursing care. I also had to help,and a disabled husband to boot. She is remarkably healthy for a 94 year old woman. The doctor sees her almost every week in the home and has never discovered anything seriously wrong. I found that you need to develop a virtual set of ear plugs when they start complaining. Explaining that it's "all in your head" just makes them angry at you. Just nod and say, "Oh, I'm sorry" and if you have to, even place a (fake) call to the doctor. Do speak with her doctor and keep up to date on exactly which medications she needs and for what. With my mother, a perpetual victim and drama queen, it was the only way I could be proactive with her AND keep my own sanity.
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psuds1970, it sounds like your Mom is a Narcissistic, as well as a Hypochondriac! You may already know this , but since you are fairly new here on the AC, you may want to do a little research about Narcissism! I'm dealing with my FIL who lives in my home, and didn't truly understand the meaning of that until I saw it was his face posted next to the description in the dictionary! I have learned so much here, and recieved such great advice and encouragement along the way! Narcissists hold you prisoner by FOG, Fear, Obligation and Guilt, and your Mom sounds like she serves up a healthy platter for you every day! I'm just tired of eating!
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Hang in there.

I will say that at some point, you have to decide when the loved one's illness is depleting your resources and preventing your happiness. I've been thinking about that lately as I surveyed my situation. While there is hope on the horizon and the meds are helping, I'm still keeping my options open, with my situation. I will not stay in an environment that is not healthy for me. I am renovating my house and preparing to move there. If I can't make a real difference, I won't stay around for the fallout.

Best wishes to you and your situation.
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Haha! I had JUST cleaned it. it was pristine.
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Clean the double filter vacuum out.
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Thanks again to everyone for their comments, stories, advice and humor. I have talked to my mom about making a list and tracking/dating her ailments, and that she seriously needs to choose a doctor and GO! She 1) downplayed the seriousness of most of her complaints (ha! bad enough to moan and groan loudly about but not really bad enough to tell a doctor about?!) and as I gently insisted that it's good to get it all down on paper to see if any patterns emerge and to show the doc she (hopefully) eventually goes to, 2) said Ok, yeah that's a good idea. She proceeded to vacuum her (small) room and the (smallish)living room and do a bunch of laundry while I was at work. She hasn't tried to vacuum in over a year and a half. But! Then!! The next day she said she was sore all over and also couldn't breathe well because of all the dusty blowback from our (double filter, hepa filter) vacuum cleaner. Glad I didn't get my hopes up.

Gigi - I feel ya - sometimes I worry that I was groomed for this job (mom caregiver) my whole life, and this is just her long term game plan to avoid any work or responsibilities. I knew I was doomed when her longtime boyfriend dumped her 15 years ago....
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psuds1970: This woman sounds like she needs a psychiatrist (one who doses meds) or a psychologist. Your mother is yanking your chain so badly and it's ALMOST working. Don't let it. Tell her YOU have a pain or this, that and the other. Unfortunately, YOUR pain is her. You're not the medical professional...she needs one...trick her into it..,going to get ice cream, whatever...!!!!!
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Gigi, I went through this for the first three years living with my mother. She cried wolf so often. We often were at the doctor's 2-3 times a week with some factitious or self-induced problem. I'm glad that the over-use of doctors didn't continue. If everyone abused Medicare the way she was, the system would be totally broke in no time.

It helped sometimes for me to suggest alternatives to the doctor. And other times I learned to say No. That led to a battle each time. She would scream that I didn't care if she died or not. Saying no led to a problem inside myself. I would wonder what if something really was wrong this time. Still I would try to stick with my No and it turned out to be okay. Other times she would call the doctor behind my back and set things up even after I said No. It was a maddening situation, so I know what you're going through.

The cure for her hypochondria came when her doctor retired. Her new doctor was not so much to her liking. So no more requests for multiple appointments. My mother is still sick every day all day long, but at least she isn't going to the doctor so often. This was not meant to sound snippish. My mother has been sick all day long for over 7 years now. She seems to get some gratification from always being a sick person. When someone asks her how she is, she lets them know her maladies. (People soon learn not to ask.) She also gets free maid and caregiving services from her daughter by being too sick to do things. Grr. We do the best we can.
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Gigi7799. I'm not sure you can get through to her. If dementia is in play.....I'm not sure she would have the ability to get it.

Getting her to stick with one doctor was the key for my loved one. He finally told her that anxiety and depression were causing her pain and suffering AND that it was at the point that she needed to treat it with med and psychiatric care.

I have printed out online articles that discuss how headaches, backaches, dizziness, etc., MAY be associated with anxiety and depression, AFTER your doctor rules out actual causes and given them to my mom. My mom will acknowledge it, but later renege. lol All we can do is try. I don't know if she will ever get relief. Her meds are helping. But, that's an issue, because now she feels better and that she might not need to see the psychiatrist! Not good.

I do get rather annoyed when I recall me begging my dad to get her to a psychiatrist in 1988 for this problem. I told him it would only get worse and cause enormous pain and suffering for her and the family. He was outraged and flat out refused, saying I was insulting her. I dropped it and never said another word until lately. Now, I won't drop it. I was right then and I'm right now and the doctor supports my contention! It's hard when a good man like my dad was dead wrong. His ignorance and pride costs my mom many years of pain. It's very sad. He suffered too, because he's had to deal with it.
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My situation is similar but my mom goes to doctor after doctor trying to get them to agree with her ailments. She is told by everyone that nothing is wrong and its part of aging but she continues to make these dr appointments. I let her do it because she has the insurance but I just don't know how to respond to her anymore when she tells me of some new malady. She has moderate dementia so her reasoning is off but I'm very frustrated in dealing with this on a weekly basis. She lives with me and it is a constant struggle to figure out if each ailment is something that truly needs medical attention and how I should respind to her suggestion of some new treatment or return visit to the same dr that told her there was nothing wrong. We've gone through ears, eyes, hip, toe, throat, mri's, CT scan, two eye Dr's, ent, primary care, nerve testing...you name it. Frustrating.
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There are different treatments for several different genotypes of hep C now. Tell your mom she needs to get to the doctor to see if one will work for her.
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Hep C really is curable now, and does not have to progress to cirrhosis even if not. Some of the genotypes do better than others but there may be new info even since 2014 I think. This woman is lucky to have you so she does not rationalize her way out of getting care that could make a huge difference for her!! People with anxiety can be so maladaptive they actually bring on what they fear most. Many people ward off "real" concerns by indulging in worries about odd trivial things that do not matter, the magical thinking being if they worry enough that nothing bad can actually happen. It is really hard to refocus. Best regards to you, and hope the doctor visit (YES ABSOLUTELY go with her!!) goes really well.
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We intend to purchase a Condo, and have his Dad nearby, as we know that we would Never Abandon him, it's just time to begin caring for ourselves, just like you need to do! You keep coming back, as this Caregiving Website is the Best, and the people here truly care about one another! There is help out there. Call your states AGENCY ON AGING, as they will also direct you to the right place, and the right thing to do. Be persistent, and don't take No for an answer! It's time to take care of you!
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On a lighter note, I have been reading some of the posts out loud to my husband, as I sometimes do, just to give him a little perspective of what others are going through, such as ourselves, and when I read off the headline to this particular thread, HOW TO DEAL WITH MY MOM WHO IS A HYPOCHONDRIAC, AS WELL AS CHRONICALLY ILL?
His respond was THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN!!!

Perhaps you had to be here, but it was really funny there for a Moment!

Psuds1970, I'm sorry, I truly meant no disrespect, as we too have been 24/7 caregiving for the past 13 years in our home, his Dad! It's enough to drive you to drink, but don't do that! I understand totally what you mean, and you have my deepest sympathy! Youve been given some really suggestions by some of the best on this site, and we too, are doing our best to remedy our own situation.

Its tough, when it's your parent, and getting to that conversation of "YOU GOTTA GO, for Our Own Sanity and Quality of Life". We are in a bit of a different scenario, in that we've been in this house so long, and my husband went through a terrible car accident 8 years ago, that rendered him disabled due to back pain, and he's had to be very careful not to overextend, or it wrecks his back, ya see, we are all getting older! We are going through 27 years of household and the tons of collectibles we somehow ever felt we needed, JESUS! SO now we are paring down, and sprucing up and readying this house to sell, hopefully in the spring of next year! At that time, our plan is to have hubby's Dad evaluated by a Geri Psychologist, and possibly another Dr, to see what the right fit is for his physical and cognitive decline. As I see it, Assisted Living, or Nursing Home, as those will probably be his only choices.

I'm sorry your situation is difficult too, caregiving is definitely not for everyone, and frankly, we are beyond burnt out, so we keep chanting, I think I can, I think I can, over and over again, and jusr suck it up 8-10 more months, ut we are definitely making Big Changes in our home, so that we can recapture our lives! I hope you can do this too!
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psuds, my mother does that, too. She's dizzy and has trouble walking because of the floors. Her blood sugar is high because I didn't do something. She feels bad because of a fall she had a year ago. It goes on and on. She looks for reasons to explain what she is feeling. I guess it is scary to think that she is getting older and her brain has damage. I understand that. Still it doesn't make it any easier on me, since half of what's wrong is blamed on me. :-/
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You can prepare a detailed list of what you have observed and provide it to her doctor before her appointment, so he knows what is going on. I don't know if you are her Healthcare POA or not, but you don't have to get info from him to give him info. Hopefully, she will allow you in when she meets with him, but if he can say the right things, you can just nod yes and be positive about his recommendations.

Dealing with this kind of thing is very stressful. Since you have no one to help support you, I'd get a counselor to give you support.
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I do often reply to her complaints with "Well, you need to talk to a doctor about that."
She has a really strong sensitivity to manipulation/ultimatums. If she even suspects she's being coerced - Oooh boy!
But, innyhoo, this convo really helps me reaffirm my commitment to getting her to see a doctor and to respond with all of your suggestions, especially "Let's put that on our list of things to talk to the doctor about at your appointment." and making the list. I can tell you, when I do mention talking to a doctor about x, y or z, she usually comes back with, "oh, it's not that bad, I just needed to whine" but sometimes with "Yeah, you're right." so I have some hope.
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Poor Mom, to be so miserable. Poor psuds to have to deal with it!

She is living with you. That gives you some control, I would think. "Mom, if you want to continue to live here, you must make and keep an appointment to see a doctor before September 15. If you are not willing to do that, for me, then I am not willing for you to continue living here."

She may or may not be a candidate for hepatitis treatment. But anxiety and depression are definitely treatable and that needs to be addressed. If one drug is not suitable, another will be.

Of course you want to be sympathetic. She's your mother. But instead of listening her go on and on with her complaints, maybe you should say, "Let's put that on our list of things to talk to the doctor about at your appointment." And then do make a list, dating each complaint. That would give the doctor an idea of what is going on.

Take advantage of your power, for her sake.
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It sounds as though there may be some cognitive decline or dementia in play as well. Can you get her to a psychiatrist FIRST? "Mom, your nerves are really playing tricks on you and we need to get you seen by someone who can help with that". Or some therapeutic fib about a depression screening being a new part of Medicare requirement.
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I'm the only one making any effort with my Ma. I have no support. I have no one else that can intervene.
She has no problem taking pills - she's just always look for external causes to her ailments/complaints, so it's the meds, it's the meal she ate last night, it's LED lights on the TV and modem, it's the kitties....
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She's 73, and she says that she was tested for treat-ability with the new hep c drug in 2014 and that her genetic strain of hep c is the kind the drug does not work on. I am highly skeptical of this, however. I am inclined to think that she prefers to be miserable. I am very eager to get her to a new doctor and *go with her* to hear for myself what the doc has to say about all of it.
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I learned that my loved one would resist or stop taking the meds for depression/anxiety, because they made her feel funny, sick, odd, etc. There is something in her that resist getting better. They may create all kinds of physical reasons to stop treatment.

I would work with the doctor to convince her to get better. Once her doctor confirmed that depression/anxiety were at work and that her MRI, EKG, blood tests, etc. were fine, she had to accept. I keep supporting her and telling her that stress was wearing her down. I call it stress, but it's code word for Anxiety/depression. It's taken us YEARS to get her there and if she cancels the upcoming appointment, our family is having an intervention. She has to go. It's already been discussed and agreed upon by our family.

Also, if she has trouble with pills, ask for liquid form that she can take tiny drops and gradually increase. Something that will work well with her existing meds and medical problems.
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psuds, how old is your mother? I wondered if her health was too bad to try the new treatment for hep c? I've known some people who have been cured of the hep C. The virus disappeared and has not shown up again. The treatment made them feel terrible while doing it, but the results were worthwhile. Hep C is not the long-term health issue that it used to be, but your mother is going to have to go to a doctor to get some advice on it. I don't know if her age and health would make it too hard from her. From what you're saying, she doesn't have anything to lose and a lot to gain.

About her reluctance to do things -- Most of us probably don't feel good enough to do things we don't want to do. :D However, it doesn't mean that someone has to do it for them. People who are depressed actually feel better if they keep themselves busy. Nothing is more depressing than just sitting around doing nothing. In your shoes, I wouldn't do things for her that I know she can do for herself. If she doesn't feel good enough to do it now, maybe she will feel good enough soon and the task will still be waiting for her.
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Sunnygirl, thanks for the reply! My ma does have depression, but stopped taking her meds a few months back (after tapering down) because she thought they were making her portal hypertension worse. She hasn't gotten a new doctor since she moved in with me. She has a lot of anxiety and fear about going to the doctor, partly because they don't have time for her BS. I helped her pick a doc and make the appt, but then she would postpone it each month - until a year had gone by! I know she has a LOT of mental health issues, but I'm not the one that can confront her with that - the resistance and denial is very STRONG and she reacts very badly to even an insinuation.
I guess I just have to keep encouraging her to pick/see a doctor. I can't do a thing for her complaints.
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I agree with Sunny; first she HAS to go to her regular doctor to make sure that there is nothing treatable physically that is going on. Next stop is the geriatric psychiatrist.

I take it that you're supporting her? Then it's a condition of your continued financial support.

If you can, seek counseling for yourself. Learn how to respond neutrally to her obsessions about her health so that you don't play into them.
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