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My mother is very angry with me right now. When I was out of the room earlier, she called her doctor to make an appointment. I saw her on the phone and asked who she was calling. She told me. I told her that I was not going to take her to the doctor. She said she would all a cab, and I told her that was up to her. She hung up without making the appointment.

My mother goes to the doctor a lot. For the last three months, we've gone about 4 times a week. Three of the appointments were for radiation for a skin cancer. The other is always for something that was not needed. She just calls and makes an appointment when I'm not looking.

Today she said her nose was infected terribly and she needed to get it seen about. The radiation was done on her nose, so of course it is sore. She has been blowing so hard and so often that she has probably irritated the skin inside. I get her to stop, telling her she is hurting herself, but when I'm not there, she starts again. Knowing her like I do, I believe there is a good chance it is self abuse.

She has history of hypochondria. Her PCP doesn't want to see her anymore because of it. It goes a bit deeper, though. Sometimes when she has a symptom, I'll tell her not to do something, which only makes her do it more. I am starting to wonder if I am dealing with Munchausen Syndrome or an addiction to doctors. She feels her doctors have a special bond with her. She tells them she loves them. She even told the radiologist the other day that she loved him. It was an awkward moment.

Our last appointment with a doctor (gynecologist) was on Thursday morning. He didn't find anything wrong, but prescribed an expensive cream. Thursday and Friday were not good days here, and I wondered if she was depressed because all the radiation and doctor appointments were over. Thursday or Friday she talked to me about calling to get her a new PCP, but I couldn't make myself do it. I was so tired of going to doctors that I didn't want to think about them. Today we're going through it again. I can't keep taking her to frivolous appointments. It isn't fair to me or taxpayers. To tell the truth, I have no idea what to do. I don't know why we always have to have a one-way war going on in this house.

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Oy, last night I felt so bad for the oncologist who did the radiation on her nose. I noticed the phone light was blinking about 9:00. She had called him at home because the scab came off her nose. She arranged with him to come in this week just so he could look at it. He knows he doesn't need to look at it. I know he doesn't. Fortunately, the oncologist is my cousin, so this particular craziness is all in the family.

The paradox of this is why older people who say they want to die spend so much time fighting symptoms that younger people see as trivial. My mother is totally mentally blocked when it comes to talking to her. It is like she has a wall built around her mind that no one can penetrate. This is not a new thing. She has been this way since I've known her. I know that therapy wouldn't work on her.
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JessieBelle, I know how you feel. My Mom would go to the doctor every day if she could. I am here with her 24/7 and she is driving me crazy. Home health had been coming her a few times a week since January 22, so there is someone else to complain to other than me. Yay! It is going to stop soon, so I don't know what I'll do then. She is going to be 91 next week, and besides elevated blood pressure and a little arthritis there is nothing wrong with her except dementia. That, I suppose is aggravating the former need to visit doctors and get attention. I have had Mom evaluated by two psych doctors and one said she had psychosis along with dementia and depression. I would go that route and see if she can be helped through counseling and/or meds. My Mom is a little less depressed but she does get on a tangent about she needs to go to a doctor for this or that and now I just listen for a while and she forgets about it most of the time. Good luck.
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I understand, JessieBelle. I hope you know that your patient, compassionate heart is seen and one day all will be right. Know you are doing what no one else can do for your Mom because you are uniquely qualified. Life seems to get more difficult with less clarity as we age and as we move into other positions of responsibility.I don't get it, either, but I understand your frustration:) big hug
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Christina, I had to laugh at the cracks in the sidewalk. I'm more like the Jack Nicholson character than my mother is. She obsesses on her health, but ignores almost every other thing in her life. I thought maybe it would help if my brothers called her. This afternoon she was talking about how she misses my father. Maybe she needs to hear some male voices who care about her. At the present time I am her everything.

This evening at dinner, she started talking symptoms again. I am so tired of hearing her talk about symptoms. I told her the only thing that she had wrong was diabetes and high blood pressure. She won't accept that. She knows her brain is not working right, but we don't talk about that.

I realized today that all this is having a strong effect on me. When I went out today I was in a fog. I knew it was the isolation and constant stress that caused it. I don't know how anyone goes through this for years without going mental themselves.

I is so frustrating to spend life doing so much for someone, but have them be ragging on you for not doing more. We can do five things, then say no to doing the sixth, only to be met with "You never want to do anything for me" and anger. It is most discouraging. I don't expect it, but it would be nice to hear an occasional thank you, instead of getting a list of more things to do.
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Are you picturing Jack Nicholson, hopping over cracks in the sidewalk? Well, I cannot diagnose anyone, I can only "compare behaviors. " Laughter is a great equalizer.
JesseBelle, I think some behaviors can be controlled and some really are effected by extreme chemical reactions in the brain. This is a psychological/ maybe nutritional/ maybe wrong or too many meds. Or not enough! Poor little thing:( xo
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JessieBelle, for sure your Mom has hypochondria and attention getting isuues. Rather than be gratefull she may resent you and loves the attention of the doctors. It sounds like she wants total control, so you will always have war going on. Like AlwaysMyDuty stated, you may just have to put your foot down. That may seem like being the bad guy, but she treats you like that now anyway. At least if you tell her no and explain why, you will feel better in your soul. Perhaps if you remind her of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" story. When she complains about everything, eventually her doctors won't believe her about anything. As for changing the PCP, explain to her that the records will be passed on to who ever is chosen next, so changing the person is not going to change the medical truth of what has transpired. When you ask her to not do something and she only does it more, says to me it is done for spite, to make you unhappy. As many on this site have related the hardest thing to do is change our attitude and actions. We will never change theirs. Do your reasonable best, if she refuses to understand, let it go... know in your heart you have done your best.
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ChristinaW, I can't quit laughing!! Thanks for making my day brighter.
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Thank you for answering, Always & Christina. Always, your mother sounds a lot like mine. With the dementia, she probably can't rationalize that the doctors are just doing their job. She calmed down and came out of her room a little while ago. I am heading off to the store and gym to get a little break.
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Gee, maybe she should see a psychiatrist? She could have OCD. Definitely sounds like something "in her head", right? Like people who wash their hands too much, lock and unlock the door many times: like Jack Nicholson's character in "As Good As It Gets." She would love that appointment because she will get asked a lot of questions. It's worth a try. Bless your heart:) Good luck.
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I don't know what it's called but my mom was like this. I thought it was done for attention. I worked full time so taking off for her appts took a lot of planning. She'd make all these appts and when I told "no can do" she'd be really miffed. I finally put my foot down and told her to run the appts by me first, I'd tell her when I was available and we'd discuss whether or not the appt was necessary. She didn't have dementia by the way. I also told her if she didn't follow these rules then I would be the one calling for appts. It worked. Of course she always had to tell me I was bossy, a know it all and I didn't really care about her. Whatever...
Oh yes, she thought all the doctors adored her and she also loved them. She was a retired nurse. I finally told her to get a grip. They're running a business not a lonely hearts club.
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