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I went to my mom's over the 4th (3+ hours away by car). My brother, who lives locally, was sick again. I'm not certain he was really sick, probably more burned out. Mom has been having issues with her back (finally diagnosed as sciatica) since March. She had been to the dr the day before, then her back issues started the next day. Dr prescribed some "narcotic" which she took for 1 day before saying it made her sick. I told her to call dr's office back and get something else. Nurse told her to eat a full meal before taking again. She refused and never took another pill. Mom had us on a goose chase for every product sold online and in stores for sciatica. Nothing has helped. I did get her a fancy rollator, because she was sort of using a cane and bending way over to hold on to furniture as she made her way around her home. Finally, she went to the dr about 2 wks ago. She was all happy, then read the prescription warning list (a separate page). Refused to take it. I asked why she didn't call the office and say she wasn't comfortable taking it, ask for something different. Not going to do it. She said she thinks the dr wants her to take more pills because she only has one prescription for high blood pressure - somehow he's evil and wants her to take more pills. And every little thing he did was wrong. He said if this did not work, he'd send her to a specialist. She'd asked about the "shot" women get while giving birth. He said oh yeah, the specialist would do it. Her friend, who's grandson is in the medical field had told his grandma oh that's serious. Yeah it is, as they inject it in your spine. My mom said well her dr acted like no big deal (he's evil). So this weekend, she's in a foul mood again. I asked some simple questions like what did she need done, and was told if I had to ask I was stupid. So I did laundry, made beds, put winter linens away (when asked where were the sheets she wanted on the beds - response was I DO NOT KNOW - with crying). Then she got up and found one set. I went to the grocery for her. Then she says oh I want the rose bushes trimmed and those weeds pulled - to which I said, didn't you just have the landscape guy out here Thursday (for his pre visit before the job). This guy does a thorough job. She said it looks awful and I don't know when he'll be out. I did lose it as my own flower beds are in horrible shape. I said, well that's nice, I have to do your clean up - when he's coming out - probably next week, and mine is a lot worse. Cue more tears, plus guilt trip (if you can't do that much for me...). So I did the yard work and more (which she later criticized). She then asked me to feel her knee as she moved it. She had a slight knee problem a year or so ago; specialist did cortisone injection and it was all better. Her doc said oh we do those here. When she asked for another shot a last year (fall), her doc said no. She now is blaming the lack of a shot on her back issues. Her back now doesn't hurt as bad as her knee - it "clicks". I said yeah I feel your joint. OH I CAN'T HAVE ANYTHING WRONG WITH MEEEEE (tears). I said I'm not a doctor, I wouldn't know if it was good or bad - what do you want me to do? Just tears and how I was stupid, and I should leave. I got my stuff together then she said if you leave, never come back. It was a circular argument. I did everything she wanted, but then she'd add something else spur of the moment, or right when I was in the middle of something. During dinner, she kept having me get up and get something or do something else, then laughed. I said it's really not that funny (cue tears). She decided at the 11th hour that some sweaters had to be folded and put into her closet (a walk in closet that can barely be walked into). I put the items away and said this closet needs reorganized. Ka-boom. She's even told me that before. Every word I said, even comments that were innocent enough caused her to lose it. I had said she needed to go see a doctor or get another doctor. Not gonna do it. She's been on a kick that she wants to live with me. I told her a visit would be ok, but not permanent as we are oil and water. Now, I've rejected her. Everyone has rejected her. She talks about how she was wronged by her parents (this is well over 75 years ago). My dad died when I was a kid, so she feels I owe her because she had to be a single parent. She did so much, which really, she did provide financial support, but not a lot of emotional support. She's now spending a lot of time sitting in her easy chair, then complaining she's bored. Another source of conflict is her hearing - which is bad. She keeps saying it's just ringing in my ears and won't get it checked out. My brother and I are not close, and he's one to steer clear. He goes to mom's a couple of times a week, living about 2 miles away. He'll do errands, but not much around her home. She will not go to AL or NH. Help.

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Correction - Sunnygirl is quite right about the steroid option. But in childbirth the epidural injection would be anaesthesia, which was what I was talking about. Sorry to have been sweeping.
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Oh Sissisu,

There is a procedure called an Epidural Steroid Injection for low back pain and Sciatica. I looked into for my cousin when she fractured her spine, but her doctors did not recommend it. I suspect that the steroid and dementia do not go well together.
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Crumbs. That's a lot of worms in your mother's can.

You can't hope to get a straight story about what the doctor recommends as long as you're hearing only her version of it. "Someone" needs to go with her (see below).

She can't have an epidural to treat sciatica. There are various surgical procedures that might help but success is uncertain.

Back pain is horrible: extremely depressing, debilitating and fatiguing in itself. The knee problem could be caused by her altered gait as she tries to compensate for the back problem. Knee pain is horrible, too.

Codeine does commonly cause nausea. She's not making it up.

Well. You're nothing like nearby, and your brother is very nearby, and your mother appears to need some consistent support. What IS his proposal for dealing with the parent he lives five minutes away from?

PS take nothing she says personally until she starts saying it when she isn't in pain, depressed and exhausted. I agree that that doesn't make it fun to hear, but it does mean that you're not listening to a rational assessment of yourself.
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Sometimes family members can push the envelope and exhaust us. In your case, I agree with Eyerishlass, in that it could be a number of things that are causing her problems. It could be dementia, depression, obsession with medical issues, anxiety, etc. However, if she refuses to take advice, but yet she is still competent, there's not much you can do. I would try my best to get her to sign Durable POA and healthcare POA, so that when the times come, someone can make decisions and take care of her business affairs. If she won't agree to get that done, then it's going to be problematic later on, especially if she does develop dementia or is so sick she can't handle her own affairs. You might discuss with your brother and see who wants to do it.

I have found that with seniors that I know, who do NOT have dementia, it's rather a waste of time to inform, advise, discuss or suggest. They are quite set in their ways and aren't open to suggestions. So, I don't bug my parents about how they take their meds, exercise, sleep, or see the doctor. They just don't listen and the only thing that works is to take action, UNLESS it's an immediate safety concern. For example: My mom has the obsession with throw rugs. She insists on having them in certain rooms. I have explained the risks of rugs, especially in a home with seniors, but to no avail. So, I just quietly pick them up and take them away from the home. When she asks about where they went, I tell her they were dangerous and I got rid of them. She doesn't like it, but I ignore it. Nothing else works.

It's doubtful anything will make your mom and you be on better terms after all this time. I would just do the best you can and not allow it to drag you down too much.

It's likely that there is a medication that would make her feel much better, but if she refuses to take it.....well....you can't force her to.

I would keep check and hopefully, nothing drastic happens. My cousin had a lot of behavior like your mom when she was getting dementia, but I didn't realize it. When it's dementia, you cannot reason with the person either. Their brain is not capable of logical reasoning. Until the dementia renders her incompetent, it really ties the family member's hands.
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I don't know if it's depression or dementia. Or both. Or neither. It sounds like you and your mom need some limits. Boundaries. Tell your mom when you'll be visiting (2 days a week, 3 days a week, whatever) and how long you'll be able to stay and then stick to those times.

I don't think there's anything you or anyone can do to make your mom happy at this point. I know it's sad and I'm sure your heart goes out to her but you can't let yourself get pulled down into all of that. Your mom's not going to want to respect your new boundaries so it'll be up to you to make sure you stand firm.
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