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Mom had a partial colonoscopy about 4 years ago and has complained about it ever since, claiming the operation messed up her digestion (she is subject to almost chronic diarrhia). She has some trouble swallowing, I would like her to go to an ENT also, and she is way overdue for the dentist. She refuses to go, convinced she is going to be dead soon. I have been hearing that for the last 7 years... I really can't pick her up bodily and take her even if I make the appointment (tried that once, didn't work, she is stubborn as a mule and twice as cantankerous). How can I get her to go?

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By the way, yesterday was the first decent gardening day we have had for a month, I am knee-deep in weeds again, and spent all day, from about 9:00 AM to about 4:00 PM, stopping for lunch and a brief nap. I am suffering today - very sore from stooping, bending, kneeling, etc. while fighting off bugs that try and crawl into my nose and ears (can't spray OFF in those places...) Expecting good weather today but deteriorating conditions expected for next week so got to get it done.
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DT, this suggestion I am passing on to you from another one of our wonderful forum members. When her Mom kept up with the incessent whining, she just started whining back to her...parroting her Mom's behavior. The Mom asked her what in the heck she was doing. And she said, "I am doing an immitation of you." They both started laughing. I don't know if it had lasting effects, but maybe your Mom has been a long time giver and not receiver of her own behavior. Might be worth a try...even if it is just for fun :0)
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DT:

This might not help, but I'll share it anyway.

Years ago, soon after Mom had some gastro surgery I can't remember right now, she kept moaning and groaning. At first I dropped everything I was doing because her discomfort seemed legit. Then I realized her pain didn't hurt anymore, but she used it to manipulate me into catering to her every whim.

I did some research around the 'hood and heard of a senior citizens center serving Hispanics, so I dropped by. On one corner 4 Puerto Rican ladies kept calling me "papi chulo" (which I didn't mind at all). On another there were about 8 legends in their own mind locked in a testosterone contest. They talked about sports, women they never had, and the 15, 16, 17 children they fathered but never supported. ... So proud of themselves, they tried to teach me how to be a "real" man.

Next to the refreshment table, I found a mixed group talking about everything painful and scary. Their knees, hemorrhoids, lumpectomies, santeria, spell to ward off evil spirits, "bad" children that don't want to visit them anymore, people they've buried, cheating part-time husbands, mistresses. ... Some kept quoting all that "God said" from a Spanish Bible they had never read either to get little attention, or elevate themselves from the miasma. A product of the Brazilian Catholic school system, for some reason I wanted to nail these "papeleros" to a Cross and pave their way to sainthood. In sum, their lives were pure agony -- whether real of imaginary -- and all were enmeshed in a twisted version of the game "Can You Top This."

I don't doubt for a second your Mom is in some sort of pain. If not physical, her soul is searching for ways to cope with all that existential angst until her time comes. She needs to vent, purge, and see for herself that problems become smaller when shared with others that have been there and done that too.

I used to drop Mom off every Sunday at 12 and pick her up around 6:30. She found a boyfriend there, but he had a stroke from too many trips to the cuchifrito and all those heart attacks on a plate. It sure made her rethink her diet and regain that zest for life. One night, as I drove her back home, she said "The best revenge is living well, looking good, and outliving all those cucarachas who said I wasn't going to make it. ... I'll show them."

Well, she's still here. A victim of poor fashion, her wardrobe needs to be re-examined. And she's doing what she set out to do. ... Way to go Mom!
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wuvs - Thanks for the good words - I have worked on the themes you suggest, but in the last couple years mom really can't participate in even a lot of the simplest things. She had a fall about a year and a half ago, did not break anything but did require a hospital stay, she has been on a walker ever since. Her ostio makes it difficult for her to even be on her feet too long, her back pains her very much, and it is unfortunately very real, though mom also has always had a rather low pain tolerance (she got it from her mother who would magnify even a funny bone bump to the point of tears) I know she is in pain. She has had hip replacements, and recently we have had to go to the wound clinic to clear up a sore that formed on the skin above the right one (she is very, very thin), it is healing OK. Second, we have a small, picturesque (read that: tiny!) cottage and the kitchen is so small that when you get the three of us in there, me, her, and her walker, there is really no room to move around, and is actually dangerous as one or the other of them is always in the way when I need to, say, drain boiling water off the potatoes. It has been suggested that I sit mom in a chair and she could "direct", but this is also impractical - not enough room for a good chair that supports her back and while watching me she once tried to show me how to spray non-stick cooking spray on a pan! I mean, how many ways can you spray PAM in a pan!? I am not too bright but I am not exactly stupid, either. In short, she has to be in the middle of anything that is going on in the kitchen. For the 4th, I let her make her special potato salad (it is, really special!) but it took her three days to do it and she complained the whole time. Painkillers are a problem, ever since they took darvoset off the market she has not had the irregular heartbeat it caused but dr. is having a problem getting her a painkiller that does not conflict with the blood thinners she already takes (he has also said he will refuse to give her a general anesthetic if she needs an operation, even on her hip, because he is convinced she will not survive). Yes, I agree and have known that she is grouchy and irritable because she can't do what she used to do even two years ago, I try to be accomodating and understanding, but I will Not have her screaming at me - I scream back. But, in spite of what I say sometimes, we are able to live together in a civilized way most of the time. My own preferences are pretty much relegated to the back of the bus though, the house must be geared to her and her alone, which is the cause of my own rebellion (on line).
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Joan - would love to get down to Arles. My two favorite painters were Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec (ine crazy, thge other handicapped...) (also Sisley, Pissaro, etc...) There are a lot of Toulouse-Lautrec in the town of Toulouse, not too far away. Your experiences with apricots sound like mine with lettuce that has never been refrigerated like I had in Monterey when I lived there. Italy is a delight I have yet to experience, I fear a short trip to Rome will be all I will be able to muster if I can, and that will all be spent in the Vatican. Miss Marple has been discribed as "a faded Victorian valentine", although I have never seen Joan Hickson's portrayal, she seems as if she would be a little too ramrod stiff for a faded valentine like Geraldine McEwan, but I reserve all opinion until I actually see her. I had lovely experiences in England too, my trips there centered more around traveling from one of the great country houses to another, which I love, but I had your kind of experience in Chicester cathedral, and someday I must tell you about a certain psychic I saw years ago.

You call a certain bug a leaf hopper. I have been plagued with a little black bug we call a gnat, they want to fly into my ears and nose, where you can't spray OFF. I wonder if they are the same thing. I do not encourage crawling vines on the house, they can be invasive, other than clemais, which is not. Some clematis need to be cut back every season for they will not bloom on old wood, others need only to be thinned out. I had one once that had the little white flowers, I forget the name, but it bloomed well for a couple years then just up and died one spring. I have had bad luck with roses as black spot lives in my soil and eventually even spraying has become ineffective, and the last 3 years we were plagued with Japanese Beetle, which loved my Queen Elisabeths above all things. So far, I have hopes they moved on, we have not had the onslot we have had in the past, though today I saw one and instantly killed it, and I got something from the greenhouse in the spring - she told me that it would help with both the black spot and the beetles, and by Jove, I think she's got it!. I do not remember the stuff, it was granuals out of a bag by a well known brand name, but I do not remember right now, I will stop out and find out. Anyway, the Queen Elizabeths have been blooming as they have not for years. You said something about northern Canada once?
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Joan - as for creaqtive writing, it really only boils down to writing what people want to read. Everytime I sit down to write something it always seems to Sound like self-pity, even though I do not mean it to be. So there it is.
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Ed - (Or should we call you popi chulo?) I love your rather 'earthy' observations about people, you have a very sharp eye as well as a very sharp wit. I am quite sure it comes from the urban environment you are in and probably grew up in. For example, here in the Real farmville in the midwest, I am appaled at the seeming cluelessness of nearly everyone I run into (almost literally) every day - I grew up here but lived in San Francisco for a number of years, nothing like the Bronx, I know, but living in a city does sharpen your senses as to what is happening around you. If you grew up there, you probably have great instincts, also probably due to your Marine training, which I have always been totally in awe of. You are right, my mom has a lot of very real pain caused by the operation I mentioned at the beginning, but also because she has had both hips replaced, has ostioperosis, and very bad feet - hammer toes, and arthritus. She cannot take most pain medications as she has congestive heart falure and she is already on blood thinners - the doctor would not approve any operation that would require a general anesthetic because he is sure she would not come out of it. With all that, I will turn around and say that for as long as I can remember, even a small pain like bumping her elbow is magnified into a huge pain, I really had decided long ago before she really got bad that she just had a low pain threshhold and she also needs to draw attention to herself. Like Scarlett O'Hara, any conversation that does not center around herself becomes boring very fast. If I say I have a headache, hers is about ready to drop off, if my knee hurts hers should be amputated (really...), etc. It is just something I live with every day. She is, as you say, very angry at getting old and immobile and wants to fight with everyone - the new furnace I had installed just for her is not adequate to her eyes, I came home one day to find her on the phone with the installer and screaming (really) at him to get over here and fix it. In fact just now she called me downstairs to shut the windows so that she could turn on the air conditioner - it is 79 with a nice breeze, when we turn on the A/C we usually set it at 80! She is either too hot or too cold and "can't stand it another minute". Nothing much suits her, she swaths herself in unhappiness every day like a Jersey matron wraps herself in a fur coat, not much I can do about it - she would like a nursing home a lot less, that is why I am keeping her home as long as I can. Anyway, keep those observations coming.
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another PS to Joan - I forgot an important ingredient to the recipe for visualizing me mum - it is a fairly new movie, get 'Persuasion" by Jane Austen, the one made by BBC with Amanda Root. Pay particular attention to the sister, Mary. (I'm a real sucker for well done period movies, this one is one of the best, by the way.Give me a good costumer and I am in hog heaven.)
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ed - so glad u shared - the word pictures u paint are great. Good for ur mum to lift herself above the crowd. Why don't u give her some fashion advice, coach her a little, take her shopping - after all u r "papi chulo" My daughter got me into jeans again after a hiatus of years and I was surprised how good they look! Yeah way to go Mum!
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Good morning, Dale – Love the impressionists too. They are my favourites and Van Gogh high amongst them, if you classify him as an impressionist. For me, in any city in Europe, the cathedrals are musts. If Miss Marple is a faded Victorian Valentine, Geraldine McEwan has it hands down. Helen Hayes could do that well too. Yes, Joan Hickson is too stiff. Not really into psychics, though I know they can give good revelations. I would be happy to hear about yours.
Leaf hoppers are not the same as gnats – Google them – they have bigger and harder bodies and plague vineyards and Virginia creepers among other places. Like gnats they fly in your face, up your nose etc. Nasty! Apparently Virginia creeper or its variant Engleman Ivy is not harmful to house exteriors. I love the ivy covered country houses in England. The creeper is my attempt to bring that to Northern Alberta. Yes, I live in the frequently frozen north of Canada – zone 2 - with huge mosquitos, June bugs, long cold winters, lots of snow, short but pleasant summers (other than the bugs and forest fires – the largest of which this year is 40 miles north and still burning and about 1 ½ million acres.) It is a strange place. The sunsets and sunrises can be spectacular – even in the winters. There is a very young population and the community is geared toward them. To get to civilization (the provincial capital) you have to drive 5 hours past endless spruce bogs and the odd farm. Mother lives in the capital. The road is paved now and has shoulders – had neither when we first came up here 30 years ago. They used to trap bears on the trail across from the house and I saw a wolf there one cold New Year’s day. I have seen foxes nosing around, and coyotes lying in the gutter. The deer come and munch my cedars every winter. There are a variety of birds - most notably large black ravens - which we call “tar sands turkeys”. They are very smart and survive this climate even to 40+ below. The white clematis must not be the same as I have – you can’t kill that thing – or maybe it just likes our climate. My friend, who gardens, assures me I must spray the roses with copper sulphate. I told him I have never sprayed. My main rose is Therese Bugnet which is black spot resistant. There is some benefit in choosing roses with that quality. Some of the ones more recently planted may need spraying. Queen Elizabeth’s are beautiful – far too tender for here. We are pretty well limited to zone 2 plants with a few zone 3 and the odd zone 4 which will survive. Roses have been bred particularly for this climate and planting any other means you treat them as an annual.
Yes, you are right – you must write what people want to read. Your description and “recipes of mum” do not sound like self-pity to me. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to write and have it bring in some income! "Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby!"
Dale, you are a kind man to look after your mum so well. I am glad you get along most of the time. Some, my mother too, have to have the best or the worst of whatever is brought up and either way must be the centre of the universe. Always been that way.
“Persuasion” has a good rating (I just looked it up). Two of my children have been involved in theatre. My oldest son took a 2 yr. drama program and is a decent amateur actor. When asked what he wanted for his 16th birthday he answered “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” Not your average 16 yr. old male. He is a sales man and an excellent one. No matter what he sells he is in the top 3 in the store. I have come to appreciate the skills he has developed. My daughter took a theatre technology diploma, (and then went on the accounting). Watching movies with them opened up a whole new world to me.
Have a good (holi)day!
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