My MIL is in an assisted living about 100 mi from our home (in town where DH grew up). She was living with us, but that was a nightmare. Unfortunately my husband doesn't have a lot of respect for me and so sets a poor example to his family in how to treat me. I have a chronic illness and physical disability, so unfortunately my husband knows I don't have many options so takes my presence for granted. I finally put my foot down and said it was either her or I when she threatened my animals and tried to hit me; after treating me as a maid for the past year. Surprisingly enough, DH finally put her in assisted living. His mom is 80 years old and in good health physically w/ the exception of some osteoarthritis.
Mentally it is a different story. She is a hypochondriac, and has been her entire life. She is also a recovering alcoholic and has depression and anxiety. She interprets all the normal signs of aging as a serious illness in the making, and will visit doctor after doctor hoping that they will either diagnose her as seriously ill or wave a magic wand and make her 30 years old again. I have been saying for years that DH and his siblings needed to hire someone to give her companionship and get her out doing things. I finally started looking for someone on my own yesterday and my husband is finally on top of it. She has been having them take her to doctor after doctors the past year and simply won't give it up when they each give her an essentially clean bill of health. They did discover a year and a half ago that she has a ruptured diaphragm from an accident almost 10 years ago. She has clearly had this all along, but now that she KNOWS about it, it is consuming her. The pulmonologist told her that she is not a candidate for surgery as her pulmonary function is well within normal limits for her age. However, she drags the chest x-rays to every doctor's appointment and tells them how serious it is and how bad she feels. She is sure that she needs to have surgery to correct it and constantly says she is short of breath when she walks places, but every time one of is actually with her she shows no signs of respiratory distress whatsoever.
She has been to the hospital three times in the last year; never with any concrete diagnosis other than one time with a minor UTI (which I doubt personally that it was ever truly symptomatic, esp since she had no systemic signs of infection at all). She uses the health care system as a way of getting attention. She herself was a nurse for over 50 years, so she always knows exactly what to say to elicit unaware clinicians' concerns (her regular docs have now grown wise to her issues, so I think that has contributed to her seeking referrals to many new specialists and trips to hospital). She also enjoys regaling clinicians with her nursing stories and basically making herself a minor celebrity in the process, LOL. Saying that she is sick also is a way to get her kids to come running and get them all concerned about her. She had an appt yesterday with a gerontoloist that she told us her PCP recommended she see. I got after DH a bit, telling him that a gerontologist WAS a PCP, and suggesting he contact the office yesterday morning prior to taking her to figure out why she referred her. I esp wanted him to do this bc number one, I figured it was a self-referral she just got her PCP to sign off on (none of the kids were actually present for that visit); secondly, that she was unable to give a clear reason herself as to what she was going for (other than he "really needed to review her plan of care to ensure they weren't missing anything," despite the fact that her care has been reviewed by no less than four doctors in the past six months plus the hospitalists) and most of all bc I myself was sick and in a terrible amount of pain due to a flare up of my autoimmune condition. I simply wanted my husband to verify what the appt was specifically for according to the DOCTOR, & if it was nothing urgent reschedule.