My mother in law was diagnosed with Lyme and a UTI. In August, she took 3 week course of Doxycycline - her knee improved, she forgot she had a UTI. We have asked her repeatedly to see a primary care Dr., made her appointments that met her specifications for location, etc., and she cancelled them. Finally got her into a PCP, had a cat scan, they requested she have blood work done and they referred her to a neurologist (in another 2 months!). She left her husband last week and can't remember WHY! When my husband spoke to her today, she was so flustered she couldn't remember anything. Her mental change has been so extremely rapid (she was FINE this past May!!!) and she keeps talking about going to stay in Florida by herself. What do we do? She desperately needs treatment but she knows there is something wrong and she is too scared to follow through. In all of my research, there is a slim chance that the memory issues can be related back to the Lyme disease (we have no idea how long she has had Lyme, we didn't know she even had it until her knee blew up in July and she required a trip to the ER) or even an active UTI but we need to "convince" her that she needs help. She is only 73, very active, and still driving (which she won't be able to much longer because she can never remember where she is going, even when it is to a family members house that she has visited for many years). We live in NH, she lives in MA (about an hour and half away) and her other son lives in TX. She has a single sister who is opiod dependent, doesn't leave the house, and is unreliable in a medical emergency (her son had a heart attack and she waited for her husband to get home from work for the day to call 911 - he died!) I can't leave my MIL with her much longer and we are too far away for her to be comfortable, even though she is MORE than welcome in our home.
The tears could be a sign of post stroke, could maybe last a year, but there may be improvement with rehab. That is just what I have heard in the past, I really don't have the facts. I hope she can improve, but it sounds so right that she is with you.
Should she be left alone right now?
Keep up the good care, and remember to take care of you!
She had blood work last week (we have not heard back from her primary, mom doesn't remember if she peed in a cup for them), her CT scan is this Friday (they are searching for infection or cancer with these thoracic and abdominal scans) and husband will obtain healthcare proxy at that appointment, but Neurology appt is not until 11/27 - we are on the short list for cancellations but I am looking into providers in my area to see if we can't get her in sooner as the location she is scheduled at is 1.5 hours away where she was living before she moved with us. Mom has agreed to stop driving until we can get some better answers, regardless of what those answers may be. Her ex-husband (they secretly divorced last year and didn't tell anyone...supposedly for financial reasons) has really failed her in the whole "in sickness and in health" part of a marriage as he never pushed her to seek help or treatment, he just watched her decline. However, I try to keep in mind that he is almost 15 years older than she is and has his own health issues that he is getting treatment for so I can't blame him for having trouble seeking help for both of them, especially when she fought him on it (which is odd because she doesn't fight US on it!!). Mom's sister doesn't share...we are 100% sure of that, mom is not interested in the least and talks down about her sister's habits, mom also never took her own pain killers after having abdominal surgery a few years back. Since leaving her sister's house, her anxiety has subsided significantly. I found a somewhat local adult center near us that I will be speaking with in the next day or so.
I SINCERELY appreciate everyone's input! You all are a great fountain of knowledge and support.
It would not be unusual, imo, to share drugs with someone as a means of control, or Mil could be using the drugs, even by mistake. If she doesn't know she is taking drugs, withdrawal could be brutal on her mental state, a possible explanation as to her being flustered. A drug test can confirm.
No matter the cause or diagnosis, please put some eyes on her due to the sudden change in mental status. That means, go there, go get her. IMO. Go now.
It makes a bad situation even worse. And although you say MIL is welcome in your home, are you 100% certain you want to go that route? What about in-home care? Hiring a good aide would be difficult long-distance but doable and better than living with a drug abuser. I would definitely have her tested for a UTI. Those can wreak havoc with the elderly. Unfortunately and sadly, this is not something that goes away or gets better.
I'm not sure how leaving a vulnerable women, who has questionable competence, with a known drug abuser, would work. I'd be very concerned. In fact, I'd get a consult with an attorney in her jurisdiction to find out your legal rights as family.
Has anyone, other than the drug abuser, actually been around your MIL to see what other symptoms she may have had? Do you know if she has had other issues with her daily care? Memory?
Unless, you live with the person, you may not have the chance to see if they are doing laundry, cooking meals, taking medication, etc. Are you sure that your MIL actually took the medication that was prescribed for her?
Since you said she knows something is wrong with her encourage her to see her doctor to get tested for a UTI. All she has to do is pee in a cup and they'll tell you in 5 minutes if there's a UTI or not. Tell her you know she's concerned about her health but that you think it's something very simple and very treatable like a UTI and that if she takes antibiotics from the doctor the infection will clear up in no time and she'll be back to normal. Stress this to her. If she's afraid, alleviate her fear. Also, I think there's a drugstore test for a UTI but I'm not sure. If there is she can take it at home but she'll still have to see the doctor for antibiotics.