Mom thinks she has MRSA.

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Every couple of months, our mom (93, post stroke, post hip break repair, vascular dementia, wheelchair bound in a NH) thinks she has a contagious illness; a couple of times it's been MRSA, for one entire summer, she told us she had leprosy.


I think these are delusions. My SIL, who does most of the visiting and listening, generally things there is a "grain of truth" in them.


I have asked for the NH to do a nasal swab to test for MRSA. If it comes back negative, do we reassure? Do we tell her "there's this great new nasal spray that cures MRSA"?


There are two brand new great grand babies in the family and she is refusing to see them because of the MRSA.


She's had MRSA in the past; on orders from her doctor, we did not divulge that the infection had been a MRSA-based one. It is difficult, but not impossible to cure. When a relative had it in the past (BEFORE she had dementia) she was certain the person would die; I guess you could say that she's always tended to catastrophize things.


Any and all suggestions are welcome. I spent the "summer of leprosy" schlepping her to doctors...I am not doing that again. It gave her NO peace of mind and nearly caused several falls. The NH doctor strongly advised at that point that she be considered "facility bound" and that any medical providers she needed be brought in.

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With ur Mom's problems this is just in her mind. Dementia makes them fixated on things. No amount of explaining is not going to change her mind. As people have said, try to redirect.
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So, lexapro is a generic at this point. I think this is more about keeping patients on the lowest possible therapeutic dose. Any opinions?
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My only suggestion would be to find an interesting looking vitamin or supplement and put them in an old pill bottle and as SIL visits daily after work have her produce the bottle and give a pill. "Dr said I was to give them myself everyday after work so we are sure they don't get missed" Would she fall for that.
I have heard of NHs reducing or decreasing patients meds to save money. One lady had high blood pressure and they only gave her meds if her B/P was up. I just throw up my hands in horror.
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Oh shoot. I called the NH yesterday to check on tests. The new unit manager RN said, um, tests aren't back yet but....

It turns at that mom's dose of Lexapro was reduced a while back. Don't know when, yet. I am beyond livid.

I've asked the director of the facility to call tomorrow to find out when, why and by whom changed. Steam coming out of my ears.
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Dear Jessie, when mom isn't having MRSA or leprosy, it's melanoma.

Truth be told, she has always been a catastrophizer about medical issues. And yes, she has a lot of time on her hands.

The looking at red spots and seeing cancer I get. My sil's mom died of an undetected melanoma. My mom is Irish, extremely fair, grew up before sun precautions and has had melanoma before.

MESA and leprosy? I don't know. She had MRSA once, and wasn't told. My mother in law had it after a surgery a couple of years back and MY mom was so worried about her! My MIL (My ex's mom) brushed it off as she does stuff like this and got on with life.

Can you tell I'm not the warm and fuzzy type?

Thank God for SIL; mom had no patience for nonsense like this when it came from me as a kid. I not very patient, which is why it's nice she's in a place with sympathetic nurses and aides.

So glad I can vent here!
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I can sympathize, Barb. My mother had a small basal cell carcinoma on her nose 5 years ago. She had 12 radiation treatments to get rid of it and all has remained well. Anytime she gets a red spot anywhere now, she knows it is cancer and thinks we need to go see my cousin, the oncologist. Cousin saw her a few times when she called. I think he joined me in being burned out, though. He told her to please not call him at home any more. That hurt her feelings, but I understood. I thought maybe it had cured her, but she told me the other day she thought the cancer had come back inside her nose. I told her that it doesn't happen there. "It could!" she said. What I think is really going on is that she has a lot of time to notice things about herself. When we're younger, we don't really pay much attention to little things. But when we get older they become harbingers of bad things to come. What is it that makes your mother feel she has MRSA?
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Cwillie, I have no idea, really, what this is related to, or if mom has a drippy nose. SiL came up with nasal swab as simple, I came up with checking for uti because they make people act nutty.

I like the idea of the special printed labels! Thanks!
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This is related to a nasal problem? I think the idea of a special nasal spray is a good one, you could probably do some appropriate labels on your printer.
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Thanks for commiserating, FF!

I think my poor SIL gets the brunt of this, because she goes to visit mom after work.

I'm hoping mom will listen to the facility folks if the tests come back negative. Otherwise, I guess we'll just empathize with her.
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Oh, Barb, not again. I remember the summer of leprosy. Then I though each time it happened when one of the granddaughters was having a baby.... then I looked at some older postings and your Mom was believing she was having something else, not during a baby coming to the family. Or maybe someone else at the facility was welcoming a new grand or great-grandchild.

Then I was thinking about how TV is filled with all these commercials for medicine, and all the side effects that one can get. What your Mom tends to get isn't part of the side-effect list, but maybe it just grows into one.
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