My Mom has a long medical and psychiatric history which includes bipolar and borderline personality, alcohol abuse and prescription abuse. She has COPD, clotting disorder, depression, Crohn’s disease, and some sort of neuropathy causing numbness and pain in her feet. she swings from being very well and independent to completely incapacitated. Sometimes I feel she doesn’t take care of herself just so that we will give her some attention.
My husband and I decided to drive from Washington to Nevada to move her home permanently, despite her terrible history of alcohol abuse and familial alienation, because her living situation down there was on the brink of killing her.
We had one infant son at the time. 4.5 years later, our home consists of my husband and I, our 2 sons, my mom, and also my sister and her son who were supposed to be living here temporarily until they get back on their feet from moving across the country.
To put it as as simply as possible, 7 people in a 3 bedroom house is stressful to say the least. I think she gets upset if we are spending too much energy handling the kids and our home business, probably because she isn’t getting enough attention. She always seems to have the worst problems when we are already up to our necks in life’s other issues.
Anyways, having said that, I am concerned and frustrated because we have been having such a hard time getting her to accept the care she needs, and to follow doctor’s orders.
The current thing is that she says she has bloody diarrhea, and I heard her gagging like she was trying to vomit. She tells me all these symptoms she is having, but when I ask if she is scared or if she will call the doctor she shrugs me off and says how she doesn’t want to worry me and needs to be careful of what she tells me.
For years, when she had anything happen, I fell over my feet to help her and usually called a medic regardless of whether or not she wanted me too. But she would always get discharged quickly and fail to follow up with her PCP.
About 3 weeks ago, she was completely disoriented and could not walk or even stand or crawl. She begged for help to get onto the toilet and couldn’t get her underpants off to urinate. I could barely lift her in the first place and I insisted that she not try to move from the toilet, because she would fall for sure. She didn’t want me to call a medic and I had to give her the “are you serious?” talk. I ended up calling and it turns out her sodium was all out of whack etc etc.
She came back and is still living by her bad habits of too much coffee, not enough water, not enough sleep, not keeping her oxygen on, not using her CPAP, and so forth. She knows very well that she would have died if I did as she asked and let her “sleep it off” when her sodium was low. Yet she still shrugs off medical care.
My sister and I have both all but given up trying to force her to get care. Every time she mentions anything this last week or two, we just keep telling her that she needs to call the doctor if she is concerned, and that she cannot keep freaking us out and then telling us not to get a doctor’s help.
Now last night, she said she was yelling for one of us because she was terrified of falling asleep, though she says she doesn’t know why. Again, I told her that she needs to call if she has a concern.
In my heart, I feel wrong to brush her off like that but the merry go round is getting dizzying. I keep feeling that ignoring her complaints is elder abuse, even though I am pretty sure I am being manipulated.
If there are any suggestions about what courses of action might be reasonable, they would be appreciated.