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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.

is your mother on merbetrique for bladder spasms? Your post is carbon copy of what has happened here. the bladder medication caused the behavior to amp up and the salt issues and eventually hallucinations etc. my mother is on some pain meds and the bladder stuff was the tipping point and it zapped her receptors. Having been taken off everything...she is coming back slow...but not much better even so.
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Reply to lauralosingit
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Is it possible to get you and your sister on the same page.

Here is what we need to do and here is how its gonna happen. With both of you saying she has no safe place, period. I had to get very bold and talk to supervisors and supervisors of supervisors. This is their job and to push it off on family is just unacceptable.

I would have a notebook, and ask for business cards, explain that you are keeping notes and want their employment information so when something tragic happens you will have the correct spelling of everyone's name and title to list on the complaint. This should get things off dead center.

I understand about family dysfunction and I am happy that you and your sister do have a relationship. I am not trying to be hurtful but from what you have said, you don't have a relationship with your mom. She is not capable of having one. I'm sorry I know that is hard to hear but people that care about you don't do the crap she is doing, it is all about her in her world, you are a means to an end, all of you.

Have a good heart to heart with your sister and begin the process of getting your mom the help she needs. You will all benefit.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Next time mom makes a serious medical complaint, call 911. Don't ask her. Just do it.

Next time she goes to the ER, try not showing up.

Let them experience your mom without your filling in the gaps.

Do not pick her up. If they send her home in a cab, she pays for it.

Repeat as necesary.

If she is admitted, work with Discharge planning to get her admitted to rehab. From there into long term care.

Practise saying " this is an unsafe discharge" and " I can't possibly do that, I have two small children".

You are being used and played by your family. How does your husband feel about the circus that his home has become?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Exintrovert, is your sister okay with how your mom behaves?

If she is, she needs to get a place and take mom. Then they can do whatever rocks their boat.

I understand not wanting to loose your mom and sister, but do you really have a relationship or are you being used? My family decided that I didn't matter anymore after I said enough, what I know now, is they didn't care for me, just what they could get out of me. This is a trait of narcissism and I have been so much better off not having people that I could never please taking my time and energy. Only you know if there is more good then bad that comes from these relationships.

You don't have her committed, you take her to the ER for whatever the medical issues are for that day, then you talk to the hospital social worker and tell them you are no longer a safe place for her. Tell them everything you told us and tell them you think she is trying to kill herself with not seeking medical attention for serious stuff.

Beg them if needed to do whatever it takes to get her some place safe, you are not it. Do not accept financial responsibility for her. She will have better options if you are not an obvious solution. I would give them a heads up that she will claim you are but she's wrong, you are not.

When you decide what you want as the end result, you are going to have to be determined and not cave in. Enough already.

You can do this, think of your hubby and kids and the joy it will be for all of you.
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exintrovert Nov 12, 2018
My sister is frustrated like I am.

I am sure there is a real relationship to be lost alongside all this BS. Family dysfunction is complicated.

But finding her dead in her room is pretty awful as well, so yeah.

thanks for clarifying the hospital part. Whenever she is in the hospital I have a hell of a time getting the help or answers I seek. ER staff and social workers seem to just care about getting her back into my arms, thus solving her problem. They don’t care about my problem. I hate that I have to basically brick wall her so that they will help her, as her last resort. It sucks and it’s rude. But now I am just venting, sorry.

You have been really helpful. It will be much easier to make myself ready to go through all this if I can expect what I can do to keep it all from being pointless in the end.
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I guess it is established that I am justified in wanting to kick everyone out.

I am correct to say I am being emotionally abused and/or taken advantage of.

I am certain that she needs real medical care beyond what I am capable of coercing her to accept and cooperate with.

I am still uncertain about the ethics of letting her continue to suffer these symptoms without dragging her to the hospital if she refuses to take action on her own. If she mentions something serious and I tell her to call the doctor or leave me alone, at what point am I doing right/wrong?

And finally, if we have no money to pay for her care, where can she go and be cared for?
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Tothill Nov 12, 2018
You are not denying your mother care, you are not restricting her access to the phone to make a doctor's appointment, so no you are not on the wrong side ethically. You are setting boundaries and that is good.
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So the steps to getting her evaluated usually start in hospital, she goes to er, you say she needs to be evaluated, needs assessment, because she no longer has a home and we want to ensure she has a safe release plan in place.

This is important, they will bully you, guilt you and sometimes threaten you to take her. Refuse, stay away if you have to but DO NOT take her home with you.

She is completely manipulating everyone in your home and her behavior is abusive. Oh I'm bleeding through my rectum, but don't you worry about me! WTH???!!?? She is playing mind games and you need to protect your family and yourself.

I don't understand grandma being so uncaring about her grandchildren, she is obviously selfish and self-centered, probably narcissistic as well. Our culture tends to say, oh it's a disease and they can't help it, so lay down and take whatever they serve up. NO! Mental illness can be treated successfully in 2018 and she has chosen to abuse her body and not do anything to improve her quality of life. Therefore she doesn't get to take anyone else with her.

You are going to have to come to terms that no matter where she lives, her life will suck and have no quality, this is what she chooses everyday. Do not pay for her choices any longer and stop forcing your husband and children to pay for them. It is not fair to any of you.

If she is over 65 she should be on Medicare, and social security, if she is younger she is probably on Medicaid, which being on disability through ss leads me to think Medicaid, you will need to figure this out, that could be what pays for her placement in a nursing home. If she is not on Medicaid, get the application started, you are not obligated to pay for her. Do not get trapped into thinking you should pay so she has a better place, she will be cared for better then she cares for herself, no matter where she ends up. DO NOT give her your future or your children's college education so she can live high on the hog. Bad choices have bad consequences.

I personally would tell her that I don't want to hear her complaining about issues she chooses to do nothing about except barf her b;[<#ing all over everyone in the house. Choices have consequences and she is about to find out that her choices mean she can't live with your family.

May you have the strength and courage to get her out of your home. You have no reason to feel guilty, she has made her decision and now she lives the end results.

Hugs to you!
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exintrovert Nov 12, 2018
Love it. Thank you!

We did try to have her committed to care many years ago on the basis that she was dangerous to herself, and through all our efforts we were left with no help.

She has stopped drinking since then and has become very healthy (compared to back then, ugh) which is probably playing into my confusion. We actually have a functioning relationship, which we have never had since I was 14.

so anyways, I never considered that involuntary admission might be possible because if they would’t do it then it seems they surely wouldn’t do it now. (I thought)

But you are right. They fought tooth and nail then, and I know they will again. I just have to get the nerve to put my foot down, because she will still be my Mom no matter where she ends up. I admit I am afraid of losing the good parts of my relationships (with my mom and also my sister), and this is a scary decision/action to take.

There is a lot in play here, but you guys are being very helpful with pulling it all apart.
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Yes I would say you are being incredibly emotionally abused. I agree about your sister moving in time. I feel your mother should be out of there ASAP. She has a terrible pattern most of your life. At least it certainly sounds that way. I hope she is not still drinking alcohol. You have been more than generous with your time and home. Your immediate family does not deserve this. In my opinion that is your priority. I hope you can move forward with changes and regain your life for your sake as well as the sakes of your sons and husband.
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exintrovert Nov 12, 2018
Thanks for validating that. I figured so, but hearing someone else say yes makes me worry less about making such an accusation. It can be hard to take a step outside the situation and be sure what I see or think is sane, especially when I can’t detach myself from the emotions that are tangled around the whole thing.
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I agree with JoAnn. It’s time for you to tell Sis she has until the New Year to find a place to live. You will not front her money. You will not take her back in. But if she procrastinates, you will find an apartment for her and move her yourself, or a Woman’s Shelter. Her choice.

Next, Mom needs a complete medical and mental evaluation. She has no choice. She has physical and mental issues and you need to find out exactly what they are. If after these evaluations, they tell her and you that she cannot live on her own, she’s not coming back to live with you. Start researching alternative living arrangements now. She may truly need a skilled nursing facility.

Your house is being used as a hotel. Only you can check your “guests” out.
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exintrovert Nov 12, 2018
Thank you.
I am ready to get the guests out, no doubt.

so is there a certain type of doctor or social worker to contact to initiate this type of evaluation? Or is this just something I ask her psychiatrist and PCP to do?

What is the starting point for such an evaluation process?
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Your sister needs to find a place to live. The boys are going to grow and need more room. Can Mom live on her own. Maybe a senior apt complex that goes by her income. You may be able to get her Medicaid homecare help.
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exintrovert Nov 12, 2018
For real. I can’t wait for her to go. There is a plan but it will be a few months.

Mom can’t live on her own. The things she does and needs will still go on, but then we will have to get into a car to diffuse everything. We also have to give her medications to her 1 day at a time because she screws them up all the time, and is on a pain management contract because she takes too much Norco whenever she has a chance.

I am not nay-saying or doing “yeah but...” (my sister does that and it pisses me off).
The truth is she can’t be alone. That’s why she is here.

I think that’s why I am asking what other options there may be. She only has SSI and Medicare (or is it Medicaid? idk the difference) so sending her to an assisted living or skilled care place would be prohibitive in cost, or sub-par to meeting her needs for quality of life.

if she can’t live on her own but I am not qualified to care for her, what resources are out there?

I am also wondering what people might advise regarding continuing to push her to the doctor vs leaving it in her hands and watching her health suffer. If I think I am being manipulated by her, what is the proper ethical way to respond to the situation? Do I keep dragging her to the doctor like a stubborn child, or letting her make her own poor decisions for herself? You can lead a horse to the doctor, but....

It’s not right to let her go to the wolves just because we no longer take her seriously, but I don’t know how else to handle being constantly told about upsetting and scary symptoms then told not to worry about them. Am I being emotionally abused?
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