Mom is at it again. She had a melt down on Tuesday before we made the trip to clean and clear Mom and Dad's house. With a flood of tears she said she hated being in that room and would rather be dead than stay there. She wanted to take Dad home to die. An Ativan or two (Dad's) later she calmed down but was still tearful and eventually went to bed.
Then she lost it Thursday on the phone with Sister 2. She was going on and on about going home and Sister 2 just told her that was impossible after trying to divert Mom's attention numerous times. Mom told Sister 2 that she hoped her children did to her what we are doing to Mom. When Sister 2 responded that she hoped they did too Mom hung up on her. The next day Mom was still ranting about the call but eventually calmed down.
Then Mom went to Sister 3's house on Friday July 4th and saw her vase at Sister 3's house. Saturday Mom was fine when I talked to her. It was Sunday before Mom blew up. She actually figured out how to call me, the first time in months, to tell me that we were all thiefs and stealing her stuff while she was stuck in that horrible place. She was furious and melted into that same line.... I would rather die than be stuck in this room.
I talked to her Monday morning and she was in a good mood. She was to have a tooth cut out later in the day and was confused about the time but she was emotionally ok. She had the tooth out, did well Monday night, Tuesday, and Wednesday despite the sedation dentistry and pain pills. She even laughed about the bruising on her face. She did talk to me Tuesday about the fact that she wanted to pick out their caskets and pay for the funeral which needs to be done in her home town. That was actually a legitimate request and she was not upset or irrational about it. Tuesday night they went and played BINGO and had a good time.
Then Thursday somebody at the facility found out she had Chlorox in her room. It is a forbiden item unless it is locked up. So they explained it to her and confiscated her Chlorox. I have questioned it even being there and it has ruined more than one item of clothing, but my sister INSIST on buying Mom the Chlorox. Mom lost it again. It progressed from the Chlorox to how much she hates it there to she would rather die.
Each time she does this Dad gets upset as well because he truly wants her to be happy. He wants to "fix it". Then he gets angry with her because she is impossible. She feeds off of his anger while he feeds off hers. I just hope the dual Ativan helped and tomorrow is another day.
She has been on several different antidepressants and antianxiety medication. They were changed just a few months ago. Regardless of medication she periodically goes into these melt downs. Sometimes there is a trigger like the vase or chlorox but other times there is not known reason. She rants at whoever her anger is focused at whether it be staff or us girls before she melts into hysterical tears.
This is one of the reasons we are having a problem cleaning out and selling house. If we tell her what we are doing she wants to go home with us. Then she wants to spend her time with her friends and we get nothing done. If we tell her what we have done she forgets it. Then she sees something of hers at one of the sister houses and she flips out. She can be brutal. Even when you think you have talked her into another frame of mind she will flip on you and be right back in her rage before you can blink. Then it just disappears until the next episode.
We have somebody coming in three days a week and she refuses to leave the room even when the sitter is there. Mom says she has to stay with Dad and never leaves the room yet I call and Dad answers the phone. Mom is out somewhere.
I know this is all part of her disease but we need a break.
I am surprised that someone is taking her out of the Assisted Living to her home. (where she sees one of her belongings and gets into a snit lasting many days.) If your family feel that a day outside of the AL will do her good, take her to a botanical garden, a restaurant, a park, some neutral place. Being in your homes makes her want to be back in her own home.
Until she has gone a few more steps down the hill and has no memory of her old home or yours, I would keep her away from family members houses.
Clorox - how can one sister not know it is forbidden? Communication has broken down somewhere. Or does she cave in to Mom's demands knowing the item she is bringing in is not allowed? At the NH where my Mom was, anything you brought in had to be approved at the desk before it got to the patient. People who didn't know the extent of Mom's condition would bring in chocolates, for example - a choking hazard since she could not swallow anything but thickened liquids and pureed foods ...
It is a major, life changing adjustment, and I hope your Mom eventually settles down ... it is hard. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
How about bringing her a Clorox bottle filled with plain water, clueing the AL people in??
Last edited by Martha H; 07-11-2008 at 07:20 AM.
Reason: add ps
deb, My God I feel for you. Mom used to do the same thing about her stuff. We put her things away so she couldn't see them. We'll take them out later. Hard to do if you have furniture though?? From time to time she still misses things and gripes for awhile, nothing like your Mom. Your poor Dad must really be going through hell.
I don't want to advise you on your Moms care. I know how hard you try and your a good daughter. That being said........I would find something to keep her calmed down. At least for now. If it makes her sluggish, so be it. Just my two cents deb. I know what I can take and I couldn't take what you are going through. Bless your heart.
Well, I'm headed to Moms today for the dreaded shower fight.
God help us all.
Just a thought...clean out her house without her being there. That is just torture for you and her. That is what we did with my grandma's apartment.
Second, put her things away when she is at you house to avoid upsetting her.
Third, on outings, in addition to the above suggestions, take her to her friends homes, but never hers.
I had great success with taking my grandma to either my brother's house or a restaurant. She addorred my brother, was always a perfect granny with him and knew she could not stay with him and his huge family (wife, kids, dogs). And when she went out with just me to a restaurant sometimes she would ask me to take her to her apartment. She never wanted to go back to "the place". I would explain to her that I would get arrested and charged with kidnapping - I didn't have the authority. She would alwasy respond, oh, I don't want you to get in trouble. She would be sad but she understood that she didn't want me in trouble.
Thank you Martha. You said exactly what I was feeling. A few weeks back Mom and Dad went to my niece's baby shower at sister 2's house. Sister 2 was very careful to remove anything that came from Mom's house and to hide the van in the back of a closed out building. This was not done at Christmas or July 4th at another sister's house. I am sure it was an oversight and they did not expect this reaction from Mom. I do agree that outting should be somewhere other than places that remind her of home and her things.
Mom is aware enough to complain because she "never" goes to my sister's houses that are in the same town she is in. Mom also rants continually about "going back home". Sometimes it is just for a visit to friends, to go to one of her doctors, to pick out a coffin, or any other excuse she can find. Other times it is to go home and live. I truly believe that it is not good for her to have any reminders or excuses for an outburst.
Sister 4 knew the chlorox was prohibited. "It's easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission" and "you know Mom and her Chlorox" were her two comments. This has been an issue several times including ruined clothes. When I was there I purchased Chlorox II which is not as caustic as Chlorox and before I arrived back home Chlorox was back in the facility. They had already taken it away from Mom once before. I do like you idea of putting water in the Chlorox bottle but they can't even have a bottle labeled as Chlorox because the facility is unable to determine which is real and which is a fake. I say... it should never brought it in the building in the first place. Do away with it and in time Mom will forget about it. Then it will not longer be an issue. If it is a problem with taking Mom to the grocery store and her insisting she needs it.... then don't take her to the grocery store. Yes, my sister tends to give in. She says she gets it but then lets Mom make decisions that she is not capable of making, like going home or the chlorox.
I am with you on the medication Chris, but they tend to medicate Dad instead of Mom because she stirs, he reacts, the power that be see his reaction (which is inappropriate) and not what started it (Mom). Then Mom has all these excuses for her illogical reactions. My next question is.... why is Mom's ativan PRN and Dad's is not. Mom is the one that needs it.
Is it wrong for me to wish for those few more steps to move quickly Martha? This situation is wearing on me and my sisters. I can not imagine the turmoil it is putting Dad through and it is even worse for my Mom. I am close to requesting her Aricept and Namenda be ceased. I truly believe it is unfair to Mom to keep her at this stage any longer than necessary. I can only imagine the torment she is experiencing.
Mom has not answered the phone today so I don't have a clue what her mood is today. I did talk to sister 3 who had a thyroid biopsy yesterday, she is doing well and will know the results next week, and she had not talked to Mom and I talked to sister 2. I have a call in to sister 4 to see what she knows and I am still trying to reach Mom. I do hate being so far away ::sigh::
PS.... Was.... We did the clean out the house weekend without Mom being there and I still agree that is the best. She was aware enough to know it was her vase at Sister 3's house and her rant initiated with the fact that we were stealing her stuff without her permission. Sister 2 and I follow rule #2. Sister 3 didn't think about it because that vase has been at her house since November. Mom saw it in December and didn't respond to that but to the Christmas table cloth so I guess she thought she was safe with that one. I totally agree with rule #3. She NEVER needs to be in their house again.
The problem is that Mom has these melt down frequently. The reasons they start vary and if there is not a good reason then she makes up one. I can't blame what we are doing because we are all doing the best we can with an angry irrational lady who seems to need to melt down. ::shrug::
Dearest dearest Deb,
It just isn't far that you are living with a volcano that is on the verge of erupting. I do believe that sister #2 should bear the brunt of her very ill timed behaviour and lack of spine by having to deal with your mother all by herself!
I think it's time that you have a chat with your mom's doctor along with the sister that has the medical POA and ask that mommy dearest by put on a new med to control the outbursts and it by 24/7. Not only for your peace of mind, but for hers and for your fathers. It can't be doing him any good to be living with this whistling tea kettle either! It certainly isn't pleasant to have so much turmoil in your life that you constainly live with upheaval, And I bet that the staff will be thankful for some calm also. I can't believe that they haven't considered fixing this already. It's times like this that you consider that holding a pillow over their face is fair game for a few minutres of quiet.
Personally I think that it is getting to the point where your Mom doesn't need to be out and about at all. Staying in will keep the I wannas away. and sooner or later she will forget about it. The home where mom was didn't encourage taking residents out unless it was for doctor's visits just because it tended to get them "worked up". Has you sister(s) considered that maybe they should just let them stay in, so to speak?
Good luckl, my dear...you certainly do deserve a rest.....and a clean hand towl or two or three hundred..
No it is not wrong -- anything you wish for in your current set of circumstances is OK. Remember - we are never responsible for our feelings. We are only responsible for what we do about them.
I will admit I often thought - during the 5 years I lived with Mom and saw her getting worse and worse -"how long is this going to go on? When am I going to be free?" My brother knew these thoughts and that is how it came about that after 5 years and 3 months he and his wife took over Mom's care. They could see that I was not only getting physically sick but also depressed.
I wanted to say how sorry I am for you having to deal with this, especially having two parents at the same time to struggle with.
It is amazing what will set our loved ones off, the simplest things. If you can believe it, my uncle even puts out a glass of "milk" for the imaginary children that my grandmother "sees", just so he can avoid a meltdown of her accusing him of being so coldhearted to the "children". My grandmother is long past the point, where she should no longer be living at home, but my uncle is in this till the end no matter what it costs him. I dont know how he does it, and I get so angry that the rest of our family have put him in this position. It is his choice, but I guess in his mind, he doesnt feel that it is one.
I know in the early times, my uncle would never hear of anyone "suggesting" that it be "over", but now he actually talks about it, which means I know he is questioning this....and wondering the same things.......can this be over? For his sake and for hers I'm sure. I would never ever fault him for that......and I give him my heartfelt respect and admiration for what he's done for her. But I think it's only human to hope for an end to pain and suffering for ourselves and those that go through this.....and I think that comes from exhaustion, frustration and love all rolled up together.
(((hugs to you)))
Jekyll and Hyde I tell you!!!!!!! I still have not talked to mom (she was either out of the room or on the phone the five times I have called) but have talked to sisters 3 and 4 who have both seen Mom today. Mom was crying and contrite because she caused such a disturbance yesterday about the Chlorox but she still put Chlorox on her shopping let. The list was forgotten and they got everything but the Chlorox on their shopping trip. Sister 4 is still not determined to keep the Chlorox out of the room. Oh well... if she takes it back in there she will deal with the ramifications. I just hope the peace holds for a while. I will be there the weekend of the 19th and stay until their birthday on the 22nd. Yes, my Mom and Dad have the same birthday and I want to be there to enjoy it with them. Perhaps his and hers birthday cake, half decorated for Mom and half for Dad. I will ask about the PRN meds when I am there if it doesn't get done before. Until then I will crings every time I make that call until I know the mood of the day.
Thank you all for your comments. At least I know I am not losing it. I just know how fearful Mom was of this disease, how angry she is because she has it, and how deep her denial is. It is her worst nightmare come true after watching her Mom, her sisters, and her DH with this horrid disease. My heart goes out to her and if I can't wish it not to be then I wish it over....
Somebody hand me a hand towel please....... I hate the way this disease drags everybody down from time to time no matter how hard you try....
Oh Deb, I do know how you feel because I am going through the exact same thing with my mom right now. The ourbursts, the episodes, the accusations, the not being able to bring her back to my house any longer since her terrible outburst on Memorial Day because her house is right across the street from mine. The thoughts that she would rather be dead...the tears that come from the depths of her soul, the agony over all she has lost. The pleads to let her come home..the complaints, the constant complaints.
If I say I am busy pulling weeds she says be thankful you have a home with weeds...Lordie.
Nothing I say is the right thing. We knew the volcano was bubbling and ready to blow and it finally happened on Tuesday...BOOM..it was an awful time...I had to go get her, get her out and get her mind off of her woes..I finally got her settled down after 3 hours of "tap dancing". By the time I got her back she was Dr. Jekyll again..and the next day, like your mom , she was in tears and so ashamed for what had happened....she is in denial but asks..."what's happening to me, am I losing my mind?" Yes, she is..and it is sad sad sad. And like you I dread the phone calls not knowing if today is a good day or a bad day. And like you I wish for it to be over...for her to be rid of the torment yet feeling awful for wishing it to be over.
I retired at the end of this school year so now she wants me to entertain her daily. I don't feel that is the right thing to do...we had been doing well on the schedule of getting her for lunch and shopping on the weekends only...now she wants me daily. I just can't but when this is over and she is gone will I wonder if I should have been with her daily if it is what gives her peace but in my sane mind I know that nothing I do will ever be enough. Oh dear, exhausting , right?
Now: girls ......... I remember when I finally got my charge put into care, the DREAD of going to visit for fear of a melt down that she was having regularly at home (with NO triggers needed either!) I remember walking around the corner, seeing her sitting in a chair with other ladies watching the TV, she saw me and her face lit up. She was, for the first time in years, PLEASED to see me! That being said, we moved 1000km away shortly after and I haven't seen her since, but from all accounts and purposes, as long as another certain family member didn't go off his nut in front of her, she was calm and relaxed and happy, but reacted badly to anybody behaving badly (if that makes any sense)
And yes, the sooner her disease process is over, the better for her. This is just evil and cruel.
... your loved one hasn't forgotten you ... the DISEASE doesn't remember you
Last edited by gemini1961; 07-11-2008 at 08:49 PM.
Reason: Add stuff.
Wow Meg..... I could hear myself saying everything that you said in your post. Some how it is a comfort just to know that I am not the only one dealing with this same situation. There is somebody out there that understands! We just keep searching for ways to make a impossible situation better. I don't know what to say because I get much the same as you. If I say I am mowing she tells me to be thankful I have grass to mow. If I mention my daughter she tells me that she hopes she never does to me what we have done to her. And yes!!! The constant complaints.
As your Mom she is aware enough to know after the melt down that she has acted inappropriately even if she doesn't remember the details. It horrifies her and frequently leads to another episode. A ripped sheet, a ruined shirt, or loss of Chlorox that we deal with every day will send her over the edge. She ask me is she is losing her mind or just stupid. What do you say back?
Sometimes I wish I was close enough to go every day but I am not. My two sisters that can go limit their visits to a few times a week and more times than not they go together. I guess there is strength in numbers. I go as often as I can.
Then we have teeth falling out, hearing aids that don't work, and ingrown toe nails to deal with.
My heart goes out to you because I truly do understand the fear, dread, anticipation, wishing, and hoping that goes with each contact. Yet you wonder what more you could do. Most days I know that it doesn't matter what we do because it's not something outside of our Mom's that is causing their anxiety and anger. It is the confusion that has ravaged their brains and left them unable to cope with what it created. But when you are faced with the imposter moster you truly want to run away so you can feel guilty another day. Then you slip into their world for a minute and your heart hurts for them. So it' one day at a time.
Thank you all!! There is no way to express my gratitude for each and ever one of you. You are my sanity.....
When my mother was in that in-between stage and asking, with tears, "what is wrong with me, am I losing my mind?" I tried at first to reassure her and say 'no,no, you are OK'. Or make light of it and say "you're just having a lot of senior moments." Eventually we all told her, "there is something wrong, and that's why the doctor wants you to take these pills." In a few months Mom stopped worrying about her condition. She didn't seem to know any more that she was irrational. Those were really awful days - we often cried together.
Ladies, Your posts in this thread just screams of your pain and sorrow. Just reading them helps me. Strange isn't it?? When you know that someone out there feels exactly how you feel. Mom is still sweet for the most part and has very few meltdowns. But the downward spiral is happening.
The question that bothers me the most is "What is wrong with me? I must be crazy". Also the statement "I have no dignity left".
We all keep going forward. Taking care of our LO the best we can.
Debs statement......."We just keep searching for ways to make an impossible situation better" says it all. And we'll never stop until they are gone from this world. You have my deepest respect.
I wish wish wish I had found all of you when this first started ..it would have made the past 8 years a little easier...heck, a LOT easier. And, like you say, Deb, just knowing someone else is dealing with this makes it less crazy somehow...validates that it is not just my mom or your mom being difficult but the disease. A disease that has reached its ugly arms out to grab hold of our loved ones.
I have to take her to her neurologist in a week for her 6 month checkup. There are two things that concern me about that.
First is that we have to tell her about this appointment. She hates going to the neurologist because deep in her mind she knows he is the one who diagnosed the disease she denies having..and of course because he is the doctor who rescinded her driving priveleges. I guess I'll tell her a few days before we have to go and then wait for the hysterics to begin...no wonder I'm on ulcer medication!
My 2nd concern is that the doctor never schedules time alone for us to talk without her. There are things I would like to discuss, questions I would like to ask but don't feel free doing it in front of her. These doctors should realize that and make it easier for us. Last time I slipped a note at the front desk for him to read about her progression, my concerns, etc. He did address those issues but with her there...not good. I wonder if doctors realize the tight rope we all walk.
Last night we called her for our regular eveing call to check in on her. She didn't answer..she didn't answer her cell phone either. I knew it was just something stupid, that she was okay but I worried all night. I just called her this morning and she said..in her most cheery voice.."oh, I was just across the hall visiting and watching tv with my neighbor"...(exhale)
and this is the neighbor she complains about. She tells me.."that woman can't remember a thing!" She has no idea she is in the same boat.
So, today, for the moment, it seems we might have a good day. I'll pick her up and take her to lunch and to the store and then she should be good..I type that with fingers crossed.
Deb, I wonder how long we will have our moms in this stage before they forget the things that cause them the most torment. And then, what new problems will arise for us when they reach that stage. I welcome all advice and info from those of you who have walked these paths before us. It helps to know of your experiences.
Dealing with this disease is like being in an Indiana Jones movie. We never know when the next bolder will be rolling down toward us or or what enemy is lurking around the corner to trap us. We're constantly bobbing and weaving.
Okay, time for me to leave the safe world of "here" and get dressed to venture out into the world of "there".
I would tell her about the appointment the same day, not even the night before.
I would also call the doctor's office and ask the receptionist to make a note on your Mom's file sayng that you want to talk to him alone for a few minutes. Is your Mom OK with waiting outside alone? With my Mom we had to have 2 people taking her to the doctor, myself and my brother. He would stay and listen to the (bad) news, while I kept her in the waiting room. Otherwise she would have gone out (without her coat ) and wandered off .... This doctor recommended a nursing home a good 2 years before she actually went to one.
The less they know in advance the better - they will forget it anyway, and accuse you of not telling her. My Mom complained constantly about how all her friends from the senior center were getting so forgetful. She never figured out that she was the one. She also looked in the mirror and imagined she was looking at a 102 year old woman. She even talked to her. This was when Mom was around 96 and could not believe that was her image ...
Exactly Meg, it is validation, support, and understanding though common experiences that makes this place the quiet spot in the storm. We have the same problem with Mom and the memory assessment center where she was diagnosed. They gave her the information she didn't want to know and took away her driving priviledges.... they are BAD!
Martha is right, the less time they have to deal with something negative the better. If you tell her a week before then you have to retell her because she forgot or reexplain because she doesn't understand. It gives her a week to work up the negative.... and she will. If you talk her down she will just forget it and go back to the negative. Mom knew about her dental appointment last Monday for about a week. She had the preop papers and postop instructions. She drove the staff and my sister nuts because she could read the instructions but didn't have a time frame to put them in. She made herself NPO (no food) several times and kept looking for the mouthwash and getting annoyed when it was not available. She would call my sister to find out when the appointment was repeatedly and got dressed for the appointment at least every other day.
I would definitely make sure the doctor understood that I needed time with him when Mom was not there. I had that same problem with Mom's previous GP. He actually refused to talk to me without her there.... but then he was also the one that told her to focus more when she drove. He truly did not understand the disease or what we were dealing with at home. I did step outside of the examining room and caught him before he entered at one point. One good thing about moving Mom and Dad to AL was the physician change. The facility physician specialized in geriatric issues and she KNOWS! She gives her reports to a family member. Even if she sees the patient in the room she calls a family member because she truly understands. Make your wishes known to him and if it takes making another appointment for you to go in and talk to him then do so. We can educate the professionals!!!
I just finished a phone call to Mom and she was in a good mood despite the fact that the toilet would not flush. Dad wouldn't use the "dirty" toilet and Mom wanted to talk. I finally got her off the phone to take Dad to the bathroom at the end of the hall and called the facility about the toilet. Mom may or may not remember to tell them while she was out so I backed her up. She may not think of it again until she goes back to the bathroom. Then again she may tell everybody she sees. You never know! I will call her later and see if the toilet flushes. Things that are so small to our everyday life becomes such a big deal to them.
Thanks everyone for the suggestions..
I will tell mom about the doctor's appointment next weekend..but in the meantime I found out they are planning a big outing that day...so...now I have to head that off and check in with the activities director to make sure mom hasn't signed up and to make sure no one urges her to sign up. Always something.
and I will also call the doctor's office tomorrow to ask that they put a note in her file for the doctor to see that we would like a few minutes alone with him .. thanks for that suggestion, Martha! Such a simple solution for what had been troubling me. Wish all fires could be put out that easily.
I have to share something that is a bit comical with you all. I mentioned that mom has a new neighbor acrosss the hall...and that mom had been telling me that the poor woman couldn't remember much..which is the pot calling the kettle black for sure.
We have met her a few times and the poor woman needs to be in a much more controlled situation because she is a bit further on down the road than mom..but here is the funny part...well, to us, at the moment, it is funny...mom has been spending time in the neighbors apartment and we found out they have been sharing liquor of some sort that the neighbor has on hand. Oh dear. We aren't sure what it is exactly...maybe an after dinner drink of some sort. Now, mom does have wine from time to time..even suggested by the doctor...but the fact that for the past 3 nights she has been drinking with the neighbor has my son saying some people have a pusher for drugs, grandma has one for hootch!
We told her today that she is going to get into trouble if she keeps taking liquor from her and her answer was, "well, I don't want to hurt her feeings."
Deb, I admire your strength to go through what you are going through. I just have my mom and she may as well be in another world as she just really doesn't know what's going on. When she does talk, she talks about those who have passed and I just tell her that they are home.
The plumbing problems I well remember when mom lived at home still. She would forget to flush or be afraid to flush. Any little thing that didn't work right would throw her, whereas we just brush it off.
Anyway, you are such a special person on this board...giving advice to all, and very eloquently I might add, so I just want to let you know I'm thinking of you. Hope things settle down a bit for you soon.