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Old 10-20-2008, 08:15 AM   #1
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Picking at fingernails.......help

Good Morning Friends, Mom has been picking at her fingernails for the last 3 months. It wasn't this bad at first. Its now so bad they are bleeding. I mean there is almost no nail left. Its pass the quick. Down into the nail bed and into ther skin. Her fingers are so very sore. The Dr. has no idea how to stop this mindless picking. We always put acrylic nails on her and she loved them. But to be honest its just not sanitary now. She forgets to wash her hands after using the toilet and her nails were always gross. She has Chrohns disease and therefore always has diareah. Also grosses me out when its all over her hands and under those nails. Anyway we changed her anxiety meds but it hasn't helped. I tried to keep cotton gloves on her, forget it.
Anyone else have this problem? Any help would be appreciated.
Mom is on zyprexa and lexapro. If I increase those she is like a zombie. If I change meds its NEVER a good thing for Mom.
Thank you,
Chris

 
Old 10-20-2008, 01:37 PM   #2
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Re: Picking at fingernails.......help

Sorry this is happening to your Mom. How can she pick at them with no nails? If her nails are kept so short that she can't pick, would that help?

Or is she biting them?

I know you can buy something to put on nails when a kid is biting them . It tastes awful so they stop. But picking at them with their nails is another problem. I hope someone on this Board who has solved it will write.

love,

Martha

 
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:20 PM   #3
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Re: Picking at fingernails.......help

I don't know how she does this Martha. Its the most awful thing. Its hard to explain. She will pick at her finger nails until there is nothing left. She does this with her thumb nail..........or whats left of her thumb nail. Its just the most awful sight to see. I can't figure out what to do. I know its anxiety. I just don't know how to help her stop.
I guess no one has had this problem. Thank you for your concern.
Love Chris

 
Old 10-20-2008, 10:28 PM   #4
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Re: Picking at fingernails.......help

I am not sure what to tell you Chris. My sister returned Dad's fingernail clippers and he clipped them to the point they were sore before I arrived but I just took away the nail clippers and he left them alone. You might want to check and be sure there are no nail clippers available. You can put "nuskin" on the raw areas to keep them from being so sore but that won't help much if she picks it off. You might also try lotion. Dad picks his skin and I have found that if we keep enough lotion on his favorite spots it makes them slick enough that he can't pick them. Perhaps giving her something to occupy her hands would be helpful as well.

I do hope you find a solution.....

Love, deb

 
Old 10-21-2008, 06:01 AM   #5
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Re: Picking at fingernails.......help

Thanks deb, I've been thinking about this problem and I may have found the solution. Moms chrohns disease is an ongoing cronic condition. A few months back her Dr. started giving her a very small dose of steroid daily to combat the constant inflamation. I'm thinking that this may be causing the anxiety. We have had to increase the steroid because right now her condition is severe. But only for one week. On the other hand if I stop this med she will get worse and be completely unable to leave her apartment because of the swelling in her colon. She takes 16 pills a day for this one condition. She has COPD, CHF and a host of smaller problems.
I'll call the Dr. today and take her in. I think she may be dehydrated. Or starting down that path. I can't handle another hospital stay. Its pure hell when she is there.
Thank you and wish me luck,
Chris
deb, What is "nuskin"?

Last edited by DrewsG; 10-21-2008 at 06:07 AM.

 
Old 10-21-2008, 07:40 AM   #6
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Re: Picking at fingernails.......help

It is just a brand name of a spray or paint on solution that acts as a new layer of skin. There is also one called New Skin. Dad's skin is really thin and he scratches it a lot. We have used it, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. The product works fine..... but Dad keeps scratching....

Steroids are used so common but have such a mirid of side effects. Mom has been given steroids a few times and each time with major side effects. She had various "strange" episodes that for a while we didn't know what was causing them. The last two were the most dramatic. After a week of steroids for a bad case of poison ivy we went through a month of Prednisone psychosis. It was dementia on steroids for sure!!! The last episode was after a cortisone shot in her shoulder. She had an adrenaline reaction that mimicked a heart attack to the point that she ended up having a heart caterization. Each and every episode could be linked back to some form of steroid.

Sometimes you have to weigh the benefits vs the side effects. Nothing is perfect, we just do the best we can

Love, deb

 
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:39 AM   #7
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Re: Picking at fingernails.......help

The only thing with the NewSkin is that it burns some when you put it on, so I'm wondering if it is worth the effort? It does form a protective barrier, but it's a booger to blow on while it dries and forms the coating.....shudder.

 
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Old 10-21-2008, 10:48 AM   #8
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Re: Picking at fingernails.......help

You are right IBake.... guess I had forgotten that because Dad doesn't seem to exhibit pain. He will tell me he doesn't like that stuff but doesn't react to it when I put it on him. So let's scratch that idea

Love, deb

 
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Old 10-21-2008, 12:48 PM   #9
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Re: Picking at fingernails.......help

Thanks Ladies for trying. After I ask about the "nuskin" I ran to get my hair cut and it came to me......."Oh, thats what she meant". Her fingers are so raw I'm sure it would burn. She is very confused today. More than usual of course,not feeling very well, can't remember how to use the phone, not eating much. It makes her tummy hurt. I really think I'm in big trouble soon. I know its coming. I feel it. I have been having that certain "feeling". I know it sounds far out there. But when I start feeling this way something is going to happen. Always does. Last weekend I couldn't rest or relax. Its like radar. Anyway Ladies, again, thank you for being there even if no one can help with this problem. Your still there.
Love to all, Chris

 
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Old 10-21-2008, 12:48 PM   #10
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Re: Picking at fingernails.......help

Hello chris,

well my mom doesn't not pick her nails but she scratchs until it drives all of us crazy, after we had her to the doctor numerous times and he said that there was nothing medical causing the itchies we have tried everything, I finally went and bought some Lanicane spray and although it does not help the itchies she sprays it on and seems to get some relieve, perhaps it just gives her something else to do with her hands I am not sure..... she still scratches but she also uses her spray so at least she does not scratch until she is raw....as for the fingernail picking, how about putting bandaides on and she will pick at those and then replace them as she picks then off... give her something to pick at and give her hands a change to heal..

 
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Old 10-21-2008, 01:12 PM   #11
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Re: Picking at fingernails.......help

No Chris.... what you are feeling is NOT far out there. It is your internal alarm system giving you warning that something is coming that you need to be prepared for. It means you are intune with your Mom. I have had those same feelings.

Here is why I believe it is real. I had talked to my Mom earlier in the day. I never called her twice in one day. I had called her because I had "that feeling". She assured me all was well. I could not shake the feeling I was having and called her back later in the day.... just as she ran out the door to go to Dad. He had suffered his first massive heart attack while I was sitting at my desk debating the stupidity of what I was feeling. I talked to her boss that time. He kept telling me everything was ok.... that Mom had just gone home for a while but I knew. He finally relented and told me what was going on. I have had those feelings sense and I have learned to listen to them.

So listen to yourself.....

Love, deb

 
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Old 10-21-2008, 01:45 PM   #12
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Re: Picking at fingernails.......help

Chris, It's that guardian angel of preparedness that is warning you that something is amiss. Daddy called to me the week before he passed. As clear as if he was sitting across the room from me. Called my name. I answered him and turned to look for him, but of course he wasn't in VA., not when he was living in Minnesota.....Listen to those angels. They are trying to tell you something isn't right and you need to be ready. Learn to listen to them because they are there for a reason.

I have given up trying to say they don't exist or that they aren't real. They are they do and they mean it. So just accept that they have a reason and try to figure out what they are trying to prepare you for and you will be better prepared for it. You need to learn to read them...and if you figure it out, let all of us in on the code...!

 
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Old 10-21-2008, 02:43 PM   #13
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Re: Picking at fingernails.......help

Thank you ibake and deb I know who is here with me. I truly feel their presence. I feel Moms sisters, my best friend Louise and Gram. All very sweet and caring women who know how much I have loved and cared for Mom. Thank you. I do believe that something is happening to Mom. My sister is there now and my turn is tomorrow. The Dr. has sent cipro for an intestinal infection. It has worked well for Mom in the past. We'll see what happens.

jagsmu.....I tried the bandaids. She took them off. Said they drove her nuts. I said "Mom this is nuts. What your doing to your fingers." I went to the bathroom and "off" they came. She made her eyes real big and said "So much for that trick . Thanks for the suggestion. She has me stumped on this one.
Love to all, Chris

 
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Old 10-21-2008, 03:50 PM   #14
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Re: Picking at fingernails.......help

"So much for that trick!"

That actually made me laugh because I have heard the same statement. The cognitive doctor was right.... they don't lose their intellegence, just the ability to use if appropriately. Sometimes it comes back to bit us caregivers. It still amazes me the things that stick with Mom and the things that completely elude her. There is no rhyme nor reason to which is which....

Love, deb

 
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Old 10-22-2008, 09:40 AM   #15
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Re: Picking at fingernails.......help

How about bandaids first, then gloves over the bandaids, then use duct tape to tape the wrists of the gloves tights at the wrists soo that it will be a struggle to get the gloves off? At least it will take some time to get it all off.... If you fold the wrist of the glove rover on itself and then tape it snug, that should keep it on for a couple of hours anyway.[fingers crossed.....]

 
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