Hi, I'm new here.
I'm 37, live with and stay home to help my 86 year old grandmother. In the past year and a half we have had at least 5 close family deaths and have heard about several disasters on tv (tsunami / nuclear plant situations in Japan and the US, tornadoes, oil spill in the gulf, etc.) and it has been very stressful. I discovered that my grandmother had been staying up for hours at night reading religious books and hearing news on the radio. After several days of not sleeping, my grandmother became very emotional, crying, talking loudly all night, not making sense and connecting Bible references to everything. I couldn't get her to calm down, so I had to take her to the ER. She was hospitalized for a week and given antipsychotic meds and changed her high blood pressure medication. I asked the doctor to take her off Haldol which caused her to have head nodding and shaking hands. She had many tests but no stroke, tumor, Alzheimers or dementia was diagnosed. In January of this year, she had another episode very similar, except this time she started screaming for no reason, and I had to take her again to the ER and she was hospitalized for another week. She had more tests and nothing was found. Her meds were changed again and she is now on Diltiazem, Lasix and half of 25mg Seroquel at night to help her sleep. She has been on these meds for 3 months and has had blurry vision, slight head nodding and I have noticed an increase of mouth movement and noise. Its hard to tell if this is involuntary (signs of TD). I have terrible anxiety and feel that I need to watch over her constantly and hate to leave her alone very long. I don't have any family or friends close enough to help and I am very burned out. My grandmother hates being monitored but I worry when she reads or watches news that something will upset her again. She gets angry if I try to distract her, because she has always been an environmental activist, and news of man made disasters (nuclear, chemical) make her want to write letters and protest. I have driving anxiety and she never had a license so we stay at home a lot. We often get in arguments so time at home can be tense. I am constantly in fear that she will have a serious side effect to medicine or heart problem, and my anxiety gets so bad that I tremble and find it hard to eat. When my grandma sees me upset, she worries about me too. I am considering asking the doctor to take her off Seroquel and also worry about withdrawals, even though it is a low dose.
Sorry this is so long. I just needed to vent. Any help is appreciated.
Caregiver - it sounds like you a quite a lot on your plate. I understand where you are coming from. I'm 36, and when I was about 29 my mom came and lived with me for about 4 years. She has Chrones disease and ended up with septis poisoning and I had to care for her for a few months, she had a tpn bag for food, wounds from a flesh eating baciteria and the surgery to remove the infected parts. It was very stressful and exhausting. You are quite a woman. I imagine you are exhausted. You need to see if you can arrange a way to have someone come sit with her for a few hours so you can get out and have some time to yourself. You mention she is Christian. Are there any churches in the area that you can bring her to? Some churches my have a bible study or something that you could get her involved in.. Drop her off, then pick her up.
Don't feel bad if you need a little mental help... have you seen a doctor about your anxiety? Are you taking any antidepressants? There is no shame in that and it might help. You are 37, you need to have a little bit of your own life or you will lose yourself and go nuts. I strongly suggest asking her if she would be interested in going to church. You can go to the first couple weeks, and maybe she can meet someone her age to talk to and maybe if they come to visit, you can get a few minutes to yourself. I hope this helps. Hang in there!
I am sorry to hear about your mother jilas, that sounds tough also.
My grandmother does not go to church anymore, but she watches religious programs on tv and gets printed materials mailed to her. She can get obsessive with her beliefs and political views. We do have a friend that can take us out to lunch at least once a month but she stays very busy. My driving is limited to picking up groceries and medication or doctor visits. My grandmother feels she is ok now and wouldn't want more outside help. After her hospital stay, she had a home health nurse stop by for a quick visit for 2 weeks.
As for me, I don't want to take any medication that could make me drowsy or cause symptoms of my own since I need to be ready if something happens to my grandma.
I am going to try some counseling.