An Embarrassing Incident at the Doctors

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by so unfair, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. so unfair

    so unfair Registered User

    Mar 27, 2015
    Last week I took MIL to the doctors for one of her many checkups and an embarrassing incident occurred that I don't want to experience again!

    Her doctors surgery always has a long wait time even when you've made the appointment a week in advance and then you are kept waiting anything up to an hour.

    This particular occasion I decided to take a newspaper in with us so that it would while away the time and stop MIL getting anxious about how long we were having to wait.

    We were looking through the paper quite happily when my MIL quite out of the blue looks at one headline and attempts to read it then laughs loudly out loud.

    The headline in question was about someone committing suicide. I could not believe it and was in shock for a moment and then pulled myself together and said oh that's awful. I then had to turn round to the people sitting behind us and mouth "I'm so sorry she's got dementia!"

    Has anyone else got experience of similar embarrassing incidents and if so how do you get round them. On this occasion all I could think about was changing the subject quickly and moving on to something else.:eek:
  2. looviloo

    looviloo Registered User

    May 3, 2015
    I think you did the right thing in moving on from the subject as quickly and smoothly as you could... it's all you could really do under the circumstances! It was in the news recently that one of the early signs of dementia (and presumably a later symptom too) is laughing at inappropriate things. I've had experience of it with my dad, although thankfully not so publicly. He would ask how I was, and I would tell him about any troubles or worries that we had (this was very early days) and he would laugh!!! Laugh at my misfortune!!! It really irked me at the time although I realised it was uncharacteristic, and his later dementia diagnosis explained his behaviour... now, I just don't tell him anything negative because I realise he wouldn't understand.

    Sorry you had to go through this with your mum :(. You are not alone!
  3. josephinewilson

    josephinewilson Registered User

    May 19, 2015
    I have taken my mum for blood tests and a doctor's appointments in recent months and quietly sunk down into my chair as she has commented on other patients - "Ooh look at her she's fat!" and "Look at those horrible tatoos all down his arm!" Even once a rather portly old nun came in , accompanied by two others and I had to endure a conversation of "What are they?"
    (Me "They're nuns")
    Mum "So they don't get married then?"
    (Me: No)
    Mum "Well they certainly eat a lot""!
  4. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    NO, you are not alone! My mum used to make unpleasant comments about people in the supermarket or coffee shop. I just used to mouth 'sorry, she's got dementia' to them, and steer her to her favourite food. In hospital she made racist comments about certain nurses, and I apologised to them.
    If I told her not to say what she said she would deny she ever said it, only thought it!
  5. looviloo

    looviloo Registered User

    May 3, 2015
    My mum did this, and it was hideously embarrassing! It wasn't dementia though, it was the strong medication she was on. Medication or dementia, whatever the cause is, it strips us of our inhibitions...
  6. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    Near Southampton
    Oh dear, now I'm laughing at inappropriate things now and as far as I am aware, I don't yet have dementia! Still better to laugh than to cry. :)
  7. Earthgirl72

    Earthgirl72 Registered User

    Feb 2, 2016
    My Dad is like this. We went to McDonalds (I know....) and there was a lady just quietly eating her burger.. Dad announced very loudly "Look at that fat heifer stuffing her face!"

    I wanted the ground to swallow me up.

    Worst thing was, she wasn't even big :rolleyes:

    This has also happened in various supermarkets.
  8. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    It's become a blessing that OH doesn't talk much anymore. Before that it was a litany of "wow, look how fat she is!" plus pointing and staring at people sporting purple hair and a ring in their nose.
  9. Onlyme

    Onlyme Registered User

    Apr 5, 2010
    Mum announced that she didn't want the very fat nurse to look after her. She also used racial language. I nearly died on the spot.

    A) this nurse was the most patient, kind and understanding person

    B) Mum was fatter than her.

    Mum made this nurse's life hell and reduced her to tears on a regular basis. I spent most of my time apologising as no one should have to listen to that.

    I know it's the illness but when I shouted at Mum in shock she said she didn't care, all her friends used that word too so there was a level of understanding.
  10. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    You're not the only one to laugh Saffie - I'm not sure what else is an appropriate response to what was quoted, because we know the affected person has dementia - of course if they didn't it would be a different matter, there has to be some pay offs for dealing with this condition - I don't say that lightly as humour often masks deep pain .
  11. Selinacroft

    Selinacroft Registered User

    Oct 10, 2015
    i had a memorable incident in the Dr's waiting room with Dad when he was well enough to go out. He's always been quiet and not sociable and we were sat next a lady who could talk for England, talk about chalk and cheese. Dad was extremely rude and said something along the lines of , "Cor she doesn't shut up does she?" The lady pipes up to me sat in between them? "What did he say?" I mumbled that I hadn't heard and she obviously had. She said "well it's better than sitting in silence like a stuffed dummy isn't it? . I thought they were going to start getting into a fight and was well pleased when the lady got called in:eek:
  12. josephinewilson

    josephinewilson Registered User

    May 19, 2015
    I must say, sometimes they say things we are thinking and agree with but are too restrained (dementia-free) to voice :) I am reminded of that famous poem - not about dementia particularly, but about getting old; When I am old I shall wear purple
  13. Aisling

    Aisling Registered User

    Dec 5, 2015
    Yes. changing subject is good. It works sometimes. You do the best you can in situations as you know. Obviously you handled that situation very well. Fair dues.

    This topic as a hobby horse of mine. Health services need to educate the public re dementia and Alyz. We have info and notices everywhere regarding other illnesses and how to respond. A person with disease has the right to be anywhere. If he/she makes comments then tough. It is their illness. Carers are up to their eyes caring and haven't time or energy to raise awareness and can only do so in small ways. Your MIL doesn't doesn't mean any of her comments.

    If a child is having a tantrum in public, we don't interfere unless we can help. Well we shouldn't interfere unless it is positive.

    I used to try to keep T from being in the way of other shoppers but now I just tell him to take his time. He has a right to be in the shop with me. I couldn't leave him in the car or he would be gone.

    In fairness I have been helped by many strangers and I find young people amazing.

    A few years ago I lost him in a large shopping mall and while talking to security, some young people in school uniforms heard me and off they went searching for him. They found him and while a few engaged him in conversation, the others came back to me. Isn't that amazing?

    As OH s disease gets worse, I have grown a very thick skin around people who take offence. If I am in a good mood, I explain discretely. If they tut tut etc I just give them my mile long stare that I inherited from my late mum!!

    There are places I can't take OH anymore as he can become confused and distressed or maybe upset someone who is vulnerable. An example of the latter is a wake or funeral. The last wake we went to he constantly asked who was the dead man in the bed and then went very close to the coffin and my heart stopped. How awful for the bereaved if he unintentionally tried to move something... Which could happen. I never thought of this beforehand.

    Years ago my sister took my Mum to a wake. Mum knew the person but at this stage of her life she was getting confused. She asked in a loud voice " who is in that coffin, I don't know her, followed by comments on hair does etc..... Not complementary either.i in the last year of her life we never told her anything about people dying. We do what we have to do in different situations. A new learning curve every day.

    I don't talk to OH about anything sad now and had to stop his sister telling him upsetting stuff. I relate all the good news daily to him. Much of it fabricated!! It keeps him happy for a short while.

    Please don't be embarrassed. You are brilliant and doing your best. Your MIL is so lucky to have you.

    Virtual hugs,

  14. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    Last year I took my Mum to her sister's funeral. Mum didn't have a diagnosis at that stage. Apart from not recognising her relatives and arguing with me about when my son's birthday is (the same day as hers!) she made rather inappropriate comments - such as asking what was going to happen to the 'bones and things' :(

    I went to the funeral of an old friend on Friday, told Mum about the loss but didn't even suggest she should go with me!
  15. Aisling

    Aisling Registered User

    Dec 5, 2015
    Oh yes Slugsta,

    I can identify with that. Sometimes one has to smile.

  16. henfenywfach

    henfenywfach Registered User

    May 23, 2013

    I regularly take my dad to his appointments. Same with our surgery wait wait wait.
    My dad was tired and sat next to a gent he knew and decided to go to sleep on his shoulder in the middle of the waiting room.
    The guy didn't really no what to do..but was very kind and said nothing..I made an excuse that it was too warm in the windows for him and moved him over gently.
    My dad then looked at the gent and said do you want a cup of tea?..pointed to me and waved his hand , go get him one.!

    We went into the gp at last. He spoke to my dad briefly ..He turned to his computer to check something still updating my dad. My dad had gone to sleep. The Dr was talking to himself.

    We don't laugh at him just with him. Even my dad chuckled when he woke up!!!.
    I've got a the frame of mind that unless it's dangerous or offensive or hurting someone..then people to change to fit my dad not my dad try to be normal to fit them!

    Best wishes
  17. Not so Rosy

    Not so Rosy Registered User

    Nov 30, 2013
    I think the polite filter we were all taught from an early age diminishes with Dementia.

    Fat seems to be a recurring theme. I hold my breath in any public situation with my Dad especially at the hospital or doctors. The usual phrase is "Good Lord, she is hefty, you would think she knows better working in healthcare". Embarrassing but very often an element of truth in what he says.

    Conversely he still (tries) to stand up for ladies, open doors for them and always says please and thank you to everyone.
  18. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    Near Southampton
    #18 Saffie, Mar 7, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
    So true Sue. I doubt anyone who has loved someone with dementia would ever laugh at the person saying such things but humour has a way of detracting from the situation. Think how many jokes there are about funerals!
    As opposed to a head-on fat comment, that from Josephine's mother came sideways which brought the chuckle - though not from the nun I suspect!
  19. cat64

    cat64 Registered User

    Sep 1, 2014
    oh lor dont get me started.....mum and her very offensive conversations are endless...and when a gay couple moved in next door to her well I just prayed she didn't say too much whenever we met them!.....and yes she is very racist too.

    Its like all filters go with dementia isnt it?:(

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