Guilt after arguing!!!

Happyone

Registered User
Apr 2, 2008
31
Hi Everyone

My MIL has Alzheimers (I would say Stage 5 - she scores around 20 on MMSE but is increasingly confused and not coping - looking at some of your posts I realise that the MMSE does not always correlate with the confusion that can be observed). She has also recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. The consultant treating the breast cancer has decided they will treat her with Tamoxifen in order to slow down the progression of the cancer - she is very frail and it is unlikely she would stand surgery anyway. She is still in total denial of her Alzheimers.

She understands that she has cancer - she does not really comprehend what that means. She does however realise that she must take her tamoxifen tablet daily and this has been added into her blister packs. She has been on 10mcg aricept for 18 months. My problem is that she has started to take too many of the tablets - and then demanding that we leave more for her!!! We obviously have had to take action. Last week she took 3 days worth of tamoxifen in one day - she then claimed that she hadnt taken them - "someone else" must have had them and accused us (my husband and I) of wanting her to die because we wouldnt give her any more tamoxifen!!! We are now leaving the tablets on a daily basis to ensure this doesnt happen again and she now says we are treating her like a child. We have tried to explain why we are doing this, but she just gets angry. It seems there is conflict every time we go at the moment (which is every day as we take them a hot meal). I feel so guilty as in a way, she is right - we are treating her as we would a child, but it is surely our responsibility to keep her safe. I think we are doing the right thing, but it doesnt help the way we feel.

Sorry for the long post - just needed to "share" with people I know will understand.

Tracey
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
60,910
68
Dundee
Hi Tracey. I know you will find TP to be a great help. When you want to share or let off steam. Take care. Izzy x
 

TinaT

Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
7,095
Bolton
I do understand how difficult it is to take care of a person with dementia. You are obviously doing the right thing in giving out the tablets on a daily basis.

I think you should harden your heart to the accusations of 'treating her like a child'. Whether she realises it or not, she has been sadly struck with two very serious diseases and you are right to keep a close eye on her. It is very hard to walk the fine line between keeping someone safe and allowing them independance. Independance does mean a certain amount of risk but when the risk of her poisoning herself is so great, you would be duty bound to step in.

You mention giving 'them' their meals. Has she a partner with her? If so, it does mean that you would have to convince the partner that it is in her best interests and get them on your side.

xxTinaT
 

muse

Registered User
May 27, 2008
599
Cambridge
Hi Tracey

I'm sure you're doing the right thing. I've just read another post where someone said that this illness makes us all incredibly creative/inventive. It's true, with time, and the help of this forum, we all find our own ways of dealing with these problems and at the same time trying to keep our loved one's dignity intact. I once thought I was pretty good at white lies as a teenager (I could never lie outright if questioned, but had no problem with being economical with the truth), but that's nothing compared with the lies I'm telling now.

In short, do the right thing and be creative about the reasons you give MIL.

Good luck - Kathy
 

Happyone

Registered User
Apr 2, 2008
31
Thanks for your replies.

Tina - she still has her husband living with her. Unfortunately, he also has vascular dementia and emphysema - he is still more able than she is although they make a great pair - they rely on each other so much! What one can do, the other can't and vice versa:confused::)
It is very much like the "twilight zone" most days in their flat - but they are still living at home at the moment. They live in sheltered accommodation and the other people there help us in keeping an eye on them when we aren't there. We still have to go in daily though.
Dementia is an evil disease - it just saddens me greatly that they are both affected, albeit in differen ways and to different degrees at the moment.
 

TinaT

Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
7,095
Bolton
My heart sinks when I realise just what you have to cope with. God bless you, what a hard job you have. I'm glad that the neighbours help. My mother's next door neighbours were in a similar position to what you describe and they managed to live together with family and neighbour help for a very long time indeed. I once went in to help them with something and was shocked at the state of how they were living. We do what we can for as long as we can.
xxTinaT
 

amy2512

Registered User
Dec 11, 2007
51
Cambridgeshire
Hello Tracey,

I totally understand how frustated and sad you must be feeling with this situation. I am so sorry to hear your poor MIL has both AD and cancer :(

On a practical note we are going through the same problem regarding medication for Mum and her CPN recommended something like this

http://www.atdementia.org.uk/productDetails.asp?searchmethod=cats&cat_id=1&subcat_id=5&product_id=81&page=1&referer=productSearch[d]asp[q]search[e]go[a]searchmethod[e]cats[a]cat_id[e]1[a]subcat_id[e]5[a]page[e]1

Which is a pill dispensing system that can be pre-set to open a compartment once a day at a set time, subsequent compartments wont open until the correct time, so overdosing as it were wouldn't be a problem. Would something like this be suitable for your MIL? This way while you would have to fill it, she could be left unsupervised to take her medication and she may feel like she hasn't lost her independence etc and you aren't 'treating her like a child' (something which I have been accused of many a time, so I understand how hurtful and frustrating it is when you are only trying to help).

Amy
 

BeverleyY

Registered User
Jan 29, 2008
716
Ashford, Kent
Oh yes... I know this one...! Regular occurence.

I constantly say this illness drives us carers to be inventive, creative and downright deceitful at times.

If Dad wants tablets, and has already had the maximum he can have of painkillers etc.... we give him vitamins:rolleyes:

We have pots of vitamins, minerals, cod liver oil... vitamin c... you name it.

You want pills Dad.. you got it!:D

Rather than get into an argument (and don't feel guilty, because we all do it no matter how hard we try not to) just give her a vitamin!

Hope that helps.

Beverley x
 

happisoo

Registered User
Dec 10, 2009
73
north wales
happisoo

i agree with the inventiveness you have to have in order to cope with this challenging and incredible disease. My mum has s o many defences with her vascular dementia, she is so contradictory , argumentive and defensive it could and frequently does leave me defeated and overwhelmed. I have learnt how to make jokes almost as often as she does and realise that a lot of her behaviour was around when I was a child - the neediness and defensiveness which drove me nuts then -remained undealt with and seems to have crystallized into her present self. A great teacher for personal growth. Please dont judge yourself for those very natural feelings of anger frustration and hurt. They are important in helping you to turn them into strengths which can work to your advantage. As someone else said harden up, practice letting the remarks be like water off a duck's back, it's really ok and it's good for your sanity, and it works. Guilt don't get you nowhere. xx
 

Happyone

Registered User
Apr 2, 2008
31
Thank you all so much for your helpful comments and good wishes. The pill timer dispenser looks like a great idea and worth exploring more. I totally see the need to try and let comments wash over me ....and I am trying to do this.
Things have been a little calmer this week, but then we (and by that "we" I mean everyone who belongs to this forum, whether they just read it, or comment regularly)all know how quickly the next crisis can occur with this disease!

Thank you all again.

Tracey x
 

Nebiroth

Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
3,511
I don;t think that special tablet boxes or anything will help with this. The problem is that your MIL genuinely

*doesn't remember taking the tablets

*genuinely believes that someone else is taking them because it's her only way of explaining the fact that they are "disappearing"

* also genuinely believes that the only explanation for your denying her more tablets is that you want her to die of the cancer

You can present her with the actual facts until you are blue in the face, it won't make any difference. She has her beliefs and will stick with them; dementia brains simply do not take in new facts, and will not accept logic, reason or common sense espescially where these conflict with the world they have established in their own minds (this is called "confabulation")

This is an argument you cannot win, and it will cause lots of grief if you try.

Simply obtain harmless placebos, there are plenty of vitamin pills, mints, sweets etc and when she demands more tablets give her some of these. All you need do is ensure that she is receiving the correct dose of Tamoxifen and can't get hold of more.
 

Mo_N

Registered User
Oct 29, 2009
1,007
69
South East Essex
Hi Tracey,
Sorry to hear you're having a tough time at the moment. It's hard enough having one parent with dementia but with both you really do have your work cut out.

Have you discussed the problem with the tablets with your mum's doctor? It may be possible to get the district or community nurse to go in to give the tamoxifen.

Unfortunately it is the nature of the illness that sufferers do have to be treated like children. Sometimes I find talking to Mum is much like talking to my grandsons who are just 5 & 3!

I'm sure other TP'ers will have some good ideas for you.

Mo
x
 

BeverleyY

Registered User
Jan 29, 2008
716
Ashford, Kent
You can present her with the actual facts until you are blue in the face, it won't make any difference. She has her beliefs and will stick with them; dementia brains simply do not take in new facts, and will not accept logic, reason or common sense espescially where these conflict with the world they have established in their own minds (this is called "confabulation")

This is an argument you cannot win, and it will cause lots of grief if you try.

Simply obtain harmless placebos, there are plenty of vitamin pills, mints, sweets etc and when she demands more tablets give her some of these. All you need do is ensure that she is receiving the correct dose of Tamoxifen and can't get hold of more.
Exactly (as I said above, we give Dad vitamins etc.)

You are totally right when you say they will not accept any logic, reason or common sense.

We just got Dad a new tracker. Yesterday evening he got it out of his pocket and said 'look what I found on the pavement'. I told him he hadn't found it and that I had given it to him. 'No, I found it on the floor, so I'll put it in the bin'.:eek: No, I gave it to you, it cost a lot of money etc. etc.

Even after I showed him the box (complete with picture), plugged the charger in (a perfect fit) he still would simply not have it that I had given it to him. He had created this false memory that he had found it in the street, and no amount of boxes, chargers etc. were going to convince him otherwise. Even when I asked him how he thought I could possibly have the box etc. he simply said it was a look-alike and a total coincidence. (one of those desperately frustrating moments for me - I had to just drop the issue and hope that when I give him the device again in a couple of days, he has forgotten that he believes he found it).

Of course, I am now particularly bothered that he will throw this rather expensive new device in the bin..! :rolleyes:

Beverley x
 

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