1. Zooey

    Zooey Registered User

    Hi there everyone. It's me again. I have been keeping an eye on the site, but I'm very busy at work now (they decided not to make me redundant after all). It's been manic with the zoo as well and one of our cats had another brain operation today. It sounds cruel, but she has a benign cyst which is drained using ultrasound and a fine needle when necessary. This time she lasted for nearly 7 months, which is really good. Tomorrow I have to do the 200 mile round trip again, only on top of half a day at work. At least it's for a happy reason.

    I wish I could say something similar about my Mum, but she's only been in the care home for 5 weeks and she's going downhill fast. Her dementia isn't too bad - she was borderline on the test a few months ago. She does have a lot of medical problems though - angina, low blood pressure, near end stage kidney failure and now a thyroid problem. The home is fantastic and it's only two miles from where we live. I know my Mum doesn't have that long, but if she took care of herself we could still make some happy memories. The problem is that she was never good at socialising and she just won't join in. They managed to get her dressed and downstairs during the first 3 weeks, but now she's taken to her bed and won't get up. She's refusing to wash as well and... well, refusing everything basically. She's been difficult with food for at least the last 18 months, but now she won't eat or drink at all. I understand that you can feel sick with kidney failure, but when I ask she says that's not the case. She doesn't have heartburn or stomach pains either. The home have been great and serve up 2 meals when I'm there in the hope she will eat with me around, but that hasn't worked. I've tried logic - telling her we all need so many calories to function, but she won't listen. Today I'm afraid I got cross with her because she is just being so stubborn about this. The home have called the doctor again, but I can see she's going to end up in hospital very soon. Her kidneys won't tolerate this kind of treatment for much longer...
  2. gigi

    gigi Registered User

    Nov 16, 2007
    East Midlands
    Hello Zooey,

    Sorry to be so blunt ..surely if your mum could take care of herself she would not be in a nursing home?(or care home)

    I understand your concern..and that she has dementia..but at the same time your mum seems to have a lot of physical problems which are outweighing the dementia..and over which your mum has no control..she does sound like a very sick lady.

    You are doing your best for her..give her love ..be there when you can..it does sound as though she needs medical support..if that's so try to give her reassurance that it's the right thing for her..

    Do keep in touch...Love Gigi xx
  3. christine_batch

    christine_batch Registered User

    Jul 31, 2007
    Dear Zooey,
    I agree with Gigi and you can only show your Mum love, which I have no doubt you are giving her in abundence.
    It sounds that everyone is doing there best for your Mum but there is only so much the body can take.
    I pray that you have some better news.
    Take care of yourself.
    Best wishes
  4. Doreen99

    Doreen99 Registered User

    Jan 12, 2008
    Hi Zooey

    sorry to hear about your problems with your mum. I'm afraid logic just doesn't work with dementia sufferers, I know you said she was borderline, but it could still be affecting the way she thinks.

    You - and the care home - can only do your best for her. If she ignores what you're saying, I don't know that there is a great deal the home (or you) can do to MAKE her take notice.

    It must be very frustrating for you, and I knows it's difficult to accept that sometimes there is little or nothing you can actually do to solve a problem.

    I will keep my fingers crossed that she does start to eat again and I wish you well.
  5. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    Dear Zooey, we conversed a while ago. Don't know if that was before or after our oldest cat passed away. We found him in the downstairs loo only seconds after he had gone, got him to the vet still warm, but sadly he had multiple tumours on his pancreas, and passed away aged 16 with no pain, and in seconds.

    It sounds as if your mum has a lot of problems. You say she has late end kidney problems (my mum has signs of that), and her appetite has gone, and there is not a lot you can do, cos that is a common response. Low blood pressure can be a greater problem than high blood pressure, which is relatively easily treatable.

    Not drinking is also a problem with the kidneys, lots of old people don't appreciate that drinking water is a help, they think that half a glass a day is a lot. There is not much you can do, you can't force it down her.

    My mum also isn't good at socialising, but she is still keen on keeping herself clean (after a fashion!), and she does have a good appetite. But logic doesn't work. Mum has a kidney infection, I have told her to drink loads of water, not a chance. Then she gets cystitis so I take her cranberry juice, half a wine glass a day is all she has. No use at all, but what can you do? The staff at the home don't have the time to keep checking on who is drinking what (another issue), and I feel sometimes I am fighting a losing battle.

    I hope you get the support you need for you mum.

    Much love

  6. Taffy

    Taffy Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
    Dear Zooey,

    It must be very reassuring knowing that your mum is in such caring hands. It's not uncommon for the elderly when sick to take to their bed. I realise how anxious and frustrated you must feel knowing that if she took some fluids and food in that she may pick up a little.

    All you can do is what you are already doing by encouragement. In the long run it is all up to your mum I know it isn't easy standing back watching a situation develop that could be so easily turned around BUT only your mum really knows how she is feeling and the choice will be hers. Take Care, Taffy.
  7. Zooey

    Zooey Registered User

    Thank you all for your replies. I'll have to keep this brief as I'm supposed to be cleaning litter trays right now.

    The thing that's bothering me more than anything else is that I'm starting to get really negative feelings towards my Mum. We've never been close, but I've always been there for her since my Dad died over 14 years ago. I phone at least twice a day and I've organised everything. I was awake most of last night thinking really horrible things. I imagined I was in her room telling her how ungrateful and selfish she is. I guess I'm a fighter and it makes me angry that she seems to have thrown in the towel with no good reason. She seems OK in the home. She's not complained about anything and she has only mentioned her old place once - and that wasn't a desire to return. She agrees the staff are nice and her room is pretty. She even likes the doctor. I'm starting to think she has anorexia as I know someone at work with the condition and I've read quite a bit on the subject. When I told my Mum she hadn't eaten at all for three days she just held her arms in front of her and said "what's wrong with me?" She is cross that they've called the doctor again and refuses to listen to what we're saying.

    I know you're all right though and in the end we can't force her to eat or drink. My Dad died suddenly at 72, still so full of life. It makes me sad to see my Mum like this, but just as you can't be responsible for another person's happiness, I guess you can't be responsible for their life either. I'll have to deal with my own negative thoughts. The best plan seems to be to stay away for a few days, but I'm scared we're fast running out of time.
  8. SusanB

    SusanB Registered User

    Jan 15, 2008
    Hello, Zooey

    I do feel for you and it seems that your Mum is slipping away. As soon as we lose the will to eat/drink (a basic need, after all) it seems that the will to live starts to disappear into think air. I know that this isn't what you really want to hear but from your first post you seem to have acknowledged this - very sad indeed. The only thing that you can do is carry on with what you have already been doing. You are a star!!

    Don't worry about the angry/sad/negative feelings. I feel the same way too. I've never been what you would call close to my Mum (I'm one of four and we all feel the same). To be brutal she's not really a nice person and just because she has dementia and heart problems, it doesn't make it easier/harder to deal with. There, I said it. How horrible am I? Very.

    Her stubborness and anger sometimes hardens my heart. I expect you feel the same way too.

    Remember - you only IMAGINED youself telling her how you feel.

    Take care
  9. germain

    germain Registered User

    Jul 7, 2007
    Hello Zooey & Susan,

    For the last few years all the pro's have told us what a joy our Mum is - full of humour, even when she can't verbalise it etc

    Well to her two daughters she's been an absolute old bag (sorry) and is getting more aggressive and bad mannered with us by the day.

    For instance - today, my sister was visiting the CH during a group game of skittles - Mum grabbed the two balls and absolutely refused to give them back or play the game so everyone else had to stop playing. She folded her arms and put her head back in the chair with her eyes tight closed. As soon as my sister got up to leave she was all innocence and sweet again. Last night she got my handbag in an iron grip and it had to be forcibly prised away from her - and she threw half a carton of Ensure over me quite deliberately.

    Not sure why - could be she still has a little vestige of proper behaviour with strangers (the carers) - but its very hard to love someone who not only has dementia but seems to be wanting to take it out all the time on her so-called nearest and dearest ! She can act like a really malicious spiteful little child - most often when we visit !

    In a strange way tho' - the madder I get the less guilty I feel
    about the CH so maybe a blessing in disguise ?

  10. SusanB

    SusanB Registered User

    Jan 15, 2008
    Oh Germain!

    It would be funny under normal circumstances, wouldn't it? I expect you both boil with rage and die of embarrassment, don't you? Family relationships, esp parent/child are loaded with all sorts of issues that we don't even know that we're aware of, I think. You know...treasure your sister's support. I feel for people who don't have sisters/brothers - even tho in my case I'm the one doing all the hard work at the mo. (This is going to change if it's the last thing I do)

    Same situation as you with my mum: she only gets REALLY angry with me (mostly when she has to do something she doesn't want to do) and screams her head off. It's really....horrible. There's nothing wrong with her memory, health, fitness, heart you name it and guess what: she "goes swimming at least twice a week" :rolleyes:

    Jeez. Anyway, rant over!
  11. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Germain, Zooey & Susan,
    My mother & I were incredibly close when she was well, but at certain stages of her disease (she's in the final stage of AD now) she irritated & maddened me beyond belief. I have shouted at her and have harboured more than negative thoughts. There was even a point for a couple of months when I felt no emotion towards her except that I wanted everything to be over. It's all part of the disease stages that carers and family go through, I think.

    It's just life, it's how we get through, it's about being human.
  12. Zooey

    Zooey Registered User

    Well here I am doing litter trays again. I'm sorry to hear others are experiencing negative thoughts, but it is what makes us human. At least I got my ranting over in my imagination - I feel for those of you who are being pushed beyond your limits.

    We had a good day yesterday in that we were able to bring Purdy (cat) home from the specialist vet. You wouldn't believe she had a brain operation on Monday. She purrs non-stop for all the staff and she was a good as gold coming home in the car. I sit in the back with her on a harness and she's happy to lie on her side of the car, or sit on my lap and look out of the window.

    I'm not sure I can visit my Mum today - we're both very busy at work and today my husband has a meeting (this time HE'S under threat of redundancy). Will it never end? I think I'll phone the CH and see if my Mum has eaten and find out what the doctor said. I'll probably tell my thoughts to the staff to see if they can give me any advice. I do feel calmer now, but it's a difficult path to tread. If I say nothing at all about food, then I'm condoning my Mum starving herself to death. On the other hand, I don't want to make every visit an issue about food and drink.

    Better go now - I have a diabetic cat to inject!

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