Newbie intro - plus a bit of help needed

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Gromit, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    Wow what a website - have just been reading through and found so many touching experiences and wonderful words of support. A real community spirit. Therefore, this has pursuaded me to take the plunge and attempt an intro and ask for your help:

    I'm 33, married (wonderful hubby, no kids as yet) and live and work in Edinburgh. The reason I have stumbled onto this forum is that I am worried that my Dad may be showing early signs of A or something else.

    My parents live 230 miles away from me and 90 miles from my brother. Having recently returned from a visit to see for myself (Dad thought I was there for a mini holiday with them) I can confirm my Mum's worries (I talk to my Mum at least every two days on the telephone - though sometimes several times a day more recently).

    My Dad appears to be asking the same questions and is very repetative. He certainly struggles with what day it is (though sometimes gets it right). He retired 4 years ago (he is 69) but still has a little P/T job driving (he was a truck driver). His driving still appears sound, his movement is fine, but he seems to suffer alot of short term memory loss, doesn't retain answers to the questions he asks - hence repeating the questions. He point blank refuses to see a doctor and says it's just old age, I don't think he thinks there is a problem. He is also very short tempered, particularly with my poor Mum. When she reminds him of something sometimes he won't believe her and it turns into an argument. He has also now forgotten how to turn the central heating on and off (had the same system for about 8 years!). He will start a task (ie. dinner) then sit down half way through and forget about it (reads the paper). He either denies the problem, changes the subject, covers it up (very good at this by the way) or gets annoyed. My Mum is doing her best to keep him straight, but I'm sure it must be taking its toll. Plus he doesn't help out at home like he used to anymore - so that means more for Mum to do.

    My visit was to try and pursuade him to go to the doc's but I failed. Therefore I will be visiting Mum and Dad again at Easter and try again (trying for the wear him down - go to the doc's just to get me off his case tactic - Daddy's little girl attempt didn't work, Mum is very worried tactic didn't work either).

    Does anyone think these symptoms could be A? Or something else? Are they similar? Not sure if I am over-reacting, but if it is something sinister surely early diagnosis is key? How do I get a very proud, stubborn (typical Yorkshireman) who I love very much to go to the doc's? (Nevermind a clinic!) By the way I have tried to get him to the doc's on other pretences - but he is too sharp a cookie to fall for it! My Grandma (My Dad's mum) died when I was four and I recall going to visit her in a home - she didn't know who we were - so looks to me like it was Dementia or similar. Perhaps this is what worries my Dad - not that he will talk about any of it!

    My brother isn't the most tactful and has now resorted to trying to make a joke out of it - unfortunately his inspiration comes from coronation street and has started calling Dad "Mike" - not very sensitive is it, but perhaps its the only way my brother thinks will help (or can deal with it). Plus my Dad watches Coronation St ( I don't, but was horrified when I watched it for the first time with him the other day - no wonder he seems to be burrying his head in the sand!).

    Sorry for the lengthy note - but you all do seem very helpful and supportive in the postings I have read so I thought I would try type as much down as possible. I look forward to hearing from you, any suggestions would be gratefully received.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    3,433
    Suffolk,England
    Hi Gromit

    Welcome to TP.

    Your Dad's behaviour & forgetfulness sound very much like my Mum's (Yorkshire blood there too, same stubbornness!) although she's much older than him.

    A couple of ideas (which you may have already thought of, but here goes):

    Does your Dad use the same GP as your Mum? If so, could she go to the Dr. on her own and discuss her worries with him/her?

    As his daughter, I wouldn't think it would be out of line for you to write to your Dad's GP, saying just what you've said here (or more, if there is any) and that you are very concerned both for your Dad, and the increasing strain your Mum is experiencing.

    "Doctor's confidence" means that the doctor doesn't disclose information about his/her patient without their consent, but so far as I know it doesn't prevent the doctor taking on board the concerns of immediate family, especially if the 'patient' never darkens the surgery door!

    (PS - Tell your brother to button his Yorkshire lip and try engaging his brain!)

    Best wishes
     
  3. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    Re Getting Dad to the Doc - Thanks Lynne

    Thanks Lynne.

    Mum has spoken to our GP but apparently we have been told there is nothing can be done unless he comes in himself. However, I don't think this is good enough! So I am going to take your advice and write to our GP. Goodness, it's our family GP - we have been going there so long it is now the GP's son that we deal with - surely two generations of the same doc family should count?


    Have told my brother not to call him Mike - unfortunately though my brother can be a pain in the bum (he's married to a nurse would you believe it - and won't listen to her!) - 23 years in the army brings out an odd sense of humour, having left the army I had hoped it would wear off him - seems not! Yep - as you can probably tell I'm slightly annoyed with him (sibling thing I suppose).

    Many thanks for the quick response - I will try keep posting so that we can see how this develops and perhaps one day it may be helpful to somebody else in the same situation.

    Good to know your Mum is also a Yorkshire Lass!
    All the very best to you.
     
  4. maggier

    maggier Registered User

    Jan 9, 2006
    78
    manchester
    Hi Gromit

    I too found this site and had a look every day for weeks before I finally took the plunge and registered. It was the best thing to help me deal with and come to terms with problems surrounding Mum's illness (she too is a yorkshire lass!!)

    Mum also was/is very stubbon and does not even begin to think there is anything wrong with her which is the most difficult aspect sometimes because if they had a physical illness, they would be only too keen to get to the doc's and take whatever treatment to help make them better.

    We could not get her to the doctors at first, so my brother and I made an appointment together and explained that we needed an extended appointment as we wanted to discuss our Mum and our worries and concerns about her. Our GP was brilliant and wrote to mum on the pretext of getting her in for a check up (she was already on blood pressure tablets so this helped) He got her in and did the usual blood pressure checks but he was craftily asking her some questions at the same time, as part of a conversation, so she didn't suspect anything at the time. The later on we were to phone him and he had another chat with us about Mum and said she was showing signs of some kind of dementia.

    Things got worse over night when mum seemed to lose the ability to string words together, as if she had forgotten the words and names for things. We spoke again to her GP and he suspected she may have had a series of mini strokes which may have caused her to be confused and forgetful. (Vascular dementia).

    slowly over time we have managed to get carers in each day and we told her it was more for our sake than hers, as we were worried about her whilst we were at work so we arranged for them to look in on h er during the day. She wasn't over happy but she did accept it, albeit she won't let them do anything for her, but it gives us peace of mind whilst we are at work that if she had a fall or was not well, we would at least be alerted to this.

    We have managed to get mum a visit from a geriatric phsychiatrist (at home) and we told her he was from the benefits agency to try and get her some more money (a lie but it worked) and she also had a brain scan last week, but we never thought we would have got her to hospital for this in a million years, we told her it was just a new x-ray machine and she was as good as gold.

    It's not all plain sailing but you work out ways to kid them as time goes by. At first I felt really bad lying to her, but now I feel it is for her own good and a means to an end. She is now on two types of medication having been diagnosed with anxiety depression and dementia and on the whole is a lot brighter and happier than she had been before.

    Good luck with your dad and I hope you can manage to get things sorted out and get him to the GP sooner rather than later, even on the pretext of something else. (maybe a medical of some sort for his driving!)

    Love and hugs

    Maggie x


    PS this site as it is fantastic and has helped me loads!!!
     
  5. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Another way is for the doctor to arrange a joint "MOT" for your Mum and Dad; that way they both go along as a 'normal procedure'. Doctor would need to go along with it, but I wouldn't expect that to be a problem, especially as there are fears of dementia and Dad is still driving, and a lorry.....
     
  6. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    Getting my Dad to the doc

    Nada and Maggier - thanks for the responses. Hadn't realised there were so many other things it could be - was aware of furring of the arteries but not thyroid and urine infections etc.

    I totally agree it is very important to get a diagnosis - hence this is my concern - I can't get my Dad to go to the doctors. No one can. We are trying but he thinks its old age - or that there is nothing wrong. I have tried reasoning, begging, bribing, conning - you name it. We have even tried to get him there under false pretences (i.e. my Mum has gone to the doctors - but he stayed in the car and refused to go in with her).

    My Dad was playing with my brother's dogs yesterday and one of them accidentally bit his hand instead of the toy. How awful but I thought "great - he'll need a tetnus jab" (sorry don't know how to spell it). Would he go? Absolutely not. No a handkerchief and a plaster would do instead. Can't even get him to the Doc's for any physical ailment either!!

    I'm planning on writing to my parent's GP. I also plan to visit them again at Easter (Edinburgh to Yorkshire is a long trip - plus I work full-time so its difficult to squeeze into weekends). Though if things get worse - Dad will come first and work will just have to understand! At the minute he seems ok most of the time, doing the groceries, still doing his driving job. By the way he had his medical a few months back and they didn't pick up on anything!!! Though I suppose they wouldn't be looking. However, he will have to have it again (yearly I believe) and I will be ready this time!!! (Mum didn't tell me when he was going last time - Mum had been keeping most of these issues from me until this last month or so - didn't want me worrying). However, I would like to get him to the docs sooner rather than wait for his next medical. Maggier - your approach at getting the doctor to send for your Mum under a pretext sounds like a great idea - not sure if our doc would do it though. Think I will get Mum to make an appointment with the doc and I will go with her - though Dad may cotton on to what we are up to!

    Many thanks again for your responses - all suggestions are very helpful - and it really is good share this with those of you who have gone through this.

    Yorkshire does seem to have a strong stubborn gene doesn't it - I'm sure my husband will agree!!! (I'm Yorkshire he's Scottish! What a combo!).

    Glad I decided to join TP - shouldn't have been so apprehensive!! If anyone else is reading this and wondering whether to join - please do!
     
  7. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    Getting Dad to the Doc

    Brucie - thanks also for the response - not used to this forum and thread thing. Had posted my response before I saw yours!!!

    Yep the driving the lorry thing has me very worried too! I did go out with him in the car alot last week - driving skills haven't been effected (though that isn't to say they won't be later) - I think this is a worry for him - doesn't want to lose his p/t job (drives van/lorry once or twice a week) - seems to be still second nature for him. I had wondered if since retiring this is what has caused his memory loss - boredom perhaps? Depression? Whenever he visits me (loves Edinburgh by the way) the first thing he asks every day is "what's on the agenda today then?" we have to be doing lots of things. Then when I visited last week - exactly the same - had to be doing lots of things. Odd that someone who needs to be busy will have days where they just read the paper and sleep in the chair.

    Mum reckons he's having a good day today (we are now having secret telephone conversations) and has been doing quite a bit of DIY in the garden. Plus he has been asked to work tomorrow - this seems to have really perked him up.

    Now I have myself wondering - am I reading into this - is there anything wrong or not?

    Confused. But will get to the bottom of it!

    Thanks everyone! Great to be getting all these ideas!
     
  8. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    3,452
    Liverpool
    #8 noelphobic, Apr 3, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2006
    I just wondered whether you dad has always been reluctant to go to see the GP or whether this is a relatively new thing? It's just that it occurred to me that maybe he does think something is wrong and is afraid to know? Or that he's worried that if he's diagnosed with something he will have to give up driving?

    I could be totally wrong here but thought it was worth mentioning the possibility.

    It must be really hard for you to have to deal with all this from a distance. My dad died over a year ago after which my mum went into a home. There have been all kinds of problems before and since but at least my sister and I lived quite close and could be there in a hurry if needed.
     
  9. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    noelphobic - thanks for response

    I think you could be right. I think my dad know's something is wrong, perhaps not the extent (how could he if he can't remember), and definitely wouldn't want to loose his driving license - what no work? That would end him I think.

    Dad has always been reluctant to see the GP - but after alot of badgering he normally will give in (emphasis on the "alot"). This time its different - he has certainly dug his heals in and won't be budged.

    Very sorry to hear about your Dad, plus your Mum having to go to a home soon afterwards. Near or far I think we all have difficulties and none of this is easy.

    Have been trying to pursuade Mum and Dad to move to Edinburgh (they don't fancy moving near my brother) - but its a bit pricey for them up here. I'm also worried that having worked all their life if they needed care in years to come they would lose out on their home!! They always wanted to be able to pass something on to family!

    I came up with what could be an idea - buy a place near us and use the proceeds from their house plus we would make up the rest of the capital needed to buy a porpery as a mortgage in our names - would that get round the loop hole - or does that 7 year thing still apply - surely they couldn't force me and my hubby to sell a property that would be mortgaged in our names? Just a thought - My Mum is concerned they might lose everything they worked for - and understandably so.

    But I don't want to look like we are using their capital just so we can buy another property! We are also in a similar position with my in-laws (re what happens in the future - no dementia symptoms though - but as they say - no longer spring chickens!).

    Many thanks for your response. Sharing is very therapeutic.
    All the best to you.
     
  10. DickG

    DickG Registered User

    Feb 26, 2006
    558
    Stow-on-the-Wold
    Hi Grommit

    Welcome.

    I too had problems getting my wife to see the doctor. The solution in my case was simple - on my request our GP sent a letter to Mary saying that he had made an appointment for her to see the practice nurse for a routine check up since she had recently retired. The nurse referred her to the GP which started the ball rolling.

    I don't wish to give the impression that everything was fine from then on, it was just the first essential painful step. Most problems in this crazy situation seem to be sorted out in the end, it is just the process that is emotionally draining.

    Keep in touch.

    Hugs

    Dick
     
  11. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    Getting Dad to the Doc - thanks Dick

    Hi Dick,

    Thank you for your message. Well it looks like I am going to be conducting a "sting" operation to get my Dad to the doc! I've got hold of his GP's phone number and now hopefully have a time slot to talk to the Doctor tomorrow morning. So will keep you posted on the plot we decide to go for to get my Dad unsuspecting to the Doctors - it all feels a bit underhand and sneaky - but I'll do what I have to do.

    I think you are right - trying to get things going is emotionally draining - at the moment we have no idea what really is wrong (if wrong is the right word) - without any answers or even a starting point its difficult to know what to do or think going forward. I'm still hoping once we get him to the Doctors (failure is not an option) that it could just be something that can easily be treated - however, if it isn't then I'd rather we know and can started doing something about it now.

    It looks like alot of people have started off with the same problem of trying to get their loved one's (parents or spouses) to the doctors. Gosh I hadn't realised - thought it was just my Dad being his usual awkward self - he's never been out of the country either - couldn't get him on an airoplane - "if God wanted me to fly he would have given me wings" - probably gives you an idea of what I'm dealing with (oh by the way - he isn't religious either!!!!). He does however like to tell alot of jokes and wind people up - that side of him doesn't seem to be changing! I asked him if he keeps forgetting and I have children in the future how will he know his grandkids names - know what he said? "Stick name badges on them!". So I suppose he does realise he is forgetting - just doesn't realise that it is a problem and needs diagnosing.
    Aarrgh! ...................Ah, that feels better!

    Take care Dick - and everyone else out there!
    X
     
  12. dmc

    dmc Registered User

    Mar 13, 2006
    1,157
    hi

    Hi gromit

    ive got no advice to give, just wanted to say hi and hope you manage to get your dad to the doctor, and hopefully get a good outcome,
    good luck i'll be watching to see how your getting on
    best wishes:)
     
  13. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    #13 Norman, Apr 3, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2006
    Hi Gromit
    welcome to TP.
    You have had loads of advice ,I do not think I can add much more,do have a look at the fact sheets,they can all be found at
    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/Facts_about_dementia/factsheets.htm.
    As you said yourself much of Dad's problems have been experienced by others on this site,and the first advice is always to see your GP,this is the gate way to all help.
    I think it was Bruce that suggested the MOT,another thought have they had the 'flu and pneumonia injections?
    Would the Gp play ball and send for them both if they haven't?
    Good luck
    Norman
     
  14. May

    May Registered User

    Oct 15, 2005
    627
    Yorkshire
    Hi Gromit
    Lots of great advice already and as you've gathered that first step to the doctor's seems to be a stumbling block for many people. My advice, lie through your teeth (difficult I know when Mum & Dad brought you up to be truthful), but you can always cross all fingers AND toes whilst doing it !:D If it gets Dad to see the doc there's no harm in it... When my Mum started getting forgetful and because she's always been as stubborn as they come, Dad started to keep a diary, nothing flash, just basic stuff, did they go out/ stay in/ see the family etc. He used the excuse that HE didn't what to forget what they'd done. It did help (also because he could give some info to the doc on how she had been (this was way before we had a diagnosis). Hope you manage to get things sorted, not easy when you live at such a distance.

    And from one Yorkshire lass to another, I reckon Lynne has the right idea for your brother!:D
     
  15. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    Thank you to everyone for your help and advice. Here is the latest update. I have spoken to my Dad's doctor this morning, he agrees that there would seem to be a problem that needs diagnosis. He was a little bit concerned about the ethics of getting my Dad to come in under false pretence, however, Dad hasn't been in for the pnuemonia jab - and although this is normally done by a nurse the doctor is going to write to him personally and will administer the jab himself - quite impressed with myself as I prompted him into this action - I'm normally a bit nervous of docs myself! Thanks to you all for the encouragement! We aren't too confident that he will go in for the jab - (he wouldn't go for the tetanus) so to try combat this he is going to also suggest some sort of check up in the letter too. Great!

    I have explained of all the symptoms and how it is not only impacting on my Dad's well being and happiness but also that of my Mum's. If my Dad does go to see the Doc he will try and get to the bottom of it by trying to get certain questions into conversation. I have warned the Doc that he is very good at covering it up. So we'll see.

    Once again - many thanks for all of the responses - lots of great advice, which I have certainly used. I have also encouraged my mum to start a diary, though apparently Dad follows her everywhere and she doesn't think he will take too kindly to her writing things down - but we are going to go for the excuse of Mum wanting to remember things - great tip - thanks!

    I do feel very guilty about all of this, but what else can my Mum and I do. Haven't told my brother our plan as I don't think he would be able to keep a lid on it! More guilt! Well, must carry on - am at work at the moment just tyring to have a spot of lunch at my desk. Thanks again to you all. I will be visiting this site on a regular basis now. All the very best to all of you.
    XXX
     
  16. widget

    widget Registered User

    Jul 18, 2005
    44
    Lincs
    Hi Gromit
    I went through (and am still going through) the 'there's nothing wrong with me' with my aunt. Trouble is, she can't even put her make-up on any more (i know it seems such an insignificant thing but she would never go anywhere without her lippy on!!) without asking someone how to do it but still 'there's nothing wrong with me...' She's 72 and lives 100 miles away from me.

    It all started out with my uncle taking her to the docs on the pretence that he had a bad back (he notified the doc beforehand). The doc said she needed to go to a seperate clinic for bloods etc so i decided to take her on my next visit. She had already stated to my uncle that she wasn't going to the clinic so over sunday lunch in a nice pub i brought the subject up. She refused poinbt blank and got really shirty with me to which i promptly burst into tears (33 yr old in the middle of a busy pub...!) got shirty with her and told her that i was so worried about her that it was making me ill and if she wouldn't go to the clinic with me i wouldn't be able to come over with the kids any more as it made me so ill. Guess what, half an hour later she apologised, put her arms around me and said she would go to the clinic with me....:rolleyes:
    Well we're now a few months down the line and she deteriorated ver rapidly so i'm glad we got the ball rolling when we did. My uncle is coping ok and learning to adapt but he's been told by the consultant that he shouldn't tell her that they're BOTH going for a checkup anymore as it confuses her. Hmmmm so i think her new consultant will be coming out on home visits because he's got a cat in hell's chance of getting her to the hospital...! :)

    I really hope you manage to get your dad to the docs even if it's a couple of months down the line. And don't beat yourself up about it - you're trying your best.
    Hugs from me :)
     
  17. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    Thanks Widget

    Thanks for your kind message widget. I find it so amazing how many people are going through this (though not sure what "this" is yet for my Dad - still hoping for thyroid problem or something) - however hearing how everyone else has gone through something similar and has coped so well really does give me encouragement. I feel really cheeky asking for help when so many of you have such touching stories, and here I am probably making mountains out of molehills.
     
  18. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    Hi Gromit .

    Wow what great Advice every one has given you

    Love what widget Said
    as that is what I had to do .

    I did not know what AD was at that time, but new something was wrong, mum was not pleased with me at all when doctor referred mum to a consultant for the elderly, did I get told of or what lol

    No your not we have all been there .

    Wishing you all the best
     
  19. Patti

    Patti Registered User

    Mar 22, 2006
    7
    West Yorkshire
    Getting dad to the Doc

    Hi Gromit

    My mother in law was and is resistant to any suggestion that she might need any medical help, although she is now showing signs of being around stage 6. I contacted her surgery after worrying what to do and not wanting to interfere, and the practice manager got the doctor to ring me. On the basis of what I told him he made a 'routine' visit to see her and dad, (both well into their 80's and also stubbornly Yorkshire.) From talking to her he agreed that she needed help, and arranged for the nurse from the local psychiatric unit to visit. The nurse was a most tactful man, and mum didn't realise why he was there. My husband and I had told her that we were trying to arrange for some cleaning help for them and I think she thought it was to do with that.

    The doctor has said that if I need to talk to him, he has some 'telephone' time in his schedule and I can request a phone call. He has responded the same day on each occasion that I have called him, most recently to fast track a visit to the hearing clinic - she is also very deaf but would never try to get it checked or helped. Our visit ther today was a disaster. We took her to the hospital in a rather sneaky way after taking her out for lunch, hoping that she would go to the appointment once we were there. There was NO parking anywhere near the hospital, even in the disabled spaces which we have a permit to use, and she began to get very agitated and demanded to go home. When we rang the clinic to explain why she did not attend, they agreed that under the circumstances they could and would make a home visit. Getting her out of the house is a major battle in itself.

    Sorry I have rambled on, but I just wanted to let you know that our medical and care teams seem to be pulling out all the stops to give us the help that we have requested. I have asked that we be told about any visits or appointments in advance, because any going to mum and dad's seem to go missing or cause her to become very distressed. All the agencies have cooperated wonderfully.

    I feel that we had to take the initiative in starting some medical intervention, because dad was finding it very hard to cope, but would not do anything because mum got so angry with him. Subterfuge seems to be the only way to get some things done - don't feel too guilty about it. All you can do is what seems best at the time. Good luck

    Denni
     
  20. DickG

    DickG Registered User

    Feb 26, 2006
    558
    Stow-on-the-Wold
    Hi Gormmit

    I too am constantly followed around by Mary - it would seem that "stalking" is yet another indication of AD. You are doing a great job, stick with it.

    Hugs

    Dick
     

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