problems in explaining what is wrong


Registered User
Nov 28, 2004
hello. Does anyone have experience of their relative being unable to explain what the problem is, or where exactly they are hurting? Mum complained of a sore (R) knee this morning and I gave her a tubigrip to put on, in the hope that this would ease it. I then discovered later that she was wearing the tubigrip from toes to calf. I asked agin where it was sore, and she said the (L) knee. Then it became both ankles we decided she should have a warm bath and then I would give her some Ibuprofen to rub in to the sore spot. Well finally, she rubbed it into her neck!!! So where exactly is hurting?!!!

I apologise if I have repeated this post. I pressed 'submit' first time round and it disappeared.


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hi Lulu

yes, all the time! One of the nasty things is that you know they are worried about something, but they can't point you to where. You are not even sure in some cases if the hurt is genuine or imagined, let alone where it is.

I rationalise it as the wiring to the brain all being mixed up, so a pain on the left may actually be on the right, or it could be imagined, and also how can they explain referred pain?

It is only when there is a visible wound in some cases that we can know where the problem is.

All I think you can do is wait and see if she complains of a problem in the same place consistently.

Just another one of those situations where we feel so helpless!


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
I wonder if Bruce's theory is correct.
I have a theory that the it is a cry for attention,my wife has various pains,aches etc but they go away and return later,or a new one may arrive.
Only my theory,I expect we will never know for sure
Norman :confused:

Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
I've had exactly the opposite problem:
A few months ago, Tony had repeated heavy nosebleeds, but didn't even acknowledge that anything was wrong. Quite the reverse, he got very stroppy indeed when I suggested he should use a handkerchief / towel etc., as he had no idea what I was trying to do.
Today I came home to find him covered in blood (no nosebleed this time!), also the kitchen sink, the dishcloth, the teatowel - quite an alarming sight! I enquired whether he had hurt himself, but he didn't understand. I mentioned the blood, he said I was fussing. When I eventually discovered bits of a broken saucer and then found a deep cut on his right hand, I tried to clean it up for him and put a plaster on, but I had to abandon the idea and leave him to it (unwittingly spreading the blood still further), as he became very angry with me.
About half an hour later (it was still bleeding!), I managed to distract him enough to put a plaster on, but what baffles me is that he kept insisting it didn't hurt!
I suspect that he instinctively felt he had 'done something wrong', without being able to rationalise, and so he pretended it hadn't happend at all. But how could he ignore the pain? How scary!!


Registered User
Sep 16, 2004
I have a similar problem in that Fred has no idea if the water is to hot, I have to keep it turned down or he burns himself.
There was an article in the local paper some time ago about children who did not feel pain and were a danger to themselves it was a problem in the brain, it must be due to the part of brain affected by AD.
That is my opinion for what it’s worth, and I have no medical training.


Registered User
Nov 28, 2004

thankyou for all that. This morning, the pain seems to be in the (L) knee but yesterday she tells us it was due to a fall (?) but today she doesn't know how it came about, but it was not due to a fall. As you observe, or ask her more questions, her neck then starts to appear stiff ....
It certainly seems likely that it could well be due to cross-wiring. She contradicts herself, gets into a muddle and finally gives up trying to explain. My 'old' Mum would not have wished to cause anyone any problems, yet she seems to become very child-like when there is something the matter like this and treats it like a game.

What all this has done though is to prove to me that she is quite badly impaired now. On the one hand it's quite funny as she tries to decide exactly where she hurts, but very, very sad too, watching your mother disintegrate little by little and to act in this way.

Carmen, this must have been so frightening for you.

Thanks for your help again. Instead of mulling it all over, worrying, talking incessantly to my poor husband about it, I can ask away here and there is always a response.