Thursday, June 10, 2010

Update after 6 weeks...

(Really, I am making more of an effort to be on. It's harder than I thought to "catch up" and get back to the "regularly scheduled program". I suppose I should just jump in where I am but most days I don't know where I am or how I got there.)

Life has been interesting with my MIL these last few weeks. She is 86/87 (papers "aquired" in germany during WW2 have her listed as 86 but she has always said they are a year off and she is really a year older) and has a few health issues. She is legally blind and partially deaf. She has diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesteral, seasonal allergies, depression (well given the previous listings, that isn't surprising) AND a determination to live the rest of her life sitting in a chair in her room waiting for what comes next. She will not take an interest in her life as it is now because she is still mourning what she once had. I realize (and sympathize) that outliving the majority of your friends and spouse will do that as well, but she also can add "martyr" to her growing list of ailments. From what I hear amongst the relatives - that ISN'T a new ailment but something she has had for many years. One more thing to add to the list is "Hallucinations". She's had them on and off for the last year. They began last summer but was something that we took them as an indication of dehydration. The Dr. suggested that she drink more water and the more she drank - the less she saw them. It's been a battle (think of the old saying "you can lead a horse to water..." and you pretty much have it nailed.) to get her to drink enough and an even bigger battle to get her to ignore them. She won't. We have been to the dr's. He has ordered blood work, urinanalysis, and an MRI. He also wants her to see a Geriatic Psychiatrist. The blood work, UA, and MRI are done. It's been a problem to get in to see the Psychiatrist. We have discovered they "thought" she had a UTI (Urinary Track Infection) but that result gave off a false positive that had her taking antibiotics for 6 days before they discontinued them. That would be one reasone that she's been hallucinating. Apparently senior citizens have psychiatic issues when things are messed up with their elimination process. Since the dr. said it really wasn't a UTI - then that still doesn't explain why she is still have such vivid and audible visions. He also said she's had a slight stroke at some point, but not in the area of the brain that causes hallucinations. So now we rely solely on the psychiatrist. After I started this entry yesterday, I received a call from Dr. Mihalek (Sp?) and after discussing the situation with him was finally able to get an appointment this month for her to see him. He originally wanted me to take her to the ER so they could "rule out" any physical problems, but I think that I convinced him that since she isn't a danger to herself or others AND is reasonably managable AND that Dr. Frantz has already ruled out any physical issues - a trip to the emergency room would not be a good decision for her. If he wants to admit her directly to the geriatric psych area, then we can do that but he has agreed to an office visit first (provided that she doesn't worsen before then). I am trying to keep her out of there for at least this weekend because she would be terribly upset if she missed the final mass at her church this weekend.

Dealing with her has been eye opening. I realize that some of what she experiences is not her fault. It's something that is going on within her. I try to be more sympathetic, but I also see that she doesn't try to do anything that IS within her control. It's hard watching someone who is just waiting to die. Not just on me, but on the whole family. We seem to be more in the midst of it because she lives with us, but I do see the strain on everyone who comes into contact with the situation. Hopefully this dr. can help her. It would be nice to see her happy.

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