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Mom's health issues

August 3rd, 2012 at 07:42 am

My mother's always had problems with arthritis (osteo, I'm pretty sure), but in the past year or so she's had sporadic bouts of extremely painful, full body arthritis.

It's incredibly frustrating to deal with her. She will go to a conventional doctor, who will then prescribe various meds, but she doesn't take the meds because she gets all scared after reading the fine print and the warnings.

At some point a doctor told her she "shouldn't be taking aspirin" or other anti-inflammatory over the counter drugs, but she forgets exactly why. So she's just ruled out an entire body of effective drugs that could ease some of her pain.

Then she comes crying to me about the pain and how bad she feels. I suggest she should find a good naturopath or holistic doctor. Not sure they could help, but I know she would trust them more. She says Medicare won't cover it and it's expensive.

I don't know what's more important than one's health. And that's worth spending money on, in my opinion.

So we have these circular conversations that go nowhere every time this happens, and today she's in a lot of pain. I can hear it in her voice.

I'm not sure I fully understand exactly why, but my mother's health issues cause me incrediblie stress. Part of it is my sister's lack of involvement. Part of it is trying to convince someone they should take prescribed medication. Part of it is becus I am not a physician, so when she comes to me with her health troubles, there's only so much I can do.

I didn't have to drive J. to work this a.m. as he had to go for a hearing and i think he's getting his "ankle bracelet" off. I will have to pick him up at 5, so I think I will adjust my plans and head out around 2:30 pm so I can see my mom and then stop at Aldi's before picking up J. I can bring a small cooler with icepaks to keep my food cold. I'll also bring string beans and zucchini from the garden for my mother. I'm really trying to conserve gas as driving 2 hours daily is sucking up a lot of it.

I sent my mother a bunch of links to various articles and treatment options. What she has sounds a lot to me like either RA or even fibromyalgia. But my mother is so anti-medication it's hard to know what to do with her. In that respect, she's much like my sister, who deferred hip replacement surgery for several years and hobbled around with a pronounced limp becus she doesn't trust/believe in conventional medicine. Frankly, I think it's lunacy, and much like living in the 18th century.

My sister has pretty much divorced herself from regular contact with the family, choosing instead to see us upon limited occasions like major holidays or birthdays. She doesn't communicate regularly with my mother, either, via phone or email, so my mother comes to me with just about any issue.

My mother was an only child, and grew up in a pretty sheltered household. She does not do well on her own. I have always been very much her opposite.

I worry, too, that this is a foreboding of what will happen to me down the road, as I seem to have inherited every other physical ailment, big or little, that my mother has. I try to be as helpful as possible but she doesn't seem to take my advice and it's more like she wants to vent and complain. As her daughter, I feel incredibly guilty for disliking this and feeling frustrated. I feel so much stress heaped upon me when this happens. I'm angry at my sister for not pitching in. We don't really talk except about more superficial stuff when I do see her. We three were supposed to get together this Sunday to celebrate my birthday but my mother already said she doesn't think she'll be up to it. My sister wants to live her own life, and do her own thing. She's short-tempered, impatient and full of anger that's often there, just beneath the surface. No doubt it harkens back to my parents' divorce; somehow, I think, she blames my mother. And hasn't moved beyond it.

7 Responses to “Mom's health issues”

  1. North Georgia Gal Says:

    Sorry you are going through this. {{hugs}}

  2. snafu Says:

    I understand about venting. Widowed SIL lives in another city and since her friends entertain themselves by gossiping, she calls me to vent, ranting about problems big and small. I feel like a giant ear! Her problems are often too tiny to fret about or big involving others that make the decisions. Latest, her newly married son will divorce wife. I understand the shock but reasons are valid and the young couple are in charge of their lives.

    Has your mom tried cherry juice to ease joint pain? They recommend it for gout and I've wondered if it helps certain types of arthritis. At least it doesn't have a warning list.

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    That's rough. My mom has a similar attitude except she doesn't want to see doctors or anyone else, let alone take medicine. When she had a health crisis earlier this year and had my dad call an ambulance, she was seriously at death's door; her hemoglobin was off the charts low for a living person. I hope though that having a pretty positive experience with doctors this time around will make her less scared of seeing them in the future.

    I know what you mean about being frustrated with people not trusting science. Sure, you want to be educated and there are doctor trends with overmedicating that aren't the best. But what have the centuries of research been for if you just outright dismiss everything a medical doctor says? I have friends like that, and I don't get the knee-jerk reaction.

  4. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    {{hugs}} My mom isn't like that with medical stuff, but I can sure relate to the wasted conversations relating to relationships.

  5. baselle Says:

    It's rough, and I don't want to be glib here. Even though you might suffer from the same physical ailments, I can tell by your writing that you handle things so differently than your mom or your sister that I don't think you can draw parallels. Your mom and your sister are alike tho - the foreboding I have for you is that you get a double dip - when your mom passes, your sister will fill in the slot.

    It doesn't help your stress any that any idea of any fix you provide for your mom gets shot down by your mom. {{{{Hugs}}}}

  6. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    Hmmm, I have RA and the medication I'm on has changed my life. I live now, not just exist.

    One suggestion is to have her go to the Arthritis Society office and talk to people there. I was really amazed at how much I learned from them.

    The therapy that best works for me, other than the meds, is heating pads and ice packs. Heat relieves the pain, cold reduces the swelling. Twenty minutes each.

    Lastly, consider care for the caregiver. You need to take care of yourself and although I'd love to say I learned to get over the guilt with my mother I never did. You are the most important person in this equation. Not your Mom.

  7. Dido Says:

    Wanting to vent and complain...yes, that sounds familiar. You can't ever fix anyone else's problems, and some people won't take advice, so all you can do is let her vent occasionally and remind yourself that only she can choose to take the initiative. You can expose her to information, but only she can choose whether or not to act on it, and you can't stress yourself out too much for her failure to take the initiative. Sorry it's frustrating, but know you are not alone in this!

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