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Can I vent for a second? JAWM it’s been a long night


saraha
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Dh, bil , sil, fil and mil are still at an e r after having been there all night. Mil had a violent outburst last night due to delusions that ended her up in the e r because they couldn’t get her to calm down. She has been showing signs of dementia but has no diagnosis. Because a doctor has not diagnosed her, my dh’s family have not been even considering that might be what is happening. This is the second “crazy” episode attributed to a UTI. They just keep thinking that a doctor (but they don’t know who, they’ve seen her regular dr and had one visit with s neurologist 4 months ago) is going to give her a pill and she is going to just be her old self. That is not happening and they are blaming the anxiety medicine they got for her. 
Anyway. So this morning after seeing a doctor and a psychiatric nurse (they took her to an e r all the way in the city on the recommendation of a friend, good job friend) the recommendation is to get her a bed in a geriatric center to clear up her UTI and dial in her medication. There was push back from dh’s family but they are going along now because although she is calm, poor mil is working the room with every emotional tool, manipulation, threat and plea. All 5 of them are hanging out in an e r room waiting to be assigned a bed somewhere in the state. 
Us three “married ins” have been talking to each other over the past few months and sharing how we have been interpreting the situation, but like I said, we are married ins.

If you have read this far, thanks. I have had about 4 hours sleep and have a stomach bug I have been trying to get rid of.

I am frustrated because no one is considering the obvious, after doing research on my own I was the one who figured out that her last round of delusions might be a uti which resulted in her getting tested 2 weeks! after starting to see the secret agents down under the bridge that is their drive way, and that none of them (confirmed with the other married ins) have done one ounce of research about dementia, elder care etc.

I am frustrated because this woman has been more of a mother to me than my real mother ever thought about being and I hate to see her suffer in anyway.

And I am frustrated because I know this is hard on dh and his siblings and dad and they are trying to do the best they can, but I’m frustrated with all of them because I know I’m right haha. ( I know I may not be right, I just am at that c’mon guys, cant you see I’m right?!? stage)

And I’m frustrated because even though they have all been up for over 24 hours, dh and bil are too manly to think that sil and I could drive down to the city and bring them back so no one has to drive that hasn’t slept at least a little in a real bed.

and I hate to see my poor dh and his dad so sad 

Thanks for listening

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Posted (edited)

I feel so bad for mil. Her outburst started while dh and our kids were over for the weekly dinner and housecleaning. I went and picked up the kids while dh and fil tried to calm her down. Then bil showed up and it was determined she should go to e r. She was screaming and breaking things saying everyone was tryIng to kill her. My heart broke when dh told me she finally got into the car saying “well I can’t possibly fight all three of you, so if you want to take me out to execute me, you can.” and got in the car. She cried all the way to the city e r over an hour away begging for her life.

I can’t imagine how it would feel to think your husband and sons were driving you to your death. She must have been so scared.

I just don’t know how to help dh over this.

Edited by saraha
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So terribly hard. I went through exactly the same process with both my grandmother and my darling mother-in-law, including an extended ER visit when the ER staff joined with the family to try to logically persuade mil that her delusions and suspicions were not real. Pointless. I was the only one saying the truth—this is dementia—for years. Time made it obvious, but the time it took for others to see and accept was time wasted. Time when plans could have been made and better support structures put in place. Time that could have been focused more specifically on making memories and savoring moments with that beloved person before she slipped away.

Denial can run deep. I’m so sorry.

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21 minutes ago, saraha said:

4 hours sleep and have a stomach bug I have been trying to get rid of.

I hope you get some rest. I think you can trust at this point the team at the center are going to both get her medicated and have the social worker sit down and talk truth with them about appropriate next placements. We're doing the rehab/hospital thing with my dad right now, and each place has social workers to help the family navigate. 

Could your stomach bug be stress? It sounds like it has been pretty high. Do take care of yourself.

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2 minutes ago, saraha said:

I just don’t know how to help dh over this.

The key with challenging behavior is not to take it personally. Whatever is going on, it's not personal. She loved you all and trusted you enough to get in the car. 

Fwiw, my dad is delusional off his meds and has been for a long time, not just from dementia. You get used to it and you'll find strength to separate from it. It just is. 

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4 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Could your stomach bug be stress? It sounds like it has been pretty high. Do take care of yourself.

Thanks, but it started over the weekend, before any of this happened out of the blue last night. I also had a couple of kids throwing up over the weekend too.

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6 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

I hope you get some rest. I think you can trust at this point the team at the center are going to both get her medicated and have the social worker sit down and talk truth with them about appropriate next placements. We're doing the rehab/hospital thing with my dad right now, and each place has social workers to help the family navigate. 

Could your stomach bug be stress? It sounds like it has been pretty high. Do take care of yourself.

Thanks, that is what I’m counting on. I keep telling dh this is the best outcome possible, they will be able to really help her, and fil can get a break.

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I’ve been trying for months to prep the kids, but nothing prepares you for what they saw. I’ve talked to them about grieving even though she is still alive etc, but any advice on helping the kids cope would be fantastic

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, saraha said:

any advice on helping the kids cope would be fantastic

If they have good coping mechanisms (crying, exercise, talking, etc.) I'd just let them let it out. Did they feel in danger or was it just emotional to watch? If the body feels in danger, it creates stored trauma. But sometimes people can let that out the normal routes like crying, watching a sad movie, etc. They just need permission not to stuff it. You can even do a basic shaking exercise where you start at the feet (standing, feet apart) and shake, working up your body, letting all that tension and stress out. It's a more basic version of the more involved shaking/trauma release mechanisms we have and can help without being too clinical.

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/can-shaking-your-body-heal-stress-and-trauma#How-to-do-it

Edited by PeterPan
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This is the second event triggered by you being over cleaning? Is there a way that you can not bring the kids?

We talked before here on the boards about memory boxes, but on the violent delusion end of things...I think you need to shield as much as possible.  My mother, who had worked in nursing homes and felt normal around the crazy tried to explain to me why elderly relatives were acting the way they were but honestly a lot of my memories of those relatives are of them grabbing my wrists and leaving bruises, screaming, and crying. It is traumatic, and I don’t think we should expose our kids to trauma if we can at all help it.

I would talk about how as our brains change when we are older sometimes we live in our emotions more, like toddlers. When we feel emotions in our body, sometimes our brains make up stories to try to make sense of why we feel such strong emotions and we can have delusions. It will help your kids contextualize what happened, but it’s not going to erase it.

———-

When we got to this stage we discovered elder abuse between spouses—person with dementia breaking bones in the other.

———-

Even with meds, nighttime and other times can be triggering. Medicines don’t cure, they just improve some behaviors, usually. 
 

——-

Denial is a really strong emotion. Consider that it was easier for your family members to believe she was lying and manipulating than that she had dementia even though that is not her general character. Something about dementia is particularly hard for them to accept. Perhaps sitting in a hospital will start jostling them towards reality.
——-

Hugs. I totally hear you about being an outlaw when the in-laws don’t take action. 

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I'm so sorry you're all going through this. 

It has been helpful for my kids to read books where people experience something similar to their own experiences, sort of as a way to be less alone. There's a recent book, Merci Suarez Changes Gears, that touches on a grandparent's cognitive decline but in a milder way, as a side-plot. It's not too traumatic, but is thoughtful. 

Big hugs for all of you. 😞

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1 hour ago, prairiewindmomma said:

 

This is the second event triggered by you being over cleaning? Is there a way that you can not bring the kids?

 

It is the second one we were present at. Apparently other things have happened. After the first one, we made sure dh and I were there instead of dropping them off like we used to so we could read the situation and leave at an appropriate time (when she started to seem overwhelmed or tired etc) so that it could be a good experience for everyone. In this case she had politely excused herself from the table and went upstairs. When dh went up to check on her she was cutting the bed pillows open and saying she was looking for the money fil stole and it escalated quickly from there. Dh texted me immediately to come get them so he could help his dad. We thought we had a good exit plan, but I guess not. Two days earlier they had a big bbq with 35 family members and she had been great .

we will be changing the plan again.

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1 hour ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Denial is a really strong emotion. Consider that it was easier for your family members to believe she was lying and manipulating than that she had dementia even though that is not her general character. Something about dementia is particularly hard for them to accept. Perhaps sitting in a hospital will start jostling them towards reality.

My sil and I have been texting all day while the siblings are still at the hospital, mil is going to a geriatric facility for 30 days but not until 6:00 tonight. She and I are both relieved that there is now absolutely no denying what is happening, no second hand knowledge from the doctors office, and an effort on the medical side to get to the bottom instead of shot gunning symptoms.

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If she returns home, I would recommend that on cleaning days FIL take her out for ice cream and a drive, and you arrive and let yourself in with a key to clean while they are gone.

Cleaning is having other people touching your stuff, and if you are already feeling a sense of loss, it is a natural jumping point to explain the loss by thievery. I have stories on this point. 

You might start a thread on other coping with dementia tips.

Also, totally obvious, but all weapons needs to be locked up....even the handgun in the nightstand that FIL is absolutely sure that MIL doesn't know is there. More to the point, this needs to be verified by kids.  We had an experience where competent spouse lied and spouse with dementia got access to the gun.  I would even consider securing knives and scissors.  Mixing sundowners with paranoia & feeling threatened and it can get ugly really fast. This is a point not on most Alzheimer's pages but it is very very common with Lewy Body Dementia. Like, sit six families down and four of them will have had violent episodes in the home kind of deal. You also need everybody to sit down and understand that incidents can happen without warning and if you have to call 911 to specifically say dementia, not criminal behavior in the phone call, repeatedly.  https://www.lewybodydementia.ca/stay-safe-lewy-body-dementia-psychotic-episode-dangers/

https://www.lbda.org/understanding-behavioral-changes-in-dementia/ (scroll for the 5 Rs way down the page: remain calm, respond to emotion, reassure person, remove yourself, return later)

Amazon sells a variety of quick access fingerprint safes for under $250 with 2 day shipping.

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4 hours ago, saraha said:

mil is going to a geriatric facility for 30 days

Your family will keep talking with the social worker for the new care center and they will help sort out the next steps. There are both nursing facilities with dementia care and *assisted living* with dementia/memory wings. And they have ways sometimes to keep the spouse either together or close. It's one of the things on my mind with the new placement for my father; I'm looking at an assisted living that has a memory wing in case he needs that. 

I'm sorry her situation has been this distressed in front of your kids. Your poor FIL is probably quite distraught and overwhelmed. Hopefully things calm down as she gets in her new placement and the next step becomes obvious. It sounds like maybe people need time to transition to the idea that she needs a placement and this is the way of getting her there.

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Not to be too morbid, but I think the Lewy body disease can be genetic. So as this all settles down and they sort out what it is (alzheimers vs. other things), that could be another step. Sophia (Estelle Getty) from Golden Girls had Lewy Body disease that affected her as the show progressed. She was actually much younger than the makeup made her look. 

Don't ask why I've watched enough Golden Girls to know that, lol.

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My son’s father went “downhill” (now dead) - I suggest straightforward as possible explanation of as best as you understand it what is going on, along with emotionally being there for them. If I can be of more help than that, PM me. I think I am out of new pm threads space but that we have a still open old thread maybe? 

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Posted (edited)

So in the aftermath of yesterday, today in vent from my sil (married in) she tells me that her dh (my dh’s older brother) said that my dh “had his break down on the way to the e r and that everyone was relying on him, not fair, etc. and when was he allowed to have a break down” in an exchange with sil (who I guess he was frustrated with at the time) And that basically he felt he was being forced to be responsible etc. 

Should I tell dh what is being said? 
Dh and his brother are not close, I am not close to sil.

my gut instinct is no, everyone is just over emotional right now and sil. Only said it because she was aggravated at her dh for speaking sharply. On the other hand if he doesn’t want to be responsible my dh can and is willing to take that on

Edited by saraha
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Nope. Nope-itty nope nope. You might encourage people to talk for themselves... "I know Joe cares about you and would want to hear what you are thinking," etc.  You can be a caring vent.  But I really don't like being the messenger.  It never works out well.

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I don't see any benefit in sharing that information with your dh? It sounds like a petty complaint from dh's brother, perhaps a regression to childhood grievances. Probably a typical reaction to this stressful situation. I would drop that conversational line as if it never existed. If it comes up again I would ask sil what her husband needs to offload so that the effort is shared more fairly. (Sounds like he could use a shower, a sandwich, and a nap)

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Thanks that is what I was thinking, but like you said high emotions, old baggage etc and not good communication styles just had me wondering. Best to keep up the smile and nod.

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Nope. Don't feed any fires.

They have a lot of decision making ahead of them. I would leave communication to them and stay out of people on the sides stirring up stuff. Honestly, I would guard what I said in messages to any of them. Stick to facts, and offers of support only where you are freely willing to do a thing.

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Elder care brings out sibling attitudes.  Emergency elder care brings out extreme sibling attitudes.  Let SIL try to help her dh, and you help yours... without sharing bil's comments while distressed.  

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Hopefully someone will be talking to a doctor today. There are too many hands in the pot and I feel like the right questions are not being asked. And there is so much resentment coming out in the siblings towards each other as everyone thinks they know what should be done. I’m just glad no one made good on the threat to go pick her up over the weekend. My plan is to just keep doing research and bit out

. I’m tired of the jockeying for position between bil and sil. Dh is relegated to little brother status and is regular being told what to do by them. Sil texted him yesterday and told him to go up to the house because fil needed to call mil and she (sil) thinks he’ll need somebody there. Dh was like “did dad say that?” And she (who is out of town) said no, but she just thought he might. Dh called his dad and was like hey, need anything? Want me to come over? Fil said no, I’m fine. I know how the call will go. Then sil texted later and was like “I thought you were going to go up there...” Fil is a fully competent man in full control of his faculties and in better shape then men half his age. He has been out working in the pastures all weekend, so it is not like he is someone who needs coddling or is unable to advocate for himself. 
I just don’t know how to help anyone.

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