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or not to put all my Mother's behaviour down to her illness?

(11 Posts)
harassedandherbug Thu 07-Jul-11 12:01:49

This time last year my Mum (70) was in hospital for a long time with two giant brain anuerysm's. She was very ill for such a long time, mainly because it took so long to diagnose as she'd had a cataract op and they put all her symptoms down to that. Luckily the optician spotted one behind her eye during an eye test. She had two rather major ops to feed a catheter from her groin into her brain to treat the aneurysm's. So she's now been discharged from the neuro consultant but has been left with some lasting damage to her optical nerve, and basically the whole illness has aged her. She was a very young active 69, and now she's not.

She has changed an awful lot, and I understand this can happen after brain trauma, but sometimes she's just downright nasty!!

I go and clean for my parents on a Wed morning because she's not up to it, and it's just all too much for my Dad. I'm 16 wks preg after having a mmc in Jan and a mc in March, so it's been a very worrying time, but I'm slowly beginning to stop mentalling. But yesterday she reduced me to tears by telling me that she will buy something for my baby (I hadn't asked or expected btw), but not until she knows it's not going to go wrong this time. Just straight out, with no emotion....

That's just one of many examples in the last few months, and I keep putting it down to her being unwell, but sometimes I wonder if she's just being thoughtless and in some comments down right mean. I know she's not happy with how she is, but I'm getting a bit fed up with being her punchbag at the moment!

Does anyone have any experience of this kind of thing?

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Thu 07-Jul-11 12:07:29

No sorry, I dont have any personal experience of this. How sad for you and your mum though OP. It sounds like the illness has maybe affected the part of her brains which controls, behavior, tack, really isnt her fault, esp if she wasnt like this before. Unless of course, she is just frustrated with her situation and lashing out???

Have the docs said anything about this?? Maybe she can recover that part of her brain in time.

Sorry, not much help. My mum had a brain condition called Ataxia - this affected her balance/co-ordination and sadly she couldnt recover from that although she died of something not related at all. The brain is so complex, a bloody nightmare if it goes wrong.

YANBU but nor is your mum.

squeakytoy Thu 07-Jul-11 12:07:48

It must be really stressful for ALL of you. I very much doubt she meant it to come across as nasty, but it really is difficult to handle when the person you have known and loved all your life changes so much and becomes a different person.

It takes time for everyone to adjust and learn to cope, and you have had your own share of stresses to with the miscarriages.

charliejosh Thu 07-Jul-11 12:07:52

Yes, My Nan had a brain aneurysm and ended up having 2 brain hemmorages and major surgery twice.

She was awful afterwards - she was so tactless and all we could do was laugh or else we would cry

kreecherlivesupstairs Thu 07-Jul-11 12:14:53

I had an aneurysm clipped 17 year ago. The consultant warned DH that I may become irrational or nasty after. DH said he woudln't know the difference.
Same consultant recommended that if this happen, DH should contact headway. Luckily he didn't need to.
Is it possible that this was going to happen anyway? Some people do become less tactful as they age.
Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy.

jeee Thu 07-Jul-11 12:14:54

Many years ago, my grandmother told my mum that if, as she got older and edged into senility, she turned into a horrible person to take no notice of it. She said she'd known lovely people become very nasty. By the same token she said that some of her plain rude forthright acquaintances actually become nicer.

I reminded my mum about this recently, and actually, I think that it helps mum to remember my 'real' grandmother, not the shell she is now.

harassedandherbug Thu 07-Jul-11 12:44:37

Thank you all for your replies.

It's certainly been a hard time for all of us and probably the thing I've found hardest is not being able to turn to my mum as I would normally have when things were at their worst.

It's really hard to tell if it's the illness or if she's getting old! I can remember my Grandma being quite nasty about people sometimes, so wondered if it was an age thing. She's got several niggle illnesses and gp told her that having gone through what she did does age the body, and given her age.... I've kind of got to that stage where I realise they're not going to go on forever sad.

lunar1 Thu 07-Jul-11 12:51:30

I know it doesnt help but if your mum wasn't like this before then the change will be from the brain damage. I have worked in neurorehab for over a decade and have seen the most mild mannered people become very violent and nasty. They can loose all awareness of the consequences of their actions and have no idea of what is appropriate.

As another poster has said, get in touch with headway, they can be a brilliant source of information and support.

Just keep remembering your mum for who she was before, she will probably have now idea how her behavior has changed and how others are feeling.

Chulita Thu 07-Jul-11 12:57:07

For a moment I thought you were my cousin posting this. My aunt had exactly the same thing at exactly the same time. She's a completely different person since coming out of hospital and is very abrupt, rude and selfish. She lives with my grandad and she can be really horrible to him, he's 88 and is down as her main carer. It's so hard for him but we all live a long way away so we can't help much.
A lady from Headway comes once or twice a week and encourages her to try new things/takes her out on trips which is very helpful for my grandad.
I know it's no help but it seems to be common and it won't be anything your mum can control. If you can contact Headway they might be able to suggest ways of encouraging her to be pro-active with her own recovery.

VeronicaCake Thu 07-Jul-11 13:03:28

I'm so sorry about your mmc.

I have frontal lobe epilepsy and am on anti-epilepsy drugs. These temporarily change my mood and behaviour. I can't explain what it feels like to suddenly act out of character (in my case I become unreasonably angry) and then snap back but it is horrible. If it is the aneurysms causing your mother's behaviour then it probably feels pretty horrible for her too.

I completely sympathise with your pain at what your mother said but I think your pain and hers will only increase if you start wondering if she could control her behaviour. There are two ways of reading this - either she can't control it in which case this is shit for both of you, or she can in which case she is choosing to be wilfully nasty for no good reason. The latter isn't any more comforting than the former.

As well as chatting to Headway do you have decent emotional support around you? I really needed my Mum in the early stages of pregnancy, especially after an earlier mc and I understand why not being able to rely on her right now must be distressing. Is there an aunt or sister or friend you could talk about all this with?

ddubsgirl Thu 07-Jul-11 13:29:27

my mil has had this too and yes she changed,before she would bite her tongue but now she just says it and can be very tackless in the way she says things,she accused us of lying at our neices birthday in front of everyone and her other son & daughter told her she was rude and out of line,she said she ment it as a joke but we didnt find it funny sad

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