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I've lost the plot with MIL on the phone...now have guilt.

(25 Posts)
Ivebeenacow Tue 18-Oct-11 23:52:15

Okay, I lost the plot on the phone with my MIL tonight. I?m not sure, now that I?ve calmed down, if I?ve been a bit of an unreasonable cow-bag to her, or whether I was right in intent, if not in delivery, if you see what I mean.

MIL has a long-term illness (Parkinsons) which will get worse with time, and has been controlled by drugs to date, all be it that she has good and bad patches with it. We and other sons live a very long way away from her, and have been encouraging her to move closer to one of us which was mostly met with a positive response, if no actually action on her part. Of course it is totally her choice where she lives.

She has recently hit a bad patch with her condition, which she tried to cover up initially but it became apparent with speaking to her on the phone/visits. Turns out it is way worse than she ever let on, which was discovered when somebody from her sheltered housing got in contact. Not eating, not going out, not taking medication, movement very effected and thought processes kind of muddled.

BIL drove down to pick her up, drove to his house and she stayed with his family then our family for a number of weeks recently, and we tried to get to bottom of what?s going on. MIL was in a very black mood, hinted she had money problems (she doesn?t and is entitled to additional monies, but needs to apply for it), worried about her housing (housing association are moving all residents where she lives to one of two new properties, needed a decision at some point in the future, so stressful but manageable), didn?t want to be so far away from family (offered help with moving to be closer to her DS, no action since she went home), only taking half of her dosage (had been given the option to self medicate, i.e. up dose if needed within limits, didn?t do this), couldn?t or wouldn?t go to see own GP (BIL took her to his GP, who increased her dose immediately).

DH & BIL & family are very worried about her. I?m very worried about DH. DH has a very full on job, long hours and lots of travel, and this situation is taking a lot out of him.
MIL returned home about three weeks ago, and seemed slightly more positive about sorting things out as much as possible. Has sound better on phone since, too.

DH phoned MIL today to suggest taking kids down to see her this week (half term here). She didn?t want the children to see her (looks dreadful ? her words). So, clearly she?s not as good as she has been seeming on the phone. DH asked her how she was: everything very black mood tinted, same problems, feeling no better, etc, etc. Was on Skype, she looks like she?s lost weight again, and she?s painfully thin already.

So, bit of desperate situation already. DH asked what GP had said. She admitted she hasn?t contacted her GP, or specialist since returning home, despite promising to do it. Apparently GP is useless, and won?t do anything anyway.

DH husband comes off phone and looks rung out by the whole conversation, lost and very upset. sad I can only imagine BIL would feel the same. So we?re at impasse, she can?t or won?t seek help, and we?re too far away to realistically make her, if you see what I mean.

And here?s the unreasonable bit. I called her back with minimal pleasantries and said enough was enough, she either got in contact with her GP this week or I would call him and explain our concerns, then hung up. I was blunt, to put it mildly, but needed to do something...

I will follow through with what I said, because she needs some sort of help, but I?m starting to develop guilt about the method of delivery, though, t.b.h, being ?nice? about it hasn?t worked to date yet either. I know it may well be her condition, but if she?s left to her own devices I?m scared she?s going to end up being hospitalised or something, and it?s killing me seeing DH so upset and worried.

I?ve been a cow, haven?t I? Sorry for epic length post.

mynewpassion Wed 19-Oct-11 00:00:45

I don't think you have been a cow but since you have started down this path, I think its time the brothers make a family decision and forcibly move her nearer to all of you. Its not doing her or any of you any good. You guys are going to get worked up and stressed out.

If not, maybe you guys can pool resources and hire her a companion. Someone to cook/clean/and make sure she gets her medication.

She is a vulnerable adult now even though she has all her capacities to some extent. She needs help and maybe nursing or home health care help.

dramatrauma Wed 19-Oct-11 00:02:45

Call back and apologise. She's very unwell, and she's probably had enough of the useless GP, and probably scared and possibly fatalistic. I really sympathise with you, too, I know you're probably cracking under the stress. But, you need to apologse, and tell her you're just desperately worried about her and that's why you snapped.

Can you and DH and BIL have an emergency meeting and make a list of all the things you might be able to do about this? Obviously you're all not coping very well at the moment and she needs much more help.

GravityDefier Wed 19-Oct-11 00:03:55

I don't have any experience with Parkinson's but as I am still up I really didn't want to just read and run. It sounds like a really bad situation for your whole family to be in sad

You said her thought process is kind of muddled. How bad is this? Does she realise she needs more help?

I think it must be really hard for her to accept that she needs help.

I don't blame you for being angry at her but I think you might have been mean to her on the phone. The message was clear and needed, but maybe you could have offered emotional support? Something along the lines of 'I know this is hard for you but... But we will be supportive..' sort of thing? BUt I am not surprised you are a bit harsh with her. Could you call her back tomorrow morning to apologise for being so short with her but that you still meant what you said?

mynewpassion Wed 19-Oct-11 00:10:51

Forgot to add, that while you weren't being a cow, you were rude and thoughtless. You should apologize immediately. Continue with contacting her GP and getting the necessary help government help she's entitled.

ChippingInToThePumpkinLantern Wed 19-Oct-11 00:24:21

A bit, yes. But I can understand how it happened.

If you can, I'd ring her back about 10 am tomorrow and see how she is. When you are really ill it's hard to do the things you need to do sad

I actually think it's about time your DH & BIL either got her some live-in care or moved her closer to you. Don't make her do so much herself.

It's all crap & I'm sorry you are all going through it.

Actually I don't think you've been a cow.

She needs a boot up the arse to allow others to help her help herself, it does sound like she's very depressed tho.

starfishmummy Wed 19-Oct-11 00:32:17

She is unwell. She sounds deporessed (which can be due to the parkinsons) and needs more support than she has at the moment.
THe answer, which I think you know, is for your DH and his brother to get themselves down to see her, go to her GP with her and also talk to her local social services about support. THey won't force her into a home, nor force you (or BIL) to take her into your homes, but they will offer and arrange support. She may have to pay towards it, but could be eligible for attendance allowance which will help.

LesserOfTwoWeevils Wed 19-Oct-11 02:32:24

Understandable but YAB a bit U. She's clearly not up to dealing with this herself, whether through illness or age—she may be muddled, she may be in denial. Her DCs need to step in and do what needs to be done, because she won't and probably can't.

MrsBloodyTroll Wed 19-Oct-11 03:17:35

You have my sympathy OP, Parkinson's is horrible.

I agree that you all need to step in and take charge. She needs to sign Power of Attorney and other legal powers over to one of you that she trusts before things get worse, which they will.

I also suggest you get in touch with Parkinson's UK. Their website has loads of useful stuff, and there's a helpline you can call.

Take care, and look after your DH because seeing his mum degenerate is going to be very tough.

FYI, Dementia and Depression are symptoms of Parkinson's and could you blame her for being depressed in the face of such a diagnosis?

KatieMortician Wed 19-Oct-11 03:34:40

YABU. The poor woman has Parkinsons. She probably feels very scared, depressed and alone. I think she needs extra support from people physically there.

I do understand it's tough being on the periphery but you have to keep your temper. Does MIL have a carer or anyone who's physically looking after her? I'm wondering if the wider family are in denial about the extent of MIL's illnesses? I've seen it in my own family where the reality is just too awful to contemplate so they cope by pretending things aren't so bad. It ultimately makes everyone very unhappy and anxious.

marriedinwhite Wed 19-Oct-11 06:05:38

YABU I'm afraid. My BF's mother has Parkinsons. It's a terrible disease and interferes with memory and organisational abilities amongst all the other symptoms. Your MIL probably doesn't have the capacity to sort herself out. She will need a great deal of care in the next few years and the family is going to have to organise it for her either where she is now or move her closer to you. My BF moved her mother from one end of the country to another; for the first couple of years she coudl still get about and lived independently in a flat; for the next couple she had a carer in the evenings and at night; and for the last couple of years she has been in a residential nursing home. BF had to take over most of the practicalities of her life not long after the Parkinsons's was diagnosed.

I can understand how you felt but I doubt MIL has the capacity to get things organised herself. Suggest you give her a ring and jump in the car and visit today if you can.

knightynight Wed 19-Oct-11 18:04:41

Please don't feel bad about the phone call you made. Your MIL is clearly in need of help and you know she needs it. My father has Parkinsons and luckily he has my mum to care for him and other family members fairly close by including my DS. It's hard I'm sure for her to accept PD and I know from experience that people do not always want to do what's best for them. It's a huge strain on the whole family so my sympathies are with you.

It would be better long term for her to be nearer to you if she's willing and start looking into care for her. We are at that crossroads now, my mum is sometimes at the end of her tether, I actually came onto MNet talk for help in this regard and found your post.

Yes also I agree with starfishmummy depression can be a part of PD and also dementia. PD is degenerative so it's only going to get worse.

But don't feel bad about what you said, it's a horrible frustrating situation and can make the most patient person incredibly angry. Try to be positive and start making a plan with the rest of your family to help. Say sorry to her if you think she's really hurt by what you said, but explain it's only because you're worried. Good luck.

SheCutOffTheirTails Wed 19-Oct-11 18:11:18

Your DH should go down without the children at half term and organise the stuff that needs to be done.

She obviously isn't able to do it herself.

MangoMonster Wed 19-Oct-11 18:12:52

Yabu, that's not really the best way to approach it, but I can see why you got upset. Poor lady.

Sandalwood Wed 19-Oct-11 18:16:38

As Scott says.

Bledkr Wed 19-Oct-11 18:20:19

So sad,poor woman.
Dh's grandfather was stubborn about seeing the dr or recieving help for years even though his health deteriorated badly.Nobody wanted to "interfere or be too forcefull" I would have but wasnt that close to him as we live away.
It culmibated with him having a fall,having diabetes diagnosed which was so unmanged by then he has since lost limbs.
Sometimes family members have to be firm.
Add some kindness back into the mix tho,she must be terrified,if she only has sons she would be very gratefull for some female input im sure.

Maisiethemorningsidecat Wed 19-Oct-11 18:26:54

DFIL had Parkinsons - it's a hideous disease, isn't it? Don't forget that it's very likely that she'll have some level of depression and the medication does affect your thought process and as a result she'll not be making rational decisions, so try and go easy on her on the score.

It does sound like she needs additional help though. MIL was FIL's full time carer until the latter stages and it puts a huge burden on one person, so I think you're doing the right thing by starting to get the ball rolling in terms of her moving closer to you and getting outside help in. The difficulty with Parkinsons is that there are very, very few specialists in this area so that the medication and support can often be a bit trial and error.

If you can apologise to her for your bluntness that would be great as she's probably terrified of what lies ahead, but I'd still pursue the move and help. There are support groups you could join as well, and the Parkinson's Society can be really helpful.

WhereYouLeftIt Wed 19-Oct-11 18:27:37

I do not think you are being a cow. You (you, DH and BIL) have tried managing the situation one way, and it hasn't worked. A change of tactics is needed. Your blunt call may be what is needed, or it may not, I have no idea about Parkinsons. sad

It's most like not that she's 'not doing' anything about doctor/moving closer etc, she is probably incapable of it.

My BIL's dad has Parkinsons and can't string a sentence together, make a sensible decision, remember things/people.

She needs help, not a temper tantrum on phone sad Poor woman.

Are any of you in the position to travel to see her (DH was going to go now in half term?) and help her sort things out? Maybe dh can go ahead, leave the kids at home, and help her a little.

amysaidno Wed 19-Oct-11 19:57:22

Depression is very common with Parkinsons and some people develop Dementia as Parkinsons progresses. I think she does need to see her GP again and I agree with FairhairedandFrustrated that she needs help not bluntness. It can be an absolutely maddening illness, you need to remember that she will be less and less the person she was. As it progresses you may need to bite your tongue more and more...

allibaba Wed 19-Oct-11 19:58:54

Sorry I'vebeenacow but I do agree with some of the posters that YABU.

I also have a MIL with Parkinsons and we live 2 hours from her but fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you view the relationship) FIL is main carer. Its a horrible disease and will only get worse. My MIL also seems a different person at times as well as the disease appears to effect how she views things and she can be irrational which may be something thats happening to you MIL too.

The good news is there is lots of help. Social services can send a carer round each day to make sure she is dressed, washed and eating. Her GP can also put you in touch with support. But there are some amazing charities out there dedicated to Parkinsons who can give you and your family the info you need to cope and the info and support MIL needs to stay at home or least semi indepedant.

My MIL has taken the step of choosing a nursing home she would like to live in if anything ever happens to FIL as she couldn't possibly live alone having had Parkinsons for 20 yrs (early diagnosis). Maybe while she's still capable this could be something you could consider broaching with her. But she needs your support and compassion even though it is so very hard.

Good luck smile

Kayano Wed 19-Oct-11 20:08:19

shock

Omg poor mil
You do need to put more effort in but no need to be so bloody rude to her!

grograg Wed 19-Oct-11 20:18:37

YABU for putting the phone down on her, what a shitty thing to do to someone who isnt coping very well. My very DFIL has recently died and the changes his parkinsons caused over his last few years were bloody awful so no wonder your poor MIL is depressed.

I get why you are fustrated i really do but to phone her up and then hang up is just horrible sad

ImperialBlether Wed 19-Oct-11 20:36:43

I wanted to say what grograg said, but she got there first!

Your poor MIL, having you putting the phone down on her. You do know she'll be in tears now, don't you?

Phone her up now and apologise profusely. Is there any way one of you could go to stay with her for a few days and have an appointment with the doctor then?

Why not look at sheltered housing in your area? Are BIL and DH having a stand off as to who looks at accommodation first? She might be surprised at how nice it can be.

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