What should we do about our mum? AIBU to want to call her GP?(21 Posts)
I have been talking to my sister this evening, and my dad, about my mum. She is not very good with her health when it comes to admitting there is a problem (she has hearing loss and it was a couple of years before she went to her doctor about it).
She has migraines at least once a month, sometimes more frequently. She hasn't always had them...they came on in the last couple of years. She is 65. They are not hormonal because she had a hysterectomy ages ago, in her forties.
She sometimes also has dizzy spells and a year or so ago had a problem with her eye where her vision was temporarily obscured. She went to the optician about this, not the doctor, so I don't know if it is on her medical record.
I am a huge worrier, especially about health, and for at least 2 years I have worried that the migraines might be something more sinister and not migraines at all. Her dad died of a brain tumour, which my mum says was related to lung cancer. I know he did definitely have lung cancer (he was 53 when he died, and a heavy smoker) but I don't know if it was related or not.
My mum's hearing is rapidly declining and I worry this is related to the same problem as well. My sister and I have both tried to broach this with our dad, but he brushed us off, and I don't feel I can push it as they know me as a worrier and any interference makes both of them irritated - especially mum.
But mum has been a bit head in the sand about more minor things in the past and my sister and I have been wondering if we should speak to her GP and just tell the GP about all this other stuff, and about her dad, in case she hasn't. And then get mum to make an appointment. This feels hugely dishonest but I've tried to ask mum in the past if she thinks she should go for tests and so on, and she just gets cross.
She is having an MRI on her head for her ears but says it is "not urgent" and might take a while...I guess I would really like them to do this sooner and for all the various different medical people to look at everything as a whole. I get the impression that even if the thought has crossed my mum's mind, she won't have discussed it with medical professionals, because she hasn't even had an eye test even though she needs (off-the-shelf) glasses to read...
My sister and I feel like we should do something, but we are not sure what.
Opticians are highly trained professionals and would have referred your mum to her GP if worried.
To be honest migrates and dizziness are fairly commen you know and your mum is only 65 and can take care of herself. Also your dad isn't worried.
You sound caring but it would irritate me if my grown up children were constantly badgering me like this.
Her GP wouldn't discuss any health details with you of course as your mum is a fully competent adult.
The optician would have given her a basic eye test.
Her dad died of a brain tumour, which my mum says was related to lung cancer. I know he did definitely have lung cancer (he was 53 when he died, and a heavy smoker) but I don't know if it was related or not.
Lung cancer frequently metastasises to the brain-it would be very unlikely that his tumour was unrelated to the lung cancer.
I don't know how useful this is but I can give you my story - my mum died from a brain tumour aged 61. She didn't complain of headaches or dizziness, she did have poor hearing but she had done so for many years prior to diagnosis so I'm not sure that was relevant. Her illness became suddenly obvious when she had seizures. It was very sudden and she was then diagnosed from a scan. Looking back there was no other signs at all, she may have been slightly forgetful but nothing else. Literally nothing.
I have had an MRI scan on my head for hearing loss, I am younger at 41 so my hearing loss was considered unusual. My MRI appointment came through within a couple of weeks, has she actively been referred and on a waiting list for a scan appointment?
Did the temporary vision loss sound like amaneurosis fugax? (Google it- like curtain descending in front of eye) - is a "mini stroke" and she should receive treatment to reduce her chance of having a stroke in future. However an Optician should recognise this, so perhaps it wasn't this if they weren't concerned.
New migraines in an over 50 warrant a head ct scan (although may well turn out to be nothing in the end).
Saying that you can't force your mum to see her GP, and your mum's GP can't arrange any tests unless she wants them.
I would try and persuade her to book an appt. Maybe research a bit online so you can discuss with her. Suggest her GP could also help with migraine treatment. If you can't persuade her, I guess that is her choice.
My dad had a brain tumour and his symptoms were nothing like your mum's so try not to worry too much. Maybe see your own GP and get his advice on whether you are being over anxious or whether you should take some action.
I think it would be a good idea to let your mum organise her health care in her own way. Even though it will be hard for you to step back and respect her way of handling things.
And op mean this nicely see your GP about your anxieties. I did and there's lots of help out there
I think you should let your mum make her own decisions about her health as she is a grown adult of sound mind.
Sweetheart, I think you may be over worrying, and other things are making this worse than it might be.
If your mum is wearing non-prescription glasses without having even had an eye test, it is not surprising she has dizzy spells and is getting migraines! She is probably wearing completely the wrong glasses. If she went to see an optician about the temporary loss of vision, I am sure she will have had a test then but she obviously didn't follow it up with new glasses. Getting some proper glasses would be a great start to checking if that improves her headaches.
Provided your mother has capacity to make decisions for herself, I think you need to stay out of it.
You and your sister have voiced your concerns - now it's up to your mother to take action. Or not, as it were.
From what you are writing it is very unlikely that her symptoms are due to a brain tumour fwiw.
She needs to go to an optometrist - the migraines and dizziness (like someone else said) could be down to the wrong prescription. It's nice that you are concerned about her though x Optometrists should do a thorough eye exam and would be able to pick up tumours pressing on the back of the eye but obviously not elsewhere.
The mri will probably come through quicker than you think as pp has said and as a chronic migraine sufferer your mum has my sympathy! However although important to rule it out it is unlikely to be symptomatic of a brain tumour, as people have said wrong prescription could contribute but there are so many causes, and I and many other chronic sufferers also have dizziness and visual issues(sometimes intermittent sometimes more serious) so please don't be alarmed until the scan comes through.
Perhaps you could treat her to a new eye test and pair of prescription glasses if needed. I think it would also be good if she had a check up with the GP given the problem with temporary sight loss, but given she has been referred for an MRI it sounds like she has seen the GP recently already. At the end of the day she is an adult of sound mind and her health choices including what she shares (or doesn't) with you and others are her own.
Could your mum know what her problem is and only have told your dad . Keeping it from your sister and yourself until she has a scan and the results come back so she has something conclusive to tell you .
That's what I would do if I were her.
Gosh, thank you so much for all your replies. You have helped calm me down a bit and realise that perhaps I am being OTT.
I do get overly anxious about things anyway, so perhaps that isn't helping (and that is something I intend to seek help with). She is on the waiting list for an MRI, I don't know how long that takes.
Hopelessly - thank you, I don't think it was amaneurosis fugax - it did have a name but I've forgotten it and it was something to do with ageing, I think, and the optician was not concerned.
Thanks again for the replies. I am naturally a bit sceptical of doctors and find them difficult to trust because two out of the three grandparents that I knew (mum's dad died before I was born) died because GPs missed something massive (and in my grandad's case, my dad even got a formal apology). So I am wary, probably unnaturally so.
PS: Elfies, that is exactly what my sister and I were wondering. We've also wondered how much of what the doctors are saying she is actually able to hear! She doesn't like eye tests because she can't hear the opticians....(!)
My Dad had a brain tumour as a secondary to lung cancer (heavy smoker too). Really try not to overthink it.
If your Mum is managing with off the shelf glasses at 65 she is not doing too bad. Actually as others have pointed out this might even be a cause. I am in mid 50s and started needing glasses for reading about 10 years ago. At first I got by with ones I bought in Woolworths for a fiver. I then had a spell of headaches, which is unusual for me. I did have a bit of a hypochondriac spell when I thought brain tumour! But then two things happened, I got prescription glasses and a new monitor at work. Headaches stopped.
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