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How the hell do I get it through my Mother’s thick skull that she is DIABETIC?!?!?!

(166 Posts)
AngeloMysterioso Wed 20-May-20 20:26:53

My DM is over 70, and was diagnosed as Type 2 diabetic 10 years ago. In her case, you could call it “lifestyle diabetes”... she has been overweight my entire life, doesn’t really exercise (she has a treadmill and uses it, but it’s more of a quick gentle stroll than an actual workout) and has a terrible diet. She’s had to inject herself with medicine (not insulin, I’m not sure what it is) for about a year, possibly longer. She has to test her blood glucose and is very happy when she gets a low reading, but she does it at random when she feels like it, so I’m not entirely sure how reflective the results are of her actual state. She often says that she doesn’t think she’ll see 80/live to see my baby DS growing up/is worried she’s going to lose her sight/feet (she already has problems with both) etc etc.

From the beginning she treated it more as an inconvenience than a life threatening disease and did very little to change the habits that got her there in the first place. She blamed it on a chocolate addiction, in an I-can’t-help-it-I’m-a-chocoholic sort of way. Last year she paid a small fortune to have a hypnotherapist rid her of this chocolate addiction. And it sort of worked; she hasn’t had chocolate since. What she has done is replace it with other crap instead.

Since lockdown started I’ve been doing her shopping online for her and honestly her shopping list is alarming. A typical order would include two packs of plain hob nobs, two big tubs of full fat cottage cheese, two multipacks of hula hoops, two punnets of green grapes, three bags of fruit pastilles, three bags of wine gums, two bags of toffee popcorn, two tubs of dairylea spread, 5 bananas, two bottles of white zinfandel, 4 pints of whole milk. A few times she’s even ordered cream cakes. Oh and some Muller light Greek yogurt and maybe the odd vegetable (usually salad). This is to last a week.

But she’s really proud that she hasn’t had any chocolate hmm.

This week, however, she has made a few changes, and she’s very pleased with herself. She’s only having the three bags of wine gums, no fruit pastilles. She hasn’t ordered hob nobs or hula hoops, but she has ordered a multipack of quavers and two very fatty cheeses (to have with the water biscuits she ordered last week).

I said that I thought she’d decided not to buy popcorn or sweets anymore, to which her response was “I’ve only bought popcorn and wine gums, not the sugary ones. No sweet biscuits or hoola hoops, and no cheese biscuits 😇 I think i’m doing quite well.”

I reminded her that there’s a crap tonne of sugar in the wine gums and popcorn (gave her the actual figures)- “Yes I know, but the injections clear most of it, and remember this is a week, not daily”

I pointed out that the point of the injections isn’t to enable her to eat a load of sugar. And that I know for a fact that she doesn’t space all that stuff out over a week, the sweet snacks are gone within a few days. “Well actually I do pretty well for me. I’ve already cut a lot of sugar and carbs out. No chocolate for nearly a year!! I’m feeling pretty good about myself”

And yet, later on in the day... “Uh-oh on the news, most covid deaths underlying illness is type 2 diabetes 😱 😭”

I brought up the fact that she’s got popcorn, crisps, sweets and an assortment of cheese in her shopping order... “I like living life on the edge.
Some of my pinprick results make me diabetes free!!”

I mean what the fuck do I say to that? How do I make her see that it’s no good her complaining when she eats so much rubbish? I feel like refusing to do her shopping for her, or refusing to order those items, but a) I’d never hear the end of it and b) she’d only get someone else to buy it for her.

I’m really worried. I don’t know what to do. What do I do?

paperandfireworks Wed 20-May-20 20:30:07

Nothing.

RoseWharf Wed 20-May-20 20:35:30

It sucks, but there's nothing you can do about it. You could always gradually 'forget' to put all her junk food into the online shopping order each week to wean her off, but that's probably beyond the realms of okay and may just damage your relationship.

Glowcat Wed 20-May-20 20:35:35

Her risk is higher than non diabetics but lower than type 1 diabetics.

If she doesn’t want to change you can’t make her. If the though of blindness, amputation or incontinence doesn’t influence her I can’t imagine anything will.

PatriciaBateman Wed 20-May-20 20:36:42

I know very, very well (up close and personal) the effects of type 2 diabetes, and I'm still not sure I'd give up chocolate to avoid them. Especially not if I were already over 70.

Ultimately, it is a choice, and a valid one providing the person understands. Quality/enjoyment over life now vs a longer and less health-complicated old age.

Enjoy what quality time you have, and let go of what you can't control, it will only introduce health problems into your own life. flowers

Aquamarine1029 Wed 20-May-20 20:38:50

You have got to let this go. Nothing you do or say will change your mother's behaviour. All you'll accomplish is giving yourself an ulcer from stress and damaging your relationship.

Thescrewinthetuna Wed 20-May-20 20:40:23

There’s nothing you can do OP I’m sorry.

9While9AndImWaiting Wed 20-May-20 20:40:43

Having type two for the reasons she does, is most likely linked to the gene they've identified which prohibits the person with said gene from feeling full etc.

I would assume, as someone who feels the same about food, that it is any excuse to try and explain why you're unable to stop eating. So I really don't think you're ever going to get anywhere with her. I'm sorry.

I've tried to limit myself but the only time it has ever worked, was when I went completely the other way and got hooked into not eating at all, was very unwell.

I know it's frustrating but she isn't going to engage with the right kind of dieting and you're going to keep chucking buckets of water into a bottomless well where she's concerned.

Atalune Wed 20-May-20 20:44:32

Leave her be. There is no mileage in any of this heartache with her.

Enjoy the time you have with her. Don’t nag.

My mum had a dreadful lifestyle and I betrayed her about it. I was mean. She died suddenly of a heart attack and I wasn’t there. It was sudden and horrible and all I was left with was the bitter bitter taste of being a nasty judgey little bitch to her when I needn’t have been.

I wish I could have said my piece and then left it.

Regret is a terrible thing.

And yes she dies because of her terrible lifestyle. But that was her choice, and I am ashamed of how I tried to boss her about.

UtterlyUnimaginativeUsername Wed 20-May-20 20:55:55

Leave her alone, she's an adult and entitled to make her own decisions, whether you agree with them or not. You're just damaging your relationship with her, and not achieving anything.

Porridgeoat Wed 20-May-20 21:01:15

Educate her with factual information rather then preach. Leaflets and links about what diabetics need to eat.

AngeloMysterioso Wed 20-May-20 21:01:18

I know I’m banging my head against a brick wall, and I hate lecturing her (I know that’s what I’m doing), but it’s so bloody hard listening to her woe is me shit about being diabetic, not seeing DS grow up etc etc and not scream “BUT YOU'RE BRINGING IT ON YOURSELF!!!”

Porridgeoat Wed 20-May-20 21:02:42

She had to make educated choices. It has to come from her. However is it worth getting the community nurse to explain diet to her

Floralnomad Wed 20-May-20 21:08:38

When she starts going on about her health problems and not seeing her grandchild grow up is the time you say ‘ well you don’t help yourself because you eat loads of crap and I don’t want to hear it ‘ , aside from that you do nothing . It sucks OP but there is nothing you can do .

arethereanyleftatall Wed 20-May-20 21:09:48

Yanbu op. I hear you. My step father is exactly the same. It makes me really cross. Especially that he's a millionaire, is costing the nhs a fortune, fiddled his taxes, and reads the daily mail and complains about people on benefits all the time. But like others have said, there's nothing you can say that will change her, so zero point.

Sparklesocks Wed 20-May-20 21:13:46

It’s so hard when the people we love risk their health and don’t make the best choices, but as others say unfortunately there’s not much you can do - adults will make their own decisions and the best we can hope for is that they figure it out.

argueifnecessary Wed 20-May-20 21:14:13

It's an addiction. You can't help an addict by saying what they're doing is unhealthy. My own mother is the same with smoking. She has had numerous health problems in the recent years related to smoking - she has had problems with her tongue, lungs, skin, and all have smoking as a risk factor. There is no way that I can make her stop. The problem is, I refuse to stay with her now because I don't want to take my small children into her toxic environment because I hated it so so much when I was growing up. I always think of the lovely awakenings in the mornings - nothing better to wake you up than blue smoke in your nose... I have also found out I am allergic to nicotine so God knows how it effed with my health all those years.
But alas, even that knowledge didn't make her stop and she continues to smoke near her grandchildren. It makes me seethe but there is NOTHING I can do. She is too old to change.

Mtbf Wed 20-May-20 21:21:22

She is over 70. Maybe she knows the risks but doesn’t give a fuck.

TinnedPearsForPudding Wed 20-May-20 21:21:51

This is sadly reflective of many many type 2 diabetics. There is a strong element of denial & "head in the sand" about long term complications - very very similar to smoking. I don't know what the answer is but I really wish you both well x

OnlyThenWhen Wed 20-May-20 21:24:38

There is nothing you can do.
She will have had the education, it's up to her.

FixTheBone Wed 20-May-20 21:26:59

I've treated huge numbers of patients with diabetes who have been extremely resistant to lifestyle change.

It's a combination of things, particularly like any lifestyle issue - it needs a lifetime of learned behaviours and routines to be altered.

I'm also convinced of end organ damage in the brain a 'diabetic brain' that causes subtle personality and behavioural changes that make things even more difficult.

Knotaknitter Wed 20-May-20 21:48:17

After years of printing pages from Diabetes UK and printing and highlighting pages from the blood sugar monitor manual I worked out that I might as well talk to the wall for all the good it did. She's an adult and entitled to make her own choices even if they are choices that we would consider strange. I buy and deliver what is on the shopping list and that's all that there is to it. Her life, her choices.

Thisbastardcomputer Wed 20-May-20 21:48:55

My mother is the same, now has Alzheimer's, we have no chance of her changing her behaviour

Aquamarine1029 Wed 20-May-20 21:58:12

My FIL is just like your mother, he won't listen to anyone. He has type 2 diabetes and smokes like a chimney. In my opinion, him dropping dead from a massive stroke or heart attack is the best possible outcome for him, because the other option is years of misery and sickness. It's infuriating.

Fatted Wed 20-May-20 22:07:37

You leave her to it.

My MIL was the same. Dangerously high blood pressure the entire time I've known her. Poor diet and lifestyle, obese. Problems with arthritis and needed a hip operation, but couldn't have it because of weight and blood pressure. Absolutely no interest in healthy eating, exercise or looking after herself.

She had a life changing stroke when my eldest was a baby. The doctors at the time didn't expect her to survive. She is paralyzed on one side. She is going blind. Complains about the life she is now living.

DH tried for a long time to encourage her to change her ways, but she did not want to. Or couldn't in her case, I think her self confidence and self esteem were terrible. She still eats the same way now. DH has given up trying to tell her. You can lead a horse to water and all that. But unfortunately, you can't force someone to change.

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