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  • Frustrated w/Mom

    Hi -new to this forum. Guess just looking form some moral support. My mother has been very overweight her whole life (300 lbs - 5'1") and for the most part has refused to do anything about it. She has Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, can barely walk (we had to get her an electric wheelchair), has had lymphodema, has joint pain (she just attributes it to arthritis, although I am sure it is more complicated than that), etc.. Her kidney function has been declining over the years (although she blows that off too - said the Drs. had said "something about her kidneys not working quite right"). I am able now to look at her past medical records online and see her Dr. suggested she see a Nephrologist 4 years ago (she claims to remember none of that). Anyways, now kidney function is at about 25% (I do realize it is more complicated than that - am doing a lot of research on kidney disease) and I am taking her to a Nephrologist. She is having more tests soon & a recheck in about 1 1/2 months. My problem is my Mother got very angry when the Dr. said she will probably need to make some dietary changes and stopped listening. She said all Doctors do is try to take away everything she enjoys. She told the Dr. she doesn't understand anything she is being told, but when I try to explain it to her she says she doesn't want to know because it makes her depressed. When my Mom was diagnosed w/Type II Diabetes many years ago I tried to be helpful and bought her a book on it, a video (in case reading about it was too overwhelming) & a cookbook. She was angry with me and would not speak to me or look at me (doubtful she every read any of it). My Mom's way of dealing w/anything unpleasant is to push it out of her mind and not deal w/it. It is very frustrating for me. I do her grocery shopping (all frozen dinners, chocolate brownies & cake, 4-5 gallons of ice cream per month, etc.) and am her sole source of transportation (she lives in a Senior apt.). She claims that it is too hard for her to cook (although she will make jumbo muffins and fried jumbo eggs for herself). I have suggested home delivered meals that are available - she says she won't like most of the food (she is very fussy) I cannot accept her not knowing what is going on and am wondering why I am taking her to the Doctors if she will not even listen. I believe it is her choice as to whether or not she wants to follow through but feel she needs to make an informed decision. She blames all of her health issues on "being old" and tells me I don't understand what it is like to "be old". I am trying to set some boundaries and ground rules but it is hard. She is big on guilt trips and feels very sorry for herself. Probably could use some therapy - likely has been chronically depressed but refuses help. I feel like I am being dragged underwater.

  • #2
    Re: Frustrated w/Mom

    Hello Terra,

    Welcome. This is a great place to come for support, lots of nice people!

    My first thought was about the diet and since you are doing all the shopping, I would suggest that you set some boundaries on what you are willing to buy for her. I don't want to hurt your feelings but you are enabling her to eat unhealthy if you are buying things that you are certain she should not have. Start by replacing bad choices with better choices. If she gets hungry, she will most likely eat despite what she might tell you. Since you are taking her to the nephrologist, either have him supply you with suitable/acceptable foods for her along with a diet or ask to see a renal dietitian to obtain one. If you are unable to deal with her being angry, then I think you should go for the home delivered meals and remove yourself from the equation. I would akin her food addiction to that of an alcoholic and anytime you get between a person and their addiction, you 're going to be met with a bunch of resistance and some major anger. Do your best not to allow this behavior to influence you, otherwise you are contributing to her ill health.

    With kidney function of 25%, she needs to be making major lifestyle modifications as if she doesn't, she will probably have renal failure. Also, worst case scenario, is she will have kidney failure and therefore, she needs to be getting educated about her dialysis options and making plans to be on dialysis.

    If you believe that it is her choice to make, then maybe you can provide her with literature and leave the rest up to her. You will have to make some difficult choices and decide what you will and will not do. One more word of advice, her anger, feeling sorry for herself, etc are ways to manipulate you into doing what she wants so she can continue practicing her destructive behavior.

    Only you can decide if you are going to continue to contribute to her self destruction or not.

    My best to you and your mother.
    Create signature while not logged in, edited through forums.davita.com on 08/15/2012 @ 12:53!!!!!

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    • #3
      Re: Frustrated w/Mom

      Thanks for your reply. I do feel like an enabler sometimes. My sister does some shopping for her also. Since Mom is paying for the groceries I have a hard time dictating what she is buying although I know in my heart it is crap. She has had horrible eating habits her entire life. She tells everyone that food is the only pleasure she has left (ironic that it has also destroyed her life). After her recheck with her renal Doctor I would imagine she will be referred to a dietician, although I don't know if Mom will agree to go. I guess I am at the point where I feel if she wants to kill herself with food it is her choice, but I am insisting that she knows what the future holds for her with this choice. I did mail her a letter telling her how frustrated I am and in it I insisted she at least know the basics of her kidney issues (and sent along some information). I told her she can make her own choices but they need to be informed decisions. If she ends up needing dialysis I want her to be fully aware that her choices were what got her there. I also told her she needs to arrange another transportation option (and gave her 3 she can look into) because I will not always be able to be there (I work full time myself), especially if she ends up needing dialysis. I do understand what you mean and am trying to set some boundaries and some ground rules. I struggle with trying to force her to eat right as I know how difficult she will make things and I don't know if I can handle the stress of that. Being her primary caregiver is stressful enough. I do understand though that she is being manipulative & using guilt to get her way. I am going to try to take it one step at a time and try to remove myself a bit from the drama. My Dad was bipolar and didn't take care of himself either - he ended up dying homeless on the streets. I tried to help him also and it took a big toll on me. Although my Mom's situation is different, in many ways it is similar. Neither of my parents have ever been very good at taking care of themselves or taking responsibility for their choices.

      So, again, thanks for the input and the moral support. I guess that is all I really want. Just need someone to let me know that I am not being mean by protecting myself and trying to force her to have some personal responsibilty (even though I know that it is so). Thanks much

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      • #4
        Re: Frustrated w/Mom

        Terra,

        I'm sorry and I know how difficult it must be on you and it's okay for you to step back and let go of the reins if you need to. Caregivers have to take care of themselves as it is very draining, especially if the person you are caring for is not receptive or does not try to do right by themselves.

        As I said, I think delivered meals would be a good option as she will have to eat healthier and she will not be able to direct any anger at you for not buying what she wants. Getting her into a mental health care provider is certainly an option to consider.

        I think the letter you wrote to her was a very good idea and maybe it will eventually help her see things a little clearer. I know you love her, but there does come a time when you have to look out for your own well being. Maybe if you step back a little, it will give your mother the incentive to do something different once she sees the "old ways" just aren't gonna cut it anymore!

        Please keep us posted and let us know how you are doing.
        Create signature while not logged in, edited through forums.davita.com on 08/15/2012 @ 12:53!!!!!

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