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Old 01-17-2013, 07:04 PM #1
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As you all know my MIL lives in a nursing home. My own Mom died almost 2 years ago so my MIL is my only Mom left. She is mentally ill but well controlled on meds and sometimes I think I am the only one who thinks there is something left in this woman worth knowing. She has this dilusion that a male aide that used to work on her unit is going to marry her. She started this when he had to get her ready for bed, dress her, etc. And you know how a lot of the medical staff call you honey. So she gave me this shopping list of padded bras, silk underwear (to wear over her diapers), long sexy lacy gowns, etc. We also needed to spend down some money quick or she would be in trouble with Medicaid so we bought a couple of pair of pants and blouses. So we got there today with the bras, undies, gowns and she met us at the door, "is that all you've got?" I told her that the two bags we had were full of stuff. She didn't like the bras, I only bought one pair of undies to see how they worked. I couldn't buy any white sexy lacy gowns because I didn't think that's what would be appropriate for a nursing home since she has worn jsut a hospital gown top for 9 years there. But she had also givne us the job of buying her a ring. So we bought her a cubic jerconinan (SP?) ring in the price range she had always bought her non fine jewelry. Well it wan't big enough. When I had shown her a picture of it on my phone she didn't like it and said she wanted a real diamond and she wanted a 1/2 carat diamond ring. I tried to tell her that would cost her quite a bit and she couldn't afford that. But she wanted it anyway. So we found her one that was a total of 1/2 carat but was small chips but put together was quite nice.

So everything I had busted my butt buying her she found something wrong in it, she had other purple blouses, why in the wolrd would I think she wanted another one. Even the cheap ring was two small. She wears a size 91/2 and we gha it sized a 10. We had it sized to her old ring. She coldn't hardly get it off her finger to almost throw it back at me but it was two big. The gowns weren't white, the cocoanut oil soap wan't creamy looking enough. The hair conditioner was family size and how could she use that.

So I just stood up, took the sacks of the things to be returned and walked out. My husdand left an hour later. I feel terrible for leaving like that but when I told her how many days it had taken me to do this shopping and how tired it had made me she was still complaining. She calls 4 times in the mornings while we are still asleep and doesn't say a thing. So when we listen to the message it's just nursing home sounds.

Anyway, I feel bad for walking out but yet I had to let her know how she made me feel
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:34 PM #2
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I would imagine she really didn't get the full effect of what your walking out meant so don't be too hard on yourself.

I totally support anyone who removes themself from a situation where they are being treated disrespectfully but with dementia or psychosis I find it really important to have a thick skin and not take things personally.

She clearly isn't in her right mind and the truth is you were a great daughter in law to do all that shopping for her so I would hold on to that and give yourself the credit rather than expecting her to be appreciative.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:41 PM #3
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Thanks Jules. I wasn't brought up to treat a person like this at all, especially my MIL. I know with her mental problems that she doens't see life like I do and doesn't appreciate what happens in the real world. She is a lonely old woman and she has 2 sons and 1 daughter in law who pay attention to her. She has 4 kids, is the oldest of 12 kids so there are a lot of other people who cold pay attention to her but they don't. I have encouraged her to wheel herself out to the dining room and get to know the other residents. She thinks she wouldn't have anything in common with them. So I have reminded her that I a m sure that each of these ladies have grand kids and great grand kids. I have even taken her out, sat with them and talked to them.

I just want to call her and apologize but yet I want to wait a day to let her know that she has hurt me.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:21 AM #4
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I don't think it would be wise for her to have expensive real diamond ring in a home anyway... anyone could steal it.

Better to walk out than yell or say something really hurtful.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:38 AM #5
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She has already had one of her rings stolen off her finger while she was sleeping. The suspected person is no longer there. We told her that but she insisted she wanted a real diamond and a cubic zir. My husband says we need to humor her.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:59 AM #6
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From what you've posted, I know that your husband isn't always open to your suggestions, but perhaps he could be convinced that it would be in his mother's best interests to humor her in a way that didn't exhaust you and waste her money. And you could help preserve her dignity, even if she doesn't realize it needs to be preserved.

The last couple of years my mom was alive (with Alzheimer's), I realized that humoring her sometimes meant (gasp) lying to her. There was no point arguing with her reality, because it WAS real. If she said "Nobody has checked on me in 12 hours," I gave up trying to explain that it had actually been 45 minutes since I'd gotten out of bed the last time to check on her.

She just didn't believe me, and was upset because I was "lying" to her! So the next time, I just apologized and said, "We'll try harder to get in here more often." It was all she needed, and she would smile and pat my hand and say, "That's all right, I know you do your best." Sometimes I'd go back to bed and cry, but it was still better.

I know your MIL isn't my mom, and the situations are different. But can she really tell the difference between a diamond and a zirconia? Sometimes giving a demented person what he/she wants isn't the kindest thing to do after all.

Perhaps your husband might be persuaded that encouraging his mother to dress all Victoria's Secret-like and put herself in the position of losing even more dignity might not be the kindest way to humor her. I know, it isn't that simple. I've been there, and about a million times I've thought, "Easy for you to say" when people gave me advice. But we do care!
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:08 AM #7
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Very well thought out and said B2Y.

There comes a time when one must be the responisble adult, and make intelligent decisions for those who can not, will not and/or who are incapable.
It seems that time may have come with respect to your situation, doydie.

IMO, You did the right thing...
Your MIL may not be able to 'get' that she hurt you, but I think that you have at least made it clear to your husband that you are not willing to participate in this sort of thing without limits.
Feeling that he needs to humor his mother is one thing...but he may benefit from being reminded that the whims of his mother need to be balanced with paying consideration to your needs and feelings as well .

With love, Erika
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:53 AM #8
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I have a MIL who is mentally ill also, and my mother suffers from parkinson's dementia, so I know exactly what you are going through. At times like that where you feel totally unappreciated, all you need to do is ask yourself if you are comfortable that what you did was the right thing to do for them. When you realize that the answer is yes, then you realize that you shouldn't allow your own emotions to be ruled by how your actions are perceived by somebody who is mentally ill or suffering from dementia.

It is easier to be at peace with yourself when you just follow your own conscience and do what you believe is the right thing to do. If they don't appreciate what you do, you can always fall back on why you did it. If you go against your conscience and do the wrong thing because it is what they want, then if it goes wrong or isn't appreciated...you have nothing to fall back on except for recriminating yourself for not doing what you thought was right in the first place.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:16 PM #9
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I sympathize; my mother has been suffering from severe dementia for years and is now being cared for in a private facility. For a long time, my poor brother chose to try to keep her in his home, but it got incredibly stressful and even somewhat dangerous, as she got mildly violent. Since he's the father of two boys, it was an untenable situation.

If this helps, I wanted to mention that your MIL may not even recall her outbursts against you and your husband. Whatever resentments she has at the time, they're probably fleeting--until they surface again. That's the way it's been with my mother.

Unfortunately, the more we did for her, the more resentment she seemed to have. Hers has been rather a different case, because she has never been a good-natured person anyway--and her doctors said that this has some bearing on her behavior now and has, undoubtedly, made her act even worse.

In your MIL's case, though, it sounds like she probably forgets about her resentments, or only nurses them sporadically; and they're certainly unfounded, as you well know. I know it's hard, but you simply can't feel guilty or feel that you haven't done enough; you're doing everything that is humanly possible, and you've treated her wonderfully!
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:04 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erika View Post
Your MIL may not be able to 'get' that she hurt you, but I think that you have at least made it clear to your husband that you are not willing to participate in this sort of thing without limits.
I agree, it is highly unlikely that she can even understand that she hurt you. Personally I wouldn't bother apologizing because you have nothing to apologize for and again it is doubtful that she is even able to comprehend what happened and why.

Let it alone and just try to take solace in knowing you went above and beyond for a sick, lonely old lady.
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