Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I am so not sure what is real in relation to her medical challenges... an update on her hip injury...

So for those who are new to this blog, my mother has had an issue with her hip since July.  She has had at least 2 rounds of physical therapy, one was to include hydrotherapy which she declined.  She blames the first PT provider with damaging her leg further, and blames an antibiotic for causing her leg pain.  She now walks with a cane.  She has severe osteoporosis and osteopenia, among other things.  

She was referred to a specialist in a larger town about 70 miles from her home after being told she had a torn ligament in her hip.  Two cortisone shots later and two appointments later, she cancelled her 3rd appointment with this specialist/surgeon.  This was contributed to by her behavior at the last appointment, where she was rude and demanding to the reception staff, the nursing staff, and the doctor.  She has now decided he 'treated her different' and 'acted funny'.  Sorry Dr. Whomever-you-are... that fall from the 'Wonderful Stranger' pedestal is an abrupt and catastrophic one.

She had a primary care physician appointment today. She had him look at her leg, which apparently has a 'groove' and a 'pulled place'.  With the really obtuse yet dramatic detail she often uses in reference to her issue and the doctor's opinion, she finally discloses that:
  1. Neither cortisone injection helped
  2. That this change in her leg has happened since the last specialist visit 6-8 weeks ago
  3. The PCP told her to stop the shots, that she has scar tissue and muscle atrophy from the botched PT sessions
  4. That her leg is NEVER GOING TO GET BETTER... [screaming emphasis is hers]
  5. Her Lupus is active again
Earlier this week she went to her eye doctor.  She has cataracts (possibly contributed to by some of her heavy use of corticosteroids for Lupus and other issues but more than likely a mixed result of age, and having light, light blue eyes and NEVER wearing any type of UV blocking lens or sunglasses and medications.

Allegedly she was recommended for surgery over three years ago, but she will not commit to scheduling, and complains that she cannot see certain things.  And she drives:-\

Now- this is where my angst comes in.  What is the truth?  What is exaggerated for effect or to attempt to induce guilt?  What is she not telling me?  And based on past performances and her skewed and paranoid perspective is ANY OF IT TRUE?  

In her conversations with me she recounts folks pity and alleged horror as this frail, elderly little woman perseveres over her physical issue (walking very slowly and painfully) and loneliness/abandonment to get what is essential done.

I am placed in a place of not knowing very intentionally by my hoarding mother.  Information is POWER, both withholding it and using it... as far as her perspective goes.  In the past there have been many occasions she has been less than honest with me, with the docs, with everyone.  They include:

  1. Revisionist medical history- although her mother had a radical mastectomy and breast cancer, she denies it.  She is also convinced her mother had Lupus, which most information points to that children are only slightly more prone than the general public.
  2. She claims to have had 'vascular surgery' in the late 70's.  She was allegedly hospitalized for 6 weeks or more, all to take out a rib?!?! That was causing issues that a previous surgeon missed.  She had no new incision when she returned.
  3. In 1996, 8+ years after being allegedly diagnosed with Lupus, the really nasty, often fatal in 10 years or so type (again, according to her) she told me she had 2 years to live.  As my ex-husband likes to point out, she is the healthiest and longest lived terminal case he has ever seen...
  4. Many elective surgeries that required 23 hour observations, and the hospitalization and surgery that resulted from a cat bite that almost cost her life itself, but I was not told until after the fact.  Once, when I still lived in the same state she arranged for me to pick her up by asking me to meet her at a doctor's appointment.  They did not get her ready for discharge in time so that secret was out.
  5. Any surgery or treatment she has then turns out to be botched... her thyroid surgery is an example.  The doctor she uses has a great reputation and many of my friends who are still in that area use him.  She burnt that bridge by verbally attacking him, claims he 'nicked the nerve' and now she cannot swallow or eat, and that her voice is changed forever.  Her voice only changes when she is complaining about this.
  6. She also affects a hoarse voice when she talks about she is coughing/sick/whatever.  The next topic it resumes as normal.
So what is real, what is gaslighting to attempt to inflict guilt, and what is just more narcissism and hoarder BS?  

...Oh... Sorry.   The last two options, at least with my mother, are the same thing.  


  1. The only way you would know for sure about her health status would be to accompany her on her doctor's visits. From what I've read here, I don't think she would allow you to do that. You would then have information which equals power, and she wants all the power.

    Personally, I don't see how you stand having as many conversations with her as you do. Just reading them makes me want to scream and throw something.

    Sorry :-(

  2. Have you considered telling her that if she wants you to listen to her medical rants then you need the doctors to speak to you direct? We had to do this. Mom is no longer allowed to tell us what the doctor said. We either take turns and go with her (well, NOT ME) to the visits or the doctor has to provide us his report. All her doctors now send us an email with diagnoses and treatment.

    Your mom won't do it of course. It removes her control. But then you can say "well, I would LIKE to care Mom, but history has taught me not to believe your interpretation of what the doc says. I would rather read the truth with my own eyes."

    Our mom now pouts and whines when she tries to tell us of her whoas and we say "well, the doc so and so said that wouldn't still hurt if you would do this." Shuts her right up. We removed this power when we realized she wasn't telling each doc what the other doc was prescribing. MAN! IS SHE PISSED!!

  3. NanaR-

    Listening to her makes me want to throw something... Don't feel bad about expressing it! And you are totally correct. She uses information as a tool of power/control, mainly as a weapon. I am seriously questioning my mental status for calling her like I have. Thanks for reading!


    I love, love, LOVE your strategy. Tonight when started her routine I stopped her dead by advising her to sign a release for me with her doctor, so I could check in and get the bottom line. That way I might have useful and accurate information that I could make some suggestions/referrals that might be helpful since getting things through the current filter of perception was not working.

    She had to go:-)

    For the WIN!

  4. I'm not surprised. We both expected this. It took us a couple of years to gain access to mom's providers. It was worth it though AND having that access (controlling her drugs) also improved her attitude. She is still toxic and manipulative BUT it seems less edgy.

  5. It is ironic Lisa, that my mother controlled her mother's medication and went with her to doctor's appointments. She openly told me this week that she 'keeps them out of this' when referring to certain doctors and what she is telling the piecemeal. I look forward to the computerized records that are one prong of the Affordable Care Act simply for the reason she will not be able to hoard information. She also demands written scripts instead allowing electronic transfer to the Pharmacy. Everything is about information control. Ugh.

  6. Hi Lisa,

    I have a quick question for you regarding your blog, but I couldn't find your contact information. Do you think you could send me an email whenever you get a chance?