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MIL- thoughts, I guess?

This is going to be long. Sorry.  And I don?t know what I?m looking for ? advice, an outsiders perspective, or just to vent.  I?m also sure I?ll forget to tell you some key piece of info that takes the post down the totally wrong path. ;) 

 

Anyhow ? my MIL had a kidney transplant 9 years ago.  This was after a number of other health issues, including breast cancer.  While it was supposed to be a new lease on life, it really hasn?t been.  She?s developed diabetes, she now has arthritis, and the biggest kicker- we know she?s suffering from depression even though she won?t get help for it.  She?s 72. 

 

Needless to say, her personality has changed drastically.  She just wants to sit at home and watch old movies.  She doesn?t like to go out, SAYS she wants to travel, but now actually has come to the point that she even gets out of going on family related trips (for weddings, etc).  FIL will go by himself. For my baby shower, she got a stomach bug the night before and couldn?t come.  This ?excuse? has been used a few times, including my wedding shower too (which I don?t care about ? just an example of how she doesn?t like to go out and what she does to get out of it).

 

More info ? for a number of reasons, we don?t feel comfortable w/ them watching DS.  Largely physical on both her part and FIL?s part, but also partially mental reasons too.  FIL expresses disappointment in this, of course.  MIL talks the talk of being jealous that my parents watch DS, but to be perfectly honest, I don?t think she really is all that upset to not watch him.  I think she?s more in love w/ the IDEA of a grandson than w/ her actual grandson.  And I think a lot of this is due to the depression.

 

Unrelated to all of that, DH and I largely try to avoid doing big group dinners out (meaning w/ my family too).  Primarily because his parents tend to be horribly late.  One year it happened so many times in a short time frame, that we both agreed going out w/ them just wasn?t a good idea.  I felt it was very rude to my family, and bottom line- we try to host at home as much as possible. 

 

So, this past Monday we went out to dinner w/ both sets of parents for FIL?s 75th b-day.  (DS was w/ a sitter).  We went to a very nice, upscale restaurant.  Surprisingly, they were on time.  All is good. 

 

While at dinner, MIL starts to tell us (as she does EVERY time we see her) how when they go out to eat, she?ll go up to tables of total strangers and show them DS?s pics and how ?isn?t my grandson SO adorable!??.   Everyone agrees w/ her, and sometimes other grandparents will pull out their grandkids pics to show her too.


Honestly, this whole thing kind of horrifies DH and I.  We find it inappropriate for many reasons.  I KNOW her attitude is ?I?m 72 years old and I can do whatever I want!?, and I also think it?s her trying to make an attempt to say ?Look at how much I LOVE DS!?. 

 

Well, she?s telling us this because she wants to do this w/ a table of 14 people.  DH and I were like ?no ? do not do that.?.  FIL is sitting there and kind of chuckles and is like ?Oh- she does this everywhere we go!?.  Then also says ?Oh, honey, you?re going to embarrass your son!? ? again w/ a chuckle.


She starts to get a little more forceful about it, picks out 2 pictures, and says ?I?m going over to that table!?.  DH was like ?NO, mom, that?s not appropriate. ? and in the end, got her to chill out and not go over. 

 

I don?t find this appropriate at any restaurant, much less at an upscale, fancy restaurant.

 

Then the other thing that happened ? well, let me preface this by saying that later DH was like ?She can?t have more than 2 drinks? because anything past that gets her drunk.  While at dinner, one of the servers brought her a drink she ordered.  For some reason, this became equivalent to the girl finding world peace based on MIL?s response.    As we?re all getting ready to leave and are near the front door, the girl is at a register.  MIL gets $5 from FIL, goes and gives it to the girl and is basically telling her how WONDERFUL she is for getting her a drink, and then HUGS the girl.  I could see the girl was like ?WTF is this woman doing??.  This ends.  Then a minute later, MIL is over there again, holding the girls arm, going on about how wonderful she is, CARESSES her face and then hugs her again!  I looked at DH and then at his mom, and at this point he leans over to his mom and is like ?o.k. mom, it?s time to go.  This needs to end.  Come on, lets go.?. 

 

Even as I write this, I?m kind of dumbfounded.  Is this her just being drunk, depressed whacky old lady, or should we be pushing his dad to get her some help?  It was just all so over the top and uncomfortable. 

 

Lateness aside, now I REALLY don?t ever want to go out w/ them again to a restaurant if this is what is going to happen.  Just total levels of inappropriateness and a seeming lack of understanding what is normal behavior in public. 

 

Oh, the other thing is that w/ every course that came out, she was like ?what did I order?  I ordered this??.  At the time, I was kind of chalking it up to her just not wanting to think anymore.  I really do believe she?s gotten lazy.  Looking at a menu seems to overwhelm her, and then to ?forget? every course?  I do believe it is laziness, but again ? is it more?  Is there more we should be trying to do?  This aspect comes through in other ways too. She hardly takes part in conversations anymore, can never speak to present news issues going on, present TV shows, etc.  At Thanksgiving, she now gets up and goes and picks up a coffee table book that she is like ?oh- this is wonderful!  I love this book.  It?s so pretty.? ? and she did the same thing w/ the same book at Mothers Day and at thanksgiving the year before.  Just a lot of repetitive behavior and telling the same stories over and over.

 

Blah.  So fricking long. Sorry, and thanks for reading it all if you actually did.  Again- don?t know exactly what I?m looking for, but? please, if you have any thoughts or insight, I?d like to hear.

 

One last thing- to a certain degree, we think FIL kind of feels beaten down. I think he know she needs help, at least w/ the depression.  But I think it's hard on him because she can become very beligerent and rude too.  However, the chuckling over the picture thing - is that him giving up, or does he really think it's funny and is basically enabling the behavior?

"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
~Benjamin Franklin

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Re: MIL- thoughts, I guess?

  • Yikes! I'm sorry. Do you think the repetitive behavior and occasional belligerent behavior towards FIL and going up to strangers in restaurants showing them pictures of DS could be early stages of Alzheimer's or Dementia? If this happens before she has more than 2 drinks, maybe she does need to see a doctor.
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  • At first with her missing out on parties/get togethers and whatnot I was thinking "well this is like my grandmother, she just went through a big life change health scare and kinda gave up on things, almost as though she thinks that the more she does the more risk she'll be at". but then as you went on it sounds like so much more.

    It sounds like she's becoming a bit confused.  Could you have a talk with FIL and see what he thinks about the situation? I don't know what to suggest though. She sounds like she can look after herself still but maybe he knows if she's forgetting things or acting odd in any other ways, maybe suggest seeing a doctor.  They could have suggestions on ways to deal with this.

    As for your FIL though he might be laughing things off that she does just because he cares for her.  It would be incredibly hard for a spouse to see the person they've been with for most of their lives showing signs of age in this kind of way.  He might be doing it just to save her from any embarrassment.

    So sorry though that she and your family are going through this discomfort and change.  I would definitely keep dinners away from restaurants in the meantime, keep gatherings in someones house to avoid the social awkwardness.

  • Honestly, a LOT of this behavior sounds exactly like DH's grandmother. She had the begining stages of alzheimers, depression, and a few other chemical imbalances (possibly bipolar/manic). She would go up to random tables at restaurants, ask to try their food, tell gay couples how "adorable" they were, compliment their clothing, insult their clothing, tell people they needed to get their teeth fixed, etc. She was always VERY outspoken, and as she got older, it was even moreso.

    She would also forget what she ordered and act VERY surprised when it came out. "What is this? Did you pick this for me?"

    We (okay MIL and rest of family) would do a lot of apologizing, both in advance and after the fact. We'd try as hard as we could to stop her from going over to other tables, but if she did, we'd immediately pull her away and just apologize.

    At home, in forgetful situations, it was constant coddling and reminding - "Mom/Grandma, your glasses are on your head. You put your cane over here...let me get it..." and the like. Some of the harmless stuff was just accepted and dealt with. SHe could also be belligerent and rude, depending on how she felt. I saw her tell doormen to "f*** off" when they tried to help her to her car.

    I think FIL could really use some help in your situation. It's hard, esp, when MIL is refusing medical help. I think the laughing over pics could be his coping mechanism since he's with her ALL the time. I don't know how MIL and Aunt-in-Law convinced her to get help, but she did. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.

    I'm sorry. I don't have solid advice, but just know that I've been there. She ended up moving in an assisted living facility in Balto and passed away from a stroke last November. So so sad, but it was a bit of a load off MIL/Aunt IL's shoulders b/c they were with her all the time, treking from Gaithersburg/DC to Balto.

    ETA: dont' mean to imply that they were relieved not to do the drive, but just that caring even PT for someone like this is mentally, emotionaly and physically exhausting.

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  • So sorry you're going through this, ECB. Sad

    I do think it's possible that there's something going on here besides depression.  The whole social phobia of going to family events, coupled by the completely lacking social filter in the restaurant is really bizarre.  When you mentioned the fact that she forgot what she ordered, the first thing that popped into my head was early Dementia/Alzheimers, like festivegal mentioned.  

    My grandmother, and my grandmother through my grandpa's remarriage had Alzheimer's, but each had a differing demeanor.  It was like night and day.  While my one grandmother became largely introverted, the other was bubbly and social (if inappropriate in her conversation) until the end.  I mention this because Dementia and Alzheimer's can manifest in varying ways. 

    I think it's something to watch for.  You many want to contact your physician for general information on what to watch for regarded untreated depression vs. senility vs. dementia/alzheimer's. 

    Keep us posted!

  • Sorry you're going through this ECB, I've read some of your responses before that have mentioned some of your MIL's behavior and it sounds extremely frustrating to handle for both you and your DH.

    Reading through your post I'm more inclined to go with PPs and say it seems to me like something medically is going on with her. Whether it's early stages of Alzheimers/dementia or something else. Could it also be that she has dealt with depression and isolation for so long that she has lost some of her mind? (I think this has happened with my mother as well as I suspect early stages of dementia) One theory my sisters and I have is that our mother is that she really hasn't had to use her mind since she stopped working (several years ago) and she has quickly deteriorated to the point that she doesn't remember simple tasks, things she's been told or answers to questions she has asked. Could she have had a nervous or mental breakdown with the medical issues she has faced?

    With that said, if she has been using avoidance to face her difficulties with depression, it seems unlikely that you, DH and/or FIL would be able to convince her to get medically checked out. She might be in complete denial that something is wrong. If that's the case, the only advice I have is to limit the amount of time you spend at public places, like you already do.

  • image doglove:

    Could it also be that she has dealt with depression and isolation for so long that she has lost some of her mind? (I think this has happened with my mother as well as I suspect early stages of dementia) One theory my sisters and I have is that our mother is that she really hasn't had to use her mind since she stopped working (several years ago) and she has quickly deteriorated to the point that she doesn't remember simple tasks, things she's been told or answers to questions she has asked.

    Thanks to everyone who has responded so far.  I really appreciate it - and it's giving me stuff to think about.

    Specifically to the above, right now, this is kind of where I'm at.  It could be more, and we're absolutely going to pay attention, I'm going to talk to DH about talking to FIL, etc.  But I honestly see some of this as a "laziness".

    My parents are both retired too and my mother was telling me how its SO EASY to get mentally lazy about so many things, that she and my dad force themselves to not get lazy.  They want to keep themselves as mentally sharp as possible.

    I've even read articles about this - how doing crosswords and puzzles like Sudoku are good to keep your  mind active and working. 

    I also see it as a dependance thing too.  She wants to be taken care of, so it's almost like she's playing dumb in order to force people to step in and take care of her. 

    BUT - w/ all of this, the getting "lazy" can lead to a real deterioration, which is where I'm afraid she may be at. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • My mother and sisters recently visited me in NC and I was talking to one of my sisters and she brought up my grandmother. Even though she lived alone for 25+ years, she read books, did crosswords and knitted. She kept herself mentally stimulated and was always sharp until her last year or so (she lived to be 90). She brought her up in reference to my mother as a comparison of how sharp and focused my grandmother was compared with with mother's behavior. All my mother does now that she is out of work is shop and go out to eat or talk gossip with my family.

    I told her last year that the doctor tested me for some horrifying auto-immune disorder that I was having symptoms for and that my blood tested positive. I was so scared and was going to see a specialist. My mother literally said, "oh I hope it's okay" and then went on vacation for the next 2 weeks and never called me. When I spoke to her next, about a month after the initial call, I told her how upset I was that she never asked about what I had gone through. I honestly think she did not even remember that I had told her I might have some horrifying disorder. Either that or she just didn't process it because she was so focused on going on vacation. I couldn't believe my mother, who was only 61 at that time, could not remember something of that magnitude.

    So I definitely understand where you're coming from! (And as it turned out the specialist did not believe I had that auto-immune disorder)

  • doglove- it's interesting you say that.  We went through 5 years of infertility treatments to have DS.  The little that we talked about it w/ my IL's, they were almost dismissive of it. Both of them. It was really weird.  One time, they out and out changed the topic of conversation.

    From that point forward, we pretty much never brought it up w/ them again.  I even stayed w/ relatives of FIL's in NYC for my last procedure and even w/ that... nothing.

    It was just weird. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Late to the party here, but I too think alzheimers/dementia/mental illness. I think your DH needs to step in and get FIL to get her to a Dr for an assessment.
  • Maybe it's something with the mental laziness or related to depression. They just can't handle that type of information - which I think might be the case with my mother. She either acts like the information never was never received, like you said yours changed the subject or she discounts it by saying, "oh it'll be fine you'll get to where you need to be."

    It's extremely disheartening to me that she responds in this way. She acted in similar ways to one sister who had a miscarriage and a sister-in-law who suffered 5 miscarriages over the course of a few years. It is astounding to me that she acted like life was wonderful and nothing was wrong/upsetting. I haven't wanted to talk to her about anything personal after last summer and she always complains that she knows nothing about my life. It makes me feel sad, but it is what it is I guess.

  • I think seeing a doctor is always a good idea...

    But, just keep this in mind. What meds is she taking? The combination of some meds and even a little bit of alcohol can have a marked impact. I'm not saying there isn't something more serious going on, but I don't think this particular behavior is definitive proof.

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  • image EastCoastBride:

    doglove- it's interesting you say that.  We went through 5 years of infertility treatments to have DS.  The little that we talked about it w/ my IL's, they were almost dismissive of it. Both of them. It was really weird.  One time, they out and out changed the topic of conversation.

    From that point forward, we pretty much never brought it up w/ them again.  I even stayed w/ relatives of FIL's in NYC for my last procedure and even w/ that... nothing.

    It was just weird. 

    First, ECB, I want to say that I am sorry you & your DH are going through this.  How difficult and frustrating.  My heart goes out to you.

    I am going to jump on the bandwagon with the other PP's in saying that the restuarant fiasco sounds like the early signs of altzeimers. 

    Your scenario above depicts a moreso lack of social adequacy.  Were your IL's always like that or is it just recently?  Reason I ask, my IL's are very socially inept.  It is very hard for them to have *real* conversations regarding heavy topics.  They will just gear the convo away from the topic in hopes that it will die down.  Not excusing their insensitive behavior, I just think that they are uncomfortable and don't know what to say.

  • image ShannersLA:

    Your scenario above depicts a moreso lack of social adequacy.  Were your IL's always like that or is it just recently?  Reason I ask, my IL's are very socially inept.  It is very hard for them to have *real* conversations regarding heavy topics.  They will just gear the convo away from the topic in hopes that it will die down.  Not excusing their insensitive behavior, I just think that they are uncomfortable and don't know what to say.

    Susie- she's on a LOT of meds.  Honestly, she really shouldn't be drinking at all, and especially not Cosmo's.  But tell that to her. 

    Shanners - no, they were not always socially inept.  And I really do think that for my FIL, it probably was more a situation of not knowing what to say.  But at the same time, he used to be a reporter and asking a million and one questions is his nature.  The fact that he didnt' do that at all with this was kind of surprising, to be honest! 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Sorry to hear about your troubles.  I think it would definitely be a good thing to get her in to the doctor for the checkup.  I also think you might have really hit on something with the notion that FIL might feel kind of beaten down.  Think about how exhausted/ frustrating this is for you for an evening- with this going on day in, day out, for years, I wouldn't be surprised if he has had to let go of some things or not fight some battles just in order to cope.  

    And from that angle- rather than your DH approaching them and saying "Dad, I really think Mom needs to have a checkup with her doctor.  Her forgetfulness and some of the repetitive behaviors she has really worry me.", I think it would help the matter a lot more if he added, "If you want me to, I can make the appointment and drive and go with her." The reason I say that is- if your FIL is feeling "beaten down", the idea of adding "one more thing" (even one more thing that he knows would be helpful or necessary) is daunting, and that's how things get pushed into the "I know I should but I just can't" pile.  

    Your FIL might not take him up on the offer, but I think just hearing "I'm noting the concerns, but I'm also willing to help do some of the legwork," might make a big difference.  I know a lot of things fell by the wayside in one of my relative's lives when she was doing the same kind of "unofficial caregiver" stuff.  It wasn't that she didn't notice or didn't think it would help, there was just literally so much with the day-to-day care and emotionally dealing with it all that making a call or looking for information felt impossible.

  • Please understand that I don?t mean to be snarky at all.  Actually, I think you give great advice on these boards and I always look forward to reading your responses to other posts.

     

    But, I have to say that after reading your posts regarding your DH?s parents, it?s apparent to me that you have issues of resentment toward them.  Why is that?  I understand that they?re older, not as competent or as healthy as your parents and they have irritating behaviors and/or personalities.  After reading this post, it?s obvious that your MIL is behaving like a whacky old lady, no matter what the reason is, whether it is due to age (being lazy, as you say),  or dementia/Alzheimer?s, or odd personality.  Of course, you and your DH should encourage your FIL to get MIL checked out!  I?m just not making the connection as to why you take all of her whackiness as if it?s a personal slight to you or such a big irritation?  I mean, so what if she shows off pics of your son to random people at restaurants? So what if she likes to sit at home and avoid get togethers. So what if she reads the same coffee books over and over, so what if she doesn?t do soduku or crossword puzzles to keep her mind sharp?   So what if she hugs the waitress a little too long? 

     

    You don?t let them baby sit for you and you?ve limited your going out times with them because they?re chronically late.  What more do you want? 

     

    And I hate to say this, but your comparisons of your DH?s parents to your parents in all of your post make it obvious that you think your parents hung the moon and his parents are the most embarrassing and incompetent creatures on the planet.  And maybe they are.  But, I?m just a complete stranger and it comes across to me loud and clear to me.  I wonder what your DH thinks or feels about this?

     

    Again, I don?t mean any disrespect towards you.  This post has just kind of rubbed me the wrong way.
  • First off, I'm really sorry you and your H are going through this.  Watching parents deteriorate is scary and horrifying and I totally understand feeling helpless and inept in dealing with it. 

    Second, and I'm sure you know this, please ignore EffDat, who appears to be taking your post in some bizarrely personal and irrelevant direction.

    Lastly, I agree with the PPs that your MIL's behavior looks suspiciously like the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's, although Susie is right that meds could be at work here, too.  Do you know of any family history of dementia or similar degenerative illnesses?

    As for your FIL, I'm sure he feels doubly helpless watching his wife fall apart like this, and his reaction to her is probably an effort to downplay it.  If you feel like he might be receptive to a gentle but frank conversation, I think it's a good idea.  Even if he doesn't react well at first, at least he'll know that it hasn't gone un-noticed and that he has allies if/when he gets to a point where he wants help.

    I'm sorry   Right Hug

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  • image zelda25:

    Second, and I'm sure you know this, please ignore EffDat, who appears to be taking your post in some bizarrely personal and irrelevant direction.

    Yeah- thanks!  I'm actually a tad speechless. 

    Anyhow- no, there is no histoy of dementia.  I think that's why I'm not fully there yet, but yet don't want to rule it out.  There being no history doesn't mean she won't be affected. 

    MrsGinger- excellent idea about DH offering to help get her to a doctor.  She may not be as angry w/ DH doing it as she might be w/ FIL. 

    Again- thanks everyone for your thoughts and insight.  I know this is hard on DH too and I kind of think he might be in a bit of denial about what is going on too. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • I'm so sorry that you all are going through this. It definitely doesn't sound like fun and I'm sure it's a struggle for everyone involved.

    First off, my initial reaction is 'take care of yourself.' If you don't like her showing the photo of DS, take it away from her (I'd suggest that you don't tell her you're taking it, just take it on the sly. If she were functioning at a higher level of understanding, I'd tell her that I was doing it, but as she's not...). if you don't want to go to dinner with her, don't. Maybe stay in, make something at home. But it's up to you, as I'm sure you know, to set those boundaries and to make sure that YOU are comfortable with them. You're likely not going to change her behavior, or even get her to admit that there's something "off" about the way she's acting. For her, it's normal and perfectly fine.

    The best reference I have about Alzheimers and dementia type issues is here: http://www.minddisorders.com/Del-Fi/Dementia.html See if it makes any sense to you, and maybe see if your FIL (who, I think, is used to the behavior and has convinced himself that it's "cute") would be willing to set up an appointment with a doctor who is familiar with this range of disorders. Talk to him privately (or ask your H to do it, if he's in agreement that it'd be a good thing to do). And even if it turns out to be something else, an assessment is always a good way to start.

    Good luck! Smile

  • I do think she needs some help.  I agree with the other's about the beginnings of Alzheimer's.  This should be looked into soon. 

    I also think an organ transplant is a life changing event and adjustment to that mentally can be challenging.  A lot people seek out patient mental care after events like that.

    Best of Luck. 

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  • ECB,

    Some sort of dementia would also be my guess.    I don't think that type of behavior is normal.    If you want people to see pictures of your grandchildren, you wear one of those specially made t-shirts with their pictures on them.   You don't walk up to a group of strangers at a restaurant and thrust pictures in their faces!  

    About your FIL.   My honest opinion is that he's trying to pretend nothing is wrong.   I think he knows her behavior is weird, but attempts to chuckle at the behavior and shake his head as if it's an amusing quirk.   I think he knows, and is disturbed, more than he lets on because he's afraid.   And he certainly doesn't want any of you to think anything is wrong with her behavior, because then he might actually have to confront the idea that something is wrong with her behavior.      That's my guess.   My second guess would be that he's just so used to it that it lacks any shock factor any more and doesn't affect him. 

    I don't know.  I think you should approach him to get her checked out.   Maybe your DH can go with him.    I believe they can start treating dementia early to slow its onset.  

  • image EffDat:

    But, I have to say that after reading your posts regarding your DH?s parents, it?s apparent to me that you have issues of resentment toward them.  

     

    And I hate to say this, but your comparisons of your DH?s parents to your parents in all of your post make it obvious that you think your parents hung the moon and his parents are the most embarrassing and incompetent creatures on the planet.  

     

    None of ECB's post implies any of this nor have any of her previous posts implied this.

  • It sounds to me like a) depression and b) early stages of some form of dementia.

    My FIL had early onset alzheimers so some thoughts I have based on that situation are that often those closest to the person don't see the changes as strongly as those who only see the person ocassionally and that as  the family adapt and look after the ill person, they stop seeing how bad they have become.

    So it's possible that your FIL has simply acclimatised to MIL's behaviour. That whilst it's odd and a bit socially uncomfortable, it's not dangerous or really awful behaviour.

    I would get DH to talk to FIL about getting MIL to see a Dr. This part can be really challenging and often the person who is sick is really resistant to being diagnosed and/or treated. 

    It could be just her getting "crazy" in her old age and not progress any further, or it could be something more serious. A talk with a Dr will help understand what's going on with her. 

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  • when I hear about bizarre behavior, I always think it could be related to medications. Many medications react with alcohol exponentially, so having even 2 could be like having 9. Or perhaps, she needs medication adjustments in general
  • Your FIL could be covering for your MIL, especially if he thinks she's starting to slip mentally.

    When DH's grandfather started having symptoms of dementia, his grandmother covered up a lot of what was going on.  She did not tell other people about things he was forgetting or not doing.  It was only when things got really out of control (he was nailing the front door shut because he was convinced something was trying to get into the house) that everything came out.

    It might be helpful in this case if you and your DH can keep a log of the peculiar things she's doing.  If you have some documentation, it would help in a discussion with your FIL or with her doctor about what's going on with her.

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  • I agree completely with what a lot of people have already said - it does sound like early stage dementia. Regarding your FIL's reaction to her behavior - maybe he's trying to avoid a fight? My grandma got really bizarre as she got older, and she would get really nasty with my grandpa (well, with almost anyone) if they said anything to her about it; it was heartbreaking to witness, but we knew that it wasn't "her" and that it was the dementia. Perhaps your FIL shrugs it off and makes light of his wife's behavior because he doesn't want to escalate the scene. It's tough.
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  • Another post encouraging your DH to talk to FIL about getting MIL evaluated.

    My GMIL was exhibiting odd behaviors and it turns out that due to her multitude health issues, she had developed vascular dementia which had manifested itself like the early stages of alzheimers.  The long term lack of strong blood flow to the brain had detrimental effects. 

    This may be coming into play with your MIL.  While dementia/alzheimers may not run in her family, there can be other health related issues that can cause similar reactions.

    In any case, good luck in dealing with what sounds like a difficult situation.

  • Wow. Embarrassing! I'd definitely stick to the eat in invites! My H's grandma started declining invites like you've mentioned (developing belly aches the night before, etc.) probably about a year before she passed. She also got forgetful and repeated stories, etc. Turned out she had some issues with her heart not pumping well and they put a pacemaker in. She was sent home from the hospital a few days later saying she felt better than she had in years... and you could see a marked improvement.. she looked better... had her sparkle back.. BUT she went home and did some things around her home and then stroked out that night and died the next afternoon. Definitely get her to a doctor. I'm sure there's probably something going on. Good luck!!

  • Just because MILs family has no history of altzheimer's doesn't mean she doesn't have dementia.  DH's father has dementia as the result of having numerous strokes.  There are many forms of dementia. 

    I think your H should have a talk with his dad and ask to have her evaluated.  Even go to the next doctor's appointment if it is possible.  Sometimes a child is detached enough to be objective in ways that a spouse can't be.  Or if MIL has a sibling or close friend, maybe they can go.  They should also ask about her medications and ensure that they are all necessary and do not have known side effects when taken together.  A pharmacist might be able to answer this as well. 

    One thing you need to remember - she is not choosing to be this way.  Not remembering what she has ordered is not being lazy.  How much "work" should it take to remember what you ordered for dinner 10 minutes ago?  While it is frustrating to deal with (and I have heard FIL ask the same question 15x in a ten minute time span), it's not something she can control.

  • image SueBear:

    One thing you need to remember - she is not choosing to be this way.  Not remembering what she has ordered is not being lazy.  How much "work" should it take to remember what you ordered for dinner 10 minutes ago?  While it is frustrating to deal with (and I have heard FIL ask the same question 15x in a ten minute time span), it's not something she can control.

    SueBear -dont' get me wrong. If there is truly a bigger issue here, I know she isn't choosing to be this way and it's not lazy. 

    To be honest, a part of it is "wishful thinking" that maybe all this is is her just not wanting to challenge herself anymore and letting others think for her.  She once told my mom that all she wants to do is sit home and watch old movies.  She doesn't want to watch the news, doesn't want to keep up on current events - and I see this as a manifestation of her depression. 

    That's more where my comment about being lazy came from.  When she first had her transplant, FIL always had to remind her to take her copius drugs.  She would always "forget".  At that point, we really do feel it was her wanting to be taken care of. It was her, in a way, giving up.  It's easier to let FIL do it all for her.

    But over time, I think it's gotten worse, and again, if this actually is a sign of dementia or some other mental issue - then I FULLY know and understand it's not her being lazy. 

    And really, that is more why I wrote this.  I feel that this is something more serious than what DH and I want to admit to. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
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  • Do you think she has a secret drinking or drug problem (overuse of the RX, pot, etc)?  Over-exaggerating, acting like a fool in public, disturbing complete strangers along with completely crazy behavior with strangers (hugging the waitress), lateness, FIL going places without her....it just all seems odd.  From what you have described I'd say she was ON something, not depressed.  Has she ever had any issues before her kidney transplant?  Could you send a letter to her physician to get them to address it if FIL won't?

    Good luck...and I wouldn't have them watch DS either.

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