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Very concerned about my MIL..thoughts?

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by Jamie_Dog_Trainer, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Songster

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State
    I feel bad about writing this out. But I am at a loss as to what direction, if any I should take. This is about my MIL, whom I love and respect. But her increasing bizarre behavior has be questioning her mind. Honestly, I love her and I am not being catty..she and I have had our "moments" but what MIL/DIL relationship doesn't?

    I have noticed that in the past few years she's had episodes of very strange behavior. Some of it seems to be forgetfullness, and some of it is just plain old weird. I am thinking Altzheimers, or dimensia...I have worked with them as patients when I was a caregiver. But I have never been a family member watching someone go down hill. This woman is only 63 years old -- not old by a long shot. I am going to share a few of these situations with you for illustration. If you have had experience with a loved one and seen equally strange behavior will you tell me how you handled it. I am worried about her.

    The following happened very recently:

    1) We were planting a large garden, which I have experience at and she doesn't. MIL was very excited about the garden and got a Veggie Gardening book. She asked me numerous questions on how to sow the seeds, how deep, how far apart, ect. She would also check her book for the same information. We had discussed, very specifically, what to plant. Carrots was a no brainer. Carrot seeds being so tiny I told her in conversation # 1 to mix the carrot seeds with light soil or sand and sprinkle them in the row -- ephasizing this to her so that we'd get an even planting. In conversation #2 she called me about a week later, telling me how she read in her book how to plant carrot seeds and have them be even. In this conversation I was suprised because she acted like she didn't remember me giving her the nearly exact same information, but, oh well at least now she really understood. In conversation #3 I was really sick (being newly pregnant and on a lot of medications) I realized I couldn't go plant with her. So I gave her the seeds, reminded her (again) what her book said, I provided the sand to mix the seeds with even! And she seemed to understand fully and off she went to plant the carrots.

    So, about three hours later she calls me and proceeds to tell me "wow those carrot seeds are so tiny, it got so tedious trying to plant them one by one. I don't think i want to plant them again. I just ended up doing the best I could." Ok??? I was kinda shocked and didn't couldn't bring myself to remind her of our other conversations. I was pretty dumbfounded by the whole thing.

    2) She watched my 3-year-old daughter, Hannah, when I have to work sometimes. Now we live only a few minutes from the In Laws and see them often. They've been a part of our daughters life since she was born. My point is that they see her and babysit her a lot, including duties such as discipline, feeding, ect. So one day I needed her to watch Hannah and she offered to take her the next day too. So Hannah went over in the evening after dinner, and stayed until 3pm the next day. So about 23 hours total at MIL's house. When I got there to pick her up the next day, Hannah ran to me and told me "Mommy when can I have dinner?? I am so hungry". I kinda laughed and said soon. MIL came up to me and explained why Hannah was so hungry. She told me that Hannah had refused breakfast that morning, only eating two bites of oatmeal. Kind of unusual for my daughter, but kids being kids will try and pull stuff over on people they see might buy into it, even if the person is in their life a lot. So then MIL says that Hannah also refused lunch. By this time I was really surprised. So I asked MIL how she "refused" and she told me she "just wouldn't eat, so I didn't give her any snacks and she had about one bite of cheese with her lunch.".... Ok, so by now I am getting angry. and I say "Why didn't you give her a consequence? a Time out was in order or something!" And she gets defensive and tells me it's "not her job to force Hannah to eat". Ummm Ok??!? And the kicker to this -- Hannah drinks water frequently at my house. But at MIL house she is only given beverages at meal times -- so that meant that Hannah had refused food and therefore also forfeited fluid too. I was angry! In almost 24 hours she'd had two bites of cereal, and one bite of cheese and NO water/milk/juice.

    My issue other than shock that MIL didn't step up (which she has before and disciplined Hannah very effectively), was that she thought it was ok for a 3 year old to have basically nothing to eat or drink in that amount of time. My DH was furious when I told him and he had a talk with his Mom about disciplining her and consistency. Both of which she has always done OK with.

    3) My MIL isn't the most fab cook out there, but she does have a few family recipes that are outstanding. One of which is her from-scratch Manacotti. This elaborate recipe includes her making the manacotti crepes herself. It is a long time family favorite and something we can request on our Birthday or whatever. Long story shot she's made this recipe for about 40+ years-- not a new recipe. So my Sister-in-Law requests Manacotti for her birthday last year. But something wasn't right about the recipe. After talking to my SIL she tells me privately that instead of a home made tomato sauce for the dish she instead substituted a can of Enchilada Sauce!!! And then MIL, despite having the recipe at hand in her kitchen, defends her choice and says "I have always made my Manacotti with Red Enchilada sauce"...umm No you don't. It would be funny if it wasn't so bizarre. So this year on SIL birthday same things happens!! Nope, not joking or making this up. Mexican flavored Manacotti, again. And when my SIL talks to her about the odd tasting dish, she defends her choice again..until SIL digs out the recipe and shows it to her. Only THEN will MIL admit the mistake.

    There are MORE of these stories from the past couple years..but for sake of rambling and space I think you get the picture.

  2. watchdogps

    watchdogps Songster

    Jun 4, 2011
    Central Ohio
    This may seem way out, but is there any way she is an alcoholic? My mom was the sip-a-glass-of-wine-all-day type of alcoholic. Well, 30 yrs of that caught up with her and she died of liver failure, but we didnt know because she hid that from us. What we did know is that she got "dingy", weaker, and generally odd in her behavior. She was only 57 when she died.
  3. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Songster

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State
    Quote:Normally I would say that nothing is out of the question, except that she is drinking. My FIL is a Dr. Reverend, she's been a pastors wife all her adult life - and I mean ALL. She has never in her life drank any alcohol, even a sip. She is so uncomfortable with the idea of it that she made ME buy all the beer for our slug traps at the garden! Thanks though.
  4. Kassaundra

    Kassaundra Sonic screwdrivers are cool!

    Sep 1, 2010
    We have had strikingly similar stories w/ my Gma, she had alzhiemer's, and in hindsight a lot longer then we knew. My Gpa had a long lingering illness and was very demanding and she was the type of wife that felt she had to do everything for him, so a lot of her earlier symptoms we thought at the time was just stress. When she was in the mid stages (very similar to where your MIL sounds like now) we tried everything to get her to take some of the alzhiemers meds, which she absolutely refused to do. We let her stay at home probably longer then we should have, but my father lived next door. We had to place her in a supervised home before the end, the hardest descision of my life. Mercifully she passed w/ a heart condition before the very end stages of alzhiemers stole what little she had left of herself.

    It is a hateful, insidious disease that sneaks up on you, have a serious talk w/ her, get her to a neurologist. The new meds are most effective in the earlier stages, as they only pause (if they do anything at all) so if you wait to long you likely won't want to "pause" later stages.

    Your area may have an alzhiemers support group, even if you aren't "touchy feely" type people, check into it, they have a lot of info and resources you may not know about, it is remarkable how similar your MIL behaviour is compared w/ others who have this disease, sometimes it just helps to know your not alone, and your not imagining it or crazy. [​IMG]
  5. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Songster

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State
    Thank you [​IMG] As I said, there are more of these stories...Mostly from the past two years or so. She just acts as if she can't really remember or retain new information. Another thing she does is tell the same thing over and over, even in the same conversation.
  6. mulewagon

    mulewagon Songster

    Nov 13, 2010
    Whoo, she definitely needs to see a geriatric specialist. I hope it's not as serious as Alzheimer's - she needs to be checked for strokes, medication side effects, anything else that might cause confusion and memory loss.

    Meanwhile, I wouldn't leave small children alone with her, and would try to arrange for family to drop in frequently. Something's wrong. [​IMG]
  7. cassie

    cassie Crowing

    Mar 19, 2009
    My first guess would be Alzeimers, but it wouldn't hurt to have her checked for a urinary tract infection. Sometimes a UTI can make older folks a bit dingy.

  8. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Songster

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State
    Ok Thanks [​IMG] I hate that my fears seem to be confirmed...I hope others have some experience with this.
  9. Carols Clucks

    Carols Clucks Songster

    Oct 13, 2010
    My former father in law passed away from the effects of Alz. He was 60 when he was first having some minor issues.

    My mom is going to be 88, I notice that when she does not sleep well or is too tired in the day she will say do similar things. Maybe she is also super sleep deprived?
  10. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Songster

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State
    Quote:I don't think so, but I suppose that could be a contributing factor. The past three years have been especially stressful on the In-Laws. But her behavior seems extreme even for sleep deprivation (which I doubt she has) or even severe stress. *shrug*

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